Tag Archives: Para3

Spyderco Para3 – Let there be light!

So here I am, minding my own business.  (Always wanted to start a review with that kind of sentences… à la Michael Di Mercurio.)
I love heft. A heavy knife is sexy in my book.
Bought in the 80’s, one of my German version of a Buck110 was an anchor and I loved it.
I dig the Fred Perrin PPT for its massive butt balance but I’m quite certain Fred would love a lightweight para3 as he loves to hide light tools on himself. 😉

But now.

Now Spyderco has always been about Performance. Performance in geometry, ergonomics, in locking mechanism, steel’s heat treating, choice of materials… and refining refining and refining… Constant Quality Improvements they say.

That Para4 lightweight is born from that CQI state of mind.
Remember the Military ? It always been a lightweight because every kilograms counts when you are carrying a weapon and ammo. At first the C36 was using only one nested liner if I remember well. The fight against weight was hard and not understood by many.
Just look at some heavyweight folding brick found nowadays… No comment.

So Sal loves sport cars and racing boats. His passion for sailing is oozing from his designs.
He has just release a lightweight version of his Police knife.
That Para3 got only one liner like is first Millie.

So lightweight is an obsession as much is lock reliability in folders.
Just like in the Ford V. Ferrari (Le Mas 66 for Europe) james Mangold’s movie.
BTW Spyderco has just release a Lightweight Sage with a compression lock too.

You need need to have a great confidence in the materials you are using too to implement a Compression lock in a plastic handle because the lock needs tension. But FRN is considered as strong as aluminium and Fiber Reinforced Nylon is something Spyderco explores and masters for more than 25 years now.
I remember self defense instructors driving with their trucks on their FRN Delicas (pre liners version) just to show how strong this lighweight folders were.

The lightweight handle brings also great balance to a very “alive” knife. The Para 3 lightweight is something your enjoy playing with. It can be open and close it in a blink. This is really fun and elegant.

The texture is perfect when my hands were wet and greasy. The Bi Direction Texturing is perfect near the pivot: my thumb meat is gripped by the FRN in the forward direction.
It feels so secured in my wet hands ! Also the bi-texturing works in the other direction for pulling the knife out of the pocket. In term of security, not dropping your tools which is like glued in you hand, it is a must. The wonderful Carbon Fiber of my Kapara can not compete with that. It feels like a soap compares to my Para 3.So for the pragmatics, you can reach for your knife, pull it out and use it even with oil on your hands. This is so great and really rare in the knife industry. Sal’s inventor’s mind again.

Like many compression locks including the beautiful Kapara,  you can get soared hands when using the knife without gloves. It comes form the area on the top of the pivot which bites your hand skin. My friend Pascal got reported blisters from his Paramillie 2 for the same reasons. The space between the thumb and the index needs to have a surface to rest or it will hurt. Some Youtubers got that issue when cutting ropes for edge testing too.

This details has been featured in the Ray Mears Wolfspyder. You can use your knife for hours !

See the difference ?
Whittling and bushcrafting ask for the maximum of confort.

Also look at the C36 Military: again there is a surface to rest your hand avoiding soar and blisters hence its great ergos when whittling.

So let assume the Para3 is a light user or at least design as such. Nothing bad about it they are plenty of other designs and even better great fixed blade like Puukkos when working on wood and hard materials for a long session.

But what a great light user it is. It is versatile. With a powerful blade and solid point.
Easy to clean. Anti slippery handle. Non threatening design. Light and invisible once clipped. What not to love about it ? This is a milestone in my book.
And I do favor heavy knives. My Maxamet Para3 got a copper handle.

I have thinned the edge to my taste.

And now the leather is enough to keep it razor. M390 heat treated by Golden is a must.

Para 3 Lightweight DLT Trading Exclusive – C223PRD – My Little Red Riding Hood !

It is light, it is red and it is cute and can skin a wolf or granny’s apple ?
DLT Exclusive M390 steel blade on the Para 3 Light plateforme has hit the old continent after NOT taking any shortcut… It was stuck in Paris airport for a week !Action is perfect. The blade is centered. Drop chute works perfectly. This DLT Trading Exclusive is clicking all the right buttons as I was not really excited to test this knife without some spicy exclusive steel.
Bringing the compression lock to the FRN is a Tour de Force Eric and Sal can be proud of.
At 69 grammes it bring a very strong little big knife into the “pocket and forget” realm.
This is going to be a very Sheeple friendly knife thanks to its red scale and deep carry clip.
I love high performance blade on FRN. My Manix Lightweight is a CPM 110V version and my favorite holiday knife as it is easy to put in a luggage and keep its sharpness for weeks.
This is Little Red Riding Hood is destined to de-throne it. Less moving parts, easier to clean. Very impressive quality !
And M390 heat treated by Spyderco is a sure value since 2012 ! :-)More to come soon as right in the pocket it goes ! Riding !“But Grandmother! What big teeth you have,” said Little Red Riding Hood her voice quivering slightly.My own copper Maxamet Version is just a really heavy weight.SO LIGHT…
“The better to eat you with, my dear,” roared the wolf and he leapt out of the bed…Deep carry clip and excellent lanyard hole placement.

Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet Part II.

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The Grey Mouser has been in my EDC rotation since it has arrived in my pocket.
So this a little report.

Maxamet is like a super CPM M4 to me, it cannot seem to get dull. I have deshouldered the edge and keep it sharp (razor) with white ceramic and leather. The edge behaviour in wood is like M2, it gives a gentle patina to the part cut.
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The gently rounded spine is a must for thumb push cutting.

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The lock is solid and did not give in to any vertical or lateral play.

The Para3 is really a friendly 3 inches knife with a wide spectrum of uses.
Near the pivot you got as much as any C36 Millie strenght for power cutting as this is the same “cockpit” as the good old Military. The point is easier to control as your hand grabs the blade and the handle with more ease on smaller knives. So you got a very capable knife for the outdoors, able to carve and trim wood.

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Maxamet is giving a beautiful orange red patina. I have not been able to get any pit of rust despite my every day use on acidic foods.

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It’s less sensitive to medium than K390 and close to CPM10V. You got stain but nothing more in my experience.

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I clean it directly under the tap of in a soapy water. Nothing extravagant. The action is on the smooth side even without any oil near the pivot. I have decided to treat it the hard way.

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So far I’m really impressed by the ease of keeping razor sharp that very special alloy. It’s not difficult with only white ceramic and leather and it happen once a week just for a refresh.
The deep carry clip is back for tip up carry and it makes a very low signature for an EDC.

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It’s used every day for eating and mostly I use the spine to push in the plate.

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An apple a day keep the doctor away, especially if you got a good aim.
More to come soon but so far this is a very satisfying experience.

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Spyderco C223GPDGY Para 3 Maxamet — The Grey Mouser.

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It has been half a year of patience before my pre order turns into a mail call. Howard Korn from the Knifecenter.com was kind enough to send it to me as soon as he has received it. It was a quick 6 days of travelling from Fredericksburgh, Virginia to Paris.
The name of this Para3 should be”Desire” but it will be “Mouser” in honor of its color: grey. Also in honor of its almost magical alloy used: Maxamet.
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What is Maxamet ?
According to Spyderco its full name is “Carpenter® steel’s Micro-Melt® Maxamet® alloy”. “Maxamet is an extremely hard high-speed powdered tool steel possessing properties that transcend conventional high-speed tool steels and approach those of cemented carbides – the ultra-hard materials used to machine other steels. When Carpenter developed this amazing alloy for the rollers in their steel mills, they sent samples to various companies in the knife industry to evaluate as a blade material. Although many tried, Spyderco was one of only a handful of companies to successfully develop the specialized methods necessary to machine, heat treat, and grind this demanding material to yield reliable, high-performance knife blades.”
It so difficult to work with that it has given some headaches to Eric and Sal hence the 6 months late in the production of that Para 3.
Maxamet should have better performance than CPM110V.  Now that I got both steel, I will try to see if I feel and see a difference.
What its composition reveals ?
Carbon 2,15% ; sulfure : 0.070% – 0,23%; chromium : 4,75% ; vanadium 6,00% ; manganese 0,30% ; silicium 0,25% ; cobalt : 10,00% ; tungsten 13,00%.

It’s not a stainless steel it’s an high tech tungsten alloy !!

Here its data sheet in Carpenter’s.

The wear resistance of Micro-Melt Maxamet alloy is better than that of conventional powder metal high speed steel grades and is equivalent to AISI A11 cold work powder metal tool steel. A11 is CPM 10V. Better? How much better ?
According to Cliff Stamps: “Maxamet is an extreme alloy, for comparison, it is to 10V what S90V is to 420J2. Maxamet is used when HSS like M4 fail because they are too soft or wear too fast – just consider that for a matter of perspective.”
(For the record he’s not talking about CPM M4 which comes from powder metallurgy process but good old M4HSS.)

So far Mouser is shaving my arm’s hairs which are flying of its blade. Its factory edge is really thin. With that amount of tungsten it should not be sensitive to its final tooling in the Golden plant. I’m not planning to work on it yet and keep it that way for its first run.

Its complex heat treatment and the HRC should be on the very high..

Spyderco is offering that steel on many knives: not counting a Mule but a LW grey Manix 2 , a G10 grey Paramillie 2 and a lightweight grey Native…
The Maxemet version is not a Sprint run.

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I have also noticed the chamfered work they have made on the spine and the spyderhole and the jimping behind the hump. I don’t have to use my diamond rat tail file anymore !!
Thank you Golden ! 🙂

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Also the blade has been gently beadblasted which gives it a very industrial look. The grind is perfectly symetrical as always on my Colorado’s made.

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The thick grey G10 slab also concours to give that toolish look, again the attention to detail are stellar. There is nothing to change when you open your black and red box.

So far what I have changed is the clip, as I don’t plan to spyderdrop this little guy.
The smooth compression lock permits a lot of other way to open it elegantly.
Also I have sanded the G10 to smooth it to my taste and keep my pocket lips healthy.
I keep the pivot area rough for the ergos.
Now the game is on, let see all this fuzz about that Maxamet steel !
Spyderco catalog’s sheet is here.

EDIT: Eventually I have gone back to the OEM hourglass clip in a Tip Down carry option.
Because it’s so fast to draw like a I do on my Millie and Paramillie 2.
The spyderdrop is so elegant and bound to the spyderhole: it works like a breeze.
Also I have starting to test the sharpness which is uncanny right our of the box.
I did not have that kind of result with its S30V bro. The Maxamet thin edge goes through the plastic bottle butt to make tagliatelle !! The edge is really hungry.

 

Also my previous review on the Para3 is here.

 

 

Between both knives there is a little difference. It is the sound of the mechanism.
The opening and locking on the S30V version will be a TAK.
When the opening of the Maxamet version will be a TIK.
The pitch of Mouser is much higher. Different alloys, different hardness produce different sounds.

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The Mouser is a small (not much more than five feet) mercurial thief, gifted and deadly at swordsmanship (often using a sword in one hand named “Scalpel” and a long dagger or main-gauche in the other named “Cat’s claw”), and a former wizard’s apprentice who retains some skill at magic.
The cynical-sounding Mouser is prone to showing strains of sentiment at unexpected times. He’s a rogue, living in a decadent world where to be so is a requirement of survival. It was created by Fritz Leiber.
Part II is here:
https://nemoknivesreview.com/2018/06/12/spyderco-c223gpdgy-para-3-maxamet-part-ii/

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Spyderco PARA 3 G-10 Black on Black C223GBK — The Black Panther Cub

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This is my first Para 3 and also my first black coated Spyderco blade.
According to Spyderco:

“For tactical end users who are concerned about light discipline or those who just prefer the look of a black blade, the Para 3 is now available with a tough Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) blade coating. This low-profile coating is permanently bonded to the premium CPM® S30V® stainless steel blade…”

Cool I do really love DLC as it’s really scratch resistant. The primary reason for blade coatings is to reduce the reflective properties of the steel. Shiny things draw the wrong kind of attention and in a military environment, can tend to get people shot. However, like anything else intended to be used in a military environment, coated blades are not immune to wearing off but DLC is really strong.

I also specifically love DLC for adding corrosion resistance. The area which normally rusts on an EDC is in the pivot area. No worries about that with a DLC coated blade!

The new Golden Co. factory is bringing some of the best quality in manufacturing to date. My Para3 is absolutely flawless: perfectly centered, perfect smooth action… I had noticed that rise in quality on my last sprint run Para2 in 52100 too. Now Golden is as good as Taichung in quality control – if not better. So kuddos Colorado! Also Eric told us during the last Minimeet that they have just hired two new engineers who will make a real difference. Spyderco has developed a speed training of their own engineers as no school had prepared them for the knife industry.

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Like the Paramillie 2 was a son of the Millie, the Para 3 is really Millie’s grandson. Same “cockpit”, stout hardchore 3 inches blade, smooth Compression Lock.

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My all black version is very discreet and the the short blade makes it even less threatening. A black “commando” feel on such a short folder is almost like an tribute to military blades. On a short knife like this baby millie the “cute” factor is very strong.

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My hand fits perfectly on that handle. That infact was a big question mark prior to holding the Para 3. You feel this short version of the Millie is ready for any task.

 

The DLC coating is absolutely stunning. I have sanded the G10 and put a great deal of care so to not scratch the steel hardware.

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Here after some plastic cutting which scratched some of my other blades, there were no marks on the diamond hard coating. Let see how it will age.

 

At first I had mounted the clip for tip down carry (left pic) and experienced great spyderdrops. The Para3 is so smooth in its action, a middle finger is sufficient for opening.
As I got the opportunity to get a titanium clip from Massdrop (right pic), after transformation it’s now a tip up solution and a middle finger opening work best for me. After all, a black knife, even of that size, needs to be as discreet as possible.

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Some thinning of the edge, from DC4 diamonds to white ceramic until leather stropping.

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It worked great as I was not able to scratch the DLC coating.

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I got much better performances on pushcuts into the thick plastic of this coke bottle butt.

Of course, I had soon christianized the knife with a fumble… Drawing blood means luck.

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The Maxamet PARA3 Review is here.

edited by Pascal – 14 march 2018.