Tag Archives: Spyderco

NATIVE CHIEF™ REX 45 SPRINT RUN™ – C244GBORE – The Joker !

“It’s been a long road
Getting from there to here
It’s been a long time
But my time is finally near…”

Yes, it has been 22 years (since 1999) that we have been waiting for the Native Chief to be produced.

Sal Glesser said:

In 2008: “We only made one prototype. The model never went into production.”

In 2017: “The Native “Chief” has been on hold for some 15 – 20 years. I imagine we can get it to queue if there is demand. I’ll watch the thread. The Shaman is designed to be 3.5″ blade length which is legal in more places that the Chief’s 4.0″ blade.”

In 2018 “Working on the refinements for the 3rd prototype. We work on roughly 20-30 designs at any given time…. We’ll use a Golden back lock.”
Then…
I’ve been carrying a “Chief prototype. A 20 year old “sal” design with modern “Eric” mods.” had written Sal Glesser in March 2019.

As shown on Eric Glesser video “Native Chief Breakdown”, the prototype looks a lot like the finale version.

Here is also a video from Wouter (Spydercollector) presenting the production sample:

Also, knowing the Vanilla version released in 2019, all made in their new facility in Golden Colorado Earth, was in S30V, waiting for a Sprint Run was mandatory in my case.
I got my eye on the Rex45 Chief before even to be able to get the Tree Rex Shaman. Rex45 seems to me a great steel for such a “toothpick”. Last year I had the chance to get a Tree Rex and my experience with that alloy made the wait of the Chief even longer.
You can read my thoughts about CPM REX45 here:

https://nemoknivesreview.com/2020/02/07/the-tree-rex-also-known-as-the-shaman-in-cpm-rex-45-and-dymondwood/

To quote Spyderco’s site:
Crucible® CPM® REX® 45 is a super-high-speed particle metallurgy tool steel enriched with large volumes of cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum, and vanadium. Its high cobalt content increases the steel’s attainable hardness and enhances the positive properties of the steel’s other alloys. The addition of vanadium promotes the formation of vanadium carbides, which provide high wear resistance, fine grain size and increased toughness.

CPM Rex45 is just great: no chipping, pleasant to keep ultra sharp with only some leather + compound stropping: a great super steel. Just be careful with its dust with 10% of toxic cobalt, better be safe than sorry.

OK, my Chief was expected for the first of April, hence the name “Joker”. The slim shade and the burnt orange color scales also inspired me… (Certainly not the Joachim’s or Jared’s crappy interpretations, much more Ledger and Bolland.)

Back to the knife: stretching in length the Native is a beautiful result. Since the Native model people were asking for a longer version and a shorter version, they have been heard.

Right out of the box, the Chief felt very angular: sharp edges on the scales, gritty G10, and a lot of hot spot on the choil/ricasso and the blade spine.
My Mandy City felt the exact opposite and it cost me a third of the Chief Price. So I was a little disappointed. It was not love at the first sight. Luckily , I know my Spyderco for a looooong loooong time and get my sandpaper ready.

I have send it under the tap to avoid any G10 dust which are really toxic for the lungs. Now the handle is suiting my taste.

The last experience I got with thick all-G10 construction knife in the Spyderco Family was the great Manix 2 Lockback (sold for 99 euros !) which was a great hard working folder.


The G10 slabs are much more thick than with the steel liners construction.
Quoting Sal:
“Actually Eric and Tom went over this model with the engineers for quite a while before making the decision to make it liner-less. We’ve done a lot of experimenting lately and you can see a lot in the many different designs and options. It surprises me that some would think to make decisions on values without any experience. if we screwed it up, we’ll fix it, but we don’t screw up often considering the many envelopes we’re willing to push.”

Compared to the Police:

You can compared thick G10 and thinG10+Liners.

As with the steel liner’s knives, there is zero flex and zero play, horizontal or vertical. It is like a vault. (My old Benchmade AFCK BM800HSS got titanium liners and flexes a lot.)
G10 is a really solid material. They even makes stealthy fixed knives with G10 blades… A steel liner could also bend and warp, not a thick G10 slab IMHO. Also the Cold Steel Recon folders are steel linerless and Cold Steel’s Recons are known for their sturdiness. I got an XL Recon and the lack of liner is really not an issue.
The blade, helped by two bronze phosphorous washers, chutes free when unlock which is very reliable and easy to learn to put back the knife in the pocket. It is done smoothly and fast.
It is a very secure way to close your knife.

Let’s not forget: a one hand opening knife needs to be a one hand closing knife. The best example is using a knife at the top of a ladder: you want to be able to get the knife back in the pocket easily and safely.

I’m not a huge fan of the hour glass clips founded on the Native 5 and the Delica/Endura/Paramillie/Para3. It has been immediately replaced mine with a Blade4sell small titanium clip.
Let’s do a family photo:

On the Shaman (“made to be a fairly heavy duty folder. Simple, but stout.” according to Sal), the Chief, the Native and the Lil’ Native my favorite clip is that last one.

The Native family is the no “hump” clan of the Spyderco Catalog.
The Chief is co signed by Eric and Sal.

Back to the Orange Chief, I was not really pleased also by its edge geometry. I felt it thick behind the edge. Even if the knife was razor sharp out of the box, it could not pass my plastic bottle test which consist in cutting the butt of a soda bottle by the center which is thicker.
The thin Manly City was able to do it right out of the box, as were able my Swayback, my PPT or even my Delica too for example… The champions being the Michael Walker and the Nilakka.
It is a matter of “deshouldering”, convexing the edge as always.

Diamonds are super steel best friends.

And now it is able to pass the test. 🙂
But let’s do it again for good measure.

Once thinned with diamonds, I usually strop it for a nice shining results. So far I need more elbow grease but it slowly get better and better.

Also the choil was very sharp to my taste. A little diamond filing and it was much more finger friendly.

So far, the Chief is a slim knife but destined to be very polyvalent. When the Shaman is very outdoors oriented, the Chief finds its place also in the kitchen.
It takes time to built a natural patina on Rex45 but it will come later after some fruits and hot meats.

The orange scales make it very table’s friendly too, despite its very pointy shape which could make sheeples nervous.

In a plate nothing force you to keep the edge perpendicular to the surface. I have found REX45 being hard to dull on plates anyway. It is a very easy going steel.

Another easy going steel is K390 found in the Police Model. You can see it is a tad longer than the Chief with also a thinner stock blade.

The Chief is elegant and certainly one of the most beautiful design in the Spyderco scuderia. Their backlock is so solid, the handle will break before it. Sal Glesser knows that making a longer version of the Native was not as simple as a sketch on a drawing board. You can watch the video at the end of this article about that.

The double signature, Eric and Sal.

Spy Opera Un’aria degli anni ’70

Do you want to drive an Electric Ferrari Dino ? Like Maranello would provide some Danny Wilde’s Persuaders car with the last computerized engine ?
Maranello, no. Maniago, si !

This picture found on https://forum.spyderco.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=87264&start=40#p1442735

shows is all. You can make a vintage lockback folder with a ball bearing driven pivot. And suddenly your understand the Spy Opera is a nostalgia flick opening knife.

The Spy Opera is a version of Lionsteel Opera “spyderized” which means:
adding a spyderhole, a clip, a topnotch hype steel… It’s the difference between a BMW Series 3 and a BMW M3. Also the price has been multiplied by 3 compared to the modest Lionsteel Opera in this rendition.
Taxes for importing to US a European made knife is not stranger to the high prices.

At the first glimpse, the micarta handle, the decorating screws, the beveled and rounded lockbar and spacer: this is a looker, but is the Spy Opera a keeper.
In my case, no, as it belong to my friend Geoffrey from Normandeep.com (a diver’s shop in Normandy near Omaha Beach) who was gentle enough to send to me some of his personal knives we wanted to review. Thank you Geoffrey !
He told me he has bought this knife and was not expecting to be surprised by that quality.
He’s true. The action is stellar. certainly the smoothest lockback I have ever used. Just a little smoother than the Native V or the Siren.
Now we know why: a ball bearing instead of washers.

A great detail about that knife is the total absence of any vertical bladeplay. This is the plague of lockbacks in my book and the Maniago folder is rock solid.

Ball bearing are great for fidgeting and smooth action but could be tricky in sandy or muddy environment. But the Spyopera is destined to be some gentleman folder for the US residents and typically a hunting folder for the Italian.

That shape of blade, that long handle, it is typically what my friend Valter would love for hunting and skinning. He would be especially keen of that M390 blade as hare’s skinning is especially hard on blade.
For that take a look at the Walker C22 in ZDP189 or his Native in CPM110V he has used for many hunting seasons.

Follow the link for the articles with Valter and his hunting dogs:

https://nemoknivesreview.com/tag/valter-nencetti/

Holding the knife with the blade shocked his its way to use and the ergos of this knife are just perfect for that. The rounded handle is contributing to avoid the boxy feel you can have with a Native Lightweight for example. Our hands love rounded shape and once you get used to it its is very hard to go back.

Now the handle won’t be easy to clean. Some parts are pinned and not screwed together.
Example found on the forums:


So, the need for short folding hunter’s knives with high retention blade is real for hare’s hunter and I can really the design of the SpyOpera shining in that niche.


The sharpness is OK but if it was not Geoffrey’s knife, I would have thinned the edge much more. I have tested on the butt of a 1,5 liter Coke’s bottle and it has been stuck twice, not able to pass that test (which is not that easy as the plastic collapses under the pushcut).
With a little deshouldering of the edge using diamonds, it would be a lightsaber. I have donc that with the Urban shown or my Para3 in M390. Out of the box the factory edge is just OK but again this is not my knife so I won’t touch it. Of course zero bladeplay while using the Spy Opera harder on a cutting board during that test.

So who is its designer Massimo Salice Sanna AKA Max ?

“Massimo Salice Sanna: after starting make knives in 1993 as a hobby, soon his passion became a real job and day-to-day activity. Well known for his accurate touch and the eye for details, he is considered one of the first knifemakers in Italy: he was noticed and therefore chosen by LionSteel for his precision and attention to design and mechanical features of the knives he makes. The Opera model was born in 2006, followed by other product families – Daghetta, Mini and Skinner. Currently, new designs and projects are under way to be put into production soon.”
Says Lionsteel’s site.

Max Opera pictured with another Made In Maniago M390 folder with rounded spine and liners: the Clap. designed by Bob Terzuola.

Once thing I do not like, and this is purely personal and is the absence of Ricasso. I know I often calls it a “choil” as Spyderco Ricassi are often half mooned like a choil but ou understand this is the place you can put safely your index finger on the blade, as the start of the edge.
In Sal Glesser’s designs they act like a lower quillon with the hump of the spyderhole acting like a upper quillon. Sal has reproduced the quillons of a boot dagger on his folding designs: the Military being the first example.

This design found of the Military (or the Slipjoint Urban pictured) transfers the force directly to the blade, without impacting the pivot which still is the most fragile part of a folding knife, the weakest link !
When you cut with a Millie, it is like using an antique folding knife where the handle was mostly a folding scabbard and the knife was hold like a razor. You cannot do that with Spy Opera when the slipoints designs by Sal like the Urban for example bring you that great security of holding the knife by its blade. But again the lockback is so sturdy on this Maniago’s knife you can confortably rest your thumb on the hump and your index finger on the micarta’s handles.

So the Spy Opera is a fidgeting, beautiful jewel, high quality Italian design gentleman (and lady) locking folding knife. It is easy in and out of the pocket. The attention to details is stunning. It is flawless. It got a real 70’s flavor. It is like a Ford T turned into a Hot Road to me: lovely but not for everyone. Good thing is: you can really fall in love with it as your main EDC.

Edit: thanks to JD for the heads up=> I meant “Hare” not “Heir”. 😀

Kevin Wilkins Leafstorm- SPYDERCO C128G

Thanks to Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr , I have the opportunity to test various knives of his collection. The Leaf Storm is one of them.
And it was a thick bird and have bought second hand…

They are a rattle when closed and the culprit was easy to find. The previous owner has pushed to much on the lock slab…
First step: I remove the screws on the G10 side. They are long and goes into the titanium liner on the other side.

It is a very simple construction made in Golden Colorado.

The lock bar has been forced outward and has not enough tension anymore. The detent ball is even not working anymore.

By gently pressing inward I was able to give more tension to the lock. Much better !

Some nano oil drops for good measure.

And voilà. I have not put any blue lock tite, leaving Geoffrey free to do it, as it can stain the jade G10 too…

What a beautiful little critter ! It has been design by American Kevin Wilkins started as a graphic designer and art student then an art director. He moved to Berlin in the early 90s where the knife bug really sank in. By 1995 he worked out how to make his hobby a livelihood and one of his favorite designs he called the Leaf Storm, dixit Spyderco card.

It is small lady and gentleman knife that fits and carries in the watch-pocket of a pair of denim jeans. Let’s compare it with one of the best little big knife Spyderco is producing.

My Lil’Native (featuring JD’s edge) got the same size and I carry it in my watch pocket. Main difference could be the hollow grind versus the full flat grind but not for me. What I miss the most is the choil…

Because as both knives got the same blade length, the Native give the opportunity to chock up the knife and have plenty of space for 4 fingers.

The Leaf Storm got no protection with its large ricasso and could be an issue if it is sharp. And it is sharp. My pinkie could be cut easily.

With the hammer grip, this is my index knife which is now the next candidate for a flesh wound…
In my own opinion, the Leafstorm is an eye candy and a collector knife, as it is rare now, been discontinuited but the action is not smooth and gritty and the ergos not to my taste, I rather go with my little Walker C22CFPE or my Lil’Native. There is even some lock sticking as there is no steel interface… It is a little on the crude side compare to smooth Lil’Native. Golden factory has made a lot of progress since the release of the LeafStorm. Designing little folders is not an easy task and esthetics are not mandatory. The LeafStorm is a beauty but not palm friendly.

The Spyderco Drunken – A True Rimbaud’s Knife.

Did you know that John Rambo was inpired by a Season In Hell by Arthur Rimbaud. Also David Morrell, First Blood’s author, was looking for a name for his heroe and his wife brought him some apple: Rambo’s Apples. Anyway, Rimbaud was not born in Bowie, Arizona like John Rambo but in Charleville, a city dear to my heart, in the Ardennes and for fans of Nine Princes in Amber from Zelazny. So let’s see why that knife could be a Rimbaud’s knife.

As you can notice, they are dust… No, I mean you can notice the “Drunken” texture designed for a high performance grip: a wave pattern. There is a poem from Arthur Rimbaud named “Le Bateau Îvre” -“The Drunken Boat”. This poem is famous because, at least in French, its verses are built like waves and you can feel in your guts, the fear of a sailor on a boat going out of control in the middle of a tempest. (“The poem describes the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea in a fragmented first-person narrative saturated with vivid imagery and symbolism.” dixit Wikipedia. ” Rimbaud, then aged 16, wrote the poem in the summer of 1871 at his childhood home in Charleville in Northern France. Rimbaud included the poem in a letter he sent to Paul Verlaine in September 1871 to introduce himself to Verlaine. Shortly afterwards, he joined Verlaine in Paris and became his lover. Rimbaud was inspired to write the poem after reading Jules Verne‘s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which had recently been published in book form, and which is known to have been the source of many of the poem’s allusions and images. Another Verne novel, The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, was likely an additional source of inspiration.” More there: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Bateau_ivre).
Rambo was a very young poet genius but the second half of his life he was a “blade runner”, also a weapon’s and spices’ retailer in the Red Sea and Abyssinie Africa, a true adventurer. Again you can read is incredible life here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Rimbaud

But there is more link with John Rambo’s character freedom and survival:
“After studying several languages (german, italian, spanish), he went on to travel extensively in Europe, mostly on foot. In May 1876 he enlisted as a soldier in the Dutch Colonial Army to get free passage to Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Four months later he deserted and fled into the jungle. He managed to return incognito to France by ship; as a deserter he would have faced a Dutch firing squad had he been caught.”

So back to the Dmitry Sinkevich’s Drunken, and its poetic pattern, name and … price. As you can notice, this is not huge folder but it deliver a tremendous blade length for its size. The blade is shape is beautifully flat ground and is gently bevelled on the spine. Another oozing qualities knife and of course it is justifying its high price. This is not a flash batch like the Bombshell but a regular Spyderco release.
Again I need to thank Geoffrey from Normandeep.fr who has sent me his own Drunken for me to have a taste. Actually I was very surprised in a good way.
It is a light (the titanium scale is “webbed” to reduce weight) and solid knife with a tanked RIL mechanism equiped with a steel interface, absolutely well balanced, alive in your hand. It’s a looker, you can gaze for hours: a true gem made in Taichung.

The big issue with that near to perfect knife is the clip. I have noticed it when I found myself not able to insert the clip in my trouser.

As you can see, the lip of the pocket is getting caught between the hole in “step” in the titanium scale and the clip.

Unless I’m helping it with my index finger by lifting the clip… which is also pointy… I can’t clip it.
Another issue pointed by our friend Alexandre Constantinoff in the Spyderco Fan Club France on Facebook is…

The one-screw-clip got some serious lateral play. And that’s for a knife that price is a shame especially coming from Spyderco which are the first to promote clips for more than 30 years.

As you can see Geoffrey’s Drunken got its clip already already marked and he told me he will find a solution to suit his need.

Here is the Drunken with two very similar Spyderco releases: the PPT on the left and the Spydiechef. The PPT Sprint Run share a S90V Blade and a Carbon Fiber/Titanium handle and unusual clip and the Spydiechef is really a brother in design.

They are a lot in common with those two, don’t you think ? From the side of the hole to the shape of the blade and the handle…

Actually you can notice the Spydiecheff clip is perfect, it goes far from the cut slab and the deep carry wire clip is perhaps the best clip in the Spyderco line.

So the Drunken in use is also very pleasant. The action is not especially smooth but you feel the solid lock with a loud KLAK once engaged.
Then the handle is even more confortable than the one of the Spydiechef, less blocky with its facets and bevels. The large pivot screw is great for shocking up the knife and the angle of the blade is providing a lot of power and control in the cuts. If the clip’s issue was forgotten, we could have here one of the best Spyderco ever release with zero compromise in terms of pleasure to use. Just that pointy shaggy ugly clip which ruins the experience and that’s a real problem for a knife at that price.
But, oh, what a beautiful geometrically handle…

And a really beautiful knife.

The Danger Pickle is a Bombshell — C250GTI

The Bombshell is a Spyderco’s flash batch at 400 dollars MRSP.
Painful for the wallet, huh ? A flash batch means “it will be produced only once in this exact form. To make them even more collectible, Flash Batches are individually serialized with a laser-engraved number. The Bombshell’s number can be found on the inside of the reverse-side liner.” (When the English is perfect, I have copied and past someone else…)
My friend Geoffrey Vernier has given me the opportunity to try and test his own Spyderco Bombshell. We have met some years ago at the Amsterdam Minimeet, the last one where Sal Glesser was there. Since Geoffrey has developped his own business NORMANDEEP, a diver’s shop near Omaha Beach (one of the D- Day !) in Normandie. https://www.normandeep.fr/
A diver shop where is also sale Spyderco Salts. He is my official sponsor for that review on some other to come. Thank you Geoffrey !


So here is the Bombshell aka the Danger Pickle. Two kind of people will be interested: collectors and adventurous users. First thing you notice when you hold the Pickle is quality oozing for her pores. There is feel like it is a custom knife not industrially made in Taichung. Michael Burch, her designer, is also known for his previous Spyderco’s design, the Chubby. The Bombshell is also a fat little fellow. Same breed as the Slisz’s Techno 1. As described in Spyderco’s site, this is a heavy-duty folding knife with a thick CPM® 20CV® stainless steel blade, which features a drop-point profile, a hollow grind. “Its stout handle is crafted with full, skeletonized titanium liners, radiused olive drab G-10 scales and a matching G-10 backspacer. The liners form the backbone of the Bombshell’s high-strength LinerLock mechanism and a pocket clip configured for right-side, tip-up carry ensures quick access.”

There is no steel interface between the blade and the thick liner. I don’t know if the liner’s end has been heat treated harder but titanium liner locks can wear faster than harder stainless steel’s. It was the case with my 20 years old Benchmade. It is also a designer choice to make a hard use workhorse with a liner lock when the previous design, the Chubby got a Reeve Integral Lock which is in my book, easier to clean.


For the record a steel liner lock like my 1998 Starmate is a work horse with the possibility to adjust the wear just by changing the pivot settings.
Its nested liners and  improved Walker LinerLock mechanism, which features a concave ramp on the blade’s lock face can be also found on the Bombshell.

 

As you can notice, the 22 year old Starmate stainless steel liner show less wear than the new Bombshell but the Pickle got thicker liners.

Also the Pickle’s stop pin is closer to the axis and thinner. So, the old Starmate shows a sturdier construction and it has been used very very hard through the years with zero issue.
These two folders got a lot in common: hollow grinds, same way to put a hole in the blade (frowning hump)… same destination: a workhorse.

The first thing I have noticed with Bombshell is how it was pleasant to touch. The rounded G10 handle. The heft. The Bombshell is no bigger than a Para3 which means you can carry it in the city easily. The belly of its blade makes it a nice wood cutter as its geometry is also thin. Compared to a factory edge Para 3, it is better at pushcutting into wallnut wood. Also the thick spine makes it very confortable for pushcutting as the thumb finds a nice place to rest. There is also a choil where the index goes immediately for precision cuts. So it is pleasant to hold and use. It is well balanced. A very nice tool. The only issue for me would be the clip but it is a designer’s choice and at least it is not creating any hotspot on the handle. Holding the pickle makes you smile and forget the price it has cost you.
So far I really enjoy that Danger Pickle. It is pleasant to hold and use and the material are top notch. It is not only a looker but a true user. But as mentioned, it is really expensive and rare and I would have prefered it to be a regular release instead of a flash batch because it will appeal the collectors more than the users and this knife was destined to be used.
Anyway if not a safe queen, it will be a pleasant EDC with a real “Big Little Knife” character.

This is the Swayback – Spyderco C249TIP First glimpse at a Sebenza Grand Child.

Here it is, the new Marcin Slysz designed Spydie some have been dreaming for almost 10 years. Inspired by 19th Century pocket knives design this is another grand child of the Mighty Sebenza with a Reeve Integral Lock and many other details which relie on Reeve’s legacy of making high quality folding workhorses.
(BTW big kuddos to the Coutellerie Tourangelle which has been able to send it during vacation’s period in 3 days.)
You will see, it is more a Sebenza’ heir that I thought.

Let’s read the description:

Inspired by 19th century English Jack knives, the sway back pattern is a stylish and extremely functional cutting tool. In his latest Spyderco collaboration, renowned Polish knifemaker Marcin Slysz supercharges this classic design by rendering it with state-of-the-art materials and craftsmanship. 
The SwayBack’s hollow-ground Wharncliffe blade is crafted from CTS® XHP stainless steel and has a handsome stonewashed finish. It is housed in an open-backed handle constructed with solid titanium scales. Both scales are beautifully crowned for comfort and the reverse-side scale forms the foundation of a sturdy Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) with a stainless steel interface. 
A polished stainless steel clip provides convenient carry and is reversible for left or right-side tip-up access.

OK… Polished stainless steel on a Polish expensive knife… tss.. tss…
Now the specs:
Overall Length 204mm
Blade Length 90mm
Steel CTS XHP
Closed Length 115mm
Edge Length 84mm
Weight 111g
Blade Thickness 3.5mm

When I have receive the knife I was chocked. Chocked by a simple fact: I could not open that damn folder with one hand ! It was like glued !!
Two hands I could. One hand -> impossible. Glued.
Again: IMPOSSIBLE. And again. And again. 
The hole is not sharp, he got a light bevel and my thumb cannot catch it. 

In fact, as seen on the 3rd picture, the lock bar is wide, the hole is deep in the handle, so instinctively my other fingers push the bar and augment the detent strength -> you can not open it.
On the second picture you can notice my middle finger pushing the handle’s bar of the the frame lock.
So I was the source of my problem. Not the knife.
It is just a matter of NOT touching the lock bar when opening the damn thing !
Also it is also important to push at 90° from the handle, like Chris Reeve was advising 20 years ago about his Sebenza. You see ? It is really a Sebbie grand child. 🙂
With the Spyderco Ikushi, this is my second tricky Spyderco. Eventually I gave up on the Ikushi. The Swayback is more on a learn curve and finding new muscle motors way.

As you can notice, it ask a little gymnastical way: holding the knife by the pivot and the clip. But it is learnt quick.
I really thought it is the answer of Marcin to all that fidget fashion.
For example the Para3 is so easy to open and close it is almost a game for some people. Click open. Clack closed.
But here, the Swayback tells you “I am a very serious knife ! Not a toy.”
Like Chris Reeve said: “Think twice, cut once”.
You open it with a certain joy and he closes just by gravity.
It is ‘that’ good.

 

Perhaps this is also a way to force you to use two hands to opening it. It is a polite way to open your knife in public. Also it prevents children or other people to open the knife without your permission. In this case it is great ! 🙂
I also found a way to open it in reverse grip with my ring finger.
It is also a very polite way to open a folder as the point is turned toward yourself. Also the reverse grip is really made for that knife.

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Now the other point of disappointment is the stainless steel clip.

It is high and really not in the style of all the previous Spyderco Slycz which were wired like you can see it on my picture of the Swayback next to the Spydiechef.

I got some titanium clips in spare so let see… which one could fit.

They are all as high as the OEM Spyderco but I do not wanted the deep carry titanium clip to stand over the handle edge.  Also I wanted it to match the handle better.

Too long….

Too shiny…

Perfect.

So let’s make some pictures:

So now the edge is very thin on this knife. It is an hollow ground blade like the Sebbie. My 1997 ATS34 is still in a great shape.

Let’s try the edge….

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The factory edge is impressive. Just a few pass on leather and it get to real razor. CTX XHP fine grain is known for that behavior.
I have used it on tomatoes and it passed the test with the famous flying colours.

It is a relatively big folder with great ergos. I appreciate the hidden “choil” or hidden guard and the sway back fits the meat of my palm perfectly. No hot spot there, even with the old or new clip.

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The plastic coke bottle’s butt has been perfectly passed. It is really amazing.

The edge/handle ratio is also great. It is really a tool which screams to be used and looking forward to use it on wood for whittling. There is plenty of space for my thumb to push on the spine.
The Swayback is also an exquisite work of love by Taichung plant.
Many details are hidden like the double pins screw inside the blade around the pivot. They works as stop pin with bevel inside the slabs.
Nick Shabbaz has made a nice video about it.
Taichung rocks really.

So here we got a very elegant folder with a lot of very thin edge. I told you it is very CRK in his blood.
The clip provided is OK but it is a matter of preference to find another one. Once you have learned to put your index high on the handle, near the pivot, the opening is flawless.

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It is very very sharp and the straight edge us generous in length and geometry.
I’m looking forward using it and it will the in another article.

 

And now you can proudly say: “THIS IS THE SWAY !!”    😉

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The Working Seahorse! SPyderco Siren C247G

Here it is, the famous Lance “Surfingringo” Clinton’s folder: the Siren. Une sirène in French is a mermaid. This knife is maid to be an rustproof EDC.
This is more a glimpse review, first impressions but you will have a follow up in the coming weeks.
So far I’m very impressed by the quality of the knife.
Here is a little video of presentation:

I love that video because it is rich in different scenes showing the everyday application of that tool . Also this is a knife designed as an EDC tool not a mall ninja nightmare. As Lance Clinton has repeated: this is not a specialized fisherman knife but an EDC knife designed by a fisherman.

Immediately you notice how grippy the G10 handle is. Even with oily hands you got a grip. Also the guard is substantial. This shape makes the choke up of the knife easy with the ring finger anchored in the guard, as seen in the video.
The handle looks like one of Spyderco’s earliest collaborations: their folding knife designed by Master Bladesmith Wayne Goddard. Over the years, this design has been produced in various forms and sizes and remains a favorite among dedicated Spyderco fans.
It also the exact shape of the other Lance Clinton’s design: the Waterway.
Also I have noticed how smooth the mechanism is and the blade was able to dropchut out of the box !

OUCH !!
Be careful. There is no choil on this knife and the blade is sharp !

Here we go: first blood ! Good omens.

See? There is only two places for your index finger when you close the knife: against the guard or out of the way.
You will notice how Lance closes his knife on the video: he unlock it with his index, not his thumb !



This is the reason why the handle is a little bit longer: it gives you the possibility to unlock with index and to hold the knife with your fingers out of the way.

So this is a aquatic tool. A knife Lance Clinton tosses and forgets in the bottom of his sea kayak. For his living, he is a professional fisherman.

Three knives with no humps. Lance Clinton has also been a reviewer of the Spydiechef (which he had reground the blade now looking s a lot like his Siren, on the picture this is my own knife so no regrind) and also he as reviewed the fantastic Native 5 Salt.
All those knives share the same steel for their blade:
the now famous ultra-corrosion-resistant LC200N steel !
(read the Spydiechef review for a presentation).
The Chef offers the same edge length in a shorter handle but the Siren got a thinner profile.

The choil of the Native 5 is much more safe but the Siren also offers a maximum of edge.

The edge is sharp but a little thick in my book. It is destined to be thinned. Also the LC200N works great with a little rough toothy edge.

The smoothness of the action is uncanny. I’m also able to flip it open (like in the video) with a push from the index in the Spyderhole.

The great confort of handle lake the knife usable in all condition and a great companion for any trip around the world.

But that grip will chew your pocket’s lips fast. To prevent that I have sanded the G10 under the clip. Now It is perfect a I have especially kept the grippy G10 around the pivot.

It would be also a great folding diving knife like all Spyderco Salt.
For the record the Salt Pacific was used by Navy Seals.
LC200N got an amazing edge retention which made it perfect for an EDC solution.

Talking about EDC solution here is a 4 times less expensive EDC, the Luna Real Steel Heinie Edition, It is a slipjoint with an hidden choil.
Another EDC solution with a razor edge soon to be reviewed…

Anyway the Siren is a well balanced all terrain workhorse. Spyderco’s backlocks are some of the strongest made and there is no blade play in any direction. It is also a light folder which disappears in the pocket. The black deep carry clip makes it invisible. So far I’m very impressed and I’m looking forward to playing with it.

Here is Lance Clinton’s own video review:

THE TREE REX Part 2 – Beveling THE SPINE.

The Tree Rex is certainly my favorite hard work folder from Spyderco. Sal Glesser has made a real beauty able to deliver a lot of power.
The handle is especially thicker and rounder than any other folders proposed by the Golden Company. The pseudo wooden slabs which can be rinsed in water with zero issues. (I have erased the smell with some alcohol solution) and the mighty blade made of a very lovely steel: REX45 got that “touch” of Speed Star aka M2HSS I have loved on Benchmade AFCKs and Nimravi. The steel is easy on leather and bites steady when whittling with control. The best wood chisels are made from M2HSS.

But they are some hot spots on the spine and on the choil. I use my thumb to pushcut in wood and a square spine is painful after a while.
Knowing the Rex45 is a 8% Cobalt steel, I have decided to send it in the wind and with some water to prevent dust. The very hard steel (66,5 HRC) was eventually rounded to my taste.

Rounding the spine to a be less aggressive was done using 600 grint sand paper. Eventually I have used the sand paper to do some convexing.
Soon a Jade stone will be tested for mirror finish on the edge.

Para 3 blades swapping on New Year’s Eve

I got two Para3: a M390 Lightweight and I got a Maxamet Copper handled.
The Lightweight is so good,  I wanted to use the 70 HRC blade on that plateform.
Nothing wrong with M390 which is just a great EDC steel with stellar performances but staining steels are part of DNA.
After watching Nick Shabazz having the same idea and filming it, once the novelty of the M390 faded away, I have decided to step ahead. It was really easy to do it but for the stoppong pin of the lightweight (Torx 6) which was dismounted with two tools as it was turning inside the handle.

Easily disassembled copper scales.

Now mounted on the lightweight handle.
For more about disassembling a Para3 lightweight here is Eric Glesser’s Video.

Here we go: two excellent knives. As you can notice they are users.

I have been able to thin the edge of the M390 when the Maxamet refused to give away any particules…

The Spyder logo is golden on the M390 and black on the Maxamet.

Perfectly centered blades on both and smooth action with no lateral play.
Here my Little Red Hoodie ready for tonight 24 oysters opening.

Happy Saint Sly everyone !

Maxamet being more denser it has add 3 grams on the scales.

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Spyderco C208G – Clipitool Standart -The Three Eyes Alien.

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Someone I used to know has posted this review on our Facebook group about that Alien kind of knife and his post is a gem:

Whilst rather drunk it seems that I bought a Spyderco ClipiTool (TM) Standard.
Because it was cheap in the Black Friday Sale. And I was drunk.
Well, it has arrived and after a day of playing with it and using it I don’t really know what to make of it.
In the past looking at it online I had assumed it was quite small, bigger than a Dragonfly but smaller than a Delica. But it isn’t small, it’s quite large, with a 3.50″ (89mm) liner locking full-flat ground blade in 8Cr13MoV. Which is……a steel. It’s adequate. G10 handles with a central steel liner which functions as the linerlock. It also weighs a substantial 4.2.oz (119g) which in context is really quite heavy for what this is.
The blade is thin and nicely slicy, which is good.
The tin can opener with screwdriver tool blade and opposing bottle cap opener with screwdriver tool blade are marvels of design, in that they look cool and work, but they don’t work any better than those on an SAK.
It has a classic Spyderco three screw pocket clip. Obviously, as it’s a ClipiTool (TM).
So in conclusion I don’t understand this knife. Or knife/tool combo. It’s quite large, quite heavy, doesn’t do anything differently to a host of other knives and multitools and has a steel that to us Knifeknuts is barely adequate.
And when not on sale this is not a cheap knife, it costs around USD80. That’s a lot of money.
What is this for? Who is it aimed at? Aside from drunk Spyderco collectors like me?

This is not an hommage to Victorinox but a parody.
Pardon his French: “Seulement un hommage? Je comprends cela mais c’est plutôt une parodie.”
“”Let’s put a couple of fancy design SAK style tools on a fairly crap Spyderco and try and sell it. Oh yeah, idiots will buy it when they are drunk.”  was his conclusion.

Could he be right ? Could he be wrong ? Or at least could I disagree or agree with him ?

Fist I was wrong assuming it was Sal Glesser design with Eric huge signature on the blade. I remember Sal looking at SAKs with admiration. Sal is an inventor and so is Eric.


My first impression when opening the blade of that Standart Clipitool was WOW.
It is a long thin blade with a very nice geometry: it was razor factory sharpen.
There is a generous choil and the hump of the next tool is creating some kind of sub-guard ! The ergos are quite good actually.
But let’s compare that knife with other classic backpackers option: a Böker Plus Tech-Tool Carbon 4 and a good old SAK from the 70’s.

The Spyderco is less in the blocky side, which also means it offers less tools.
In fact it offers 3 blade/tools.

That’s all. But to quote Spyderco:
“The star attraction of this design is a full-flat-ground leaf-shaped blade crafted from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. It locks securely open via a stout LinerLock mechanism

 

and is complemented by a folding can opener/small screwdriver and a bottle opener/large screwdriver with a wire-stripping notch. 


Both screwdriver heads are hollow ground to ensure a secure fit in slotted screws. Although they do not lock, they are supported by sturdy slipjoint spring mechanisms to keep them open during use.

Like the primary blade, both tools are precision machined from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel and feature generously sized Trademark Round Holes.”

I would add that both tools also got a generous choil which lacks on the SAKs.
The screwdriver is hold and secure by your grasp and cannot close on your fingers.
That choil is the same which can be founded on boots daggers as quillons and which was featured on the good old C36 Military. It is a clever way to avoid any forcing on the handle and the pivot.

Opening a jar with the screwdriver, waiting for the “Pop” to happen.

The main idea behind the Clipitool was to provide a One Handed Tool. When you are climbing a ladder or holding something with your other hand, opening your SAK with your teeth can be a problem. Here you can get access to your tools very easily.

This is also something which has been explored on Leatherman’s for two decades but Spyderco’s blade is really generous.

 

I have convexed the edge as the steel is not as hard as many other super steel. It was also a breeze to polish. It won’t have the same edge retention as many of my usual EDC but I know I can use it hard and easily bring it to sharp. After all the SAKs steel works the same. I can scratch the edge on rocks when gold digging (long story) and bring it back to sharpness after without diamonds.

“The handle of the ClipiTool Standard is built on a framework of nested stainless steel liners, textured black G-10 scales, and solid stainless steel backspacers and springs. Its screw-together construction ensures the precise alignment of all parts, and a two-position hourglass clip provides a choice of right-side tip-up or tip-down carry.” Spyderco’s card again.

So what do we got ? An honest tool which does not swear you to be the ultimate all around multitool but an easy partner which won’t be scared of dirty jobs. A proud blue collar’s solid companion, easy on budget and easy on the ride.

I really enjoy the fact to be able to get a screwdriver out of my pocket with one hand. I will use as a mini prybar, a scratching tool, a probe, a good reason to justify the fact I’m carrying a knife after all and keeping its generous blade sharp and pointy for more mondaine task.
All in all that pragmatic Clipitool can be escorted by my Para 3 and my Shaman with zero shame.
So thank you Eric !