Tag Archives: Spyderco

Ladybug Hawkbill Sprintrun – The Real Cat Claw !

“Everybody wants to be a cat,
because a cat’s the only cat
who knows where it’s at…”

My friend Jur told me: “the older you’ll get the shorter the blades you will love.”
The first injection came from a baby Wayne Goddard, then the C22 Walker… now that little claw which is an amazing little tool !

Wolverine, Sabertooth are not the only one to produce some sharp claws in a blink of an eye ! You can do it too and with a very sheeple friendly (and invisible) Spyderco knife. There is a little Ladybug which got all the attribute of a feline “blade”: the “LBKS3HB”. Of course it’s a limited edition but soon it will be (re)release in a H1 and yellow handle version !

What I love about that little knife is its smoothness and the quality of construction. This is the shortest knife I can “Spyderdrop” and close by releasing the lock with a smooth flick of the wrist. So, it’s short, serrated, powerfull, handy, secured in the hand (thanks to the little fob provided by Jurphaas.)
This is the kind of knife I love to use in the city: removing labels on clothes, opening parcels, cutting plastic, strings, paper and even bread !
With a baguette this is a great knife to make the long incision for some ham !

Also, this little knife can be a real contender as a last ditch self defense tool aiming at the hands or the face !
The serrated edge can make painful and bleeding wounds with a swift caress of the blade.

Invisible, fast to put in service, performant… a real Cat Claw indeed !

Thea

Thea checking the knife.

Mini mini mini !

Confortable in various grip !

Closed, it’s almost got a grin !

This is VG10, baby !

Thea approves it !

 

 

And this is the H1 version of a Ladybug !

Spyderco C22 Walker : Sky The Limit !

Thea and the C22CF
Thank to Jurphaas from Spyderco, I got the chance to own one little wonder of that limited production ! Thea loves it too and she’s in charge of the technical review…
The Michael Walker C22CF is not a new pattern in the Spyderco line.
The first C22 were produced in Switzerland 18 years ago. They were the first industrial folders with Carbon Fiber handles !
This Sprint Run got a gorgeous thin blade made of Hitachi Super Steel ZDP189.
The 67 mm long blade is wide and 2,5mm thick offering incredible performance in pushcuts.
The Hollow grind is so well executed by Seki City craftmen, you know by holding it between your thumb, it’s so thin, it could be almost transparent.

Black and Wlaker

Opening the C22 is not as smooth as a Sage (for example) but the positive force used to deploy the blade give a feeling of tough tool to this gentleman blade.
The knife is so light but feels so solid, it screams to be used ! And then, it’s like piloting a small racing car. The cuts are accurate and outstanding in their power.
My Plastic Butt’s test was passed with flying colors in one push cut. The C22 was even better than my reliable Gayle Bradley in that matter which is really remarquable !
The ergonomy on that little knife is so great, the strenght is directly transmit to the edge. And hidden choil give also a big sentiment ot security as you can keep your fore finger next to the edge for delicate/strong cutting.

The liner lock is also very “manly”: you need to push hard to disengaged it. The spring is very strong.
The carbon fibers handle is ultra smooth and you trousers will thank you for that.
Using the knife with greasy hands is not an issue as it anchors well in your palm.
So what do we got here ?

A light little big knife ! Carried like a breeze. Sharper and harder than many bigger knives. Pure efficiency in a small package.
It’s like driving a Lotus Seven on steroids. This little tool is really representing well the brandname “Spyder”co !
It cuts cuts cuts… and super powder steel ZDP189 if strop often enough is a great steel to use in EDC situations.
The C22cf is really a knife which make you smile once you have used it as you are amazed by the power of this pocket lightsaber.

C22CF

More to come as I will complete this review later. I’m now carrying that little blade every day with a gorgeous borrowed Rockstead Higo (I will review on a longer run), together they are forming a great daishō of ZDP189. Two examples of ultra high perfomance of modern cutlery.
Rockstead Higo J + Michael Walker C22CF

A little example of the raw cutting power of that incredible beast:

The plastic of that 1,5 liter Coke bottle is almost as thick as its blade and it passes through in one push cut (no sawing necessary!)
It was like in butter !!! Incredible !!!

Here is Valter reviw of this knife used as a skinner.

Here is a link of the Walker 6 years after skinning used.

Spyderco Sage II – The Wise Choice

Sage II and Tie Millie

And if the alternative of the a Tie Millie was not a Tie Paramilitary (which is not yet born) but the SC123TIP: the Spyderco Sage II ?

The Sage line is a collection made in Taiwan (now a high quality of execution guarantee). and “represents Spyderco’s 30-year pledge to knife crafting and learning to make better knives at every available opportunity. The plan is to offer an ongoing series of Sage Folders with many of the different and ingenious locking devices and mechanisms the knife industry has to offer.” (sic)

The Sage I was a carbon fiber handle linerlock, an hommage to Michael Walker. The Sage II is a titanium handle integral lock, an hommage to Chris Reeve.

Let’s give a quick look at the design of that folder: not to big, flat, beautiful lines, taking in consideration a lot of Spyderco unique improvements — the wire clip, the choil, the full falt ground leaf blade… The C123 is standing on the shoulders of many great spyderknives, taking the best.

Tie Millie and Sage II closed

Comparing the Sage II (up) and the Tie Military there is an obvious family ressemblance. Full flat ground blade, integral lock and choil. The “cockpits” on both knives are very similar. The construction is rock solid, the titanium handles are offering enough grip for a smooth surface which is very “gentle” with your trouser pockets (where you gonna clip those knives eventually). The Sage could be a civilian version of the Tie Millie as the fact to go in the city with a long gorgeous knife like a C36 is not the best way to be “reasonnable” in regard of the laws, the sage while offering many of the great features of his big cousin but it will be more pratical to go with it “under the radar”.

Clipped Sage II
The silver wire clip on a black trouser. This is the max visibility you will have from the Sage II once clipped.

The wire clip, for example, with its deep carrying positing is almost invisible and got no flashing names on it telling to every one: this is a knife !!!
Similar to pen clips and with almost no handle to tell tale, your Sage is following you and he’s easy forgettable.
The Millie is a very compact package and car easily find a place on your person, but the Sage looks like a wise choice to go light.

Handles
A close look at the handle of the Sage II (left) and  Tie Millie (right)

How the Sage II will handle “hard use” in the country side ? There is a lot of way to qualify what “hard use” means. Folders knives are not prybars or even fixed blade knives. The folder which are designed to be used as prybar often offers bad performance in the cutting departement. The grind here is flat and the blade relatively thin and I have noticed the Taiwanese edge grind is not flat but already gently convexed. This is amazing as your Sage II only needs some pass of gently stropping on a leather belt to get absolutely vorpal ! The cutting power has been already demonstrated in some video. They are some French videos torturing a “La Redoute catalog” with Bast2a, and American one with BLUNTRUTH4U reviewing a Sage 1 (same blade diffrent handles and locks) and they are very impressive. Cutting wood the Sage 2, the blade goes deep.
Now I like to do pushcuts with my thumb on the back of the blade and the Sage got almost sharp edge there: great for obtaining sparks from a fire rod but eventually painful without gloves. I have used some diamonds rods to blunt mine and really you can notice the difference in confort when you start to work by hand on that CPM S30V blade how much that steel is damn hard ! I would love to have a ruonded back and perharps will try to round it more a little bit. But here, without a backstand, you can notice how hard the steel is…
Anyway, you got a 3mm thin high flat ground blade with a convexed edge: all the condition for a great slicer and ideal folding friendly tool for bushcrafters. The belly of the blade improves the cuts in hard matter, working like a guillotine. (My best wood cutter is still the incredible Spyderco Dodo with its S edge which cant be compare to none as a “wood eater” !)

Sage II Nemo cutting test
My favorite cutting test: going through the butt of a cola plastic bottle. you will be surprised how many great designs cant do it… The Sage passed it with flying colors !
Many so called “hard used” folders with really thick blade cannot pass that test at all.

Esee 3 and Sage II
The  ESEE 3 and the Sage II make a great high performance compact combo for going in the woods BTW.
Also the open construction on the Sage II and the simple reliable mechanism improved by Chris Reeve on his Sebenza Line is a breeze to get clean.

As the handle is not straight but gently curved to spouse the palm of your hand, there is no need for an abbrasive matter (like G10) to get and conserve a positive grip even with wet and slippy hands. There is a lot of intuitive security in that design. The choil and the jimping for example are so great to communicat direct force to the blade without to stress the pivot. This is a great feature which was first developped on the C36 Military and which is now used in the Slipjoint line of Spyderco: even with no lock your hand and fingers are safe.

For a reason unknown, when I have received my Sage II it was not smooth and the lock was sticky. No blade play in any direction though. This problem was easily worked around by adjusting the pivot and gently bend the lock beyond the handle to rub some pencil on the locking surface. Now the knife is as smooth as my Gayle Bradley and the “galling” (sticky lock) absolutly disappeared. The cute Sage II got something of a jewell and I have noticed many owner who first decided to baby it and use it only on weekend then eventually happilly use them very hard everyday.

There is a lot of wisdom behind the design of  the Sage collection. The choice to get a worker knives collection all performance oriented in the legal non threatning package is the wisest.  And the first designs so far are really workhorse. The carbon fibers on the Sage I for example can take a beating without to get marked or scratched and the frame lock on the second give a you a lot of confidence in your tool just by squizing the handle you know the blade won’t fold.  Eventually the Sage II got everything I love in a knife: reliability, beauty, efficiency and sheeple friendship. And my trousers love them too. The Sage II is simply a great knife to EDC.

Balanced Sage II

Tha handle gives to four fingers a very confortable grip. The open ended construction while easy to clean would get painful for long hard cut. Gloves can help.

One sage said: “Think twice and cut once…”

Later, I was tempted to slightly convex the blade of my Sage II. The improvement in pure performance worse the time passed with sandpaper.
The discussion is located here on the Bladeforums
Sage COnvexed
Sage Convexed

Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley: the Beauty + the Beast

The Beauty:
“The “hump” in the blade is there to house the opening hole. If Gayle submerged the hole, you couldn’t access it without a large cut-out and Gayle designed it with no cut-out.” (Sal Glesser)
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
I have ordered last week to a Canadian seller on Ebay (great service from The Great Knife Shop BTW, 7 days door to door from Canada to France!) the C134 which I was inamored with since I ever saw it on the Spyderco catalog.
It was love at first sight.

Three Amigos:
AFCK M2 STARMATE GAYLE BRADLEY
Top is a BM800HS the infamous AFCK in M2. The first “tactical knife” with non stainless steel blade to caught my eye 12 years ago… It was like a space age design with grand dad blade knife !
And also my good old Starmate (#776) which has been in Hell and back and is still as solid as ever (thanks to his eccentric pivot adjustment)…

The GB is simply the smoothest out of the box. The other experience of Spydersmoothness was from my C123 Captain followed by my Paramilitary…
The fit and finish are top notch. This is a custom knife experience: elegant and hightech. Really the Taiwanese craftmen behind such a jewel are true gems and they honor Spyderco by their attention to details and their quality of production. They are jewellers !
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
Sal stated that this liner lock would be as solid as a Reeve Integral Lock. (quote: “The lock is .072 thick at the interface. I would guess it’s at least as strong as any Reeve Intergral Lock (frame-lock)we’ve tested, and probably stronger. “) I believe him ! The thin blade, the gentle belly, and the deep hollow ground give a unique “pocket lightsaber” experience. You can whittle some hairs !!! And that incredible CPM M4 High Speed Steel at a RC of 65 ! This is going to be fun !!!
Gayle Bradley is to the knifemaking what Ferrari is to Formula One: performance oriented. The very nice and grippy CF handle give a real motorsport feeling. Mr Bradley is really welcom in Sal Escuderia, as we know how much Mr Glesser is in love with high performance cars ! (Eeven the “Spyder” from Spyderco comes from that love of racing and performances!)

The handle is square and heavy but I love heavy butt knives and square handles. My everlasting love for the Sharpfinger pattern always reflected that.
The balance is perfectly centered under the middle finger. The knife feel very alive and agile in the hands. It screams to be used hard !
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
I also love how the choil is integrated to the handle. It’s almost invisible. The grip is really secure and I don’t have any concern about the blade to close on my finger or to have my hand slip on the edge even with wet hands.

Sukhoi27 comparaison
Mostly Spydies got a an angle at the pivot which creates an arc like in the Millie, the UKPK…or the Benchmade AFCK…
Or are more straight like the Starmate, the Police…
The heart of the Gayle Bradley (where you hold it between the thumb and the index)got a very pronounced changing of direction which breaks the general line of the knife. (The Marlin, the Harpy got that too but it’s an angle necessary to start the sickle blade shape.) The GB is the first Spyderco which got that “crank” line which can be also seen in the beautiful Sukhoi 27 profile.
This could explain the fantastic ergos of that knife.

Also as in the Starmate concept, the straight design of Gayle Bradley’s knife offers you a very confortable reverse grip or “edge up” grip. I’m also a big fan of drop point blade on a folder. This one would a great hunter knife.
Spyderco C134 Gayle Bradley
The Ti Millie may be my Spydergrail but the Gayle Bradley is my Dream EDC !
The C134 is a beast of a workhorse dress like a gentleman slipjoint. Another little big knife by Spyderco with elegance and reliability.
Oh, and I can open and close that knife with my right and my left hand with ease: there is areason why you can change the clip position after all !

cheers
Nemo

Now a quote for the designer:

First of all, thank you for your interest in my Spyderco collaboration. I thought I would address some questions I have read on the forums.

I chose a hollow grind because it gives you a thinner edge with less resistance to the material being cut.
The blade material (CPM M4) is so tough and strong it will allow for a very thin edge and still have ample strength for a rough use knife. (My competition knives have an edge thickness of about .014 before the sharpening bevel is ground.)
The blade has belly from tip to ricasso for better cutting ability in most cases.
The tip is slightly thicker for additional strength.
The handle is large enough to accomodate any hand size and most types of grips.
Some dimensions not covered in the spec sheet are: liners are .068; blade is .120; thickness is .517.
Because of the size of the knife and thickness of the liner material, I chose carbon fiber to reduce weight and add furher strength.
One last thing about CMP M4, it is not stainless, but I have found that applying silicone to the blade will prevent most corrosion and stains.

Thank you for your interest in my work-horse design and your trust in Spyderco knives.

Stay sharp,
Gayle Bradley

Here are all the information about C134 on the Spyderco catalog
Gayle designed it to be a monster cutter but it has some subtle refinement that appeals to everyone. (Joyce Laituri – Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Spyderco Inc.)
For Gayle Bradley’s Bladesports site it’s here
Quote:
Speaking of Gayle Bradley, Congratulations on his new collaboration with Spyderco. We’ve been using CPM M4 for our cutting competition knifes, and here is a chance to have a taste of that steel for everyday use. We’d like to Thank Spyderco for their generous support of our organization.

UPDATE 18 months later:
the GB is one of those knives which never left my EDC rotation.
After one year I can state that:

– this is one of the easiest knife to close and to open fast. the access to the lock has never been an issue to me and really I close it fast with confidence.

– I was not able to have rust or a real patina despite using it in the kitchen on near the see. I got some sort of grey patina but nor more no less.

-The not so pronounced choil has never been and issue and never my hand was not at least “anchored” to the handle even when wet. The hump of the spyderhole prevented any slippery.

-CPM M4 is a wonderful steel, I was even able to eliminated a nasty edge burr on a bidet !!! 🙂 (an italian bathroom is plenty of ceramic !!!!)

– My first batch GB is heavier than the new but this heft was usefull when I was probing a wall.

– I was not able to scratch anything on the handle, but the blade while cleaning it with some dry scotchbrit. No big deal.

– CPM M4 is really strobing friendly. Some compound can make magic. Mine is kept razor…

The GB goes in my pocket when I need a hardchore workhorse I can trust for any chores. The thin hollow ground blade has proven to be really usefull even for some bushcraft duty where FFG are queen.
Really this one of the fastest folder to open (spyderdrop in my case, smooth and controled) and close even with gloves. (I really still do not understand the rent and rave about the recess liner accessibility…).

Those were my two eurocents. Your mileage may vary but this is mine.

Cheers
Nemo

Pictures taken in june 2011:
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Gayle Bradley, Shabaria, Le Pointu, carbon fiber
Cpm M4 blade and sausage