Spyderco is certainly one of the foremost production knife manufacturers in the world. Though their designs are somewhat unorthodox, people that develop an affinity for Spyderco knives often become rabid fans of the brand. Spyderco is somewhat unusual amongst production knife manufacturers in that not only does it have a broad product offering, it's displays a gutsy willingness to release very unusual designs and variations. This is a big part of what makes being a Spyderco knife collector so much fun!

In this discussion, we'll be taking an up close and personal look at the Spyderco line of knives (both folding and fixed blade designs). We'll review the good...and the bad...covering the gamut when it comes to Spyderco products. Quite possibly, we'll get an opportunity to share our opinions with some relevant people from Spyderco?  Lets start down the path on a cutting edge adventure...and see where it leads us....

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As one of the premier knife manufacturers, Spyderco continues to wow knife enthusiasts the world over with a variety of uniquely inspiring knives. Today, we'll be taking a good look at one such model, the Caly 3.5 folding knife.


Model #C144GP Caly 3.5 Pln

* Blade Length: 3.5"
* Blade Thickness: 0.125"
* Blade Material: VG10 Steel
* Blade Hardness: 58 HRC
* Blade Style: Leaf-shaped Drop Point, 1/2" Spyderco Thumb Hole
* Weight: 3.10 oz.
* Clip: Wire Reversible, tip-up
* Lock Mechanism: Lockback with Boyd dent
* Overall Length: 7.675"
* Closed Length: 4.31"
* Country of Origin: Japan



BLADE: The Caly 3.5 features Spydeco's long-proven VG10 blade steel. The infamous leaf-shaped drop point pattern is done no better on any model than the Caly 3.5. It is both beautifully elegant...and extremely effective. At 3 1/2" long and 1/8" thick, it provides decent reach and torsional strength without being overlay large. The finish on the blade is nicely done. VG10...at least as Spyderco's Japanese Manufacturing division does it, seems to polish up better than most steels.

The blade is flat-ground with a 13mm Spyderco opening hole. This allows for smooth and consistent blade deployment. Personally, I'd prefer a 14mm opening hole, but the Caly's version works well and I have no real issue with it. Inside the pivot area are bronze phosphor bushings that help facilitate opening. Whether "flicking" the blade open, or simply pushing it into position, the leaf-shaped blade is easy to operate. Maintaining a closed position is positively controlled via a strongly executed detent. There is no chance of this knife accidentally opening in your pocket.

As we've come to expect from Spyderco, the Caly 3.5 features an extremely well jimped thumb ramp...AND lower front choil area. This feature provides the user with some great control over the blade. The blade is nicely adorned with the Spydero logo and VG10 stamp on the right side and Sal's logo on the left side (along with the denotation of Japanese manufacture).



HANDLE: The handle's design is very well done, providing the user with exceptional comfort and superb ergonomics. Each curve is nicely rolled and smoothed, coming to an apex at the blade's choil. Just enough of a curve exists to assist in keeping the index finger from sliding up onto the blade's jimped lower front choil. The butt of the handle is eased, making retrieval out of the pocket exceptionally comfortable, with no chance of harming the user's fingers.

In terms of construction, the Caly 3.5 features well textured G10 handle scales over stainless steel liners. The liners are skeletonized, lightening the weight of the knife. Spyderco has long been known for it's excellent texturing on G10. Interestingly, the version done on the Caly 3.5 seems more pronounced than I've seen on other Spyderco models. This provides excellent traction in the hand. That said, mine came out of the box with an odd stain around the pivot pin. My guess is that the stain is from the blade's oil.

This knife features Spyderco's very proven lockback mechanism. While there certainly are stronger locking systems available for folding knives, this mechanism has certainly established itself as being quite reliable. The lockback features the Boyd dent located at mid-handle spine. The lock and the stainless steel liners are all impeccably joined, with nearly seamless precision. Truly, the quality of the steel work on this knife is OUTSTANDING.

The Caly 3.5 is designed to be carried tip-up, though the wire pocket clip is reversible. Some people express dislike of the wire design. Personally, I've found it to be strong and subtle. The wire shape allows the knife to be easily attached to the user's pocket without being too easy to remove. This means that the knife and it's owner stay "together". Given that this isn't a cheap knife, the clip provides it's owner with a little "peace of mind".


PRIMARY USE: The Caly 3.5 is predominantly a mid-sized EDC knife. The blade's shape professes it the perfect companion. The leaf design makes quick work of cutting, slicing, piercing and carving tasks. The overall build of the knife is well done, making for a strong and very reliable EDC tool. Mid-sized cutting chores are easily handled with this knife...and it is just big enough to even tackle things that venture into "larger folder" territory. The relatively slim profile makes this knife a real delight to carry. It weighs just enough that you know it's there...but it's slim enough to be perfectly comfortable. In a pinch, the Caly 3.5 could be utilized as a tactical blade. It has enough strength and size to operate under such a scenario and I would be quite confident putting this blade to the proverbial test.

SECOND KIND OF COOL: Given that the Calypso design is one of Spyderco's older platforms, this blade has some cool history to it. In terms of aesthetics, it's "coolness" is in it's shape. Both the shape of the blade and the shape of the handle are marvelously elegant. No, with it's relatively tame blade steel and plain G10 handle scales, it's not going to rate high on the beauty scale. As for how it feels in the hand...and how well it works...in those arenas, the Caly 3.5 scores "off the hook".

OVERALL TAKE: Simply put, the Caly 3.5 is one of the best folding knives currently available on the market. While it's price tag may be a bit higher than some of the competition's models, this knife's build quality and super effective design make it worth every cent.
Hey Chris!!! I like the Caly a lot, however I question the reliability of the pocket clip, is this one of your regular EDC's? Also, I have been looking at the barong, it appears to be an excellent member of the Spyderco family, certainly the cost ($299) reflex's it's quality. have you had any experience with this knife?
Stay Sharp
Mike

Hi Michael,

 

The wire pocket clip works just as well as the full steel one. I know that this seems very odd...but it simply does.  As for the Barong, if you look at my photo page, you'll see that I have one. They are expensive (though you should be able to be $250 or less)...and very unique knives. I have mine just as a collector's edition and wouldn't consider it for a carry knife. Partially due to the size of the knife and partially due to it's exotic design.

 

Thanks, 

 

Chris

MICHAEL MAYFIELD said:

Hey Chris!!! I like the Caly a lot, however I question the reliability of the pocket clip, is this one of your regular EDC's? Also, I have been looking at the barong, it appears to be an excellent member of the Spyderco family, certainly the cost ($299) reflex's it's quality. have you had any experience with this knife?
Stay Sharp
Mike

Hey Chris!!

Thanks for the feedback, well after a couple of hours of reviewing you photo collection LOL I am overwhelmed at the massive quality blades you have. I immediately grabbed my credit cards and attempted to order some of  unique blades that are of course out of circulation, however 2011 hopefully offer something to satisfy my addiction.  I notice you had only one Al Mar and no Spyderco Phoenix, any particular reason, and got any tips for 2011.

Thanks

Mike 

Chris Stookey said:

Hi Michael,

 

The wire pocket clip works just as well as the full steel one. I know that this seems very odd...but it simply does.  As for the Barong, if you look at my photo page, you'll see that I have one. They are expensive (though you should be able to be $250 or less)...and very unique knives. I have mine just as a collector's edition and wouldn't consider it for a carry knife. Partially due to the size of the knife and partially due to it's exotic design.

 

Thanks, 

 

Chris

MICHAEL MAYFIELD said:

Hey Chris!!! I like the Caly a lot, however I question the reliability of the pocket clip, is this one of your regular EDC's? Also, I have been looking at the barong, it appears to be an excellent member of the Spyderco family, certainly the cost ($299) reflex's it's quality. have you had any experience with this knife?
Stay Sharp
Mike

It's been a couple of months...plus...since I last posted in here. I didn't get much in the way of feedback from the initial review. It takes quite a bit of time to write up a review that it is...at least...potentially reader worthy. The lack of feedback and participation makes me wonder if people really aren't interested in this. Obviously, if they aren't, I won't bother writing it up. Really, when I write something up, I hope that it is useful to people participating in the site. If it doesn't meet that objective, the writing isn't worth doing.

 

So...I'm wondering whether or not you'd like me to continue doing this. How about a little feedback? Do you like it? Dislike it? Want it shorter? Longer? More photos, fewer photos? Anyone?

 

Spyderco recently redesigned their Paramilitary 2 folding knife. Today, we'll be taking a look at one of the Sprint Run Versions; the Carbon Fiber S90V edition.

 

 

Model #C814CFP2 Paramilitary 2 CF S90V

* Blade Length: 3 7/16"
* Blade Thickness: 9/64"
* Blade Material: S90V Steel
* Blade Hardness: 58-60 HRC
* Blade Style: Leaf-shaped Drop Point, 9/16" Spyderco Thumb Hole
* Weight: 3.75 oz.
* Clip: Reversible, tip-up
* Lock Mechanism: Compression Lock
* Overall Length: 8 9/32"
* Closed Length: 4 13/16"
* Country of Origin: USA, Earth

 

 

 

Blade: The Paramilitary 2 features Spyderco's take on the drop-point design (which is to say that it has the famous leaf-shape that Spyderco's are known for). Though the new design's shape is a little different from that of it's predecessor, the two are similar enough that there is no need to elaborate on the tiny contrasts that do exist.  Made from high-end S90V steel (sporting a satin finish), this knife has a full-flat grind whose lines are crisp and clean. In fact, the shape...while less organic than the Calypso design, is infinitely practical. At just under 3.5" long, the Para 2 is big enough to handle some "larger" EDC tasks, while being small enough to maintain the precision control required for very small chores.

 

The blade is deployed via the over-sized 9/16" Spyder hole. The additional diameter of the thumb hole works wonders and is significantly more comfortable than the smaller holes found on many Spyderco knives. As we've all come to expect of the Paramilitary design, the Para 2's opening action is incredibly fluid. Whether opening slowly...or in a "snap", the blade comes out nicely and locks up with positive confirmation.

 

The upper spine of the blade, near the handle, features a jumped thumb ramp. In simple terms, while many companies provide jimping on their blades, few execute it as well as Spyderco. The jimping is sharp enough to really "grab" the flesh of the thumb, but not so sharp as to cut into skin, regardless of how hard you push on the blade. Additionally, the curvature of the ramp is superbly designed, allowing the user's thumb to come to rest in a very natural and comfortable position. The choil area features a very similar design (both in curvature and level of jimping). The design of the two areas allows a level of control that surpasses that of any knife I've ever used.

 

 

Handle:  This is where the biggest differences between the Para 2 and it's predecessor become evident. The previous model was well designed, but required people with larger hands to "choke up" on the knife. This was necessary because the space allowed between the front of the handle and the rear "bump" was tighter than it really should have been. In my case, the most comfortable hold was achieved by using the choil area. While this works well for me, the position does put my skin closer to the cutting edge than I feel is safe when the cutting motion being applied requires more... "physicality".

 

In simple terms, Spyderco lengthened the handle a little and reshaped the rear bump. They've done an excellent job with the redesign and it even fits my sirloin-sized palms quire well. The user can still "choke up" into the choil area if they want to (and for really precise cuts, this is a good idea).

 

As indicated above, this is a Sprint Run edition and as such, features some material "upgrades" from the more standard model. The S90V blade steel is one such upgrade. Relative to the handle, Spyderco decided to use peel ply Carbon Fiber. The finish on the handle scales is "open grain", which provides a very positive amount of gription. The graining is finer than the more aggressive G10 style done on most Spyderco knives...but not nearly as aggressive as Cold Steel puts on the Recon series of folders. The pattern is visually interesting and certainly adds a little more "pop" to the aesthetics of the knife. That said, I really would have preferred that Spyderco put the same finish on the Para 2's Carbon Fiber as they did on the Sage CF. While that finish isn't quite as "grippy" as that of the Para 2, it does provide plenty of traction.

 

Underneath the Carbon Fiber scales are full steel liners. This may be a little unappealing to some, though I really like it. Yes, it adds a little weight to the knife. However, weighing in at only 3.75 ounces, I'll gladly welcome the additional torsional strength that the liners provide (the liners do have some skeletonization). The knife does feature the Compression Lock found in the earlier model. While I find the location of the lock's mechanism counter-intuitive, I can't deny it's effectiveness in the strength department.

 

Last, but perhaps not least, the knife features an over-sized lanyard hole. From my standpoint, this is an excellent move. I'm not a big fan of lanyards on folding knives. Predominately, that's because most of the folders on the market have lanyard holes whose diameter is too small. Threading the 550 paracord through such dinky openings is an exercise in irritation for me. Maybe not for most of you; so this little "upgrade" may mean nothing in your world. Different strokes for different folks.

 

 

Primary Use: Since the header of this section of the review is "PRIMARY use", I'll tell you that I see the Para 2 as a little larger EDC blade. From small EDC chores... to ones that require quite a bit more "omph", the Para 2 works as well or better than anything that I've used. It's relatively slim profile belies it's more significant breadth. Or, put in simpler terms, this knife rides like a much... MUCH... smaller blade. Without boring you with the knicky-knacky details, suffice it to say that the Para 2 does everything well when it comes to EDC. Food prep? Got it covered! Rope cuts? Covered! Wood? Covered! Fabric? Covered! Cardboard? Covered! Other stuff? COVERED. You get the gist.

 

Yeah...but this is called the "Paramilitary 2"! Ok...the name sounds uber tactical. You know what? I don't doubt that this magnificent companion can handle everything military personnel could throw at it...AND MUCH MORE. Jump knife? Definitely! Defensive knife? Well...the blade's a little shorter than "ideal", but it'd work well enough I'm sure. Tough enough? Yep. No doubt. A knife for life? Yep; it's that well made. The S90V steel is not only relatively uncommon, it's a SUPER PERFORMER. I've long felt that S30V is the best of the common blade steels. Well, it's more expensive sibling is EVEN BETTER. Holds an edge better and longer. Sharpening is a little more time-consuming, though not as laborious as D2 and ZDP-189. How well do I like S90V? Well enough that it's my favorite blade steel (though M390 is being tested now).

 

 

Second Kind of Cool: The design is uber cool. There is no denying it. And the S90V blade steel and Carbon Fiber handle scales only drive that factor way up. How the knife looks...to how if functions (minus the counter-intuitive location of the lock mechanism) is extremely cool. This particular Sprint Run version is certainly crazy cool; it's that good. If you collect Spydies, this is too cool not to add to the collection.

 

 

Overall Take: I've owned a lot of different Spyderco knives. And some of them are quite expensive. The Paramilitary 2 may well be my favorite Spydie of all time. The only real "knock" that I can give is the odd location of the lock release mechanism. Other than that, everything about this knife is pretty much "as good as it gets". Sure, I'd like the finish on the Carbon Fiber handle scales to be like what was used on the Sage CF...but that's a small thing in the end equation. Since this is a Sprint Run...AND it's of a new design that seems to sell out faster than Spyderco can produce knives, be prepared to hurk up a lot of cash to own one. I'm still chafing over what I paid for mine...and I LOVE this knife. It's that kind of expensive. Still, the real test of a knife's worth is often found after you've owned it, used it and had a real chance to appreciate it. Would I pay the high-ticket price again? Yes, I would.

Hey Chris!!  I certainly like the new design for the Paramilitary 2 and my interest is slowly,yet costly turn away from Titanium to Carbon Fiber.  I don't have a Paramilitary in my collection, however the Para2 has my vote. Do you have any idea how many are proposed for this run?

Thanks

Mike

Hey Mike.

 

I think that the S90V/CF Sprint Run is over and that there were 500 released. You will likely be able to find one on ebay for around $250. Get one while you can. With the Para Sprint Runs, I find that if you don't jump on them right away, they vanish quickly.

 

Thanks,

 

Chris

 

Benchmade 10751 SBP-Tanto Vex 551/1000...
http://www.benchmade.com/products/10750

"The 10750 VEX™ incorporates stylistic enhancements such as a Black Pearl titanium coating on the blade, clip and liners. The blade spine is also crowned, a trait most commonly found on custom knives..."

Specs:
Blade Material: 8Cr14MoV Stainless Steel
Blade Hardness: 56-58HRC
Blade Length: 3.29"
Blade Thickness: 0.108"
Blade Style: Modified Tanto
Weight: 4.70oz.

Pocket Clip: Tip-Down, BP Coated Steel, Reversible
Lock Mechanism: Locking-Liner
Overall Length: 7.72"
Closed Length: 4.43"
Sheath Material: Sold Separately
Class: Red

MSRP/Matt D. Tactical price: $60.00

[ignore this]
THE USE OF ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IS USED UNDER THE GUIDELINES OF "FAIR USE" IN TITLE 17 § 107 OF THE UNITED STATES CODE. SUCH MATERIAL REMAINS THE COPYRIGHT OF THE ORIGINAL HOLDER AND IS USED HERE FOR THE PURPOSES OF EDUCATION, COMPARISON, AND CRITICISM ONLY. NO INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT IS INTENDED.

 

Today, we'll be taking a look at a Spyderco knife that has recently been discontinued; the UK Pen Knife G10/S30V variant. This slip-joint model is ground-breaking in it's design. You may be wondering why I'd review a discontinued knife at all. Certainly, such a question is a fair one. Read on and that question will puzzle you  no longer... 

 

Model #C94GPFG UK Pen Knife

* Blade Length: 2 15/16"
* Blade Thickness: 1/8"
* Blade Material: CPM S30V Steel
* Blade Hardness: 58-60 HRC
* Blade Style: Leaf-shaped Drop Point, Spyderco Thumb Hole
* Weight: 2.40 oz.
* Clip: Reversible, tip-up
* Lock Mechanism: Compression Lock
* Overall Length: 6 13/16"
* Closed Length: 4 1/16"
* Country of Origin: USA, Earth

 

 

 

Blade: First off, long-time Spyderco fans should immediately recognize similarities between the UK Pen Knife and another very well-known Spyderco design; the Calypso.  The overall shape of the UK Pen Knife is VERY similar to that of the Caly (in all it's various iterations). The blade shape is Spyderco's famous "drop point leaf"; a very proven performer. Made of CPM S30V steel, the UK Pen Knife's blade sharpens nicely and retains it's edge quite well. Of all the different blade shapes that Spyderco makes, this one is probably my favorite due the versatility that it provides.

 

The blade is deployed as pretty much all Spyderco knives are, via a thumb hole. Personally, I find the thumb-hole on this knife a bit small (just under 1/2" in diameter). This doesn't make opening the blade particularly difficult; rather, it's just less comfortable for me than a larger hole would be. As a slip-joint knife, the UK Pen Knife has a back-spring that works to keep the blade open...or closed. It offers resistance in both directions with an exceptionally well-executed half-stop providing the user with a very welcome safety measure.

 

A well-jimped thumb ramp is located at the top of the blade's spine, near the handle. This feature is perfectly executed (the jimping is neither too sharp, nor too dull; as Goldilocks would say, "It's just right!"). The bottom side of the blade features a superbly machined finger choil. As is the case with the jimping on the thumb-ramp, the finger choil's jimping is positively "perfect". That little piece of "perfection" is absolutely critical to the knife's design. Why? Well, by using the thumb-ramp's jimping to "lock" your thumb into place...and using the blade's finger choil to "lock" your index finger into place, the UK Pen Knife becomes "safer" to use than any other slip joint that I've encountered. With other Spyderco models (such as the Military), the jimped finger choil area is primarily intended for "choked up" cutting applications. With the UK Pen Knife, your "hold" is always "choked up". This mandatory positioning of the hand locates the user's index finger in such a fasion that accidental closing of the knife is mostly "stopped" by the relation of the index finger to the knife's handle.

 

 

Handle:  The UK Pen Knife's similarity to the Caly doesn't end with it's blade shape. Indeed, the shape of the handle further evidences much of the inspiration for this nifty slip-joint. The handle's construction is super simple; it features a steel back-spring captured between two G10 handle scales. The texturing on the G10 handle scales is typical of what we've come to expect from Sypderco; it is "perfect". Given that this knife is a slip-joint, some users may see the texturing as being unnecessary; personally, I like the positive grip that it provides.

 

The build quality of the handle is unarguably over-done. The G10 handle scales are very thick and sturdy. The steel back-spring runs the entire length of the handle. Certainly, this combination provides the knife with more lifetime durability than what we see with most "traditional" slip-joint knives...and history has already demonstrated that old-school slip joints can survive the use of multiple generations. In the case of the UK Pen Knife, I feel confident saying that it is capable of outlasting any other slip-joint design in the history of knives.

 

I mentioned that the back-spring on this knife runs the entire length of the handle. This design is quite strong and provides "more" resistance than we typically see on most slip joint knives. The opening-hole method makes overcoming that resistance very "doable". Without a doubt, this design revolutionizes the slip-joint category. Any one with years of experience with slip-joints has undoubtedly encounterd a traditional knife whose back-spring's strength was such that it broke the user's fingernail when an opening of the knife was attempted. That painful type of experience is completley eradicated with the UK Pen Knife...and yet the user benefits from the "extra" safety afforded by a super-strong back-spring. For what it's worth to know, the UK Pen Knife is available in a variety of configurations...with one such model being the ultra-light FRN-handled knife. I mention this variation because the back-spring on the FRN models only runs 60% of the length of the handle...and lacks the strength of it's burlier G10 brother.

 

 

Primary Use: While many of Spyderco's knives  provide the user with the ability to address multiple applications, the UK Pen Knife is simply...clearly...OBVIOUSLY...a light-duty EDC blade. Though it's overall build-quality is such that it hints at being capable of tackling moderate-duty EDC tasks, it's slip-joint design mandates that it's owner have the good sense to not attempt chores better left to a locking-folder or fixed-blade. Given that not all knife users have the same definition of "light-duty" or "moderate-duty", here are examples of the kind of cutting chores that the UK Pen Knife is extremely well-suited:

 

* Cutting string, paper, duct tape, packaging tape or light-weight fabric.

* Opening packages. Note: this is not a good knife to use for cutting up thick cardboard.

* Opening mail.

* Removing slivers/splinters.

* Peeling an apple or cutting up smaller vegetables.

* Cutting moderate weight plastic ties or modertate thicknesses of rope.

 

In other words, the UK Pen Knife is IDEAL for the typical EDC tasks that we all encounter in our daily lives. Though it should go without saying, this knife should NOT be used for piercing or stabbing any material capable of offerng moderate resistance. Sure...the knife will handle tougher tasks than what I provided in the bullet points listed above. Sure...it is certainly safer than that old Case knife that you have sitting in your pocket. Still...it is a slip-joint knife and really shouldn't be used for "tougher" tasks. It isn't enough that the user have a sharp knife...the user's own intelligence has be to be sharp enough to recognize "the right tool for the job at hand".

 

Second Kind of Cool: As indicated above, the UK Pen Knife's design is REVOLUTIONARY. This aspect...by itself...makes the knife UBER cool! The materials and workmanship that Spyderco's Golden Colorado manufacturing facility put into the knife make it a very, very cool knife to own. Indeed, I have several UK Pen Knives (Orange, Carbon Fiber and even Titanium)...and the quality on every single one is mind-blowingly good. Since "quality" is always "cool", this little knife is "cool" in spades!  Think about it this way; the UK Pen Knife features shapes and materials typically seen on tactical knives. Yet...this little companion isn't tactical at all.  

 

Overall Take: Those of you that have visited my photo page on iKC may have seen my photo and corresponding write-up of an orange G10-handled UK Pen Knife. In that write-up, I went on a little rant about the UK Pen Knife being designed for the United Kingdom...and criticized the illogically restrictive knife laws that that region's citizens are burdened with. I stand by those criticisms. The mentality behind the foolish knife laws of the UK is extremely flawed and categorically fails to recognize the simple reality inherent in human existance (which is to say that there will always be "good" people and "bad" people...and that the "bad" people will never obey any law that gets in their way...and will always seek to prey upon "good" people; disarming good people only further empowers "bad" people). All this said, I cannot possibly deny the fact that the UK Pen Knife is one of the very best knife designs in the entire history of knives. It is infinitely practical, extremely usable and sincerely enjoyable.

 

Truly, I am very sorry to see Spyderco discontinue this knife. And so we "connect the dots" between the question posed at the begining of this review (why review a discontinued knife?). We can be "almost" certain that the UK Pen Knife's revolutionary and unique design will ensure it a place in knife history...which means that Spyderco's UK Pen Knife variations are now "more collectible". Since they will become more "rare" with every passing day, I strongly advise you to add some to your collection "while the getting is good". Below is a quick listing of the configurations that relate to the knife shown in this review:

 

* Orange G10 version

* Smooth Carbon Fiber version

* Titanium version

* Blue FRN version

* Maroon FRN version

* Gray FRN version

 

Spyderco recently released a new Sprint Run version of their popular Military model. This particular edition sports Brown G10 handle scales and CTS-XHP steel. Today we'll be taking a look at this new release and touching base on the Military platform in general.

 

 

Model #C36GPBNXHP

* Blade Length: 4"
* Blade Thickness: 5/32"
* Blade Material: CTS-XHP Carpenter Steel
* Blade Hardness: 58-60 HRC
* Blade Style: Modified Clip Point, 9/16" Spyderco Thumb Hole
* Weight: 4.5 oz.
* Clip: Tip-down, Right-hand only
* Lock Mechanism: Michael Walker Liner Lock
* Overall Length: 9 1/2"
* Closed Length: 5 1/2"
* Country of Origin: USA, Earth

 

 

 

Blade: The Military has been in Spyderco's line up for quite some time. It's full flat-ground modified clip point blade design certainly plays an important role in the popularity of the knife. At 4" long, it provides excellent reach (particularly for a folding knife). The "cutting edge" runs 3 11/16"...providing lots of functional slicing geometry for nearly any task you'll encounter. The blade's thickness starts at 5/32" at the spine/handle juncture and tapers to a 3/64" tip. Deployment is achieved through an extra-large 9/16" hole. The location of the deployment hole is ergonomically coordinated with the handle's shape...making the knife super-easy to open (whether slow-and-smooth or fast-and-snappy). The spine of the blade features an exceptionally well-designed thumb ramp. The swell of the ramp is gradual and deep enough to provide an ideal "fit" for the user's thumb. The jimping along the ramp is about as flawless a design as can be achieved...and it works wonderfully regardless of whether or not the user is wearing gloves (it's aggressive enough to provide excellent purchase without being so sharp as to tear up gloves...or skin!). The underside of the blade sports a nicely-sized index finger choil (jimped like the thumb ramp). This feature provides versatility in that you can "choke up" on the blade for cutting work that requires increased precision.

 

 

Now for the steel. The "standard" steel used on the "volume" production Military models is CPM- S30V. This "standard" is one of the things that helps maintain the market position that the Military commands. In simple terms, CPM-S30V is an excellent steel whose performance characteristics far exceed that of most of the steels used in folding knives. One of the "fun" aspects to Spyderco's Sprint Run knives is the use of "alternative" steels. The model covered in this review (C36GPBNXHP) has Carpenter's Steel CTS-XHP. This particular Military isn't my first experience with this steel; I have a Manix 2 (foliage green handle scales) that has CTS-XHP. In terms of describing this steel...Spyderco reports that it has the corrosion resistance of 440C (long admired for this specific asset) with the hardness and edge-holding capabilities of tool steel. Sounds good, doesn't it? Spyderco put a beautiful satin finish on the blade. To finish the blade portion of the review, it's worth me mentioning that the blade retention on the Military is "perfect". It is somewhat unusual for a blade that large to "stay" in the closed position so well.

 

 

Handle:  The Military has a relatively large handle...at 5 1/2" in length. At it's widest point, the profile runs 1 3/16" tall. Interestingly, the handle is only 15/32" thick...and that remarkably slender girth makes this knife magnificently "packable". The "standard" production model features black G10 handle scales. This Sprint Run edition sports Brown G10...and the color is much more impressive "in person" than these photos even begin to convey.  The texturing on the G10 is what I'd describe as moderately "grippy"; it's neither too aggressive, nor too smooth.

The shape of the handle is an absolutely fantastic study in the human hand. Personally, I've never experienced a more comfortable handle design (largely attributable to the overall length of the handle). Curves are located in all in the right places with swells and recesses providing easy locational points for every finger. Indeed, the handle provides resistance for slipping either forward or backward. The exterior points of the scales are chamfered so that there are no sharp edges. Again...this is a flawlessly comfortable handle design. The screws holding the handle together are all flat and recessed into the handle so that none of them protrude. This nice attention to "the little things" is part of what makes the Military so appealing (compared to other production knives). The butt of the handle features a piped lanyard hole. While the size of the hole will take 550 para cord, candidly...it is too small. I wish that Spyderco would "over-size" the lanyard hole in the same way that they have for the Para Military 2 and Manix 2 knives.

One arguable detraction in the handle design is the pocket clip. While the clip itself works extremely well, it has a "fixed position" and is permanently situated to "tip down, right hand" carry. This particular Sprint Run model features a polished clip...and, as a result, makes the knife much more noticeable in the user's pocket.The pivot screw for adjusting deployment and blade centering is located within the pocket clip's arrow. As it so happens, my knife's blade was perfectly centered and deployed wonderfully (no adjustment needed).

 

 Underneath the G10 handle scales is...remarkably little. There's a back spacer (though the knife is mostly a "flow-thru" design), the liner lock and the tang of the blade. There are NO steel liners! The lack of liners is a big part of what makes this otherwise "large" folding knife so incredibly light (at 4.5 oz.). As for the Walker Liner Lock, it deploys with a nifty-sounding "snap". The lock-up is perfect with absolutely no "wiggle" side-to-side or up and down. The liner appears to be Titanium...though I've heard people say that it's steel. Though the liner looks a little thin given the size of the blade, I've never had one fail and the design is tough as nails. There is some jimping located at the exposed edge of the locking liner and this provides ultimate control when disengaging the lock.

 

 

Primary Use: As the story goes, the Military was designed by Sal Glesser (Spyderco's founder and one of the most important people in all of knife history) when someone asked him what kind of knife he'd want his own son to carry into a military theater of operations. Mr. Glesser did an outstanding job! The Military is "ideal" as a field knife and as a defensive option. It has the reach...the size of a larger knife...but the reduced weight and supreme carryability of a much smaller blade. Since every ounce counts when strapping necessities to a soldier's LBE...it's hard to beat the Military. I'd say that it's pretty much the "perfect" folding knife for military personnel.

This all said...the Military is also an excellent choice for people that need a larger EDC blade (construction...or for outdoor/hiking/camping). I have yet to encounter a better slicing blade. It's fast to deploy, easy to use and "supremely carryable". It's tip could be considered a little too thin for some particularly extreme tasks. Of course, a knife is a cutting tool...not a drill bit, pry bar or staple remover. If correctly used, the Military is an extremely durable knife. Yes...there are blades out there that are even more "heavy duty" than the Millie...but not by a bunch...and they typically weigh a lot more and are less packable.

 

 

Second Kind of Cool: The design is "cool" right out of the box. Spyderco's Sprint Run editions push this factor in a big way. While the Brown G-10 version shown in the photos doesn't feel any different than my basic "standard" Military, I can't deny the "cool factor" yielded by the unusual handle scale color and steel choice. As a "user", this is simply a brilliant knife (the steel performs extremely well). As a collectible, it's appeal is somewhat more subtle. I say this because I have Military models whose overall aesthetics have more "WOW" (such as my Carbon Fiber Millie...or my G10/Titanium Millie...or my all-Titanium handled Millie). Spyderco could have given this knife more visual "sizzle" by doing it with a BLACK blade (or...maybe a Damascus blade!), screws, pivots and pocket clip. If they did that, this would be a much "hotter" looking knife.  Be that as it may, the rather subtle coolness of this particular Sprint Run edition is strong enough that I just can't stop handling the knife.

 

 

Overall Take: The fact of the matter is this; Spyderco's Military knife is NEARLY "perfect". It's that incredible of a cutting tool. The one and only thing that could be done to improve the platform is to use an enlarged lanyard hole.  Other than that, I don't know that it's possible to make a better production knife whose infinite usability is as strong as that of the Millie. Relative to this specific Sprint Run model, the quality is flawless. The fit and finish are brilliantly executed; couldn't be better.

 

 

Today we'll be taking a look at one of Spyderco's long-standing and very affordable folding knives, the Frank Centofante-designed Centofante 3.

 

 

Model #C66PBK3

* Blade Length: 3 1/8"
* Blade Thickness: 5/64"
* Blade Material: VG10 Steel
* Blade Hardness: 58-60 HRC
* Blade Style: Modified Drop-point, 1/2" Spyderco Thumb Hole
* Weight: 2.5 oz.
* Clip: Right-hand only, tip-up or tip-down
* Lock Mechanism: Lockback
* Overall Length: 7 9/16"
* Closed Length: 4 1/2"
* Country of Origin: Seki City, Japan

 

 

 

Blade: The Centofante 3 features a modified drop-point blade shape with a particularly interesting grind in that it is actually a combination of two different grinds; hollow and swedge. Made from Spyderco's superb VG-10 steel, the blade is remarkably thin at just 5/16". The blade is finished in a beautifully-executed satin. Indeed, this is one of the better finish jobs out there...as no vertical striations are visible. The knife's cutting edge is 3" and came hair-shaving sharp right out of the box. This is the "norm" for Seki City-produced Spyderco knives.

The blade is deployed via the over-sized 1/2" Spyder hole. This is a bit smaller than many of Spyderco's newer knives and while it works just fine, I find that the larger Spyder holes are much more comfortable for my thumb. The Centofante 3 has phosphor bronze pivot washers and opens extremely fast...particularly for a lockback knife.

The upper spine of the blade, near the handle, features a sharply-jimped thumb ramp. The jimping is perfectly done and really grabs the flesh of the thumb, providing exceptional control over the 3 1/8" blade. This ramp is unique in that it has a rather steep rise. At the peak of that rise is a point. Unfortunately, that point is quite sharp. I found that if the knife is carried in the "tip-up" position, that point tends to abrade the flesh of the hand when you reach into the pocket to secure other items. Fortunately, the Centofante 3 gives us an option to carry "tip-up". After changing my carry method, I found that sharp tip of the thumb ramp was no longer an issue. However...yeah, this is a "but"; if you locate the knife too close to the back edge of your pocket, the jimped thumb ramp will tend to tear up your pants.

The blade is very effective for slicing, piercing, slashing and detailed fine work; this is due to it's rather unusual design (thinness and hybrid grind). I've carried the knife on and off for a few years now and can tell you that while I've "never" used it for anything "heavy duty", it's slender shape makes it one of my preferred user knives. Literally, for basic cutting chores...particularly in an office setting...out on the town...in the kitchen...this knife works as well as anything I've ever carried. Though the blade stock is quite thin, the tip isn't all that thin...and maintains a surprising level of durability (all things considered).

 

 

Handle: Mr. Centofante must have been thinking "thin" when designing this knife...as it is slim and sleek in every regard. This very fact makes it somewhat unique in Spyderco's vast lineup. I talked about how thin the blade stock on the Centofante 3 is...now let's see how the handle carries the "thin" concept forward.

 At it's widest point, the FRN (fiber-reinforced nylon) handle (near the butt of the knife) is only 7/32" thick...and if we include the pocket clip, the total thickness comes to 5/8". Spyderco's Delica 4 maintains a very similar thickness (or, perhaps we should say "thinness") and both blades ride quite "flat" in the pocket. Across it's profile, the Centofante 3's hande is only 1 3/8". As a point of comparison, the Delica 4's measurement is 1 1/2". Think that 1/8" doesn't matter? Think again! My knife rides in my right-front pocket...along with my car keys. When I put my hand in my pocket to retrieve my keys...it's just a little easier with the Centofante 3 than it is with the very carryable Delica 4.

The handle's overall length measures 4 1/2". This is a little longer than many of it's contemporaries (even within the Spyderco offering). For me, the added length makes the knife much more comfortable "in hand"...and the curved back of the knife nestles easily into my palm. Of course, the little benefit provided by the length of the handle does crowd shallow pockets a bit...so you'll want to bear that in mind when reviewing your wardrobe.

The shape of the handle is quite interesting in that it broadens somewhat towards the rear of the knife. This does reduce the chance of the knife pulling through your hand on a return slicing motion. Oddly, the portion of the handle near the blade's cutting edge is surprisingly narrow and only extends about 1/8" past the blade's breadth. This means that unless your thumb is firmly planted on the blade's thumb ramp, you could slip your index finger onto the cutting edge of the knife. While I've never done this with my knife, I've come entirely too close. Overall, I consider the handle's shape to be quite comfortable...but the lack of a more pronounced front finger choil is certainly a design flaw.

As indicated earlier, the handle material is FRN. This is a very durable and extremely light-weight material. The color is simple black with the facing side displaying a golden colored Spyderco emblem. This little touch adds some class to the knife and, surprisingly, the finish on the emblem seems very durable. The surface of the handle features two swooping grooves on the face side and a completely flat surface on the pocket-clip side. This makes sliding the knife off and on the user's pocket very easy. The handle scales are pinned together; not screwed together. Even the blade's pivot is a pin...instead of a screw. So...don't plant on taking the Centofante 3 apart for maintenance; you'd have to send it back to Spyderco if you needed anything done to the knife. Candidly, I see this as a major design flaw. Fortunately for me, I've never had any trouble with this knife (it's never shown even a hint of blade play...whew!).

I've noticed a fairly common mistake that several other reviewers have made when talking about this knife's handle design; they say that the Centofante doesn't have any steel liners beneath the FRN handle scales. In fact, the knife does have one NESTED steel liner that runs the entire length of the pocket clip side handle scale. Given the knife's super light weight and the fact that the liner isn't skeletonized, it must be quite thin. The only other steel in the handle (aside from pins) is Spyderco's lockback locking mechanism. The effectiveness of this system has been thoroughly proven. The lackback sports the David Boye Dent and though I've never accidentally disengaged any lockback system, I'm perfectly fine with this unobtrusive bit of added safety (for those that don't know, the Dent reduces the chance that, when squeezing the handle, the meat of the user's palm will come up against the lockback and cause it to disengage).

Another great feature of this knife is it's pocket clip. It is perfectly-designed and runs roughly 60% the length of the handle; this keeps the knife in the user's pocket despite the lack of handle traction. While I'm bragging about the pocket clip, I should mention that it is blackened and, oddly, the finish on it seems to hold up better than that of my Delicas.

 

 

Primary Use: The Centofante 3 is, without a doubt, an EDC blade. In spite of it's overall length, it's slim design restricts application of the knife to more light-duty EDC tasks (opening mail and packages, food prep, cutting fabric or thin rope). Still, it is surprisingly strong and durable...and will cut up quite the pile of cardboard without skipping a beat. It's very subdued appearance actually gives it some flexibility when it comes to where you could carry it; the knife "fits" with a khaki's and a polo...and can make the leap to tuxedo quite easily.

As a carry blade, I really like the knife. It's super light...and you can easily forget that you have it on you! Talk about a quiet companion! It functions extremely well for basic everyday EDC. I haven't found any common task that this knife couldn't tackle with aplomb. The shape of the blade, in particular, makes this tool one super effective slicer. Try peeling an apple with one and you'll see exactly what I mean. Need to chop up some celery in the kitchen? No problem. Sausage? No problem! Do a little whittling? No problem. No, the knife won't handle construction work and only a real buffoon would try such a thing.

I've heard one reviewer indicate that they think that the Centofante 3 could "be pressed into a defensive application if needed". While I'd do just that if I had no other options...I have to admit that I'd have major inhibitions against trying any kind of stabbing maneuver; without a much more pronounced front finger choil, it'd be just too risky.

 

 

 

Second Kind of Cool: Well...the Centofante 3 is cool...albeit in a very reserved way. The build quality of the knife is quite good. It functions nicely...and feels very comfortable in the hand. The golden spyder logo on the FRN handle scale is undeniably cool and adds a nice bit of polish to a very subdued theme. All-in-all, though, this knife is one whose design is purposely understated...and it'll never scream "wow" out to anybody. Putting the knife to use provides an experience converse to it's appearance.

 

 

Overall Take: While nobody's jaw is going to drop when they see a Centofante 3, it's effectiveness as a simple EDC knife is undeniable. It's weight...compared to it's size...makes it nearly unique in the world of cutlery. Spyderco's lockback system just works...and works...and works. It's simple to use, simple to understand...and very durable. I spent quite a bit of time detailing the knife's handle because that is one of it's greatest assets...and, in one regard, a serious limitation. The relatively moderate price (roughly $55 to $65 US) of the Centofante 3 makes it a superb value.

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