It arrived last week in a slim yellow envelop. I had requested one about three months ago and every day I would check to see if it had arrived and then, just when I was losing hope, the knife knut equivalent of the swim suit issue arrived--the Spyderco Catalog 2011. And just like the swim suit issue, it was full of sleek and sexy curves. But instead of the stunning Brooklyn Decker we get a peek at stuff like the slick Native5.
The PDF version of the catalog can be found here.
I am going to state this up front: I am a Spyderco fan. I had an original Delica that was "lost" (a later blog post) and ever since I have been a devotee. These are folders for people that like folders. Light, well built, easy to use, and not crazy pricey--Spydercos just speak to me.
So as my first post I am going to go through the catalog and point out some of the blades that look intriguing. I can't think of a better way to start off.
The Delica and Endura FFGs are new from last year's catalog, but they have been out for a while so I am going to skip them. Great entry level folders but others have already said a ton about them.
On page 14 there is the first of the "OMG/WTF" knives--the ZDP-189 British Racing Green Dragonfly 2. The Dragonfly is probably one of my top three favorite knives of all time and the Dragonfly 2 has a lot of improvements (love the more durable, discrete, and replaceable wire clip). But the steel choice puts this one over the top for me (here is a good steel chemistry chart and here is a good explanation of what all that stuff means). ZDP-189 is a super high carbon steel (twice the carbon of the industry favorite S30V) with all of the benefits of that chemistry--great edge retention, wicked sharp...all of the things a good EDC knife should be. It is a little tarnish prone, but nothing is perfect. The street price is around $60. It is a long lasting scalpel that weighs in at 1.2 ounces. BUY. Don't wait. BUY. The choil, the Spyderhole, the steel, the jimping, the clip, the steel. It is a great knife made better.
On page 18 there is Spyderco porn. Beware. It is a Military (the "Millie") with a Chris Reeve Integral Lock (the framelock) with convex Ti handle slabs, "shell" logo type striations, and iridescent heat treating on the handle. The Millie is a beast of a knife. The Ti version with the framelock was awesome. But this version is over the top. It is probably the nicest production knife in the Spyderco line up and certainly one of the most expensive. Awesome blade.
On page 22 there is the G-10 Native5. I have never been a Native fan, what with the partially obscured Spyderhole, but its size is surprising--shorter than a Delica by a wide margin, but with a long blade and a choil (choils rock, BTW). This Native5 is a Bourne to Bond version of the far dressier Sprint run Native in CF, but it still looks really sweet and abandoned the ugly and awkward grind of the Native4. It also uses the next gen Crucible S35VN. Don't know much about that steel, but I am sure Joe will tell us. Drawback #1: it weighs 5.1 ounces. Ugh. That is a pocket brick. Drawback #2: price is TBD.
I am going to skip the value line additions as they have been covered everywhere too and I find them boring. Good knives, just not interesting.
The Leafstorm isn't new, but it is a swell little EDC knife with surprisingly good ergos. The Lady Bug gets an H1 version, a ZDP version, and a H1 Hawkbill (last year's VG-10 Hawkbill is going for big bucks on eBay). Buy the H1 and sell it two years from now for $120. Someone will buy it.
Ed Schempp's stuff is weird looking but great ergos. I personally dig the Mini Persian 2 on page 36. I wish it had Damascus steel. I am not a fan of damascus steel at all. It is expensive. It is usually complex and ugly. And it is not anywhere near as high performance as REAL ancient damascus steel (see here). But this one knife, this one design SCREAMS for it. Maybe we will get a sprint run.
Speaking of sprint runs, they are underwhelming. A Millie in Carpenter's new steel, an orange jigged boned Delica (which makes the 25th Anniversary version less special), and a new Dyad. Okay, the Dyad is cool, but the rest stink, especially compared to last year's ZDP-189 Walker. That was a friggin' awesome little knife. And like the original, it too will sale for an insane amount in a few years.
I don't like slippies, but Spyderco makes some sweet ones, if you have no choice. A Ti UKPK and a CF UKPK look good for those on the other side of the pond or in more restrictive countries.
The fixed blades remain virtually unchanged, except for a new handle material on the Bushcraft (G-10 instead of the highly unstable spalted maple, they should have asked a woodworker about spalted maple) and a Black Oxide Warrior for stealth throat slittings, I guess.
All in all, a good not great year. ZDP-189 in more pocket friendly knives is a good idea. I would love to see a CF Dragonfly 2 with a ZDP-189 blade or a Jester in ZDP-189 (I like the Jester shape much better than the Lady Bug).
Next up: Benchmade Emissary--single, double, triple, or HOME RUN?