Spyderco C125 Ed Schempp Khukuri Revisited

December 11, 2019

A funny thing occurred to me a few months ago. I posted a few images of my old Spyderco C125 Khukuri, designed by Ed Schempp. A lot of people didn’t know what it was and some questioned its practical use. I was surprised to learn this design had been ‘forgotten’. Most critiques of the design were ill-informed judgments, based on a picture, from people who appear to mostly appreciate knives on how they ‘look’. Straight folders might look great, but they’re more awkward to work with than a folding knife with a negative blade-to-handle angle. The knife world needs more practical ergonomic designs like the C125.

When the Khukuri came out, I got one straightaway. Meeting Ed Schempp in person at the Amsterdam Meet was very enlightening. I clipped on the C125 and started conquering the many cutting chores and challenges one encounters in the suburbs! I was very impressed. You can still check out the review I wrote at the time. I will admit that new designs got the better of me, and my love of Spyderco has led me to a life of carrying new knives when they come out. I also don’t sharpen very often; I just grab a different knife. Still, sometimes I’ll revisit an older design. And the Ed Schempp designed folding khukuri felt right at home in my hands again. A drop of oil and a few strokes on the corners of the white stones of my Sharpmaker made the khukuri good to go again.

 

Use
The folding khukuri is a joy to use. The blade is perfectly in line with the bones in your forearm, which makes cutting easy and controlled. The surprise is for many, is that this ‘extreme’ angled blade works in any grip. Choking up on the blade to cut out a coupon or something, no problem. Turning the blade over in your hand, for an edge-in grip, to peel a potato or apple, no problem. And it folds up great too. Trust, me the folding Khukuri carries just as easy as any other Spyderco and the ergonomics will surprise you. The only request I’d make for an improvement is a thinner handle design. Ed’s customs are wonderfully thin, and feature beautiful damascus steel of course.

Looks vs Use
It’s great to see so many new knifecollectors and aficionados coming out. Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook have helped spread our wonderful hobby in amazing ways. However, as a “grumpy old man”, I notice that these visually-driven platforms have a logical disadvantage. Many new knife collectors tend to focus more on ‘looks’ (and likes of course), than the practical use of the knife. So, when Spyderco makes a ‘weird’ looking knife, try to keep an open mind. Don’t judge it in a second on its looks and scroll away. Imagine holding it in your hand and how it would fit and work. Try to check one out at a shop or show too. Remember, Spyderco knives are usually designed in the dark!

Check out specs of the Spyderco C125 Khukuri at the Spyderco.com website, and find out more details and background information at Spydiewiki.


Spyderco C223 Para 3 Lightweight Exclusive Review

November 3, 2019

The Para 3 lightweight was the belle of the ball at the 2019 SHOT Show. Apart from being the first lightweight compression lock, it also featured CTS-BD1N steel that got a lot of attention. Having been around Spyderco knives for some 20 years, I knew I wanted to stay away from that first edition of the Lightweight Para 3.  I like colored knives, and black usually just doesn’t do it for me. I knew that a nice colored variant, as an exclusive or sprint run, would turn up soon enough. And here it is, the red C223PRD Para 3 Lightweight, and exclusive variant for DLT Trading.

DLT Trading has quite a few Spyderco exclusives in it stable. They all feature red G10 handles and M390 steel. The Para 2, Manix and Para 3 all received this treatment. This lightweight is a first, in that it appears to be their first FRN handled exclusive. It’s still red and also features M390 steel though. It is also the first Para 3 Lightweight exclusive to hit the market. I think we’ll see more lightweight exclusives in the future though.

Trainer
For us old-timers, it’s still a bit awkward to see so many sharp red handled folders from Spyderco. For many years, red handles were reserved for drones or training knives. The Calypso Jr. & Jess Horn lightweight sprints did come before the red C223, but they had a distinct burgundy color. It really is a strikingly different shade of red, compared to the bright red FRN of the Delica and Endura Trainers. The shade of red on this Para 3 Lightweight seems lighter than the burgundy FRN we saw before and a bit darker than the FRN handle of a Delica trainer.

First impressions
This is my first Para 3 lightweight and I like it a lot. It feels -very- light, even lighter in the hand than an FRN Native and a Lightweight Manix. The lock-up is solid, and remained so during the past weeks of carry and use. The closed blade was a little off-center but that is only a cosmetic problem.

Wireclip
I’m not the world’s biggest fans of fold-over wireclips, but this one worked nicely. The tension of the clip, combined with the smooth FRN surface that interacts with the clip, made it very easy to draw the folder from my waistband or pocket. The FRN pattern is nice and grippy, but it is significantly less aggressive than on my Manix or Native Lightweights. The rest of the Para’s grip is very familiar. This is a very solid and ergonomic compact working folder.

M390
Onto the good part. M390 steel. I’m not much of a steel junkie, as I never test blades to their limits. I do like to carry, use -and in that way ‘play around’ with various steels. I loved super blue steel for its performance for example. But I also easily switch to VG-10 which is one of my favorite steels actually.  Sal Glesser explained to me that super blue makes for a ‘hungry edge’, when I related my experience with it. You see, I kept on looking for food to cut with it. M390, in my opinion, is a ‘sticky edge’.

Cutting
Whenever I start a cut, the M390 edge stay in there to finish it. The sharpness also seems to stick around M390, for a long time.  Your mileage may vary, as my knife-uses are rather mundane. My EDC-needs rarely require more than cutting envelopes, fruit, cardboard etc.… To test a new knife I creep into the kitchen to see if I can help prepare the food instead of only cleaning up after eating it.


Overall
I’m happy to have waited for this exclusive to dive into the Para 3 lightweight. Since it’s the first of its kind, I’m sure plenty of collectors will jump on this run. So don’t wait and start saving. Something tells me, there will be -many- more exclusives of the Spyderco Para 3 lightweights.

Check out specs of the Spyderco C223 Para 3 Lightweight at the Spyderco.com website, and find out more details and background information at Spydiewiki. Also, see the DLT Trading website for this and other Spyderco exclusives.


Spyderco C241 Kapara Review

September 29, 2019

The C241 Kapara’s popularity among Spyderco afi’s is, to me, easy to explain: very practical, excellent function and good looks. If you like the performance of the Spydiechef or the Stretch, you’ll love the Kapara. Also, Alistair Phillips is one of the friendliest custom makers I’ve ever met. And my Australian BladeForums friends taught me some cools Ozzie slang as well. Being a lefty, I am the proud owner of a kackhanded Kapara!

Kapara is another name for the (in)famous Australian Redback spider. Hence the red spacer. And the Redback is Alistair Phillips’ custom folder design that eventually became the Spyderco Kapara. The C241’s original design goal was for a personal carry folder for food prep. I’d say, mission accomplished!

Blade
The Kapara’s blade is made of S30V steel, which in itself isn’t anything extraordinary. What makes it special though, is the flat grind, gentle curve and the ergonomic angle it connects to the handle. It is a very thin and finely ground blade. The C241 just sails through sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. And with the positive handle angle I can keep a full grip with my knuckles clear off a cutting board. Contrary to the SpydieChef, the drop-point tip seems more practical for non-food related utility chores. It’s a bit easier for me to ‘find the tip’ when I need a precise cut, or to dig out a small splinter for example.

Handle
The handle of the Kapara offers something you can’t really make out from pictures. The solid carbon fiber handle scales are 3D rounded, to better fit your hand. Combined with the curve in the handle design, this is a very ergonomic handle.  It reminds me of the wooden handles on some of my grandfather’s tools. Simple, practical and very ergonomic. The C241 also offers some style with that carbon fiber. And the red spacer adds a little flash as well to the handle. Why is all this visual stuff important? Easy, it helps people to want to carry it and show it off to others!

Clip
Although I’m not the world biggest fold-over wireclip fan, this one works nicely for me. There is still some handle left for me to grab and draw the knife from inside my waistband. The fact that it can be switched for a left-hander, or ‘kackhander’ as I’m apparently called down under, is extremely nice!

Compared
To me, the Kapara is very similar to the Spydiechef and the Stretch. The Spydiechef is very popular with many Spyderco aficionados, probably mostly because of its striking modern looks and materials. The fact that it’s a great rust-proof performer in the kitchen adds to its reputation. Like the Kapara, the Spydiechef is designed as a folding food prep knife. The Stretch, however, has never been a mainstream Spyderco favorite. It appears only a specific clique within Spyderco community appreciate it. The Stretch has always been my favorite Spyderco utility folder. It’s just right for my EDC uses and preferences. The C241’s profile is strikingly similar while offering a slightly more dropped edge. It does lack the high-performance steel of the Stretch though.

Conclusion
What the Kapara does better than the Spydiechef, in my experience, is being a better all-round EDC knife. And what the C241 does better than the Stretch, is to look nicer. This is not a trivial matter in the current Instagram-dominated knife community. If that helps enlighten more people to the benefits of a 3,5 inch flat ground drop-point  blade with the Spyderco trademark round hole, all the better. And I do hope people use their Kapara. That’s one of the things I like best about these drop-point designs. They are generally not too fancy or ‘visually exciting’ for most people, but they just beg to be used. And in use is where you’ll find real appreciation of a knife!

Check out specs on the C241 Kapara at the Spyderco website, and see Spydiewiki for more background information. Also check out Alistair Phillips’ website to see more of his amazing work.


Spyderco Meerkat Countertop Display

June 16, 2019

My collection contains many nice knives, but some of my most prized collectibles don’t have a sharp edge. This Spyderco Meerkat countertop display is a good example. It was designed to demonstrate the Meerkat’s phantom lock. To me, it shows more aspects of Spyderco’s philosophy than ‘just to show how the new phantom lock works’. In many ways, it’s a great piece of Spyderco history.

The Meerkat countertop display definitely shows its age in the fact that it was designed to be used in physical brick and mortar stores. Yes, kids, once upon a time you’d have to physically travel to a different building in order to see and buy goods. We used to call it a ‘shop’, and it they only sold knives, we called it a knifeshop. You never knew what you might find inside. Looking back, this was actually one of my favorite parts of going to a knifeshop. Without the benefit of the interwebs, a display like this would alert your customers to a brand new product. I realize this display might have also seen use at shows, but that doesn’t really make sense to me, as you’d have a Spyderco rep right there to show you how it works.

The display features a steel bug logo, that is held upright at a slight angle by two removable stands. In the middle of the bug plate, a little shelf displays the Spyderco Meerkat. The knife is almost fully functional. Almost, because the edge is missing. The Meerkat is tied to the display on a long chain. That way the Meerkat couldn’t accidentally ‘walk away’ with a ‘customer’. The chain is long enough to clip the knife to your pocket to test it out. The lock and clip are fully functional.  Below the shelf is a little cardboard card with instructions, revealing the secret of the phantom lock. The entire unit can be taken apart into one flat package, making it easy to store or ship.

I like this display because it shows a few of Spyderco’s core principles. Innovation, since it supports a -then- brand new design with a lock nobody had ever seen before. Edge-u-cation, the primary function of the unit is to educate knife users and shop owners on the new phantom lock. Creative marketing, a secondary benefit of this display is that it is a fun way to also announce you have a brand new knife to offer. It also challenges customers to see if they can figure out the lock. Supporting dealers, it’s a challenge for many manufacturers to figure out a balance between supporting online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Spyderco has always been faithful to the brick-and-mortar stores that supported Spyderco, especially way back when Spyderco first got started.

That ‘new and wierd’ hole in the blade  and clip on the handle, not even to mention the serrations on the blade, probably needed a LOT of edge-u-cation to -and support from- dealers. It was the brick-and-mortar stores that helped make Spyderco a success before the advent of the interwebs. This display must have been made in 2002, when the C64 Meerkat was introduced. At that time, the internet and buying knives online was already happening. That makes it all the more poignant that Spyderco made this display.

Today, this display is one of the pieces in my collection I’m the most proud of. I got it from a good friend who works for Spyderco, so it also symbolizes the family-aspect that I appreciate so much from Spyderco. I haven’t seen a second one, online or offline, but I’m sure there must be a few more floating around out there. If you love Spyderco and have chance to pick one up, do it, it’s a rare piece!

 


Spyderco 2019 Production Samples Overview

April 22, 2019

I’ve updated my prototypes page with a thumbnail overview of the new production samples, which Spyderco unveiled at the 2019 Amsterdam Meet. For completeness-sake, here it is as well in one overview. The posts behind the thumbnails contain both photos and video.

2019 – Spyderco Production Samples and Concept Models
Photos and First Impressions


Police 4 Lightweight, Endela, Dragonfly 2 Emerson Opener


Dragonfly 2 Wharncliffe, Small Efficient, Emphasis


Sage 5 Lightweight, Native Chief, BaliYo


Byrd Harrier


Video: Spyderco 2019 Production Sample – Byrd Harrier

April 3, 2019

See this post for more photos and information on the Spyderco Byrd Harrier Production Sample.


Video: Spyderco 2019 Production Sample – BaliYo

April 3, 2019

See this post for more photos and information on the Spyderco BaliYo Production Sample.