Spyderco Lightweight Native 5 Review – 2015 Forum Knife

November 21, 2015

As an avid Spyderco forumite, I always try to get any special edition forum knife that’s offered. The 2015 version was, again, a very nice sprint run variation of the Native 5. This was my first lightweight Native 5 and I am very impressed with it. Not only did this knife ‘solve’ my most important objections to the Native design, but the production quality was very impressive. I’ve been using and collecting Spyderco knives for more than 15 years, and I didn’t think I’d get this impressed about a new design.


For many years, Spyderco has stuck to the Native design for their forum knife. The 2015 forum knife was the new Lightweight Native 5. What makes this knife unique is its maroon FRN handle, S90V blade and the cool rounded laser engraving on the blade. These features make it a very collectible knife. However, the Native design has always been a working knife and not so much a ‘collecting’ knife. Spyderco’s not-so-subtle hint at the Native’s ‘work ethic’, is that they used a very high performance S90V blade. Playing with the knife for a few minutes told me everything I needed to know. To fully appreciate this -to me- new lightweight design called for prolonged pocket time.



Since I’m left-handed I switched the clip and stuck it in my pocket for a few weeks. I didn’t cut anything that ‘hard-use aficionado’s’ would take seriously, just regular EDC-type chores that a suburbanite encounters. For the last two months, I prepared dozens of fruit snacks, pitched in with cooking to cut onions, tomatoes and potatoes for about 6 meals. I also opened many envelopes and about 8 packages. In addition, I broke down cardboard boxes to fill two small recycling containers, dug out one splinter and I cut about three loose strings. At the end of this period, the knife literally still shaved arm hair. S90V is impressive stuff, especially in a full flat grind with a nice toothy out-of-the-box edge.


Carrying this lightweight was a breeze. That’s not much of a surprise as many Spyderco FRN CLIPITs are extremely lightweight. What sets this Native 5 apart from the rest, is that full solid and sturdy overall feel. There are no liners, but working with the knife, it felt as solid as a folder with liners. This solid feel gave me plenty of confidence to stab thick cardboard and to twist the blade during longer cuts. I certainly wasn’t babying this lightweight folder.



The Native 5 has much more friendly ergonomics, to me, than the previous Native designs that featured sharp choils. Using the knife in an inverted grip, i.e. edge-up or edge-in, was very uncomfortable. This excellent Native 5 pattern solved these objections for me. It’s almost as versatile to grip as a Delica, but the choil and jimping still allow you to solidly ‘lock’ the knife in your hand.



The 2015 forum knife had no blade play in any direction. I feel the Spydercrew in Golden has zoomed in on making the perfect lockback; one that works every time and doesn’t require even a tiny bit of blade play. The jimping on the hammer of the lock is a nice touch for added grip security.


Although I love my Military and appreciate that many consider it a longtime flagship of the Spyderco line-up, I think the Native 5 should be crowned the current Spyderco flagship. It’s a solid working design that features many practical design refinements; high-tech and high-performance materials, solid top-notch production, and it’s a ‘native’ of the Golden plant. I usually recommend a Delica 4 when people ask me advice for their first high-performance folding knife. These days, I’ll add a lightweight Native 5 to that advice!


Spyderco French Cook Knife vs Princess Cake

October 14, 2015

The ‘best cut of the summer’ goes to my Spyderco French Cook knife. We celebrated my daughter’s sixth birthday and that required a cake. And a cake requires cutting. My wife created this wonderful princess cake. I was happy to cut the cake together with my daughter, using this great knife.


Spyderco Dragonfly skewers plastic bottle

September 27, 2015

About a month ago, when the weather was still textbook summer, I went for a trip to the beach. Just as I was closing up the front door, I remembered that I didn’t pack a few bottles of water. I ran inside, opened the closet, found a fresh sealed-up six-pack and drew my Dragonfly. I was in a hurry and started to cut open the plastic sealing, making sure not to stab the bottles. I felt a tiny little bump where I was sure I just touched the bottle with my Dragonfly. That is until I heard a faint ‘psssshhhhh’ and a tiny fountain of carbonated water started spraying in my face. I was amazed to find that I actually pierced the bottle! Now, I was in a hurry but I was still reasonably careful with that sharp little folder. I’m sure I only touched the plastic bottle lightly. I quickly took these pics with my cellphone to commemorate my clumsiness. But man, I’m in awe of this little folding knife. That tip is sharp!



Spyderco Sprint Run Titanium Pingo Photoshoot

August 27, 2015

I don’t need to carry and use Slipit, as I still enjoy a modicum of sane legislation when it comes to carrying and using a pocket knife in public. Still, I really admire what Spyderco has accomplished with their Slipit line. They are great knives, even if you can still carry locking folders. This new sprint run Pingo with an Elmax blade, titanium handle and anodized bug logo is a nice change of pace from the existing Spyderco Slipit line.


The Pingo was specifically designed for Danish knife users, and it apparently was named after their crown prince. The lightweight Pingo folders proved to be great EDC pieces during my vacation in Denmark last year. I still like to carry one at home sometimes, when I’m looking to carry a truly lightweight folder that’s also extremely non-knife-people-friendly.


This sprint run with an Elmax blade and anodized titanium handle is a dandy little jewel of a knife. The fit & finish rival that of the older spydies made by Moki. The sprint run Pingo is definitely a very finely finished piece. The Spyderco Slipit line, so far, have been all business like EDC folders, using G-10 and FRN as handle materials. The UKPK did come in a Ti handle, but with a dull finish unlike this shiny sprint run Pingo. The sprint run Squeak and regular production PITS designs also feature shiny and more flashy titanium handles. It definitely adds a touch of ‘class’ to the Slipit line, if you’re into that.


The anodizing of the bug doesn’t cross and wrap around the spacer which is a pity. I suspect this was done because the anodizing wouldn’t stick or line up properly to the backspring/spacer. This part does move a bit when opening and closing the knife.


Titanium has always been touted as a high-tech, strong and light material. Mind you, this is a relative term. This titanium folder is significantly heavier than its FRN counterparts. This is why I really like my fluted Ti Military. With the Military, you get to enjoy the anodized titanium handle at a –to me- similar weight and feel as the G-10 original.


The knife shipped with a tiny piece of plastic stuck under the clip. That way, the handle doesn’t get scratched before you switch the clip for left-handed carry. Spyderco also added this piece of plastic under the clip of the titanium PITS folder and, reportedly, also on the titanium Squeak sprint run. A nice touch that this lefty certainly appreciates!


For me, this is a suit and tie type folder; a gent’s knife. I’ll be carrying it at more formal occasions, so it won’t see as much pocket time as e.g. my Stretch folders. I’m sure I won’t stretch the limits of the Elmax blade, but I certainly enjoyed adding this knife to my collection and I’m looking forward to its occasional carry and use.

Spyderco USN Ladybug 3 Sprint Run

August 6, 2015

I’m not a big fan of black blades, as with use they all scratch up in my experience. And I don’t mind scratches per se, but on a satin finished blade they don’t bother me nearly as much as on an otherwise black blade. I am a big fan of Ladybugs though, and I though this one was very cool looking. A little further research helped me score a fitting Victorinox Classic SD companion. It also gave me an excuse to tinker with my new image editing software. I hope you enjoy the results!






Spyderco 2014 Prototypes in Motion – Dice, Chubby, Frontier, Kiwi G-10, Lil’ LionSpy, Native 5 LTWT, PITS

July 22, 2015

This video is a little experiment with my new computer and video-editing software. I used some older footage I shot during the 2014 Spyderco Amsterdam Meet, where Spyderco presented their then-new prototypes.

If you want to see more hi-res photos and read my first impressions of these prototypes, check out the following links to my photos of these 2014 Spyderco prototypes:

Spyderco Dice protototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/spyderco-2014-production-prototype-dice/

Spyderco Michael Burch Chubby prototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/spyderco-2014-production-prototype-michael-burch-chubby/

Spyderco Ed Schempp Frontier prototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/spyderco-2014-production-prototype-ed-schempp-frontier/

Spyderco Kiwi G-10 prototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/spyderco-2014-production-prototype-kiwi-g-10/

Spyderco Gianni Pauletta Lil’ LionSpy prototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/spyderco-2014-production-prototype-gianni-pauletta-lil-lionspy/

Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight prototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/spyderco-2014-production-sample-native-5-lightweight/

Spyderco Mike Read PITS prototype: https://spydercollector.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/spyderco-2014-production-prototype-mike-read-pits/

Spyderco Stretch & Stretch 2 Comparison

June 9, 2015

I have been a big fan of the Spyderco Stretch since the release of the peel-ply carbon fiber & ZDP 189 version. This design, as well as the FRN variants and Damascus sprints, has been in my EDC rotation since it came out. I think it’s the finest utility folder there is, period. Last year, Sal Glesser shared news about a design update for the Stretch on the Spyderco forums. To put it mildly, I was very interested. My Stretch 2 finally came in last week and I’d like to share my first impressions of this updated design, compared to the earlier Stretch.


When I took the Stretch 2 out of the box, the first thing that struck me was a how great the overall fit and finish is. It’s definitely a (small) step up from my older carbon fiber Stretch. The lock-up is tighter, but the opening action is still very smooth. Unlocking the blade is a bit harder on the ‘2’, but by no means a problem. My older Stretch is well worn from years of use and carry and it unlocks a lot easier than the ‘2’.


When I compare the blades on both Stretches, it’s clear that the blade on the ‘2’ is a bit wider and tip is more rounded. I’m not sure if this is an advantage. I really like that pointy tip and narrower blade on the previous Stretch design. This allows you to easily make turning cuts in either food, or cardboard for those crafts projects with the kids.


The earlier Stretches feature a light choil with jimping that worked fine. I appreciate the jimping in the choil, not so much for grip but to let me know by touch that my finger is in the choil and not on the blade. The ‘2’ features a much deeper choil that I really like. I use the choil in 90% of my cutting chores, so a more positive grip in this area is certainly appreciated.  The pinky hook on the handle is all but gone on the Stretch 2. That too, is a feature I really liked on the earlier Stretch design. So I’m not sure I will like this upgrade. The 2’s handle is also a bit wider, to house that slightly wider blade. It does give a better grip, so that’s a plus for me.


Overall, the Stretch 2 design is a bit more straight design, than the older Stretch. There’s hardly any noticeable downward angle between the blade and handle, when you grip the Stretch 2 as opposed to the earlier Stretch. It’s a feature I really like on the older Stretch, as it makes for a more ergonomic design. So far, I’m not convinced I’ll like the upgraded version better than my trusty and beloved Stretch that I’ve carried for many years. I’ll certainly have fun carrying, cutting and testing out the new Stretch 2 over the next weeks, and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think after a proper review.


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