Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2017 Photography Practice

February 19, 2017

It’s almost that time of year again, when Spyderco comes to Amsterdam to give us European knifeknuts a look at the new prototypes that are in development in Golden, Colorado, USA, Earth. I hope to be able to create a, hopefully passable, meet report again this year. A few weeks ago, I dusted off my portable photo studio and got in some practice. I usually shoot outside, so I need the practice with this portable indoors set-up.

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Photography for the Amsterdam Meet is an interesting event. It’s a lot of fun and it can get pretty hectic. Spyderco usually brings about 50 prototypes that sail by my table after 80 knifeknuts handled it. With that amazing amount of prototypes, there’s no time for me to change light set-ups, camera settings or to carefully adjust position, distance etc. So I’m aiming for more for a ‘well-oiled production process’ rather than ‘fine-tuning every single shot’. I shoot as much as I can and afterwards I puzzle which prototypes can be published and which cannot. Then I edit and upload them as soon as possible, after attending the IWA trade Show in Germany (i.e. European SHOT Show).

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I’m happy with these results. I definitely see some areas for improvement, but I think they’re better than the photos I took last year. Mind you, I have no illusion about my skills. I’m certainly no @sharpbycoop. Just an amateur enthusiast who loves Spyderco knives. Thanks for watching!

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Spyderco C98 Poliwog
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Spyderco C92TQP Kopa Turqoise
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Spyderco C114 Delica 4 Lightweight Flatground Purple

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Spyderco C81GCMO2 Paramilitary 2 Camo
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Spyderco C54GBN Calypso
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SHOT Show 2017 – New Knives from Spyderco

January 25, 2017

Last week, I visited the SHOT Show in Las Vegas and I got a closer look at some of Spyderco’s new knives for 2017. With Spyderco permission, I used my trusty pocket camera to take some close-up footage of the following knives, in order of appearance:

  • FB39GP Sustain
  • C187CFP2 Rubicon 2
  • FB35SBK ARK Serrated
  • C215GP EuroEdge
  • C170BBKP Karahawk All Black
  • C205GFBLP Lil’ Lum Chinese Folder Blue Nishijin (Sprint Run)
  • C217GS Caribbean Leaf & C217GP2 Caribbean Sheepsfoot
  • C90PBK2 Stretch 2 FRN
  • C69GP3 Lil’ Temperance 3
  • MYLS Manbug Rescue Salt
  • C11FPWCBK Delica 4 Lightweight Wharnecliffe
  • C224GP Lil’ Sub-Hilt

2017 will be another great year for my Spyderco collection and carry rotation! I’m really looking forward to many of the new releases. Judging from brief handling, the new designs that stood out for me were the Lil’ Temperance 3 (great handling and feel, reminiscent of the original), the EuroEdge (impressive grinds and gorgeous handle), Lil’ Lum with blue nishijin scales (the classy colorful handle really makes this a ‘true’ gent’s folder, much better than black G-10) and the Lil’ Sub-Hilt (don’t care much for its bigger brother, but I really like the blade grind, heft and compact size of this one). I’m sure I’ll wind up with a serrated ARK, Wharnecliffe Delica 4, Manbug Rescue Salt and FRN Stretch 2 as well though.  You know how that goes, right?

And in case anyone wonders, I don’t have any information on release dates or pricing. Thanks for watching!


Spyderco Brend/Pirela Mamba Review

December 11, 2016

The Mamba is simply awesome. Period. It is not, however, a good EDC. At least in my book it isn’t. I think this feeling applies to many Mamba owners. I think we’ll see plenty of Mamba fan-pictures online, but I doubt I’ll ever see (m)any pics of that sweet curvy black blade all scratched up from use.  

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As is the case with many new Spyderco knives, the Mamba was love at first sight for me. I knew right away this knife would be too big for comfortable everyday carry. And that blade would not excel in any of my daily cutting tasks. And yet, it’s a great design; a beautiful knife that just screams ‘hell yeah!’  And in my book, sometimes, that’s fine. Not every knife in my collection has to be a purely functional folder.

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Blade
The Mamba’s blade is all sweeps and curves, and the flipper adds a lot of ‘panache’ as well as a functional guard. The coating is applied very evenly and it’s a kind of see-through burnished black color. I think this makes for an interesting visual effect when you study the coating from different angles.

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The major downside of the blade is well-known and plenty discussed in YouTube comments and forum threads, that awful dull heel. Because of the deep plunge grinds, the hollow grinds don’t come immediately together for an edge at the heel of the blade. This results in about a centimeter of non-sharpened blade. And that’s a shame from a user’s point-of-view.

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It doesn’t really matter to me, as I appreciate those sweet grind lines a lot more than the edge. Don’t get me wrong though, this knife came very sharp from the box. I cut myself a handful of times when my fingers didn’t move out of the way fast enough, when I closed the blade.

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Lock
The action is extremely smooth. The liners are so thick, I feel it’s really more of Reeve-style integral lock than a linerlock. The lock’s ball detent is very positive, but once you move past it, the blade absolutely flies open. The Mamba is perhaps the fastest opening knife in my collection. The lock is massive and the lock-up is solid. I can’t detect play in any direction when the knife is locked. The detent is perhaps a bit too strong, but considering the size and mass of the blade, that’s probably a good thing.

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Handle
The Mamba’s handle was mainly designed by Joel Pirela and it looks stellar. It feels even better. The handle is very comfortable and ergonomic……for edge-out grips. Your hand locks into the handle like a glove, but it’s not a versatile handle that you could easily use for peeling apples, potatoes etc.… For actual utility work that requires an edge-in grip, I think you’d better reach for a different knife. The Mamba is hard to control for these types of detailed cutting chores.

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The carbon fiber looks superb, and I love the details and facets in the handle. The Mamba features stellar fit & finish work. On the downside, the handle is -to me- simply too big, thick and angular to comfortably carry in my pocket or waistband. This is one of those knives in my collection that just won’t be seeing any serious pocket time.

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Clip
The Mamba features a custom clip that is more ‘Spyderco’ than the rest of the design. It mimics the familiar hourglass shape clip we see on almost all spydies these days, but the three-screw attachment is different from what we’ve seen so far from Golden, Colorado. The clip works well though, the tension is fine. I appreciate the black bug on the shiny spring steel, it fits the design very well.

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Overall
When it comes down to it, I strongly feel that getting a Mamba is not a pragmatic and practical decision-making process to fulfill a particular cutting need. If you’re even a casual knifeknut, you’ll likely to be drawn to those spectacular features of this audacious design. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve enjoyed many an evening enjoying a movie, nursing a Talisker in my left hand and the Brend/Pirela Mamba in my right hand. As the famous YouTuber would say: ‘life is good’.

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Spyderco K11 Cook’s Knife Review

October 1, 2016

Kitchen knives are not the most popular designs for most knifeknuts. That’s understandable, as most people don’t EDC kitchen knives and these knives don’t have any cool locking mechanisms, wave features or flippers etc. And the one time that you do help out in the kitchen, that folder in your pocket is just fine right? Well, if you’ve passed on the kitchen knives because you’d rather buy yet another new tactical folder, then you’re really missing out. You see, Spyderco puts the same performance and design refinement in their kitchen knives, as they do in their more familiar folding knives. The K11 Cook’s Knife is no exception. In terms of performance and style, I’d compare the K11 to such folders like the Spyderco Kopa and the Lum Chinese Folder.

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I’ll confess that in the past, I wasn’t too keen myself to invest my hard earned money in kitchen knives when I could also get cool new folder! However, I received a set of Spyderco kitchen knives as a wedding gift and that really opened my eyes. I’ve been eyeing every new Spyderco Kitchen Knife release since. That isn’t to say I don’t also test out new folders in the kitchen, to see how they perform, but they’re no match for a dedicated kitchen knife like the K11.

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Origin
I first encountered the K11 as one of the prototypes presented at this year’s Amsterdam Meet. The story I remember accompanying this knife, was that it was designed by a Japanese maker who just left a large Japanese knife manufacturer to become an independent knifemaker. A familiar route that can certainly end very well. After all, people like Al Mar and Pete Kershaw were employees of Gerber before starting their own company.

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Style
The K11 Cook’s Knife is long and slender, a lot like the Spyderco K04. I’m sure that, empirically speaking, both knives will cut ’just as well’. Well, a Ferrari and an Audi are both motor vehicles that both perform ‘just as well’ to get you from A to B. However, I think we’d all agree that the Ferrari would be a much more exiting ride. The K11 certainly is the Ferrari in my kitchen knife collection.

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Handle
The knife handles very light. Still, the K11’s handle is much wider and more hand filling than you’d expect from pictures. The shape of the handle is kind of non-descript, it seems to fit all hands in my household very well. The handle is also very adaptable to a wide variety of grips. Its smooth texture did worry me about the risk of slipping off the handle and cutting myself. This hasn’t happened yet though.

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Blade
The blade features a very slender profile and thin edge. It came extremely sharp from the box! The first time I used the Cook’s Knife, I didn’t seem to feel any resistance whatsoever when I cut a tomato. It really felt like cutting through air. I’ve never had this experience before with a knife straight from the box. I can’t offer much information about edge holding, as I religiously use my kitchen knives on cutting boards and I wash them by hand. I only sharpen them once a year to keep the edges how I like them. The rotation between the various designs also prevents me from really testing any knife to its limits.

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Overall
The K11 is just perfect for a stylish all-round kitchen knife. If you’re considering trying out the Spyderco kitchen knives, I’d recommend trying this one. The design is very versatile and will work well for almost any kitchen cutting chore. At the same time, the K11 offers a first class experience. This is the kind of knife that performs great, but it will also give you a sense of pride and joy of ownership. A lot like that Kopa or Lum Chinese folder you like to carry.

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9/11: Fifteen Years Later

September 11, 2016

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Started an Instagram account

July 2, 2016

On most of my spare down-time moment, I’m often found messing around with my EDC du jour. It’d be easy to take a picture or two, but they  never turn out good enough to create an entire blog post around. Twitter helps, but it’s not optimal to share images. Enter instagram, which the rest of the world has embraced many years ago. I started an account there as well, to complement this page. You can find and follow me on instagram @thatspydercollector.

#spyderco slysz bowie & ti lum chinese folder today #spydercollector #knifestagram #usn #edc #clipit

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Spyderco Lil’ LionSpy Review

June 7, 2016

A few years ago, I received the LionSpy as a gift and this was a great way for me to discover this Lionsteel/Spyderco collaboration that the online knife community was raving about at the time. I’ll cut straight to it, the LionSpy will never be one of my EDC favorites, but I certainly appreciate the gift and it will remain a cherished part of my collection. Everything I didn’t like about the LionSpy, however, seems to be corrected in the Lil’ LionSpy! And the Lil’ LionSpy certainly is one of my EDC favorites!

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The main features I didn’t like about The LionSpy, as a carry folder, are its: weight, smooth surface, pocket clip and high upswept tip. To me, the LionSpy is too heavy for comfortable EDC. The knife’s handle is finished too smoothly for my taste, as I sometimes have difficulty getting a proper grip on the knife that has resulted in a cut finger or two. Furthermore, the clip is too pointy for me. It pinched my hand and tended to rip up jacket and vest liners when the knife was carried IWB.

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On the plus side, I do like the rotolock feature. It’s easily accessible and it works. I also appreciate the G-10 and titanium hybrid handle. The workmanship to meld these two different materials in one solid handle, is superb. I also liked the Elmax blade. It doesn’t stain in my uses and it keeps a good edge, and I’m still able to sharpen it again with little difficulty. The extremely rounded profile of the tip and the thickness of the blade don’t result in a very sharp tip though. However, I’m confident the blade and tip are really strong. Still, The LionSpy is not quite as good for slicing out an article or coupon from newspaper print as, let’s say, my Military. More importantly, my LionSpy is a treasured gift so that in itself makes it a really nice addition to my collection!

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Improvements over the LionSpy
With the LionSpy’s experience in the back of my mind, I wasn’t terribly enthused when I first saw the Lil’ LionSpy. That is, until I picked it up. The smaller folder shares that strong and stylish hard-use folder concept with its big brother. However, the Lil’ LionSpy is lighter, has a better clip and is easier to control. The Lil’ LionSpy is, to me, on par with such ferocious folders like the Lil’ Temperance and the original Mini Manix. Only, it’s more refined. The blade’s tip is a tiny bit tipped downwards, creating a more useable tip, compared to the larger LionSpy. Also, the pocket clip is a close copy of the Spyderco hourglass design, which makes it a top notch clip right away. The Lil’ LionSpy is just plain easy to clip on, and very ergonomic to work with. The jimping on the blade and the pattern on the G-10/titanium handle are a bit sharper compared to the LionSpy. This, together with the smaller size and weight, make the Lil’ LionSpy so much easier to control for me.

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Ergos
The smaller handle of the Lil’ LionSpy fits my hand just right. It shouldn’t be any smaller or else I couldn’t get a proper four finger grip. The roto-lock is still easy to access and operate for me. The wheel turns easily on my sample. And the lock-up, with or without the roto-lock, is very solid.

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Cutting
The knife doesn’t cut as smoothly as such dedicated slicing designs like my Caly Jr. or Nilakka. Still, the Lil’ LionSpy is no slouch. For my suburban EDC tasks, it’s an impressive cutter. Apart from performing all the mundane mail & package opening, food prep etc.…, the knife seems to beg for tougher chores. I did some mild to medium prying with the knife and the knife wasn’t affected in any way.

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Carry
The greatest downside –to me- of the LionSpy design is that rounded smooth G10 and titanium handle surface. The upside of this feature is that it makes for very comfortable IWB carry. This is the same reason I still keep a few full SS handle knives in my carry rotation, they’re easy to carry as the smooth handle surface lets your clothing slip by while you move. This can be a bit challenging if you’re carrying a knife with a rubbery handle or very sharp G10. Another advantage of those vintage Spydies with SS handles, is that they are wonderfully thin. I can carry a Spyderco Police all day and not notice it’s there. Back to the Lil’ LionSpy; it carries very nicely and it’s good and easy to draw.

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Overall
I don’t read much about the Lil’ LionSpy and that’s a shame. Perhaps many knifeknuts are put off by the LionSpy, which wasn’t very popular in the end, I think. Please reconsider the Lil’ LionSpy as it’s a very nice folder. As part of Spyderco’s Little Big Knife line, the Lil’ LionSpy is definitely up there with designs like the Lil’ Temperance and Mini Manix. I feel it’s a modern interpretation of that type of folding knife design. The Lil’ LionSpy differs from these two venerable designs in that it feels a lighter, smoother and more refined.

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