Review: Spyderco C41CFF5 Native 5 – S90V & Fluted Carbon Fiber

September 22, 2018

I really like the Spyderco 40th anniversary Native 5, but I know I’ll never ‘hard use’ that knife (whatever that means these days). When this very same knife in a S90V blade was announced, I took notice. This new C41CFF5 could be a neat companion piece to my anniversary knife, one that I actually would use a lot easier.  It turns out that I liked this ‘plain’ Native a lot more than just something to have on me to prevent scratching that beautiful Odin’s eye Damascus steel of the anniversary Native.

Fluted history
This knife’s main draw, for me, is that gorgeous fluted handle. I really like its backstory, or what snippets I picked up from it. Spyderco has been working on fluted handles for years, way before the C41CFF5 was conceived. The fluted titanium Military was the first knife to come out in 2011 and the handle finish and lock were tweaked several times during production. The fluted titanium Native 5 won American Made Knife of the Year at the 2011 Blade Show, but didn’t become available until 2013. Both knives were dropped from production in 2017. Sure it’s a respectable run, but the fluted titanium knives was always only available in small quantities. Was that because of a lack of interest? Nope. Apparently, they were just extremely difficult to make, in a consistent quality and on a production scale.

Still, Spyderco wanted to pursue this fluted handle design. So they turned to carbon fiber, hoping that that would be a lot easier to work with for -again- consistent quality and on a production scale. Unfortunately, that too proved very challenging. So much so that this particular knife, was cancelled during production and the finished fluted handles were used for the limited anniversary run of 40th anniversary natives. Still, Spyderco hung on and in August 2017, the C41CFF5 fluted native was released for one production run.

To date, we haven’t seen any other new fluted handle designs. I just love Spyderco’s tenacity to keep finding a way to make the design work. I’m sure that a lots of other makers would just go with a shallow engraving of a wider stripe-pattern and call it a day. This fluting itself is plentiful, spaced very close together, deep and consistent throughout the 3D handle.

Handle
The Native’s fluted carbon fiber grip is a knifeknut’s dream; the look is unique and very aesthetically pleasing and  it actually works. It offers a wonderful grip, not too smooth not too rough; just right for this office worker’s dainty hands. The 3D machining fits my hand really well and the fluting adds just the right amount of traction for suburban EDC work. It’s just a plain awesome handle, and I wish we will see more knives with this handle design. But not too much, as I appreciate the fact that this is a rare and exclusive handle design. I also really appreciated the 4-way clip option. I can set it up as my left-handed utility folder and really use it. A nice touch is that the clip-screw holes feature polished steel threads sitting just a hair below the surface of the carbon fiber handle. The unused clip screw holes tend to disappear from my notice, in the dark fluted carbon fiber.

Blade
The CPM S90V blade on a Native 5 is no stranger to me, since it was also featured on the excellent 2015 forum knife. S90V ticks off all my boxes for practical EDC: it’s flat ground, around 3 inch long, leaf shaped, thin and stainless. I realize it’s not stain-proof, just stainLESS. Yes, I like to play with the occasional carbon steel that Spyderco offers, but it will be cladded with a stainless steel. I just like my knives to clean up nicely after work. I know, I’m superficial, but I’m the SpyderCollector after all and collectors like to keep their precioussessss in good looking order. Edgeholding is just plain boring. Trimming some vines in the yard, opening mail, pitching in in the kitchen for food prep, cutting up apples for lunch – it all just makes that S90V yawn with boredom. All I can say is that with my mundane suburban uses, the edge holds extremely well and it doesn’t stain.

Fit and finish
The overall fit and finish is simply superb. I was actually a bit surprised about it. This C41CFF5’s fit and finish is just as nice as any old-school Moki made Spydie. The opening and closing action is just so smooth, and the lock-up tight as the proverbial bank vault. The fit and finish is on a new level for Spyderco in my book. I can feel the difference between this C41CFF5 Native and the much older G10 Native I own,  which –rest assured- is just fine in the fit& finish department.

Overall
I realize this isn’t a cheap folder and with this knife’s MSRP, you’re getting into Sebenza territory. I like and appreciate the Chris Reeve Sebenza a lot, and I know many purists will point out that the Sebbie has better fit and finish than any Spyderco knife. That’s probably true. But … can you get a Sebenza in S90V with a 4-way clip, and a 3D fluted carbon fiber handle that actually fits your hand comfortably in a variety of grips?  … [mic drop] … 😉

Check out more info on the Native 5 at www.spydiewiki.com

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Grail achieved: Spyderco Lil’ Temperance 2

July 27, 2018

Every knife collector has regrets, and mine was the Spyderco Lil’ Temperance 2. Luckily, I managed to correct my youthful mistake in letting it go back in the early 2000s. Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser has said about his design: “A little Temperance is a good thing”. I think I’ve shown plenty of temperance when I waited 15 years before I got mine. Although ‘foolish’ would be a better description.

I’ve been a big fan of the original Lil’ Temperance folders, since they originally came out back in 2002. They were made in two blade shapes: the Lil’ Temperance 1, with the now familiar Spyderco leaf shape, and one in a more ‘wilder’ trailing point version – the Lil’ Temperance 2.

Back then, I thought the ‘rhino’ Lil’ Temp just seemed a bit too much. I went with the leaf blade and have been happy ever since. The Lil’ Temp is an awesome working knife, and its colored and 3D machined handle added some ‘panache’ to the design that satisfied my inner knife nerd. I went so far as to collect variations of the Lil Temp, and have been quite successful at it.

Over the years, I did start to appreciate that trailing blade shape and a little regret started to kick in. I wanted that rhino lil’ temp! One problem would be that I’m not a big buyer/seller on the secondary market. Let’s just say I don’t Ebay. Last year, one of my familiar forum friends announced a sale on his Instagram channel, and it featured a Lil’ Temp 2. Now here was a guy I knew and trusted. The sale was quickly settled.

When I received the knife, I was stoked to see the blade was marked 440V, these were made early on in production, as Spyderco switched to S30V in 2003. It was clear the knife had been carried. The blade was a little dulled, and I noticed some scuffing and bending on the clip and the G10 was worn in a few places. A quick disassembly, washing, oiling, reassemble and sharpening session brought it right back to where I liked it.

I haven’t cut much with it, just opening envelopes and breaking down cardboard for recycling. One kitchen cutting session did enlighten me about the possibilities of this blade shape for food prep. I might yet have to get that Hundred Pacer.

The knife is awesome. If there’s one advise I can give to a fellow collector; dare to go for the ‘quirky’ designs of your favorite maker, you’ll be glad you did later on.

If you want to learn more about the Spyderco Lil Temperance, then go to www.spydiewiki.com.


My Spyderco Top Five Challenge

June 13, 2018

Last year, I got called out on Instagram for a Top Five Challenge. The point of this challenge is to show the five favorite knives in your collection. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say this kind of challenge is not easy! I went at it from the angle of ‘my top five most used EDC folders’. No surprise, they’re (almost) all Spyderco knives.

Delica
The Spyderco Delica is one of the first knives I got, which taught me that great performance can be had in an affordable package. I have a bunch of Delicas and this older left-handed Delica 3 CF sprint run is a very refined representation of the design.

Caly 3
While the Spyderco Military introduced me to the full flat grind back in the day, my Calypso Jr. was probably carried and used more, because of its size. I used the heck out my Calypso Jr. since I only had like five spydies at the time. If only I got called out for a #topfivechallenge then, it would’ve been very easy! I’m hooked on the Calypso pattern and like the upgrade into the Caly 3 design. I have picked up quite a few variations over the years. This Caly 3 with a ZDP-189 laminated blade and carbon fiber handle is one of my current favorites.

Lum Chinese Folder
The Lum Chinese Folder is an amazingly stylish looking folder that doesn’t sacrifice much in utility value. It is perhaps the start of Spyderco’s series of ethnic folders. For me, the Chinese Folder is proof that knives can be useful AND pretty! This sample was a distributor exclusive I think, and it features a full ZDP189 blade and black almite handle scales.

Stretch
The Stretch is my all-time favorite utility folder by Spyderco, period. It’s got everything I like: right size, full flat grind, spot on ergonomics and it is 100% lefty compatible. It’s big enough to tackle any reasonable chore I have encountered over the years, and its profile is still compact and ‘social’ enough to carry almost anywhere. The second generation of the Stetch, the Stretch 2, is OK but I prefer the original. This Stretch with a full ZDP189 blade and peel-ply carbon fiber handle is my favorite of the line. I consider this Sal’s best design to date.

Ed Schempp Custom Bowie
This custom version of the Spyderco Schempp Bowie is the crown jewel in my collection. It is a recent acquisition and my first true custom knife. Ed made it to my personal preferences: left-handed, lightning strike carbon fiber handle, mokume bolster, cladded CPM154/S90V steel blade, and a pocket clip. The pinnacle of my collection!


Spyderco CountyComm Exclusive Tan Ladybug 3 & Victorinox Classic

April 27, 2018

I have a fascination with the Spyderco Ladybug series, and Spyderco keeps bringing out new variations to add to my collection. This tan version in H1 was an exclusive for CountyComm that came out a few years ago. I finally found the right Victorinox Classic SD to mate it to. This combo rides in my watchpocket and fulfill all my ‘tool’ needs in everyday life. The Ladybug is both a back-up knife or when I want to demonstrate the value of a good knife to a nervous non-knife person.

This particular combo will make a nice summer carry companion!


Spyderco 2018 Production Samples Overview

April 9, 2018

Thank you all for checking out my Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2018 report! For ease of browsing through all the various new knives, I’ve compiled this thumbnail overview that links to the various posts. I’ve also added this overview to the Prototypes page, where you can find my prototype photos from years past.

 


Parata, Nati Amor, Jim Ankerson/Darrin Sanders


Brouwer, Amalgam, Jonathan McNees


Alistair Phillips, Reinhold Rhino, Paysan


Techno 2, Kevin Smock, Hanan


Lil’ Native Backlock, Mantra 3, ClipiTool Rescue


Respect, ClipiTool Standard, Zoomer


Video – Various Production Samples from the Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2018

March 18, 2018
A little dessert from the Spyderco  Amsterdam Meet 2018! Just before the meet started,  I had the opportunity to take a few close-up videos of some of the knives I had photographed for my other posts. I figure these clips will offer a better impression of the knives’ sizes and how they fit the hand. The labels with numbers on the blades help attendees give feedback on these designs, on special cards that were collected at the end of the meet.

Please note, these are all production samples and I have no information on prices or availability.

This video includes, from start to finish:
1) Paysan, Peter Rassenti design
2) Brouwer, Jerry Brouwer design
3) Respect, Spyderco design
4) Nati Amor, Nati Amor design
5) Lil’ Native Backlock, Spyderco design
6) Mantra 3, Spyderco design
7) Amalgam, Brian Lai design
8) Reinhold Rhino, Michael Reinhold design
9) Zoomer, Thomas Zoomer design
10) Parata, Paul Alexander design
11) Hanan,Brad Southard design
12) Techno 2, Marcin Slysz design
Thanks for watching!

Spyderco 2018 Production Sample – Zoomer

March 9, 2018

Time for the last new knife post in my Spyderco Amsterdam Meet Report 2018! It’s always very cool to see the Spyderco Amsterdam Meets creating a little buzz for new Spyderco designs. But to have the meets help create a new Spyderco collaboration, now that’s a different type of cool. I’m proud to finally show these images of a fellow Dutchman and knife designer, the Zoomer!

I had to do a double take at the smooth handle, amazing how they can machine G-10 this smooth and this consistently. Equally impressive was the hamaguri grind with zero edge though. This knife will be shipped with an elaborate sheath with accessory pockets and a dangling loop for carry. It will be quite the package!

 

Specifications
Overall Length: 25,4 cm / 10 inches
Blade Length: 13,2 cm / 5.20 inches
Blade Thickness: 4 mm / 0.156 inches
Weight: 272 grams / 9.6 ounces