I finally found my ultimate Spydie, the Li’l Temp with the leaf shape blade. After reviewing the Yojimbo and Paramilitary, it dawned on me that the Li’l Temp is the best compromise between a 3-inch fighting, tactical and utility folder. And in all those categories it really does not feel you are making a compromise.
The grip and point alignment make this knife an excellent fighter, although the blade could be a little thinner for that. The strong lock, solid construction, thick blade and opening mechanics make it an excellent tactical folder. The grip is much more versatile than those finger grooves would have you believe. That, and the leaf shape blade make the Li’l Temp a great utility folder. In all of these roles, the Li’l Temp is not a compromise in any way. I have used and carried my Li’l Temps since the first ones came of the assembly line in 2002. On a personal note, this knife made me forget about my Sebenza and other possible custom knives. The looks, performance and availability are -to me- better than anything a (semi)custom maker could offer. If I were to carry one folder to do it all, it would be a Li’l Temp with S30V steel and full serrations. It can do anything very well -for a folding knife- from food prep to MBC and everything in between. The green color and 3-inch blade allow it to go almost anywhere, an important consideration for a do-anything type of folder. The divots in the handle and holes in the clip are useful when changing grips for utility work, a possible practical feature for MBC and excellent for general playing and fooling around!
I now have a complete set of leaf point Li’l Temps; well I could use a pre-production prototype or concept model to round out the collection. From left to right: CPM440V PE, S30V PE and S30V SE blades. I can’t complain though; I had the good fortune of handling the Li’l Temp 2 concept model on two separate occasions. It will be even more versatile, easier to carry and more versatile. I just love that leaf shape with a ‘hidden’ full flat grind. It looks deceptively simple.
The blade’s shoulders are nicely tucked away, no exposed tang. Thick green G10 is used to house the blade and the nested liners. The cusp does not have any thumb serrations like on a Native or Military for example. The Li’l Temp does not need them for added grip security, and it makes the knife so much more comfortable to use, especially during prolonged use. The CPM440V Li’l Temp has a longer and slightly more slender blade shape. The S30V generation features blades that dive below the 3 inch mark, and come across as more ‘stubby-looking’. In my use of all three folders, I find no difference in use; for better or for worse.
The earliest Li’l Temp had a nicely finished and smooth handle. All edges were radiused, much more than on the S30V models. It makes the CPM440V version feel much thinner. The handles on the S30V models are more ‘boxy’ and use a more aggressively patterned G10. Although less comfortable to the hand, it does improve an already secure grip even more.
You can also see the evolution of the locking tab on the compression lock. The locking tabs from a CPM440V PE, S30V PE and S30V SE bladed Li’l Temp have become smaller. To me, the shrinking lock access is a solution to a hypothetical problem. The original model never even threatened to unlock when I didn’t want it to. I prefer the version in the middle in one of the pics, on a S30V PE model. The risk of unintentional closing is diminished but unlocking the compression lock does not hurt the finger. The locking tab on the last model (S30V SE) does hurt the finger a bit and my right-hand middle finger is now a bit tougher than my other fingers. Gives the CSI guys something to wonder about, that and my strangely calloused thumbs. LOL!
The clips have seen some refinement in the various production runs. The original clip featured larger holes and a brushed satin finish, my S30V PE version’s clip is more polished and has smaller holes. The final run of S30V SE Li’l Temps has an almost mirror finish on the clip. Although I like the bigger holes in the original clip, the mirror finish adds comfort, both for use and carry. Notice that the pivot on the knife on the right -S30V SE blade- uses an ordinary hexscrew versus torx screws. Furthermore, the stop pin on that knife has been hidden from view, which is a very nice touch.The pivot on that knife, though is not eccentric and blade doesn’t line up to the integral guard -when opened- as perfect
as the other two knives.