Review: Polliwog PE

The Polliwog has kicked the Dodo out of my pocket for sure. There I said it. I carried the Dodo as an EDC since that model first came out. It carried great as an ‘office-tactical’. The Polliwog is better for me. It carries more discreetly, the draw is more fluent, the blade shape is more versatile and I can really sharpen this non-reverse-S edge.

I had the good fortune of witnessing a tiny part of the Polliwog’s evolution, from concept model to prototype to final product. I handled a proto in 2004 and a pre-production version in 2005. Sal related that this new Eric-design was meant to be a ‘kit model’. A model the ELU could put together himself, but also customize with different handle materials and blade shapes. A Spyderco Lego kit if you will. That idea never came to fruition, mostly due to liability issues I believe.

Weight
The first thing I noticed about the Polliwog is its weight. Definitely more heft than the Dodo. But this weight seems to disappear when clipping it IWB or when you hold the opened knife. Eric did it again. How does he do that? Like the Manix, the perceived weight magically disappears during use. At least, that’s how it works out for me.

Ergonomics
The great thing about the Little Big Knives is that full-size hand-filling handle. The same is true for the Polliwog. The steel handle is contoured to keep the knife from sliding backwards and forward, while the cutouts or slots (an Eric Glesser trademark) offer gripping points for the fingertips. These cutouts work great when retrieving the knife from you waistband and during cutting. The little slots provide gripping pads in an otherwise smooth handle. The slots offer the same ‘grip’ as Spydie G10.

I like to curl my pinky completely around the little tail, and the knife stays put. Yes, the handle is SS, which is a no-no for hard thrusting moves (or even accidental ones during food prep!). But with the pinky securely curled around the tail, this knife is not going anywhere. I must add that this type of grip is kind of instinctive for me. In Iaido we are taught a similar gripping technique. Curl the pinky under the butt of the sword handle and you can safely thrust with a Boken with the Tsuba removed. The extreme blade to handle angle, make the Polliwog look like a folding Ka-Bar TDI knife. I imagine that this is how a small derringer feels.

The closed Polliwog is also an improvised Keating Stinger. Orient the closed Polli in you fist like a push knife, with the pivot end resting against your palm and the tail protruding between you index and middle fingers. The knife is surprisingly comfortable in this grip. Even when punching with it, I experience no severe pinching at all. Everything is nicely rounded and dehorned, which is also great for pocket carry. Of course you need to be a circus juggler to safely turn around the knife from this grip to open it again quickly, but I think it is a fun feature. The Dodo never worked for me as an impact tool, my hands are too big.

Arc
The blade and handle combine to make a really nice symmetrical arc. The arc naturally guides your index finger along the spine for fine point work. I would prefer the spine to be left rough, like on the Dodo. This offers a bit more grip. If not for the rough coating, I would like some thumb grooves for more grip on the spine. I can see why these features were left out though. The Polliwog in its current configuration is one of the smoothest carrying and drawing folders I own.

The blade cuts nice enough, though I would prefer a full flat grind. The drop point blade and full grip are ‘conventional’ enough that you tend to want to use this micro folder as if it were a –much larger- Native. When you do that, it strikes you that this folder is too big for such a limited blade length. Compare it to a Kiwi, and the picture changes. The Kiwi is a great utility design, but I like to complement such a knife with a stronger and more substantial knife. In comes the Polliwog.

Friendly looks
Closed, it looks like the ball will fall out. A nice feature to point out to NKP’s. The whole ‘look’ of the knife is very NKP or sheeple friendly. It looks like a Meccano kit. The small blade length and large round shapes help to further improve the Polli’s perceived ‘innocent look’. In this respect it would be great to take off the swedge and make it a full flat ground blade.

Overall
I love it, I carry it a lot, and I love to work with SS handles these days. They are so comfortable to use, since there are no hotspots. The slots, blade to handle angle, and the finger cutouts make sure the handle never gets too slippery.

What else is there? The wire clip is just right, the tension is perfect. The edge holding is what we have come to expect from VG-10. It’s not much of a food prep knife, too short. Then again, neither was the Dodo. In my mind, this is a great design for guys who like gadgets (looks) and small tactical folders. And the drop point blade with a strong tip, make it a nice utility folder. But bring along a Delica for the picnic. The Polliwog doesn’t seem to work as well for me in food prep. And if you were put off by the Dodo’s reverse-S blade, because of perceived sharpening difficulties, this is the knife for you.

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