Review: UKPK Rescue

The Spyderco Slip-its have, up to this point, been great ‘pocket knives’. Based on the venerable Calypso jr. design, they’ve proven to be awesome slicers with very sharp tips. That also meant they are relatively thin and more suited to knife connoisseur rather than the general public. I’d love to see some more ´general public´ features in the slip-it line-up, like teeth and a more rugged blade design. Enter the UKPK Rescue.

I was pleasantly surprised in March ’08 when I got the opportunity to handle and photograph the UKPK Rescue prototype. Back then it still had a full flat ground blade, and I must admit I was a bit disappointed to see the production version sporting a hollow ground blade.  I’ve been using the UKPK Rescue on and off for about 6 months now and I must say, I like the hollow ground blade in this design.

Blade
The serrations are not too pointy and not too shallow, and the hollow grind makes them thin and screaming sharp (easy to sharpen too). I’ve been cutting the usual stuff with it, food, rope, string, envelopes, fruit, pruning plants etc… Some tougher chores included cutting up some thick cardboard boxes, helping to remove plants from a garden (cutting lots of roots in the earth), separating frozen hamburgers etc… The hollow ground blade didn’t sail through these materials like my Millie for example, but even in those chores, the ‘lock’ never ‘failed’.    

The spine is thick all the way to the sheepsfoot tip, which is still useful for about 80% of my uses. For example, with a sheepsfoot tip you can still cut out articles. The thick spine and rounded tip proved useful for scraping. I had one particular chore removing glue residue and candle wax. I just took out my UKPK Rescue, with a firm grip in around the choil area, and scraped it away without any protest from the knife.

Around Christmas time, I had a heck of a time trying to get this wooden box of wine open. It was stapled shut with those industrial-sized staples. I didn’t have my trusty Atwrench with me, so I hesitated for a while, but in the end decided to give my UKPK Rescue a try. I was careful to save the cutting edge near the tip, but the lid pried open quite easily. Afterwards, I found no damage to the blade or any blade play. I was impressed!

Handle
The handle has the same shape and materials as the UKPK line, so there were no surprises here. Just the usual great ergonomics. I did appreciate the serrations inside the choil though. I used this knife a bit ‘rougher’ than the other UKPKs, so the extra grip from the choil was comforting. My point is, when you know your knives and you know how to use them then the lack of a lock in this UKPK Rescue is not going to give you any problems.

Overall
I’d say Spyderco made the first hard-use non-locking folder. The G10 handle and thick serrated blade make for a comfortable folder that can cut, scrape and even pry a bit. The notch-joint action combined with the excellent ergonomics means that you’d have to make an effort to close the blade. Even then, your fingers are relatively safe. The screaming sharp serrations cut everything you throw at it and when they get dull, they come back easy after a sharpening session. The sheepsfoot blade is much more useful for EDC then you’d think. I always like to carry a second serrated blade for emergency use. This one is a great companion piece for my customized Urban.

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