The Spyderco Li’l Temperance folder was a watershed knife for my collecting career. It proved to me that a manufacturer, compared to a custom maker, could make a very unique and practical knife of amazing quality. The Li’l Temperance, or Li’l Temp for short, got me hooked on leaf blade designs and made me pretty much a single-knife-brand kind of guy. So when the excellent fixed blade Temperance came out, I had to get one as well. That fixed Temp did not disappoint at all. And now there’s a Temperance 2; a worthy successor to the Spyderco Temperance lineage.
I must admit that I hesitated a bit when I read about the first design plans for the Temperance 2; brown canvas micarta handle, no divots in the handle, only .5 inch increase in blade length? I think the divots are a crucial part of the Temperance concept. Handling the Temperance 2 prototype certainly did not disappoint. The feel is all Temperance. That is to say that it feels ‘alive’ in the hand.
The stock sheath that came with the knife was better than I expected. The fit is very good, it doesn’t scratch the blade and it still provides a tight fit without any rattle. The knife snaps in and out of its sheath with authority. However, the sheath is a too wide for me. The ‘footprint’ of the stock sheath is simply too big for my taste. One of the many forum discussions caused me to take a good look at the Spec-Ops line of sheaths. They offer cordura/nylon sheaths with kydex inserts that can fit a variety of knives.
The tan 5,5 inch Combat Master sheath by Spec-Ops Brand works like a charm. The kydex insert is not form fitted to the Temperance’s blade. However, the strap that secures the knife in the sheath at the handle/blade junction is adjustable. I adjusted the strap to a proper fit over the knife’s handle. Lo and behold, the blade doesn’t rattle. The strap closes tightly but a firm tug releases the snap. I also haven’t discovered any scratching of the sheath on the blade so far. The sheath is nice and compact and suits the blade much better than the stock sheath.
The construction of the Spec-Ops sheath is superb, at least on par with the Maxpedition gear I’ve used for years. It’s likely to be a better quality, but time will tell for sure. The accessory pouch is a nice feature. Stuffing it with my Spyderwrench turns it into a ready to go do-all package for my next camping trip. If I could just find a way to carry my Surefire C2 (with R5 light engine) in that package, I’d be completely covered.
The Temperance 2 handle is a departure of the 3D polymer handle of the original Temperance fixed blade. The grip changing divots and the recessed area on the butt of the handle made the original Temperance an innovative, fast and versatile MBC knife. The brown canvas micarta slabs on the Temperance 2 seems more ‘old fashioned’ and a bit ‘boring’ by comparison.
I have to admit that the micarta handle does work. It’s grippy enough for a secure grip but smooth enough to work the knife for hours. Still, I want my grip-changing divots. The Temperance 2 will work as an MBC knife, I’m sure. But the divots gave the original temperance a solid dose of ‘fighter-feel’ and prevented the knife (the trainer actually) from flying out of my hands on quite a few occasions. Then again, I suspect the knife’s design-purpose seems to have shifted from ‘MBC knife, capable of field use’ to ‘Field knife, capable of MBC use’. At least that’s my personal impression based on the increase weight, thickness and handle material. I’m sure the brown canvas will appear to more outdoor afi’s who are looking for a field knife, than the black ‘plastic’ handle of the original Temperance.
Compared to the original Temperance, the blade on the ‘2’ is a bit thicker and longer. On paper, the Temp 2 is only 0,5 inch longer than the original Temperance, but in person it seems a lot bigger than just 0,5 inch. No doubt the increased weight has something to do with that perception. The Temp 2 is a heavier knife, it feels solid; definitely a knife I can put to work.
I’ve used the Temp 2 on a camping trip this past summer, and for the past few months around the house and garden just to see how it holds up. I can tell that the Temp 2 loves to eat wood. It cut impromptu tent stakes, whittled and made kindling for a few small camp fires. I loved using the knife. The cuts were always deep and controllable. The VG-10 blade held its edge just fine all week long.
I also used the (cleaned) knife for food prep, I made many meals and a bbq with it. I can confirm that the tapered leaf blade is –not surprisingly- a fine cooking knife. The thicker and heavier blade of the Temp 2 doesn’t work as well as the thinner and lighter original Temperance. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to stow the Temp 2 in my rucksack for the next field trip. The slightly thicker blade and tip makes it –in my mind at least- a more all-round design. The bigger and heavier knife inspires a bit more confidence to me, I’m not an experienced bushcrafter so YMMV.
The Temperance 2 looks simple, but simple is good. Picking the knife up and using it makes you realize how refined the design has become over the years. The knife just plain works. I performed a few non-stop prolonged cutting tasks and the knife just kept on cutting. I never felt any hotspots in my hand. Controllability of the knife is also very good, the canvas micarta and jimping on the thumbramp did an excellent job of keeping the knife under control. Even when the knife and my hands were covered in meat, fat and juices.
The sheath could be better, the stock version is functional but for me it’s too big. The whole knife exudes that motto; no more than is necessary, no less than what is needed. The stock sheath just does not conform to that motto. I’d prefer to see the Spec-Ops sheath come standard with the knife, with a molded insert. Even with the pouch and all that cordura/nylon, it’s a much more compact package. If it can be done with the Spyderco Warrior, it could be done with this knife.
Do I have any wishes for a Temperance 3? Apart from the sheath and the divots in the handle I can’t think of anything. Even the blade length that disappointed me at the knife’s announcement is no problem at all for me anymore. The Temperance 2 is my go-to field and camp knife.