Back in December I aimed my classic spydie spotlight on the C48 Tim Wegner. This time, I’d like to shine the ‘light’ on my C42 Viele. It’s been in my collection since 2004. To me it’s been a great stylish gentleman’s folder, with surprisingly good EDC features for a lefty like myself. The Viele never was a ‘must have’ knife for me; the opening hole was too small, the false bolster didn’t appeal to me and the entire knife just didn’t seem very lefty friendly at all. Actually handling, carrying and using the Viele, definitely changed my perspective.
I ended up with the Viele because the deal I got was just too good to pass up on; the knife was a gift. I always thought the knife ‘looked’ great but I didn’t think it would be a good user. I did clip the knife on and started carrying it and I was pleasantly surprised. This is one of those spydies in my collection that kind of got relegated to safe queen status. I just kept getting new spydies to try out and carry that made kind of forget about the Viele. Apart from the fact that the Viele lacked true left-handed ‘controls’ (lock, clip), I don’t remember having any significant complaints against the C42.
Eccentric pivot pin
Inspection of my long neglected Viele revealed that the liner had traveled almost to the opposite end of the tang. Luckily, my C42 is the upgraded model that features an eccentric pivot pin. IIRC, the eccentric pivot pin was designed by the Spydercrew to tune the fit of the lock in final assembly. Back then, production tolerances were tight but not close enough to guarantee perfect lock-up in every knife. A side-effect is that the end-line user, i.e. me, can tweak the lock after it’s worn. You can move the entire blade a little closer to the liner to improve lockup. It’s also possible to move the blade away from the lock, if you want to.
I took off the clip to reveal the pivot pin which I unscrewed about ¾ before I pushed it through to the bolster-side of the handle. Turning the pivot assembly two slight turns in the right direction, and pushing it back in the handle, was all that was needed to start the liner right at the start of the tang again. This process took me about 10 minutes. The Viele also needed a bit of sharpening to be shaving sharp again.
I carried the knife all week and used it for all sorts of mundane tasks. The C42 is a ‘straight’ design; the blade doesn’t angle ergonomically in your grip, like a Delica or Military for example. The thick rounded micarta scales improve the ergos significantly. It’s one of those knives you could work for hours and you’d hardly get a hotspot in your hand.
The Viele’s closest current spydie is the Des Horn folder. The Viele’s blade and grind is a bit thicker, and the production tolerances aren’t as tight as on the Des Horn. Still, in daily use the C42 holds its own. The Viele with its tiny belly, turned out to be a nicer paring knife in the kitchen than the Des Horn. The modern folder from Taichung is the better mail opener; that narrow wharncliffe tip makes it easier to find the sweet spot for opening envelopes and packages. The Des Horn is also lighter to carry. One major advantage of the Viele is the fact that a righty and lefty can open the knife as easily as they can operate a Bic lighter. The sharp thumb serrations stick out a few millimeters from the handle, when the knife is folded. Push against those serrations, in the opposite direction of the wheel on a Bic lighter, and the blade flies open. With a little practice this becomes instinctual and controlled.
For those looking for a stylish narrow ‘straight’ gentleman’s folder from Spyderco, the C42 is definitely a nice choice. Considering the design’s age and reputation it’s actually a quite refined choice. From a functional point of view, however, the Des Horn is the better choice. The Des Horn is lighter, has better blade steel, better edge geometry and is definitely easier to find. However, the old Viele does have a certain panache that can’t be beat if you’re a knifeknut.