Back in 2016, I showed off this rare variant of the Spyderco C65 Chinese Folder, designed by Bob Lum. Not only is it a sprint run of this iconic design, made with a blue almite aluminum handle, it also demonstrates Spyderco’s engraving service at the time. The web pattern in the handle was laser engraved at the factory. I hope this little video helps to show off this amazingly cool design
The C65 is one of my favorite Spyderco knives, a personal classic, which is why I gave it a spot in my top 5 challenge. Although in one case, I think Spyderco -or one of its dealers- chose a handle color I vehemently disagree with ;-), I still think the Chinese Folder is a design that perfectly combines looks with function. This rare engraved C65 is certainly the grail in my collection of Spyderco Lum Chinese Folders.
Check out the specs and history of the Chinese Folder at SpydieWiki.com.
The Lum Chinese Folder is one of those designs in the Spyderco line-up that I’m really excited about. I appreciate its rare combination of amazing looks and incredible functional utility. I managed to collect most, if not all, of the variations of the Chinese Folder. So you can imaging I am very happy to come across this rare variant of the Chinese Folder!
This particular knife started its life as part of the Sprint Run Chinese Folder with a blue almite handle, and then it was laser engraved at the factory with this bug-in-the-web pattern. This engraving service, and in particular this design, was advertised by Spyderco in one of its catalogs in the early 2000s. However, I’ve never seen such a Chinese Folder ‘in the wild’.
The knife itself was in excellent condition. It looked like it was only used for opening mail or boxes until the edge lost its factory-edge. A quick touch-up on my Sharpmaker got the edge back to its proverbial hair-popping sharpness. I also brushed out the lint in the handle and applied a few drops of oil in the pivot to make this unique Chinese Folder 100% functional again.
The handle has no damage at all from use or carry, I couldn’t find any scuffs or scratches anywhere. I’m very happy to add this unique variant to my collection of Spyderco Lum Chinese Folders.
Have you seen a similar Chinese folder in the wild, or in your collection?
There are a few designs in the Spyderco line-up that I really -really- like. The three that come to mind immediately are the Delica, Ladybug, Stetch and the Lum Chinese Folder. It’s my goal is to get every varation of this model I can – that i like. The sprint run Chinese Folder with the black blade really did nothing for me so I let that one go. I did like the new carbon fiber model, so I raced to get one. With that, I ‘had’ to update my Lum Chinese Folder family photos.
I also have the XL G10 version, but I´m not sure it´s a ´fit´ with these beauties. I´m still testing the G10 behemoth. For now, these are the updated Chinese Folder pics.
I’m happy to see that Spyderco is reviving the Chinese Folder line, following their original collaboration with Bob many years ago. I really dig this Nishijin swirl pattern on the carbon fiber handle. This version is by far the lightest version of all the Spyderco Chinese Folders. The XL version is next on my wishlist. The photos don’t show the smooth and shiny polish of the handle’s surface, but it’s a high polish like the old Spyderco carbon fiber handles.
I absolutely love the Chinese Folder design by Bob Lum. Closed or open, the lines are simply stunning. What makes it even better, is that’s it’s a very functional design. The curved handle and slightly dropped blade offer great ergos, and the full flat ground leaf blade is a great cutter. Imagine my rollercoaster of emotions last year when I heard that another sprint run was released…..in foliage green.
Yes, I know the almite can get slippery. Yes, I realize there is no jimping on the spine for a better control of the blade. And yes, I also realize the knife has a ‘mere linerlock’. That all doesn’t matter when you know how to cut with a knife, i.e. point the edge towards the object you want to cut and you’ll be fine. This is a knife for connoisseurs, for people who know their way around knives; know how to appreciate them and how to use them.
You can imagine my giddy mood when I read the news of a new sprint run of Chinese folders for a US distributor last year. But by Thor’s hammer, why did they order this great classy design in foliage green?! I even heard a version was made with a foliage green handle and a black blade, but I refuse to believe that! I don’t mind foliage green as a handle color in itself, not at all. On a working knife design, I really like it. I love my foliage green Delica, Military, UKPK and I even learned to accept the foliage green G10 on the Khukuri and Barong. But why try to make the pinnacle of custom folding artistry that is the Bob Lum Chinese Folder, into an uncouth ‘tactical folder’? It’s nonsense!
My inner collector finally beat my sense of good taste and I decided to get one after all. I must say it’s nice to have a ‘minty fresh’ Chinese Folder again to add to my collection. And since I don’t care much for the handle color, this version of Bob Lum’s creation makes a fine user. Next time, make it in a nice burgundy red or purple OK?
I bought the Lum Chinese folder over 2 years ago, and you’d be hard pressed to find a another folder that is as functional as it is beautiful. Together with the Li’l Temperance, this knife is the only production knife that feels like an actual custom. Although it has fallen from production, I am sure it will become quite a sought after piece in years to come. I was looking for a pure no-compromise utility folder for EDC. The Chinese folder looked very functional with its wide full flat ground blade, and pretty too. Together with the Li’l Temp it seemed a nice combination. And it most certainly is.
I always preferred a drop point blade for general utility work. I still do, but the wharncliffe is catching up quickly in that department. Even with my newly acquired appreciation for the wharncliffe blade, the Chinese Folder still holds up with it low point and slight belly. The blade is perfect for my utility uses. The wide thin and flat ground blade cuts even when dull. The point is plenty sharp for cutting out articles and splinter removal. The opening hole is large, in the Military tradition, so even though this knife is a dedicated right-hander, us lefties can get around it. Left-handed carry and deployment (tip-up) is pretty good, and with practice it becomes second nature.
Edge holding is excellent with Spyderco’s VG-10. I usually sharpened this knife once a month, when I still carried it daily. Plus, the blade is just plain pretty! The wide subtle leaf shape with the Kanji logo (Lum = forest if my Japanese hasn’t become too rusty 😉 look carefully and you can recognize two little pine trees in the Kanji characters). The Chinese folder excels in the kitchen BTW, it’s my favorite kitchen folder. The point is fine enough to finish the meat that stressed supermarket butchers have no time for. I used to be one myself ;-). Sometimes I order a steak straight from the main piece in which it is packaged. On weekends I enjoy to perform the final cleaning (cutting away fleece and tendon) of my meat. The Chinese folder is a bit slippery in wet hands, but the blade is a great performer. Vegetables, potatoes and such are a piece of cake (to stay in culinary terms).
The handle visually complements the blade shape very well. Aesthetically the handle and blade are a perfect union. Functionally, my only complaint is that the handle lacks the kind of grippiness you get with FRN or G10, and there’s no choil to stop your fingers sliding on the blade. In that same sense, I would prefer to add thumb serration on the spine of the blade, to add a little more traction for the user. But all these things would take away from the good looks of this piece.
The almite is quite grippy at first, but the inside of a pocket changes that quickly. Handle lenght is pretty good, there’s plenty space for my average (glove size XL) sized hand, which makes up for the little grippiness issues mentioned above; plenty of leverage.
Although not of the new styled compression lock style, this linerlock is plenty reliable and definitely on par with that of the Military for example. I cannot remember any case of lock failure being mentioned on both BladeForums.com or the Spyderco Forums. From the box, the lock was almost completely shifted to the end of the tang, leaving little room for wear and adjustment. The lock was very solid though, and in six months use I could not detect any further ‘travel’ of the locking bar. Still, it looked like a cosmetic blemish, so I ventured where few Spyderknuts dare to tred: I dissassembled the knife! Well…only partly. I found a thread where someone explained in great detail how you could adjust the eccentric pivot (like in the Military and this piece). Although you void the warranty, I managed to successfully adjust the locking bar so it engaged the tang just short of the middle, leaving ample room for future ‘travel’….which hasn’t happened since. So it wasn’t necessary, but easy enough to be fun to do. Furthermore, this kind of operation gives you a feeling of enhanced trust in your tools, “hey I can fix this thing if I have to”.
The clip is of the old fashioned stamped steel variety and can be swiched around for tip-up or down carry. For a medium sized spydie like the Chinese Folder, I prefer tip-up carry IWB. I can just hook my indexfinger behind the pivot side of the closed folder and the knife pops in my hand, ready for opening. There’s just enough opening hole exposed on the clipsde, for us lefties to open the knife. I just wished the Viele had this feature; it’s just as pretty, but no way I could open that one left-handed. So Sal, if you’re reading this and were thinking of a reintroduction of the Viele (hey the Goddard and Calypso came back for a run!), please make it a wee bit accessible for us lefties.
Get this folder while supplies last, since it has been discontinued. If you’re in the market for a pretty all-utility folder, then this one is for you, especially if your right-handed. It’s pretty first and functional second, and that is not a bad thing. It’s looks add a pride of ownership and public use. If you’re planning to introduce the non-knife enthusiasts in your surroundings to a larger knife than say a Kiwi, Dragonfly or Jester, then this would be a good one. The perfect Chinese Folder? Perhaps switch the almite with G10 and use double liner so the lip could be reversed for left-handed use. Would that make it prettier though? I think not.
I’ve been using and collecting Spyderco knives for over 20 years by now. And I have settled on a few design features that I particularly like, and some that I dislike. Here’s a rundown of my favorite Spyderco blade shapes. I’m sure it’s not complete or correctly described, it’s just a personal list.
Leaf shape: they’ve become a classic because they work well for all kinds of uses, and often they’re also aesthetically pleasing. I like this blade shape a lot. My current favorites with this blade shape are the Manix 2 and Caly 3 family of knives. Classic favorites with this blade shape for me, are the Lum Chinese Folder and Lil’ Temperance folders.
Spear point: to me this is a relative of the leaf shape blade. I like it, but it also depends on the overall design to me. My favorite folders with this blade shape are the Native designs, and oddly enough to many I’m sure, the Jot Singh Khalsa. Purely as a collector piece, I’d recommend the Ed Schempp designed Euro Edge, such an impressive spear point design.
Drop point: I learned to really appreciate the drop point in the Stretch design. It is amazingly useful. I’ll admit its looks take a little getting used to, but try one out for a few weeks and I’m sure you’ll like it. My vintage drop point picks are the Wegner and Ocelot.
Bowie: I love it, but slightly more for its aesthetics than actual use. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Blackhawk and Reinhold Rhino as very practical carry folders. I can do pretty much of all my regular cutting chores with one. But that Bowie blade shape, especially in a design like the Chinook, make me ‘feel’ like I’m using a cool fighter. 😉 There’s a reason I asked Ed Schempp to create a special left-handed custom version of his iconic Schempp Bowie. It works great and looks awesome.
Clip point: a variant of the clip point is that typical original Spyderco blade shape. You know, like in a Delica, Endura, Military etc. Most people, especially when they’re more visually interested in knives than functionally, think these are ugly knives. The beauty becomes apparent in its use. There a reason Spyderco is still around after 45 years. Sure, the one-hand opening, clip carry, serrations, sharpening savvy, high quality production and good people all matter. But if this blade shape didn’t work, Spyderco simply would not have succeeded like it did. This blade shape is just plain practical. If you place your thumb on the ramp behind the opening hole, the tip becomes a natural extension of your thumb. Turn the knife over to an edge-in grip for peeling fruit for example, and you can ‘anchor’ the ‘hump’ between your index and middle finger. You get a very ergonomic grip for this cutting chore thanks to the hump. You can also easily extend your index finger along the straight spine for fine cuts. It just works really well, once you get over ‘the optics’. And once you figure that out, it actually becomes a very good looking blade shape. One downside of this blade shape can occur when a thinner blade is used. Combined with a distal taper, the tip can get very thin, making it vulnerable to breaking. But this seems to be a rare thing, especially in current designs.
Wharncliffe: looks very interesting to me, and it’s much more practical than you might think. My main office carry is the venerable Spyderco Kiwi. I also like the stylish Des Horn a lot.
Sheepsfoot blade: like the wharncliffe, it’s a lot more useful than you might think. I tried carrying a Rescue jr. for a long time and loved it a lot more than I expected. Still, I missed a nice sharp point after a while.
Hawkbill: looks intimidating, but I’m not a fan. I haven’t encountered many cutting chores that required this design. I still admire the skill needed to make folders like the Matriarch and Civilian though. I did some informal cutting tests, and a sharp hawkbill will not snag cutting through denim or clothing. At least not nearly as much as you’d suspect. For that reason, I like to keep a Cricket or Dodo around. Their cutting power is very impressive for their size.
Tanto: meh, loved it as a kid dreaming of spec-ops folders, but now not so much. I will admit the Lum folding tanto is still a beauty to behold, and with the slight curve in the edge makes it a bit more practical to me. I did learn of one interesting and peaceful use for a tanto blade shape. Back in the day, I think it was James Mattis on BladeForums who extolled the virtues of a tanto blade as a steak knife. With the right angle, only the tanto tip would touch the china plate, preserving the sharp primary edge for cutting.
Cutting chores In the end, it’s -naturally- all about the cutting chore; that determines the best blade shape. At the office, I mainly open mail and packages and cut out articles or photos for mood boards and such. It also has to be discreet because of the many non-knife people around me (before covid 😉 ) . A small wharncliffe is very useful and when you place your index finger along the spine to aid in cutting, it also obscures you’re using a knife at all to most casual observers. Now if I needed to punch a folder through hard dense materials all-day, I might favor a tanto or sturdy spear point blade. My other main cutting chores vary from limited food prep, breaking down boxes for recycling, and opening packages. A nice all round blade shape like a leaf blade shape and the Spyderco clip point, work just perfectly for that, in my experience.
What are your favorite blade shapes? Feel free to leave a comment.
Marcin Slysz is an amazing knife maker. His knives are very functional, they work great, and they have a very clean look. After the very popular Techno and Bowie designs, many fans were eagerly anticipating the release of the C211 SpydieChef. I was one of them. I finally took this knife along on a recent camping trip as my only folder, so as to give it a proper workout. The SpydieChef works as good as it looks, but I think it needs a longer blade and serrations.
EDC There is no doubt this is a really great everyday carry folder. I love the thin handle and the smooth titanium scales are great for IWB-carry. The blade shape and grind make the C211 an impressive slicer. And the positive blade to handle angle make for very ergonomic cutting; especially on a flat surface, like a cutting board. Using the SpydieChef to open packages, cut strings or break down cardboard boxes went as easy as you could imagine. The LC200N held up quite well. Even when the edge seemed to lose its shaving sharpness, it continued to cut very well. It was no challenge at all, to bring that sharp edge back again.
Folding kitchen knife I’m not opposed to using a ‘folding kitchen knife’. For many years, my go-to kitchen cutlery for camping trips have been a serrated Police 3 and an XL Lum Chinese Folder. I’m also no snob worried about ‘rust’ on these knives. I just use them, and wash them afterwards with water and soap and dry them off. When I come home, I briefly check the inside of the handle and pivot and apply some oil. I haven’t had any problem with dirt or corrosion in these knives for the past 10 years.
Kitchen performance Now, onto the chore the SpydieChef was designed for: food prep. The ergonomics were designed to excel in cutting on a board. And the entire knife is almost rustproof, with its Titanium handle and LC200N steel. The SpydieChef certainly slices and dices with the best of my regular small kitchen knives. However, with its 3.5 inch blade, it is a bit on the short side. Sure I use smaller folders for food prep all the time, in a pinch or for testing. But for a purpose-driven design like this, I’d like to see it with a larger 4 inch blade. This way, it would still also work for EDC.
Serrations Apart from another half inch of blade, I -really- missed serrations. Cutting fresh bread and rolls in the morning was an embarrassment. The C211 just couldn’t ‘grip’ into the crust while slicing. Sure, I could ‘stab’ the bread and then cut my way into a slice. But that doesn’t even come close to the fine job my serrated Police 3 usually does on trips like these.
Overall The C211 SpydieChef is an awesome folder, no doubt. It’s a great everyday carry utility folder with a few added features. You can take this folder into the water without any worries. In that respect it’s nice to have a more ‘classier’ knife option for EDC as opposed to the FRN H1 Salt series. In addition, the C211 is a very nice folding paring knife. In my book, it’s not the definitive folding kitchen knife. For that role, I’ll stick to my trusty serrated Police 3 and (plain edge) Lum Chinese folder XL. The latter is –to me- nicer to use despite the less ergonomic blade/handle angle, because of its wider and longer blade.
Check out the specs and history of the C211 SpydieChef at SpydieWiki.com.