The Tuff has been making the rounds as a concept and prototype for quite a few years now. Compared to the crude concept model from four meets ago, this is a very refined design. I like the dimples much better than the more ‘spikey’ texture from last year’s meet. The fuller in the blade remains a very impressive feature on this folding knife.
Last year’s Techno was the custom knife by Marcin Slysz, this proto has been ‘spyderized’. The Techno was one of my favorites at the meet. The stubby thick little folder handled very nicely. It’s kind of like my Ti Salsa, but leaner and tougher. The knife locked up very nicely and the action was very smooth. The blade was surprisingly thick, but the full flat grind should make it a good cutter. The blue spacer makes for a nice surprise, on an otherwise ‘plain’ looking titanium integral locking folder. This one is high on my wishlist!
Another familiar blade was the Starmate. This time, it will be made in Japan. I never owned one, so I was happy to see and handle this familiar design. Overall size and materials reminded me of the Military. The Starmate seemed to have a bit more heft to it though. It’s a straight design and the blade stays pretty solid all the way to the tip.
Apparently customers kept asking for the Streetbowie, because it’s making a comeback! This prototype seemed exactly the same knife that I have in my collection. The sheath wasn’t included in the passaround, so I didn’t photograph it, but I did spot it on the table with Sal and Eric. The new sheath design looks so much better than the old injection molded version. I hope they keep that design and I’ll get another Streetbowie.
The South Fork is gearing up for production, at least that’s what I suspect judging from this factory prototype. Last year we got to see Phil Wilson’s custom South Fork, this version has been made from that example. It’s a very elegant blade and looks very practical. This will still be made with an S90V blade, and I can’t wait to put it to work. When this knife made the rounds at the Meet, I got it without a sheath – I’m not sure if a sheath has already been designed.
The Meerkat seems to be making a slow but steady comeback. After the black originals, there was a blue sprint run a year or so ago. And now another sprint run! The Meerkat is not just a novelty design to me, although you can play some fun pranks on people trying to figure out the lock, it´s also a very good user. The burgundy color looked very nice to me. I´m happy to have one on pre-order.
This cricket with a nishijin carbon fiber handle was well received at the meet. Only one side features the unique carbon fiber handle, the clipside is still the same steel integral lock as a regular Cricket. I hope this model does well enough to warrant a serrated version. I prefer my ‘hawk’s –even the small ones- with teeth.
As I had my head stuck firmly behind my camera in the lightbox by the time I was handed this beautiful slender folder, I had to search for a quote by Sal that explains the origin of the Ulize prototype. Any mistakes in this quote are my own and not Sal’s.
“A police officer in Germany (nickname Sony) had an idea to create a Spyderco knife purpose designed for the “Polizei” in Germany. He wanted a percentage of the sales to go to the families of fallen German policemen. He contacted a custom knifemaker (Ulrich Hennicke) to design and build a prototype to show to Spyderco. Uli sent the knife to us for evaluation. (Uli + Polizei = “Ulize” per Uli)
Uli is an exceptional knife designer and custom knifemaker that is familiar with Spyderco, our designs and our company. We thought the design to be worthy and we showed the prototype model at the meet last year as well as some shows. Response was good to we recreated the design for production. We couldn’t use the custom textured carbon fiber and still make the model affordable, so we opted for a black peel-ply G-10. It does have a 4 way clip. VG-10. If response is good to a production piece, we can consider other handle options.”