A funny thing occurred to me a few months ago. I posted a few images of my old Spyderco C125 Khukuri, designed by Ed Schempp. A lot of people didn’t know what it was and some questioned its practical use. I was surprised to learn this design had been ‘forgotten’. Most critiques of the design were ill-informed judgments, based on a picture, from people who appear to mostly appreciate knives on how they ‘look’. Straight folders might look great, but they’re more awkward to work with than a folding knife with a negative blade-to-handle angle. The knife world needs more practical ergonomic designs like the C125.
When the Khukuri came out, I got one straightaway. Meeting Ed Schempp in person at the Amsterdam Meet was very enlightening. I clipped on the C125 and started conquering the many cutting chores and challenges one encounters in the suburbs! I was very impressed. You can still check out the review I wrote at the time. I will admit that new designs got the better of me, and my love of Spyderco has led me to a life of carrying new knives when they come out. I also don’t sharpen very often; I just grab a different knife. Still, sometimes I’ll revisit an older design. And the Ed Schempp designed folding khukuri felt right at home in my hands again. A drop of oil and a few strokes on the corners of the white stones of my Sharpmaker made the khukuri good to go again.
The folding khukuri is a joy to use. The blade is perfectly in line with the bones in your forearm, which makes cutting easy and controlled. The surprise is for many, is that this ‘extreme’ angled blade works in any grip. Choking up on the blade to cut out a coupon or something, no problem. Turning the blade over in your hand, for an edge-in grip, to peel a potato or apple, no problem. And it folds up great too. Trust, me the folding Khukuri carries just as easy as any other Spyderco and the ergonomics will surprise you. The only request I’d make for an improvement is a thinner handle design. Ed’s customs are wonderfully thin, and feature beautiful damascus steel of course.
Looks vs Use
It’s great to see so many new knifecollectors and aficionados coming out. Social media channels like Instagram and Facebook have helped spread our wonderful hobby in amazing ways. However, as a “grumpy old man”, I notice that these visually-driven platforms have a logical disadvantage. Many new knife collectors tend to focus more on ‘looks’ (and likes of course), than the practical use of the knife. So, when Spyderco makes a ‘weird’ looking knife, try to keep an open mind. Don’t judge it in a second on its looks and scroll away. Imagine holding it in your hand and how it would fit and work. Try to check one out at a shop or show too. Remember, Spyderco knives are usually designed in the dark!