Review: Vintage Spyderco C24 BlackHawk Folder

February 15, 2020

What’s the current SKU number for new Spyderco knives? It’s up there in the C250s right? Could you imagine a C24? That would almost have to be some sort of stone-age Spyderco right? Yes, that’s right. However, the C24 is more than just an old Spyderco. It still is a viable EDC folding knife. But there’s more. The BlackHawk offered a few features we still appreciate today. Without the Blackhawk, we wouldn’t have the C41 Native (5) or the C210CF Rhino.

I got this vintage Blackhawk from someone’s collection. The knife had seen some very light use, and appears to have been stowed away in favor of a newer knife. The overall finish and condition appears pretty much like it came from the box.  I cleaned off a little tape residue, rinsed out the handle and pivot, dried it and applied some lube. Five minutes on the Sharpmaker put this beauty back in action again.

Performance
The action is still good, but the BlackHawk requires more frequent lubrication than, say, my current production G10 Native 5. The lock-up on the C24 is still very good. The lockbar and blade don’t line up as flawless as on a current Native, but it’s still reliable and functional. Edgeholding isn’t anything to write home about, it is GIN-1, but I like softer steels. VG10 is probably my favorite steel; I rotate a lot so edgeholding isn’t a practical consideration, and it’s oh so easy to sharpen and it always cleans up looking like new. As an added bonus, the GIN-1 blade is as stain resistant as they come, without delving into LC200N or H1 territory.

Spyderco C24 BlackHawk

Clip
Unfortunately, the C24 features only one clip mounting option: tip-down. Luckily, the clip is mounted way lower than most people prefer these days. As I prefer IWB carry, it means I can easily grab and draw this folder for chores and such. The checkering on the aluminum handle is still very sharp and grabby.  Aluminum adds a bit more weight than we’re currently used to. For practical purposes, the aluminum BlackHawk feels heavier than a G10 native, but a lot lighter than a steel handled Delica.

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Proto-Native
What makes the BlackHawk especially interesting, is that it is very much a ‘proto-native’. Sure, it has a slightly upswept clippoint blade, as opposed to the Native’s spear point design. And the C24’s handle tapers down towards the end, but the Native used to have that as well. I realize that no Native has ever been made using a handle made from aluminum. However, the BlackHawk’s overall profile is -very- similar to the Native. The 50/50 coil was first introduced in the BlackHawk, and made famous in the Native (and Calypso designs).  Size-wise, the C24 is also very similar to the C41. When you hold and use the BlackHawk, it’s obvious, it feels just like a Native.

Spyderco C24 BlackHawk

Overall
The C24 BlackHawk appears to have been reasonably successful for Spyderco. It was offered between 1994 and 1997. In 2002, a small run was made using existing parts. Three years appears to be a standard lifetime for a new design in the Spyderco catalog. To date, there haven’t been sprint-runs or exclusives based on the C24 BlackHawk. I think this is a shame actually, as I really like this medium-sized trailing point design. The fine tip and curve definitely has its place in practical cutting chores. It explains the success of the current production C224CF Rhino. I can’t help thinking Spyderco was sure the Rhino would do well, due to the experience of the BlackHawk some 25 years earlier.

Check out more details of the Spyderco C24 BlackHawk at Spydiewiki.


Spyderco K11 Cook’s Knife Review

October 1, 2016

Kitchen knives are not the most popular designs for most knifeknuts. That’s understandable, as most people don’t EDC kitchen knives and these knives don’t have any cool locking mechanisms, wave features or flippers etc. And the one time that you do help out in the kitchen, that folder in your pocket is just fine right? Well, if you’ve passed on the kitchen knives because you’d rather buy yet another new tactical folder, then you’re really missing out. You see, Spyderco puts the same performance and design refinement in their kitchen knives, as they do in their more familiar folding knives. The K11 Cook’s Knife is no exception. In terms of performance and style, I’d compare the K11 to such folders like the Spyderco Kopa and the Lum Chinese Folder.

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I’ll confess that in the past, I wasn’t too keen myself to invest my hard earned money in kitchen knives when I could also get cool new folder! However, I received a set of Spyderco kitchen knives as a wedding gift and that really opened my eyes. I’ve been eyeing every new Spyderco Kitchen Knife release since. That isn’t to say I don’t also test out new folders in the kitchen, to see how they perform, but they’re no match for a dedicated kitchen knife like the K11.

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Origin
I first encountered the K11 as one of the prototypes presented at this year’s Amsterdam Meet. The story I remember accompanying this knife, was that it was designed by a Japanese maker who just left a large Japanese knife manufacturer to become an independent knifemaker. A familiar route that can certainly end very well. After all, people like Al Mar and Pete Kershaw were employees of Gerber before starting their own company.

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Style
The K11 Cook’s Knife is long and slender, a lot like the Spyderco K04. I’m sure that, empirically speaking, both knives will cut ’just as well’. Well, a Ferrari and an Audi are both motor vehicles that both perform ‘just as well’ to get you from A to B. However, I think we’d all agree that the Ferrari would be a much more exiting ride. The K11 certainly is the Ferrari in my kitchen knife collection.

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Handle
The knife handles very light. Still, the K11’s handle is much wider and more hand filling than you’d expect from pictures. The shape of the handle is kind of non-descript, it seems to fit all hands in my household very well. The handle is also very adaptable to a wide variety of grips. Its smooth texture did worry me about the risk of slipping off the handle and cutting myself. This hasn’t happened yet though.

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Blade
The blade features a very slender profile and thin edge. It came extremely sharp from the box! The first time I used the Cook’s Knife, I didn’t seem to feel any resistance whatsoever when I cut a tomato. It really felt like cutting through air. I’ve never had this experience before with a knife straight from the box. I can’t offer much information about edge holding, as I religiously use my kitchen knives on cutting boards and I wash them by hand. I only sharpen them once a year to keep the edges how I like them. The rotation between the various designs also prevents me from really testing any knife to its limits.

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Overall
The K11 is just perfect for a stylish all-round kitchen knife. If you’re considering trying out the Spyderco kitchen knives, I’d recommend trying this one. The design is very versatile and will work well for almost any kitchen cutting chore. At the same time, the K11 offers a first class experience. This is the kind of knife that performs great, but it will also give you a sense of pride and joy of ownership. A lot like that Kopa or Lum Chinese folder you like to carry.

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