Spyderco UK Penknife: and old concept ahead of its time

October 21, 2018

I own this knife for 10 years now, and lo and behold; high-quality slipjoints are back in style these days. Lionsteel is making them, Chris Reeve Knives is making one and according to my Instagram feed, the genre is also doing very well for custom makers. Especially for designs that echo the patterns of yesteryear when a lock on a folding knife didn’t even exist. Why has this design become cool again?

Spyderco developed the UK Penknife in 2004, simply to accommodate their UK customers who were facing new knifelaws limiting the carry of locking folding knives. What made this development process especially cool, was that UK forumites helped design this knife. In return, they were offered a special engraved UK Penknife that said ‘UK Penknife design team’.

In 2008, the design was slightly refined (opening/closing was smoother) and offered in two blade-types (droppoint and leaf shape), and multiple colors G10 (foliage green and orange). That is when I stepped onto the UKPK train, so to speak. I was pleasantly surprised that this slipit was just as useful as my locking knives. And ever since, I add a Spyderco Slipit to my pocket when I’m traveling to countries with stricter knifelaws, such as on this woodswalk in the forest near Bastogne, Belgium, during last year’s vacation trip.

Spyderco has been making slipits in some form since the introduction of the UK Penknife. This year, the slipit design has become en vogue with other brands. Why? Sure, knifelaws haven’t gotten much more relaxed in the world since 2004, but I think it’s something else. I think more and more knifeknuts are discovering that they rarely ‘need’ a lock. To me, it is a special (small) kind of joy to just open, cut and close your knife without having to unlock it. Try a slipit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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Spyderco Sprint Run Titanium Pingo Photoshoot

August 27, 2015

I don’t need to carry and use Slipit, as I still enjoy a modicum of sane legislation when it comes to carrying and using a pocket knife in public. Still, I really admire what Spyderco has accomplished with their Slipit line. They are great knives, even if you can still carry locking folders. This new sprint run Pingo with an Elmax blade, titanium handle and anodized bug logo is a nice change of pace from the existing Spyderco Slipit line.

 pingo_sprintrun_spyderco

The Pingo was specifically designed for Danish knife users, and it apparently was named after their crown prince. The lightweight Pingo folders proved to be great EDC pieces during my vacation in Denmark last year. I still like to carry one at home sometimes, when I’m looking to carry a truly lightweight folder that’s also extremely non-knife-people-friendly.

pingo_sprintrun_spyderco_blade

This sprint run with an Elmax blade and anodized titanium handle is a dandy little jewel of a knife. The fit & finish rival that of the older spydies made by Moki. The sprint run Pingo is definitely a very finely finished piece. The Spyderco Slipit line, so far, have been all business like EDC folders, using G-10 and FRN as handle materials. The UKPK did come in a Ti handle, but with a dull finish unlike this shiny sprint run Pingo. The sprint run Squeak and regular production PITS designs also feature shiny and more flashy titanium handles. It definitely adds a touch of ‘class’ to the Slipit line, if you’re into that.

pingo_sprintrun_spyderco_closed

The anodizing of the bug doesn’t cross and wrap around the spacer which is a pity. I suspect this was done because the anodizing wouldn’t stick or line up properly to the backspring/spacer. This part does move a bit when opening and closing the knife.

pingo_sprintrun_spyderco_trio

Titanium has always been touted as a high-tech, strong and light material. Mind you, this is a relative term. This titanium folder is significantly heavier than its FRN counterparts. This is why I really like my fluted Ti Military. With the Military, you get to enjoy the anodized titanium handle at a –to me- similar weight and feel as the G-10 original.

pingo_sprintrun_spyderco_clip

The knife shipped with a tiny piece of plastic stuck under the clip. That way, the handle doesn’t get scratched before you switch the clip for left-handed carry. Spyderco also added this piece of plastic under the clip of the titanium PITS folder and, reportedly, also on the titanium Squeak sprint run. A nice touch that this lefty certainly appreciates!

pingo_sprintrun_spyderco_clipside

For me, this is a suit and tie type folder; a gent’s knife. I’ll be carrying it at more formal occasions, so it won’t see as much pocket time as e.g. my Stretch folders. I’m sure I won’t stretch the limits of the Elmax blade, but I certainly enjoyed adding this knife to my collection and I’m looking forward to its occasional carry and use.


Spyderco UKPK FRN Drop Point Review

April 20, 2010

The spydercrew handed out the best ‘goodie bag’ yet, at the Amsterdam Meet that was held last March. It was filled with great stuff like catalogs, a ‘challenge coin’, a Bug and even a Honeybee but the FRN UKPK Slipit was the best goodie in the bag by far. Several different FRN Slipit models were handed out. I was the lucky recipient of the Maroon drop point model, and I’ve been carrying and cutting with it for the past couple of weeks.

At the meet, Sal presented this knife and explained that this was not just a knife intended to thrive in legally restricting areas, but also to give the non-afi (afi = aficionado) a good and high performing knife. However, I am an afi and I am going to nitpick over this knife like an afi in the following paragraphs. The FRN Slipits are not available quite yet, but they should get to dealers very soon.

Lightweight
The FRN Slipits are actually named ‘lightweight’ Slipits, and that was certainly no misnomer. It’s just that us knife geeks probably like ‘FRN Slipits’ better because it tells us what material it’s made from. My G10 Slipits are pretty lightweight too, but they almost feel like heavyweights compared to the FRN Slipit. The FRN handles have no liners. The backspring and spacer stops about two thirds on the way to the clip, leaving plenty of ´free space´ for a good rinsing under the tap. In fact, the handle is so lightweight, that when you hold the knife, it actually feels a bit blade-heavy. Imagine that, a ‘blade-heavy feel’ on a 3-inch folder. It’s probably superfluous at this point, but I’ll go ahead and mention that the FRN UKPK drop point is a breeze to carry.

Handle
The ergos of this knife are great and they should be, considering the long evolution of this Spyderco handle pattern (Calypso jr., Caly III, UKPK). With the choil, the handle offers both a solid grip when you need it as well as the flexibility for quick grip changes, and those small grip adjustments you find yourself doing when you have a cutting chore that takes longer than 10 seconds.

The handle surface is a nice innovation from Spyderco. I feel this is the first attempt by Spyderco to mimic a G10 grip surface in molded FRN. It’s a pretty successful attempt too. Out of the box, the surface is almost too sharp for a comfy grip. However, after two days of pocket-carry and use, that ‘sharp’  feel dissipates and you’re left with a great gripping surface. It’s a lot like brand new G10 Spydies from the Golden factory, they too come almost too sharp from the box, but a day or two of carry takes ‘ the edge off’ to get a good grippy and consistent G10 surface.

Blade
This 3 inch drop point blade is very stout and I find myself being much rougher with the tip than my Caly III or G10 UKPK. The tip is sharp too. It reminds me of the needle tips of the Delica 3 models, the lightweight handle and hollow grind too BTW.

Cutting-wise, Spyderco was clever to make the stock thickness of the FRN Slipits a millimeter or so thinner than the regular UKPKs. It definitely boosts the performance of the hollow grind. Hollow grinds make the knife cheaper (easier to grind IIRC), and more appealing to non-afis who like the ‘pretty lines in the blade´. This knife´s thin hollow ground blade sliced through tomatoes, cheese and apples very well. It wasn’t quite the smooth cutting you’d get with a full flat grind, but it’s very close. Definitely better than a (thicker) Spyderco Ocelot, for example.

The GIN-1 steel is fine with me. It does offer less edge holding, compared to ZDP189 or S30V, but you get a very easy to sharpen edge in return. The stonewashed finish looks ‘rough’ but when you hold it in the right light, you’ll see that the finish is very smooth. It sort of looks like a mirror polished layer has been applied over the rougher finished layer of the stonewash finish. It’s a lot like the finish on the Manix 2 blade.

Action
One noticeable feature of the Slipit line is the complete absence of a lock. The backspring provides tension to keep the blade in position and it requires a forceful push to close the blade. The closing action on this FRN Slipit is much lighter than on any of my G10 models. I think it’s even a bit too light for my tastes. Not that it’s so easy to close that it’s not safe, but I’m used to more resistance and the lighter closing action on this FRN drop point Slipit still takes some getting used to for me.  The opening action is good, but feels not as slick as a Delica for example. This could be due to the fact that there are no separate washers in the FRN Slipits. The washers are molded in, as an integral part of the handle slabs.

Clip
Not much to say about the clip, apart from the fact that it’s a slightly different version of the regular wireclip you’d get on a G10 UKPK or G10 Poliwog. The clip on the FRN is finished with a brighter sheen than the regular wire clips, and they grip tighter. There is less ‘give’ when clipping the knife to my pocket. I’ll definitely bend the clip a little to make it easier to ‘clip on and off’.

Overall
There are some details on this knife that an afi might notice or even object too, but none of those aspects I nitpick over, matter in the real world of carrying and cutting with a pocket knife. Especially in my urban environment. In fact this knife thrives in an urban environment. I found this colored Slipit to be very socially acceptable. And the fact that it closes ‘just like a SAK’ makes it very recognizable and acceptable to non-knife people. The lack of a lock makes the Slipit very quick to use and put away again which is another plus in my book. I got this one as a gift, but the street price on these knives should be very acceptable. Good enough to stash a few in bags and not cry too much when you lose one. I’m definitely going to get a few more of these FRN Slipits; they’ll make perfect ‘expendable’ travel companions that perform like a Delica 3.


Bob Terzuola Slipit Lanyard Removal

November 9, 2009

I made this little walkthrough about how I removed the lanyard attachment of my Spyderco Bob Terzuola slipit folder. I filmed it with my photocamera (Canon Ixus 100) and I’m quite happy with the quality. I still think I talk too fast but I simply didn’t feel like doing it over. I’m actually quite proud of the tiny bit of flash content at the start of the clip, it’s my first attempt at a flash animation.

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