I have a soft spot for folders with bolsters. It’s probably the reason why I got all the Ed Schempp collaboration models to date. I think most of us here are attracted to the unique and ‘unusual’ (for a production knife) lines of these knives. When I got the Persian and the Mini Persian, I came to appreciate other qualities in these knives. They echo visions of knife design from an earlier era. They remind me a lot of my Al Mar SERE model (the really big one). Part of that has to do with the classic ethnic designs, the knives ‘look classic’, but it’s also in the construction and materials. These knives don’t care for space age polymers (save for the Micarta), it’s a sandwich of steel and Micarta with a heft that exudes strength to the owner. In short, holding the Kris makes me want to make those grunting noises Tim Allen used to make on the sitcom ‘Home Improvement’ whenever he dealt with a cool piece of gear. 😉
Although the Kris is no lightweight, the weight distribution was done very cleverly. Once the knife is opened and in your hand, the perceived weight is gone. The knife is very well balanced. In a saber grip, the knife points very well. It’s almost like wielding an epee or something. That awkward looking bump on the handle, forming the first wave on the bolster is –surprisingly so- not awkward at all. In the hand, it forms a natural resting place for my thumb. The balance is very nice, definitely on par with my Chinook II.
In fact, the Kris reminds me of Jim Keating’s Crossada design. It’s the closest thing I can imagine to a folding Crossada. In a standard saber grip, the Kris’ blade is actually a little longer than it really is. There’s about an inch of bolster/choil before the edge starts. For those looking for a Spydie megafolder, this is the closes thing you’ll get…for now. If you’re into the classic Bowie school of MBC, a la James Keating, then give the Kris a long hard look as well.
Choking up on the handle is not difficult at all. The choil is shallow and the hump is low, but they’re still significant enough to allow for a solid choked up (forward saber) grip on this folder.
When I roll the knife over, with the edge facing upward, I was surprised to learn how comfortable even this modified grip is. This ‘fruit peeling’ type of grip is one of the best in any Spyder I own. That hump in the bolster is a natural anchor point between my index and middle finger. More importantly the gentle curve of the handle to blade angle is just right. All corners and edges on the entire handle are beveled like a bar of soap. Even the edges of the clip are hardly noticeable. In the forward-edge-up-hammer-grip (thumb folded down on your own hand), the Kris becomes an impressive drawknife. The shallow choil is large enough to place your thumb securely for more detailed cuts with the edge up.
I got the Kris for its stunning looks. And it will not be a regular carry knife for me. It’s simply too large for my EDC tastes. Nevertheless, I did give the Kris a little pocket time over the past 2 months, mostly on weekends. I used the Kris in the Kitchen, to break down cardboard boxes and everything else that came up around the house. Once I ‘mentally’ got over the waves –it’s not a plain edge, it’s not serrated, what gives?!- the Kris worked surprisingly well.
In the Kitchen, the gentle blade/handle angle was just right for using the last wave right before the tip. The narrow double ground blade worked nicely when making corners while cutting. Nevertheless, for a true folding kitchen knife I couldn’t get enough edge on a cutting board. A Military or Jot Singh Khalsa are much better overall ‘folding kitchen knives’.
When breaking down boxes and packaging, for our paper waste disposal, the lock remained sturdy and without even the expected vertical play. I even cut a few improvised tent stakes during a short camping trip, when some of the people in our party forgot to bring enough tent stakes. The waved blade made this chore a breeze. The sticks were quickly sharpened into tent stakes, by using the center ‘hollow’ part of the edge between two waves.
After my first sharpening session with the Kris, I got curious about the cutting potential of this blade. I took several sheets of magazine paper, rolled them up into paper-tubes and secured them with some tape. I placed these paper tubes on a table top and practiced some cutting; like I used to do during my Iaido training. The horizontal cuts didn’t work, it knocked the tubes straight of the table. However, the diagonal top-to-bottom cuts, and even the bottom-to-top cuts, were very impressive. I could slice the tubes in two with the bases still standing on the table. A very fun pastime, and to me it indicated what a powerful cutter the Kris blade can be.
The Kris is a stunning piece of cutlery. I’m sure this knife will spruce up anyone’s knife cabinet. The bolster is quite intricate, and functional too. I think this knife could make a great EDC knife for those preferring traditional size and weight in their folding knives. For me it’s a bit too large. I also think the Kris has some serious MBC potential, more so than the Persian, for those people who lean towards the Bowie school of knife work. I imagine the Kris is also a no-brainer for those people involved in Asian martial arts that already incorporate the Kris, and who are looking for a ‘live’ folding knife to complement their training. I was impressed by both the intricate and versatile handle design and the wavy blade. I wonder if it’s possible to put this type of Kris blade in a smaller lighter format, like an Endura or Delica 4 handle for example?