Spyderco C113 Caly 3 Revisited

July 1, 2020

I recently dusted off my trusty Caly 3 the other day and clipped it to my waistband. I admit it’s been a while since I carried this knife. You know how it goes. A new knife arrives and you just have to try it out, then another comes in and the cycle repeats itself. I try to make it a point to deliberately pick up some of the older knives this year and give them another round of EDC. That is what I did with the Caly 3 and -spoiler alert- this design can still go toe-to-toe with the latest and greatest knives.

If you’re looking for a detailed review, check out my article from 2007. I just felt like putting down a few thoughts after revisiting my G10 & VG-10 Caly 3 after a week of carry and use.

VG-10
Spyderco has really been expanding their steel selection lately, and the afi market seemed to have embraced high-performance steels lately. And that’s great. I just know that it’s not necessarily for me. I prefer stainless steels, there, I said it. I am the SpyderCollector after all. I love using and carrying my folding knives, but I also like to collect them. And my inner-collector likes to be able to enjoy his knives looking nice. I don’t mind the patina on a cladded blade, but not so much on the entire blade. I don’t mind sharpening my knives either. And with VG-10 I get all the performance I need in the suburbs, and then some. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with ZDP189, S90V, S110V, HAP40, REX45, Maxamet etc…, and I’m very much looking forward to the new SPY27 steel, but VG-10 does everything I need to do. And it’s easy to bring it back looking like new.

Perfection
After a week’s worth of carry and use, I’m simply left with the impression that the Calypso/Caly 3 pattern might just be the perfect modern pocket knife for the suburbs. It’s lightweight, extremely sharp, very practical, sized just right for practical use and it doesn’t seem to scare non-knife people as much. With that full flat grind, even when the edge is dull, the blade is so thin you can still make a good cut. The lock is ambidextrous and the clip is removable, so I get to have a great left-handed knife.    I just can’t find any objective faults with this knife. Personally, I consider the Stretch 2 to be my favorite Spyderco utility folder. Now, if there would ever come a Caly 4, I wouldn’t mind if it had that same drop point pattern blade.

Check out the specs and history of the C113 Caly 3 at Spydiewiki.com.


Spyderco C71 Salsa Revisited

May 24, 2020

The Spyderco Salsa is one of those oddball designs that just can’t get any respect. However, what many ‘presumed’ knife guys call a ‘weird design’ is often an attempt to create something new. That is no different with the Salsa. It probably was Spyderco’s first true lil’ big knives. A full sized folding knife that tried to hide in plain sight from non-knife people.

The Salsa was introduced in 2002. Looking back, it’s no surprise that it arrived when it did. Right after 9/11, many strict knife laws were introduced. Knives had to become smaller. This is a challenge for many knife makers. However, Spyderco has been working with the issue of public perception of (their) knives since the beginning. The Spyderco round hole allowed for one-hand opening as quick as any automatic. It was no accident that the blunt-tipped Mariner was introduced before the Police model. Many people thought these fast opening (and fiercely serrated) blades looked ‘scary’. The C09 Co-Pilot was introduced in 1990, and was intended to be a knife one could take anywhere, even on an airplane. Times have changed, but Spyderco never stood still. And I feel they were better prepared than most knife companies for the post 9/11 knife world.


Width for length
What makes the Salsa a little big knife to me at least, is the fact that it compensated a lack of length, with width. It sports a 2,5 inch long blade. But that blade is literally as wide as a Military. Why? Easy, it makes the knife cut better than a narrower blade. The same goes for the handle The Salsa is as substantial and easy to grip as a large folder. The Salsa actually looks remarkably similar to the famous Lil’ Temperance 1 and 2 (and 3).

Clip
The C71 was also one of the first Spydies with a wireclip. It wasn’t the fold-over type many prefer now. The Salsa doesn’t carry deep in a pocket, but that only makes it easier to draw. Also, the wireclip is much more ergonomic in the hand for use, adding to the ‘working- aspect’ of the design.

Steel
Looking back, the steels the Salsa was offered in, do not seem very spectacular. However, ATS 34 was considered a premium steel at the time. AUS-8 on the aluminum versions was understood to be a cost saving feature, but that still nothing to sneeze at – at the time the Salsa was introduced.

 

Looks
Another interesting feature of the Salsa is its friendly looks. The rounded tip, those friendly round curves, big opening hole and bright colors. The aluminum version could be had in bright blue, green or red (and grey). What else is small, round and has big eyes? Right, puppies and babies. I have no doubt the Salsa’s round shape and big opening hole were conscious design decisions. They’re functional and make the knife look like a very non-threatening tool to many non-knife people.

Overall
The Salsa truly performs like a much bigger knife, and its looks evoke a much smaller knife. The design, however, never really caught on. It enjoyed a fine 2 year production run, which is usual for many new designs in the Spyderco catalog. But it ain’t no ParaMilitary 2, in terms of popularity and sales. For the aficionado, the Salsa offers a few nice touches. The Titanium version was the second folder, after the ATR, to feature and integral compression lock, as well as a cobra hood. The profile, and feel of the handle, is almost the same as the venerable Lil’ Temperance. Another interesting first for the Salsa was its country of manufacture, Taiwan. The Salsa set up many things we enjoy today. The 2020 Spyderco catalog features many very refined smaller knives that perform like much bigger knives. Granted they aren’t as wide as the Salsa was, but the performance is there.

The Salsa is a very capable high performance tactical folder that happens to look like an unassuming pocket knife. If you get a chance to try one out, I highly recommend it.

Check out the specs and history of the C71 Salsa at Spydiewiki.com. Read my first review of the Salsa in 2004, and a little ‘classic spotlight’ article I wrote in 2014.


Spyderco FB05 Temperance Revisited

April 25, 2020

I recently found some old video from a few years ago, of my Spyderco FB05 Temperance. This is truly a classic Spyderco fixed blade design. I edited the clips together and decided to dig out my Temperance for another round of carry and use during this lockdown.

Looking back on the design, I think the Temperance was part of the so-called ‘tactical kitchen knife genre’ that arose in the late 90s and early 2000s. Internet-famous knife aficionado Joe Talmadge coined the term when he collaborated with knife designer Trace Rinaldi on the TTKK, or Talmadge Tactical Kitchen Knife. I can’t recall, nor seem to find, any detailed explanation on the design philosophy right now. But what I remember is that the compact TTKK was designed for fine cutting and slicing, with a comparatively thin edge supported by a wide full flat grind. The handle was both comfortable in use, but also secure and grippy enough for ‘tactical’ use. A multi-carry kydex sheath rounds out the package for this very sharp and practical fixed blade design. The FB05 seems to follow that design philosophy to a T (emperance?).

Blade
Spyderco’s early fixed blades stood out in the market at the time, by offering very practical compact or mid-size designs with relatively thin edges. The FB05 is no exception. This knife really doesn’t differ too much from my kitchen knives, the blade is a bit thicker, but not much. The cutting performance is amazing, definitely on par with my finest Spyderco kitchen knives.

Handle
The handle is another story in itself. It is a true 3D-design FRN handle, with divots to facilitate grip changes and a butt cap provides a very secure ‘shelf’ for your thumb. Even after all these years, I think it’s an amazing design. It’s hotspot free and extremely secure for a locked-in grip, but also able to freely change grips. You’d imagine this was some sort of huge computer designed project, right? Wrong. From talking to Sal Glesser about his design, I learned he carved this design from wood. Amazing. I can barely plan out an article from scratch in my mind! I can’t imagine being able to create such a handle design simply by whittling it out of a piece of wood.

Temperance 2
The Temperance 2 is a great design in itself, but it’s bigger and heavier than this classic. And the 2 also doesn’t feature a handle with those (in)famous ‘grip change divots’. Some people might wonder about the handle, and how far the tang goes in the FB05. I understand the tang extends about halfway into the handle. This also contribute to its lack of weight. What I gather from Spyderco, is that they’ve never seen any actual customer problems with this type of tang. Still, customers seem to prefer a more robust ‘appearance’ in a fixed blade. I figure this explains the full tang design for the Temperance 2.

Classic
If you’re looking for a compact lightweight fixed blade that is a wonderful cutter and slicer, and not just a steel axe to split wood with, the Temperance is a great design. It’s a true classic and I don’t think we’ll see something like this again.

Read my first review of the FB05 Temperance, or visit SpydieWiki to learn more about the design, background and variations of the Temperance fixed blade. If you like to learn more about the original TTKK design, I suggest checking out this excellent review on zknives.com.


No Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2020 Photos

March 14, 2020

The Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2020 was supposed to take place on 1 March, but it didn’t. The Spydercrew was prescient enough to recognize the threat of the, then new, COVID19 or coronavirus that’s making its way around the globe. On the same day the announcement was made, the first patient was reported in the Netherlands. I fully support this decision. But still, it sucks.  I was ready to go and had my photo gear all prepared and packed up. So I don’t have any photos to share of new Spyderco designs.

Before I packed my little mobile photo studio, I did a little test-run. I like to make sure everything works since the Amsterdam Meet is the only time of the year when I use that set-up. These photos are the result of the test-run. So, in a way, these are Spyderco prototype pictures. Not of actual Spyderco prototypes, but prototypes of my mobile studio. ;-). I’m looking forward to the Spyderco Amsterdam Meet 2021!


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.

Spyderco C24 BlackHawk Spyderco C24 BlackHawk

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 Steel Handles

January 13, 2020

I know, steel handles are sooo 1990 right? They’re heavy and slippery and just ‘too old’ As a handle material for folding knives, steel is not cool these days. It’s kind of surprising to see that Spyderco still carries a few steel handled variants in its line-up. As a modern EDC aficionado, I’d like to make a case for steel handles. I still see a rol for the steelhandled folding knife. They might be old but not obsolete.

History
Spyderco’s first folding knife was made with a steel handle, the C01 Worker. Subsequent models like the Mariner, Police and Executive etc… all used steel as a handle material. In the early 1990s, polymer molding came on the scene, which resulted in the lightweight Delica and Endura. The Golden company also introduced steel handle variants of the Delica and Endura in the mid-nineties. I also recall the Native 2 in all steel in the late 1990s. In the mid to late Nineties, G10 became king of the handle materials. Titanium also surfaced but it was still rare to see in a production knife. Rumor at the time had it that titanium was just too rare and expensive for use in production knives. Still, Spyderco held on to steel for some designs. In the early 2000s, the Scorpius and original Stretch came out with a steel handle or steel frame with Kraton inserts. Still, G-10 and molding become more prominent and preferred by customers. And titanium finally became a more regular sight in knifeshops in the 2010s. These days, customers definitely seem to have moved away from steel handles.

Traditional high quality
Nevertheless, Spyderco maintains a few steel handles in its line-up: Delica, Endura, Ladybug, Police, Dragonfly, Harpy – the classics. Mind you, these older designs have been tweaked and updated with boye dents, steel, lock and clip updates. These ‘traditional’ Spyderco designs are still very functional. In the early Amsterdam Meets, I recall Sal relating that it’s easier to make up a prototype or first production run in steel, before investing in a much more expensive mold for FRN handles for example. Also, I recall hearing that the type of Steel Spyderco uses for a handle is what other companies use for their blades!

Engraving or polishing out scratches
I figure most people who buy a steel handled Delica do so because they’re traditionalists who prefer a more ‘classic’ look, and more heft to the knife in use. A nicely finished steel handle also allows for engraving or embellishment; Santa Fe Stoneworks mostly use steel handles as a canvas for their stone onlays. Also, a scratched up steel handle slab can be brought back like new, with some very fine sandpaper and polishing compounds. You could maintain the finish yourself if you wanted to.

Easy to carry
However, I still see a more contemporary benefit to keep a steel handled folder or two in my rotation. They carry oh so comfortably inside the waistband. I know the objections: “steel is too heavy”. Well, how do I explain this. Many Spyderco designs weight a certain weight on a scale, but in the hand or pocket they ‘feel’ differently. It’s the same for me with these steel handled folders. The ‘big’ Police actually is easier and lighter for me to carry than a Chinook 2, Mamba or Tighe Stick for example.

Better grip than you’d think
But a steel handle is way too slippery! Well, like many things that are said online, the truth is a bit different. First, the finished surface or a brand new Spyderco steel handle, is not smooth as glass. Sure, it’s finely and smoothly finished, but there is a bit of traction when your hands are dry. These handles don’t come with a mirror polish from the box. Second, Spyderco is known for their ergonomic designs. A Police, Dragonfly or Scorpius handle has curves in all the right places. And those curved handles, combined with the hump in the blade, absolutely keeps your fingers off the edge in use. One of the biggest benefits for me, is that steel handled knives are nice and thin. Together with their smooth finish make them very easy to carry inside the waistband. I can carry a Police easier than a thicker but smaller FRN or G10 Native 5 for example. And with a Police, that’s a lot of edge by comparison. This comes especially in handy when wearing a suit and a good belt.


Spyderco C125 Ed Schempp Khukuri Revisited

December 11, 2019

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.

 

Use
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!

Check out specs of the Spyderco C125 Khukuri at the Spyderco.com website, and find out more details and background information at Spydiewiki.


Spyderco C223 Para 3 Lightweight Exclusive Review

November 3, 2019

The Para 3 lightweight was the belle of the ball at the 2019 SHOT Show. Apart from being the first lightweight compression lock, it also featured CTS-BD1N steel that got a lot of attention. Having been around Spyderco knives for some 20 years, I knew I wanted to stay away from that first edition of the Lightweight Para 3.  I like colored knives, and black usually just doesn’t do it for me. I knew that a nice colored variant, as an exclusive or sprint run, would turn up soon enough. And here it is, the red C223PRD Para 3 Lightweight, and exclusive variant for DLT Trading.

DLT Trading has quite a few Spyderco exclusives in it stable. They all feature red G10 handles and M390 steel. The Para 2, Manix and Para 3 all received this treatment. This lightweight is a first, in that it appears to be their first FRN handled exclusive. It’s still red and also features M390 steel though. It is also the first Para 3 Lightweight exclusive to hit the market. I think we’ll see more lightweight exclusives in the future though.

Trainer
For us old-timers, it’s still a bit awkward to see so many sharp red handled folders from Spyderco. For many years, red handles were reserved for drones or training knives. The Calypso Jr. & Jess Horn lightweight sprints did come before the red C223, but they had a distinct burgundy color. It really is a strikingly different shade of red, compared to the bright red FRN of the Delica and Endura Trainers. The shade of red on this Para 3 Lightweight seems lighter than the burgundy FRN we saw before and a bit darker than the FRN handle of a Delica trainer.

First impressions
This is my first Para 3 lightweight and I like it a lot. It feels -very- light, even lighter in the hand than an FRN Native and a Lightweight Manix. The lock-up is solid, and remained so during the past weeks of carry and use. The closed blade was a little off-center but that is only a cosmetic problem.

Wireclip
I’m not the world’s biggest fans of fold-over wireclips, but this one worked nicely. The tension of the clip, combined with the smooth FRN surface that interacts with the clip, made it very easy to draw the folder from my waistband or pocket. The FRN pattern is nice and grippy, but it is significantly less aggressive than on my Manix or Native Lightweights. The rest of the Para’s grip is very familiar. This is a very solid and ergonomic compact working folder.

M390
Onto the good part. M390 steel. I’m not much of a steel junkie, as I never test blades to their limits. I do like to carry, use -and in that way ‘play around’ with various steels. I loved super blue steel for its performance for example. But I also easily switch to VG-10 which is one of my favorite steels actually.  Sal Glesser explained to me that super blue makes for a ‘hungry edge’, when I related my experience with it. You see, I kept on looking for food to cut with it. M390, in my opinion, is a ‘sticky edge’.

Cutting
Whenever I start a cut, the M390 edge stay in there to finish it. The sharpness also seems to stick around M390, for a long time.  Your mileage may vary, as my knife-uses are rather mundane. My EDC-needs rarely require more than cutting envelopes, fruit, cardboard etc.… To test a new knife I creep into the kitchen to see if I can help prepare the food instead of only cleaning up after eating it.


Overall
I’m happy to have waited for this exclusive to dive into the Para 3 lightweight. Since it’s the first of its kind, I’m sure plenty of collectors will jump on this run. So don’t wait and start saving. Something tells me, there will be -many- more exclusives of the Spyderco Para 3 lightweights.

Check out specs of the Spyderco C223 Para 3 Lightweight at the Spyderco.com website, and find out more details and background information at Spydiewiki. Also, see the DLT Trading website for this and other Spyderco exclusives.


Spyderco C241 Kapara Review

September 29, 2019

The C241 Kapara’s popularity among Spyderco afi’s is, to me, easy to explain: very practical, excellent function and good looks. If you like the performance of the Spydiechef or the Stretch, you’ll love the Kapara. Also, Alistair Phillips is one of the friendliest custom makers I’ve ever met. And my Australian BladeForums friends taught me some cools Ozzie slang as well. Being a lefty, I am the proud owner of a kackhanded Kapara!

Kapara is another name for the (in)famous Australian Redback spider. Hence the red spacer. And the Redback is Alistair Phillips’ custom folder design that eventually became the Spyderco Kapara. The C241’s original design goal was for a personal carry folder for food prep. I’d say, mission accomplished!

Blade
The Kapara’s blade is made of S30V steel, which in itself isn’t anything extraordinary. What makes it special though, is the flat grind, gentle curve and the ergonomic angle it connects to the handle. It is a very thin and finely ground blade. The C241 just sails through sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. And with the positive handle angle I can keep a full grip with my knuckles clear off a cutting board. Contrary to the SpydieChef, the drop-point tip seems more practical for non-food related utility chores. It’s a bit easier for me to ‘find the tip’ when I need a precise cut, or to dig out a small splinter for example.

Handle
The handle of the Kapara offers something you can’t really make out from pictures. The solid carbon fiber handle scales are 3D rounded, to better fit your hand. Combined with the curve in the handle design, this is a very ergonomic handle.  It reminds me of the wooden handles on some of my grandfather’s tools. Simple, practical and very ergonomic. The C241 also offers some style with that carbon fiber. And the red spacer adds a little flash as well to the handle. Why is all this visual stuff important? Easy, it helps people to want to carry it and show it off to others!

Clip
Although I’m not the world biggest fold-over wireclip fan, this one works nicely for me. There is still some handle left for me to grab and draw the knife from inside my waistband. The fact that it can be switched for a left-hander, or ‘kackhander’ as I’m apparently called down under, is extremely nice!

Compared
To me, the Kapara is very similar to the Spydiechef and the Stretch. The Spydiechef is very popular with many Spyderco aficionados, probably mostly because of its striking modern looks and materials. The fact that it’s a great rust-proof performer in the kitchen adds to its reputation. Like the Kapara, the Spydiechef is designed as a folding food prep knife. The Stretch, however, has never been a mainstream Spyderco favorite. It appears only a specific clique within Spyderco community appreciate it. The Stretch has always been my favorite Spyderco utility folder. It’s just right for my EDC uses and preferences. The C241’s profile is strikingly similar while offering a slightly more dropped edge. It does lack the high-performance steel of the Stretch though.

Conclusion
What the Kapara does better than the Spydiechef, in my experience, is being a better all-round EDC knife. And what the C241 does better than the Stretch, is to look nicer. This is not a trivial matter in the current Instagram-dominated knife community. If that helps enlighten more people to the benefits of a 3,5 inch flat ground drop-point  blade with the Spyderco trademark round hole, all the better. And I do hope people use their Kapara. That’s one of the things I like best about these drop-point designs. They are generally not too fancy or ‘visually exciting’ for most people, but they just beg to be used. And in use is where you’ll find real appreciation of a knife!

Check out specs on the C241 Kapara at the Spyderco website, and see Spydiewiki for more background information. Also check out Alistair Phillips’ website to see more of his amazing work.


Spyderco Meerkat Countertop Display

June 16, 2019

My collection contains many nice knives, but some of my most prized collectibles don’t have a sharp edge. This Spyderco Meerkat countertop display is a good example. It was designed to demonstrate the Meerkat’s phantom lock. To me, it shows more aspects of Spyderco’s philosophy than ‘just to show how the new phantom lock works’. In many ways, it’s a great piece of Spyderco history.

The Meerkat countertop display definitely shows its age in the fact that it was designed to be used in physical brick and mortar stores. Yes, kids, once upon a time you’d have to physically travel to a different building in order to see and buy goods. We used to call it a ‘shop’, and it they only sold knives, we called it a knifeshop. You never knew what you might find inside. Looking back, this was actually one of my favorite parts of going to a knifeshop. Without the benefit of the interwebs, a display like this would alert your customers to a brand new product. I realize this display might have also seen use at shows, but that doesn’t really make sense to me, as you’d have a Spyderco rep right there to show you how it works.

The display features a steel bug logo, that is held upright at a slight angle by two removable stands. In the middle of the bug plate, a little shelf displays the Spyderco Meerkat. The knife is almost fully functional. Almost, because the edge is missing. The Meerkat is tied to the display on a long chain. That way the Meerkat couldn’t accidentally ‘walk away’ with a ‘customer’. The chain is long enough to clip the knife to your pocket to test it out. The lock and clip are fully functional.  Below the shelf is a little cardboard card with instructions, revealing the secret of the phantom lock. The entire unit can be taken apart into one flat package, making it easy to store or ship.

I like this display because it shows a few of Spyderco’s core principles. Innovation, since it supports a -then- brand new design with a lock nobody had ever seen before. Edge-u-cation, the primary function of the unit is to educate knife users and shop owners on the new phantom lock. Creative marketing, a secondary benefit of this display is that it is a fun way to also announce you have a brand new knife to offer. It also challenges customers to see if they can figure out the lock. Supporting dealers, it’s a challenge for many manufacturers to figure out a balance between supporting online and brick-and-mortar retailers. Spyderco has always been faithful to the brick-and-mortar stores that supported Spyderco, especially way back when Spyderco first got started.

That ‘new and wierd’ hole in the blade  and clip on the handle, not even to mention the serrations on the blade, probably needed a LOT of edge-u-cation to -and support from- dealers. It was the brick-and-mortar stores that helped make Spyderco a success before the advent of the interwebs. This display must have been made in 2002, when the C64 Meerkat was introduced. At that time, the internet and buying knives online was already happening. That makes it all the more poignant that Spyderco made this display.

Today, this display is one of the pieces in my collection I’m the most proud of. I got it from a good friend who works for Spyderco, so it also symbolizes the family-aspect that I appreciate so much from Spyderco. I haven’t seen a second one, online or offline, but I’m sure there must be a few more floating around out there. If you love Spyderco and have chance to pick one up, do it, it’s a rare piece!