SHOT Show 2017 – New Knives from Spyderco

January 25, 2017

Last week, I visited the SHOT Show in Las Vegas and I got a closer look at some of Spyderco’s new knives for 2017. With Spyderco permission, I used my trusty pocket camera to take some close-up footage of the following knives, in order of appearance:

  • FB39GP Sustain
  • C187CFP2 Rubicon 2
  • FB35SBK ARK Serrated
  • C215GP EuroEdge
  • C170BBKP Karahawk All Black
  • C205GFBLP Lil’ Lum Chinese Folder Blue Nishijin (Sprint Run)
  • C217GS Caribbean Leaf & C217GP2 Caribbean Sheepsfoot
  • C90PBK2 Stretch 2 FRN
  • C69GP3 Lil’ Temperance 3
  • MYLS Manbug Rescue Salt
  • C11FPWCBK Delica 4 Lightweight Wharnecliffe
  • C224GP Lil’ Sub-Hilt

2017 will be another great year for my Spyderco collection and carry rotation! I’m really looking forward to many of the new releases. Judging from brief handling, the new designs that stood out for me were the Lil’ Temperance 3 (great handling and feel, reminiscent of the original), the EuroEdge (impressive grinds and gorgeous handle), Lil’ Lum with blue nishijin scales (the classy colorful handle really makes this a ‘true’ gent’s folder, much better than black G-10) and the Lil’ Sub-Hilt (don’t care much for its bigger brother, but I really like the blade grind, heft and compact size of this one). I’m sure I’ll wind up with a serrated ARK, Wharnecliffe Delica 4, Manbug Rescue Salt and FRN Stretch 2 as well though.  You know how that goes, right?

And in case anyone wonders, I don’t have any information on release dates or pricing. Thanks for watching!

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Spyderco Stretch & Stretch 2 Comparison

June 9, 2015

I have been a big fan of the Spyderco Stretch since the release of the peel-ply carbon fiber & ZDP 189 version. This design, as well as the FRN variants and Damascus sprints, has been in my EDC rotation since it came out. I think it’s the finest utility folder there is, period. Last year, Sal Glesser shared news about a design update for the Stretch on the Spyderco forums. To put it mildly, I was very interested. My Stretch 2 finally came in last week and I’d like to share my first impressions of this updated design, compared to the earlier Stretch.

stretch2_spyderco_comparison

When I took the Stretch 2 out of the box, the first thing that struck me was a how great the overall fit and finish is. It’s definitely a (small) step up from my older carbon fiber Stretch. The lock-up is tighter, but the opening action is still very smooth. Unlocking the blade is a bit harder on the ‘2’, but by no means a problem. My older Stretch is well worn from years of use and carry and it unlocks a lot easier than the ‘2’.

stretch2_spyderco_comparison_blade

When I compare the blades on both Stretches, it’s clear that the blade on the ‘2’ is a bit wider and tip is more rounded. I’m not sure if this is an advantage. I really like that pointy tip and narrower blade on the previous Stretch design. This allows you to easily make turning cuts in either food, or cardboard for those crafts projects with the kids.

stretch2_spyderco_comparison_handle

The earlier Stretches feature a light choil with jimping that worked fine. I appreciate the jimping in the choil, not so much for grip but to let me know by touch that my finger is in the choil and not on the blade. The ‘2’ features a much deeper choil that I really like. I use the choil in 90% of my cutting chores, so a more positive grip in this area is certainly appreciated.  The pinky hook on the handle is all but gone on the Stretch 2. That too, is a feature I really liked on the earlier Stretch design. So I’m not sure I will like this upgrade. The 2’s handle is also a bit wider, to house that slightly wider blade. It does give a better grip, so that’s a plus for me.

stretch2_spyderco_comparison_clip

Overall, the Stretch 2 design is a bit more straight design, than the older Stretch. There’s hardly any noticeable downward angle between the blade and handle, when you grip the Stretch 2 as opposed to the earlier Stretch. It’s a feature I really like on the older Stretch, as it makes for a more ergonomic design. So far, I’m not convinced I’ll like the upgraded version better than my trusty and beloved Stretch that I’ve carried for many years. I’ll certainly have fun carrying, cutting and testing out the new Stretch 2 over the next weeks, and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think after a proper review.


More practice with the new lightbox

February 11, 2015

I was happy with my results so far, but I wanted to get more practice with the new portable lightbox and set-up for the Amsterdam Meet pictures. It helped to work out some kinks and what to look out for when shooting the photos.

Adam2015screentest4_kopa_1

Adam2015screentest4_kopa_2

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Adam2015screentest4_nativeg10_2

Adam2015screentest4_nativeg10_3

Adam2015screentest4_nativeg10_4

Adam2015screentest4_persian_1

Adam2015screentest4_persian_2

Adam2015screentest4_stretch2_1

Adam2015screentest4_stretch2_2

Adam2015screentest4_stretch2_3

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Adam2015screentest4_temperance_1

Adam2015screentest4_temperance_3


Spyderco Stretch 2 Family Photo Update

March 6, 2010

With the arrival of the FRN Stretches in VG-10 and ZDP-189, I felt it was time to update the family photos.

The FRN models are noticeable lighter, I didn’t expect the difference with the carbon fiber model to be that significant.

I really like the finer jimping on these FRN models, on the spine behind the opening hole. My samples had excellent fit and finish BTW.

Click here to read my review on the original Stretch 2, pictured left.


Review: Stretch 2

February 2, 2008

My first experience with a Stretch wasn’t 100% positive. My first thoughts were that I didn’t like the SS and the kraton inlay. Still, I wasn’t quite able to put it away. It’s been on the kitchen table for a long time and has proven itself to be a really fine knife. Still, the handle wasn’t what I like for EDC. It was kind of heavy, the kraton sticks to the pocket a bit and there was a sharp point on the handle-side of the choil that pinched me a bit in the long run. The Stretch II proto at the A’dam Meet seemed to solve all those things. The Stretch II is IMO a perfect knife for the connoisseur. Its looks might be plain, the blade might seem too thin, but for the knowledgeable knife enthusiast it’s a very impressive folder.

stretch_spyderco

Blade
The Stretch II is a very fine cutting instrument, much like a supercharged Calypso jr. The full ZDP blade is nicely polished. Much more so than other Spydies, with the exception of the original Moran. This polished finish does a nice job –in my case- of preventing the patina forming on the ZDP, and I suspect it helps the cutting efficiency. It’s also fun to see water just floating off the blade.

The blade is thin, although in my sample the edge was ground a bit thicker; 40 degrees rather than 30 or less. Still, the cutting performance is simply superb. The blade shape is very versatile. The Stretch II works just as well, cutting food on a board and breaking down boxes, as it does opening the mail, cutting out coupons or cleaning your fingernails. The blade shape and size is ‘just right’ in my book. It makes for a folder compact enough to carry 24/7, yet  it’s long enough to cut a bagel for example. The ZDP holds its edge very well, as I’ve become accustomed to with this steel. When sharpened at a 40 degree angle it just gets boring to see how long a working edge lasts.

As mentioned before, the blade offers enough curve to work on a flat surface, but the point is there when you need it for removing a splinter or cutting out a coupon. The curving spine also provides a natural sweet spot for my index finger, for precise cuts. The blade stock isn’t very thick and it tapers to a very fine tip. When I drag my thumb a bit across the tip, I can feel a little “twoing” going through the blade. I suspect that it isn’t hard to break the tip. I really appreciate this ‘delicate’ point. The knife connoisseur will recognize this knife as a cutting and slicing tool, and will take care to use it for these types of chores. In return, you get the possibly sharpest point and edge in a production folder. Don’t get a Stretch II if you’re looking for a folder for rescue work or a war zone.

stretch_spyderco_blade

Handle
The handle is thin and very ergonomic. The peel-ply carbon fiber definitely ads ‘warmth’ to the handle, compared to the SS and kraton on the original Stretch. The texture is not as aggressive as on regular Golden made G10 folders. In my book, the texture is ‘just right’; grippy enough to maintain the grip when I was cutting through 1kg of beef for a dish and smooth enough to comfortably carry and draw from a pocket. In the past month, I haven’t noticed any deterioration of this texture. It’s still just as grippy as it was from the box.

Golden made G10 folders tend to lose a bit of texture after one month of constant carry, to reach a steady level of smoother texture. I suspect that the carbon fiber is simply much harder than the extra glass filled G10 that’s used on other high-end spydies. Also, I suspect that the microscopic peaks and valleys in the peel-ply carbon fiber are either more rounded or more apart than in G10, since it doesn’t seem to attract as much dirt or skin cells.

The Stretch II is a wonderful knife to hold and it offers good purchase in all the major grips. Thanks to the carbon fiber, the sharp point near the choil on the older Stretch is much more rounded. The Stretch II certainly feels a lot lighter than the first Stretch, both in the hand and in the pocket. Despite all this gripping comfort, the handle is still very compact. The blade to handle ratio is much closer than in most other spydies. Again, the word ‘just right’ comes to mind. The thin Stretch II reminds me a bit of the Military; that knife is also relatively thin which makes it that much more comfortable to carry.

Improvement
There is one aspect of the Stretch II I don’t like; it’s the ‘step-style’ jimping on the spine behind the opening hole. I much more prefer the finer jimping you find on the Delica 4 and current production Salts. With all the experimentation in jimping styles in spydies over the past year, it seems that Spyderco settled on the D4 style jimping. Why not use it on the Stretch II? Especially when it’s used inside the choil of the Stretch II?

stretch_spyderco_clip

Overall
The Stretch II is a wonderfully designed knife. It may look understated to the untrained eye, but the materials are top notch. When you start using and carrying it, the subtle design features will become apparent. To me, all the bigger and smaller design features of this knife add up to an EDC utility folder that’s ‘just’ right’. Change the jimping and offer a full SE version of the Stretch II (I don’t mind carrying two folders), and I’ve found my perfect folder (for now at least). As is, the Stretch II has knocked my beloved Mini Manix out my pockets for off-work EDC.


Review: Stretch PE

November 14, 2004

I got this knife as a gift, so you bet this is a biased review! Still this knife deservers more attention, so here is my contribution. My first impression of the Stretch was that is was a very ‘retro’ looking knife. It reminded me of the original Civilian with its kraton inlayed handle, or the older hunter models Spyderco offered in the past. And since I am always into the ‘new stuff’, the Stretch also did not appeal to me cosmetically. Furthermore, I don’t hunt and could never imagine ever going to hunt for recreation either. So what possible use could I have for such a purpose-driven hunting design?

Now, this is a very dear gift, so just because of that this knife makes it into my top three knives that will never leave my side! Furthermore, I felt that I had to give this knife a good workout, out of courtesy as well as to find out why Spyderco would release this “old-looking” knife. Since, the knife is a bit too big for me to carry and use outdoors (for me that’s the city center of one of Holland’s oldest cities) I mostly used it indoors.

Food prep
The Stretch is a great kitchen knife, for this purpose it knocked my beloved Military, Paramilitary and Chinese folder of their crown. The Stretch has a flat grind, but the blade is much more polished which translates into a much sharper knife (by feel). There is hardly any food sticking to your blade. You will also feel the effect of this blade polish on more mundane things like string, potato chip bags and other every day stuff. The semi-skinner blade shape, allows you to bring a lot more edge to the cutting board, as compared to the Military or Chinese folder. The Stretch also has more point, compared to the Chinese Folder, which is better for cutting steaks. In my case, I used to be a certified butcher, I always ask my butcher not to clean my steaks since I enjoy to do that myself in the weekend, and I think I can do it better anyway 😉 ! Cutting-wise, this knife is the Calypso Sr., period.

 

Utility
The Stretches blade tip is thicker than the Military’s, so I used for prying and cutting the lids of heavy cardboard boxes at work, the ICT people always like to see me with a new knife. I am the only ‘suit’ in our office that occasionally comes down the ICT department to help them clean up their boxes. Well, they call it cleaning, I’m testing blades!

The serrations in the choil, coupled with the shape of the handle’s butt, make the stretch the most secure and comfortable upside down cutter of all the Spydies I own. Often you are cutting with the edge facing up, when carefully opening a package for example. This knife will do that very safely, because you thumb rests securely against the serrations in the choil. I am sure this is a typical hunter-grip, for skinning I think.

Features
So far, you have a pretty much ideal utility folder. It’s sharp, cuts well and allows for cutting on a board and a variety of other grips, such as edge-up. In addition the handle is really comfy, despite that uncomfortable looking pointy butt-end which could be a problem for people with bigger hands than my XL-sized mitts. Reverse grip (edge-in or out) is safe and comfy. In the hand, the kraton inlays combined with an SS frame works really well; it’s comfortable and secure. Although others disagree for cosmetic reasons, I really like the four-way optional clip positioning (aka “the Swiss cheese option”).

I’m a lefty and with this size knife the vote for tip up or down should fall somewhere down the middle. My personal rule is always, when the knife’s blade is three inches and under the clip should be tip-up. Four inches and bigger, and the clip should be tip-down, for fast retrieval and opening. The Stretch has an around 3,5 inch blade and works best for me in a tip-down carry mode. And another thing, for the neophytes that always complain about longer handles for shorter blades, the Stretch blade fits perfectly in its handle which isn’t a micro-inch longer than its blade, so you don’t have to worry about so-called efficient handle to blade ratio’s ;).

Improvement
One thing I don’t like about the Stretch is the way the kraton inlays feel when putting this knife in or out of your pocket.Sure, the kraton works when gripping the knife and keeping the knife in your pocket (friction), but the stuff is equally grippy when you pull it out of your pocket. Maybe for hunters who may work around a lot of fluids and grime the grip is more important than pocket carry, but for us ‘urbanites’ who are used to G10, it is not so good. Because of this the Stretch will not be my all-day carry folder. More so, because of its blade length and more importantly because it is a cherished gift I certainly don’t want to lose or damage (excessively).

My one and most important suggestion for improvement would be to replace the kraton with that ultra-grippy G10 found in the latest generation Spydies such as the Dodo and the Yojimbo. Perhaps a blue edition for forumites??!!

Conclusion
The conclusion, if you don’t mind the kraton for getting the knife in and out of your pocket (perfectly remedied by a sheath BTW), then get over the retro-look or “unsightly” clip-holes and get it! The Stretch’s blade geometry is in the same league of the Calypso jr., but only bigger and with a stronger tip.