Spyderco 2016 Production Prototype – Meadowlark 2 Titanium

March 14, 2016

If you like the Spyderco Delica but you prefer a 50/50 choil, then the Byrd Meadowlark would be a good candidate. You’re not sure of this ‘budget-line’ of Spyderco designed knives? Well, this one sports some groovy titanium scales and the fit and finish is very –very- good. I was honestly impressed with the build-quality of these Byrd knives.

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Specifications
Overall Length: 17,6 cm / 6.93 inches
Blade Length: 7,6 cm / 2.98 inches
Blade Thickness: 2,5 mm / 0.09 inches
Weight: 79 grams / 2.8 ounces

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 Chaparral Titanium Stepped into my Collection

June 22, 2014

The Spyderco Chaparral ‘3’ with its stepped titanium handle is the most expensive (MSRP) spydie so far, so this one won’t be a big hit with folks looking for a simple hard working knife. Still, it’s a very striking design and I’m very pleased with it. There has been plenty of discussion about this model being overpriced etc… I won’t get into that, but I will predict that in a couple of years a -lot- of collectors will lament not getting one for this price when they could. The Chaparral ‘3’ is bound to become a ‘grail’ knife for many.

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The fit and finish are simply superb; I couldn’t detect any flaws on the steps or any other part of the knife. The Chaparral opens smoothly and locks up tight, the edge came very sharp from the box and the clip was easy to switch. Basically, it’s a really nice gent’s folder and a great utility EDC folder. The Chaparral makes for a superb universal opener and a limited food prep knife. Function-wise it’s just as nice as my ‘titanium stealth Chaparral’, that I reviewed in more detail back in 2012.

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Handle pattern
As is obvious from the photos, the handle pattern features an intricate design of tiny steps. I understand it takes a lot of fairly complicated machining, and the design took quite some time to develop. Spyderco apparently can only make about 10 per day, so the stepped titanium Chaparral is not going to be widely available at dealers. What impresses me is that there are no curved lines in the handle. All the machining is done with straight cuts.

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Escher
The steps in the Chaparral’s handle remind me of the art by M.C. Escher who, apart from having the best initials ever for rap battles with fellow artists, was a Dutchmen like me. So I carry this little gem with a bit of extra pride. The wow-factor of the design is simply off the charts. The Chaparral stepped titanium is currently the best conversation piece in my collection and it’s the best liked knife by the non-knife people I know. That is, until they hear of the price, or rather my unwillingness to share the actual price when they ask. You’ve been there, right?

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Obsession
As much as I love my spydies, I totally ‘get’ the obsession fellow spyderknuts have with custom knives or mid-techs like the excellent Sebenza by Chris Reeve. Whenever I get that urge, I just clip on the Chaparral ‘3’ and I’m good, knowing that this is a much more ergonomic design with the best opening device for folding knives, the Spyderco opening hole.

Click here to see photos, video and information on the Stepped Titanium Chaparral 2013 prototype.


Spyderco Chaparral Titan Stealth Review

September 27, 2012

I know I can be a superficial kind of knifeknut. I can easily be attracted to knives with mere gizmos and cosmetic features, as opposed to pure performance designs. The Titan Stealth prototype I handled at the Amsterdam Meet was one of those new designs that instantly pressed the ‘want’ button in my brain, which is located slightly behind the knife shop detector. The production version certainly did not disappoint. Apart from its striking looks, this Chaparral is a really nice user too. I suppose those of you that own the carbon fiber Chaparral already know that.

The facets on the titanium handle are very shallow. They’re actually not that noticeable when using or carrying the knife. I have to pay attention to notice them; the surface remains very smooth to the touch. The Titan Stealth Chaparral feels very much like a regular stainless steel handled spydie.

Fit and finish
Fit and finish on my sample are superb, I can’t detect any flaw in this respect. In the close-up pics you’ll notice ridges or lines in the facets. I don’t really notice those ridges when handling or using the knife. It’s definitely not a feature that helps add traction to the handle’s surface, for example. In that regard it’s very much like regular SS handled Spyderco folding knives. The high level of F&F extends to the inside of the knife too. I was surprised to find only very clean and highly polished surfaces inside the handle. The inside of a folder’s handle is usually not that nicely finished.

Lightweight
One thing I really like about this titanium spydie is that it’s a real lightweight. The Ti Military and Ti UKPK are great knives, but they are definitely heavier than I would have expected for a Ti knife. The Chaparral is, in my opinion, a true lightweight. The knife is as light as you’d imagine a small titanium handled folder to be.

Clip
One of the first things I, as a lefty, look at when handling a new knife is how easy it is to change the clip for left-handed carry. The Titan Stealth scored a lot of points in this respect.  A few turns with the right sized torx driver released the screw holding down the wireclip. Fitting the clip to the ‘right’ side of the handle was as easy as screwing down the proper screw. I have experienced a lot more trouble with many wireclips on UKPK models, to the point of having to disassemble the entire knife (the backspring on the UKPK is the culprit, it exerts a lot of pressure on the clip screws).

Most Spyderco wireclip assemblies consist of three parts, a clip and two screws that screw into each other to tighten the clip onto the handle. The wireclip assembly on the titanium Chaparral is made up of four parts: a clip, two identical short screws and a threaded bushing. The threaded bushing was loctited tightly into place and didn’t (need to) come loose.

The two screws did seem a bit short to me. They’re definitely shorter than the clip screws on a Delica, Endura or Stretch etc… Theoretically, I can imagine these shorter screws would be more prone to loosening and falling out. Time will tell if this is a real world concern or just an imaginary risk.

Use
This is my first Chaparral. I wasn’t attracted to the carbon fiber premiere of this model. I have a very nice Michael Walker Sprint Run that fits my inventory for a ‘small user in Carbon Fiber’ really well. I didn’t feel the first Chaparral could improve on that design for me. The titanium handle design attracted me to this edition of the Chaparral design, and the Chaparral has proven to be a really fine user. The Chaparral looks, feels and cuts very much like my leaf blade Urban. The Titan Stealth does seem to be a little thinner than my Urban. The 2 mm thick blade also seems to slice a bit better.

One of my minor gripes with the otherwise excellent Taichung made knives is the jimping. I think the maker uses a grinding wheel to cut the jimping in the blade’s spine. I prefer laser-cut sharp jimping on the spine of a blade, like on the Delica 4. I will admit that the jimping on my sample of the Chaparral 2 is sharper than on my PPT and Sage knives. However, the jimping still isn’t as sharp as I prefer. I could definitely do without the jimping inside the choil for 90 per cent of my cutting chores. It does come in handy when using the knife edge-up though.

This is my first Spyderco that uses CTS-XHP steel. For the past two weeks or so, it hasn’t needed sharpening, but I touched it up anyway on the white stones of my Sharpmaker. It seems to sharpen easy enough, and it has also proven to be pretty stain/rustproof. I used the Ti Chaparral as an EDC pocketknife and paring knife in the kitchen. The thin full flat ground blade is a great performer. Envelopes, packages, cardboard boxes, apples, carrots, meat and cucumbers proved to be no challenge for the Chaparral. The blade is a bit short and not really suitable for food prep. I used the Chaparral in the kitchen mainly to get more use out of the knife for this review over the past few weeks.

I noticed that the blade doesn’t seem to have the infamous vertical bladeplay in Spyderco lockbacks or midlocks. I broke down a few cardboard boxes, a chore that typically reveals this bladeplay in my spydies. I didn’t notice any play with the Titan Stealth. It could still reveal itself later on in use. I’ve only had this knife for about two weeks.

Overall
The Chaparral Titan Stealth works for me both as a gent’s knife in a suit and a cool EDC in jeans etc… Non-knife people also took a liking to its looks, the titanium facets look ‘cool’ and ‘pretty’ to them (and me too BTW). It definitely took a minute or so longer than usual to get my knife back from them. If it wasn’t obvious by now, I really like this small folder. Its size, design and F&F make it a folder I really want to use a lot. My Michael Walker definitely has some competition in the ‘cool small folding slicer’ category of my collection.