The Spyderco Knife collection
- Credit: Archant
Paul Austin explores a few of the myriad of blades available from a company synonymous with top-quality steel - Spyderco!
As you can see below, we have a decent collection of knives to try out, but this is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the variety of knives on offer from Spyderco and their subsidiary brand Byrd.
With such a huge range, it can be a little confusing, especially as knives that appear very similar can have substantially different pricing. Ignoring special editions, this is usually due to the blade's steel composition. Spyderco offer a huge variety of steel in their knives and it's the formulation of that steel and the elements used within it that often determines the asking price.
Do you need the ultimate blade that will hold its edge forever? Probably not, but if you do opt for the slightly lower grade steel, it will mean you'll need to sharpen that particular blade a little more regularly than you might otherwise.
As for the longevity of the knife itself, I doubt you'll ever have any complaints. I've bought both high-grade and entry-level Byrd blades and the knives themselves are still as good as new in terms of overall build.
In our little round-up, we have examples of what I'd describe as pocket knives, UK legal EDC (every day carry) knives and the excellent and significantly larger Resilience all-purpose locking knife.
It's really a matter for horses for courses when it comes to style and intended application, but all Sypderco knives do share a few vital elements, not least of which are superb design, excellent build quality and great steel. They not only look the part but will also hold their edge and last a lifetime.
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Spydercos aren't exactly cheap, but they're a bargain compared to custom knives and in my opinion an investment well worth making. Without further ado, let's have a look at what Santa might have in store!
We'll start with the incredibly tiny Spyderco Bug: you certainly aren't going to be gralloching deer with this little thing, but as an EDC keyring knife it has its uses. If you work outdoors for a living and always need something at hand to cut a bit of baling string, or perhaps even paunch a bunny at a push, it's a really handy little blade.
Next up comes the Roadie: this is a much more utilitarian blade and an ideal pocket knife. It doesn't have the classic leaf blade looks of many Spydercos, but it's a solid working knife with a choil (serrated grip) on both sides of the blade that allow you to get a really solid a grip of this little knife. The back of the blade is particularly thick for its size and makes for a really tough, high-quality little working knife.
Last but not least we come to the classic Spyderco styling of the 'Grasshopper'. This really is a beautiful little pocket knife. It doesn't have any jimping (notches) on either side of the blade, so it wouldn't be my first choice for heavy work, but the stainless steel finish and lovely design make it a very stylish and unthreatening little EDC, ideal for day-to-day applications.
UK Legal Every day knives
All the classic Spyderdo-styled black knives in the round-up, including the Resilience, share the same basic design. Each (including the Bryd Tern) has Spyderco's G10 handle, an epoxy-filled woven glass fiber that is very rigid, impervious to temperature change and chemicals, and features a crosshatch design on the surface for grip. This stuff is really tough and in all the years I've carried them, neither the UKPK nor the Tern has ever shown any signs of wear and tear.
They also all share the classic Spyderco circular thumb hole for opening the blade one-handed, the exception being the Bryd Tern, which features its own trademark teardrop design. The final generic feature is the switchable clip, which can swapped over to suit both left and right handers.
Syderco blades are made worldwide and in the case of the Squeak it's Italian steel produced in Maniago. Forged from N690Co, it's high carbon with added cobalt - which means it should hold its edge particularly well.
The jimping on both top and bottom of the blade is excellent and the high shoulder on the back provides a particularly solid grip on what is a relatively small blade. The short chucky design is ideal for paunching rabbits, where close control is required to avoid damaging intestines and thereby spoiling the meat.
The Bryd Tern is a great all-rounder and very affordable. Being virtually identical to the classic Spyderco UKPK, it pretty much does it all. The 8Cr13MoV steel isn't the same grade as the UKPK, but for everyday hunting and camping applications it's a real bargain. The teardrop thumbhole isn't quite as comfortable as the UKPK, but that's unlikely to be a deal breaker for anyone looking for a high quality yet affordable entry level knife.
The UKPK Drop Point
The UKPK Drop Point is a lovely knife and has the best textured grip and lock-up of all the knives on test. The drop point blade isn't as quite as pretty as the traditional leaf shape of the original, but it does offer superior grip with excellent jimping on both sides of the blade.
The handling is improved courtesy of the high shoulder at the back that really allows you to apply some force without any fear of the blade collapsing under the pressure. CTS BD1N is one of the harder wearing steels and it should hold its edge longer than both the Tern and indeed the Resilience. A classic USA design reinvented.
The Resilience is the only locking blade on the list and something of a monster with a blade length of 10.8cm, which is even longer than the hugely popular Tenacious, no doubt one of Spyderco's best sellers when it comes to lock knives.
Apart for the increased size, it's very similar to the Tenacious, featuring an adjustable clip which can not only be swapped left and right but also either end of the knife. The steel is the same 8Cr13MoV used in the Byrd, so it will probably need a little more attention when it comes to sharpening but it's an impressive piece.
The jimping is excellent on the back of the blade and it would make the ideal knife for gralloching deer or any application where you might need extra reach with a blade. You're not going to be hacking through bone with this, but as a general purpose heavy duty folding knife with the reassurance of a locking design it's ideal. Yes, it would be nice to have CPM S30V steel, or something similar, but that would most likely double or perhaps even triple the cost. As it stands, it's a great Chinese-made knife that's unbelievably good value when you consider the overall build quality.
Understanding the legalities
The law is pretty clear in regard to UK legal EDC (every day carry) knives. Essentially you're allowed to carry a penknife with no more than a 3 inch blade. I've carried both a Spyderco UKPK (UK penknife) and its the near identical cousin the Byrd Tern for years without any issue.
Legally there are no variations in terms of a general purpose pocket knife. A lock knife for example, even with a 2" blade, is still very much illegal. Actually owning a locking knife or fixed blade isn't illegal. With such knives it's simply illegal to carry them in a public place without reason.
Good reason is an interesting point, and this is something left to the police officer's discretion. However, the government website does give examples of 'good reason' for carrying such knives. The important point from a hunting perspective being the caveat that, the knife is to be used at or part of your work.
This essentially means you can own a locking knife or fixed blade knife, and use it at home or in the countryside for a specific task - in our case hunting. Therefore, you should be able to use your fixed blade for camping or hunting without any issue. But, if you were to use your knife in a threatening or unrelated way you would be breaking the law.
When it comes to fixed and locking knives, my advice would be simple, don't carry them in public even if you have a very good reason it's just not worth the risk. Be sensible, keep them in your gun bag or backpack, not on your person or immediately accessible, until you arrive at your shooting ground. If you're seen decapitating a packet of peanuts on a garage forecourt with a massive bowie knife you're likely to end-up in clink - it ain't rocket science kids!
Supplier: Edgar Brothers
Spyderco Bug - Price: £17.30
Spyderco Roadie - Price: £66.83
Spyderco Grasshopper - Price: £25.55
Byrd Tern - Price: £35.48
Spyderco Squeak - Price: £70.95
Spyderco UKPK Drop Point - Price: £75.10
Syderco Resilience - Price: £70.12