Spyderco White One-Eyed Jack Folder Knife Review

The beginning of this company as we currently think of it began way back in 1976, when inventor Sal Glesser created his first product after he couldn’t find a job. Surprisingly enough, for such a knife empire, the first product wasn’t even a knife—it was something called the Portable hand. This strange-looking device was created for people such as jewelers and hobbyists to work with small parts because it would hold those items in place, which give the people both of their hands free for other parts of their projects. This product had a unique look, and bore a striking resemblance to a spider, which is where the name of the company stemmed from.

Kenneth T Delavigne wrote a book called Spyderco Story: The New Shape of Sharp in which he says,

“The name Spyderco and the mascot Spider that became embodied in the company’s logo were derived from the word “spyder”, which represented two things: the spiderlike shape of the Portable Hand (Sal’s first patented invention) and the designation some European automakers gave to high performance roadsters. High performance, then and now, was what Sal wanted to provide in whatever products he sold.”


It was with this first product that Spyderco came to exists. Because of the success of the Portable Hand, Sal Glesser and his wife, Gail, would travel to trade shows in a converted bread truck. They settled in Colorado in 1978. Around the same time that he was traveling and selling the Portable Hand, Glesser was also inventing the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, which was successful enough to fund some of the development on other projects.

It wasn’t until 1981 that Spyderco released their first knife, called the C01 Worker. Not only was it the first Spyderco knife, but it was also the first knife that featured the round hole for ambidextrous and one-handed opening and the first folder to use the clothing clip. This was the knife that really set the new standard for pocket knives in our current day and age.

To create the knife that everybody wanted, Glesser and his wife would spend hours talking with people about what they wanted in a knife. They took the ideas to heart and then to the design table. Because of this time, they spent, they are creating knives that are original, innovative, and still aesthetically pleasing.

Since the original knife, Spyderco has produced over 200 models, which have had some great successes in the mix. Sal and Gail, with the help of their son Eric, are still running the family company and employ more than 130 employees.

Today we will be talking about one of their newer knives—the White One-Eyed Jack folder knife that has a CPM S30V blade and a handle made out of G-10 and stainless steel.

Spyderco White One-Eyed Jack Folder Knife
Spyderco White One-Eyed Jack Folder Knife


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel. This steel that was designed and made by Crucible is considered a premium knife steel. This steel has excellent edge retention while also resisting rust almost effortlessly. Crucible designed this steel in the United Sates specifically for high-end premium pocket knives as well as expensive kitchen cutlery. Because they designed this steel with knives in mind, they have created the perfect balance between edge retention, hardness, and toughness. To add extreme hardness to this steel, Crucible has added vanadium carbides. The vanadium carbides are also where the steel name gets the “V” from. For a while, this steel was one of the best steels that money could buy. Because of this, it did come with a hefty cost. However, since newer Super Steels have been released, and with the competition, the cost of this steel has been driven downward, while still retaining all of the good qualities. There is one disadvantage to this steel which is that it is harder to work with and sharpen than other steels. Not a huge drawback, but it is there.

The blade on this knife has been finished with a satin finish. This finish is one of the most popular blade finishes that is used on the market today. The satin finish is created by repeatedly sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive material. This process is done to create a little bit of shine, as well as showing off the bevels and the fine lines in the steel. The satin finish lies close to the middle in terms of luster; a mirror finished blade is going to be more reflective than the satin finish and a coated finish is going to be less reflective than a satin finish. Overall, this finish is one of the most traditional looks that you are going to get out of a blade finish.

The blade has been carved into a clip point style, which is one of the most used blade shapes on the market today. This blade style is definitely an all-purpose blade shape. The shape of the blade is formed by having the back edge of the knife run straight form the handle and then stop about halfway up the knife. Then, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This “cut-out” area is straight on the One-Eyed Jack knife. This cut out area is also referred to as the clip, because the portion looks as if it were clipped out. Because of this clipped portion, it creates a lowered point, which gives the user more control when they are using the knife. And, because the tip is controllable, sharp, and thinner at the spine, a clip point knife is going to be a much better option for stabbing than a drop pint blade. Clip points are also so versatile because they feature such a large belly that is perfect for slicing. Clip point and drop point knife styles are often confused with each other. They are both very similar—they are both designed to be all-purpose knives, they both sport a big belly, and they both have a lowered tip. It is the rest of the tip’s characteristics that separate a clip point form a drop point. A drop point has a much broader tip, which means that you aren’t going to have the same stabbing capabilities that you love from your clip point. However, because it is broader, it is going to be less likely to snap or break and a drop point is going to be able to take on tougher tasks. The clip point isn’t as strong as the drop point, because it does have a relatively narrow tip. This is really one of the clip points only disadvantages, because it is prone to being weak. But, you do get those stabbing capabilities with less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal.


The Handle:

The handle is made out of G-10 with stainless steel bolsters and stainless steel liners.

G-10 is a high-pressure fiberglass laminate, which is a kind of composite material. This material is created by stacking multiple layers of glass cloth, which have been soaked in epoxy resin, then compressing them under heat until the epoxy cures. This material is manufactured in flat sheets. This material is very similar to Micarta and Carbon Fiber, because they are all resin-based laminates, except that the base material used is glass cloth. G-10 is the toughest of the glass fiber resin laminates and therefore the most commonly used in knife handles. G-10 is known for its high strength and low moisture absorption. Plus, because of how the material is used, there can be many variations of G10 that are produced in man colors and patterns. The handle on the Spyderco White One-Eyed Jack is a white G-10 that features a red G-10 heart inlay and a black G-10 spade inlay. G-10 is also easily texturized, which makes for exceptional grip on your knife. This knife was designed to look like a collectible knife, but built to be used. So whether you collect knives are use them every single day—this knife meets your needs.

The bolsters and liners are made out of stainless steel, which gives this knife excellent durabily and does add a great resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel is a heavier material, so it does add a little bit of heft behind your knife. But, the liners are skeletonized to keep the weight of this knife down.

On the butt of the handle, there has been a lanyard hole carved in. This is a big bonus for such a versatile knife.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip has been statically designed for tip up carry only on the traditional side of the handle. This pocket clip is also made out of stainless steel and just like the liners, it is skeletonized. The clip is kept in place by a small silver screw that matches the rest of the hardware (and the bolsters) on this knife.


The Mechanism:

This knife is a manual folding knife that features Spyderco’s signature round opening hole. This knife also features a liner locking mechanism.

When talking about their signature round hole, they’ve said:


“One of the most common question we get from people new to Spyderco knives is ‘Why the Round Hole?’ The round hole allows the blade of a folding knife to be swiftly and easily opened with only one hand. This revolutionary feature was granted a U.S. utility patent in 1981 and literally helped define the form of the modern folding knife. Unlike thumb studs, disks, and other one-hand-opening attachments, the hole offers a larger surface area for greater reliability and does not interfere with the cutting action of the blade. An iconic symbol of our brand, the Trademark Round Hole also serves a s user-friendly alternative to a traditional nail nick in our two-hand-opening folders and a proud expression of our brand identity in our fixed-blade knives.


The liner locking mechanism is one of the more common mechanism seen on folding knives. This mechanism’s characteristic component is a side spring bar that is located on the same side as sharp edge of the blade, “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When the knife is fully opened, that tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, which keeps it firmly in place and prevents it from closing. To disengage a liner lock, you have to use your thumb to push the spring bar “down” so that it clears contact form the butt of the blade. This lets you use your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb from the blade path, then continue to safely close the knife.


The Specs:

The blade on this Spyderco knife measures in at 2.49 inches and has a handle that measures in at 3.54 inches long. The overall length of the knife when it is opened is 6.03 inches long. For how small this knife is, it does pack a bit of weight, but nothing that is going to feel too heavy to use as your EDC knife: this knife weighs in at 3.7 ounces.



The One-Eyed Jack is a production folder that exhibits more custom finishes than you would expect. As part of the 2017 mid-year release catalog, this A.T. Barr designed model features a liner lock design and a classy stainless steel bolster and back spacer to really make the competition fold. Whether your intent to collect and display this knife or carry it, this knife was built with the materials to allow either or. This model, the C217GP, features a white polished G-10 handle complete with a G-10 spade and heart inlay, stainless steel bolsters, skeletonized stainless steel liners, a clip point style blade in a satin finish, Spyderco’s trademark round hole opening feature and the pocket clip is statically designed for tip up carry only on the traditional side of the handle. This knife is perfectly balanced between looking pleasing and having the durability to be used for almost any tasks. Come pick up your Spyderco C226GP White One-Eyed Jack Folder knife today from BladeOps.


Spyderco Para 3 Knife Review

Spyderco is a knife company founded by Sal Glesser. The very first product that Spyderco ever released was the Portable Hand in 1976. This device was spider shaped and actually gave the company their name. It was a series of angles, ball joints, and alligator clips that helped people with small parts. Since then, they have produced many knives and knife sharpeners. Something unique about Spyderco is that they have actually been the company to pioneer many now common aspects on folding knives, such as the pocket clip, serrations, and the opening hole. Over the years, Spyderco has collaborated with about 30 custom knife makers, athletes, and self-defense instructors to produce designs that are innovative.

People all over enjoy using their Spyderco knives because of how simple and reliable they are. Another thing that people tend to love about Spyderco knives is that they have fantastic ergonomics and functional aesthetics. These knives benefit people from every category, including private citizens, law enforcement officers, and fire and rescue personnel. Spyderco has recently released a new knife called the Para 3. This is a high quality, versatile knife that will benefit you in many different situations.

This knife was actually designed through the original concept of the Spyderco Paramilitary series, which is one of Spyderco’s most popular knives, but then they never actually produced it. It was just recently that Spyderco decided to produce and launch the knife.

Spyderco Para 3 Knife
Spyderco Para 3 Knife

The Blade:

The blade on the Para 3 is ground out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is produced by Crucible, a United States based company. They designed this steel to be used specifically for knives, so you know that you are getting all of the characteristics hat you long for in a knife. Crucible actually designed this steel to be used on high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. To make this steel truly remarkable, Crucible has added Vanadium Carbides, which helps bring extreme hardness to this steel. In normal steels, when you have extreme hardness, you end up lacking toughness. This is because generally the harder the steel is, the more brittle it will be, and thus the more likely to chip or snap. CPM S30V steel is unique because even though it is crazy hard, it actually still remains most of its toughness. This is a balance that you aren’t going to be able to find in many steels. Not only that, but this steel is extremely rust resistant, cutting down on maintenance and hassle for you. This steel also has fantastic edge retention. A few years after Crucible released this steel, they released an upgraded version of it called S35VN. Because they have released a newer steel, S30V steel is less expensive than it used to be. That means that you get the best balance between all of the characteristics you desire in a knife blade and you won’t break the bank. One of the only drawbacks to this type of steel is that it is a little bit tougher to sharpen. While it is manageable to sharpen without the help of a professional sharpener, beginners probably won’t be able to get a great edge.

The Para 3 has a plain edge with a flat grind. Flat grinds are useful for any general use task. Spyderco has said that the full flat grind will help with “superior balance of strength, point utility, and low-friction cutting performance”. To finish off the blade, Spyderco chose a satin finish. This is actually the most common and typical knife finish. This finish adds a little bit of corrosion resistance to the blade, but if you are looking for a finish that will really prevent corrosion, you should look for a blade that has a mirror or polish finish to it. The satin finish shows off the lines of the knife and cuts down on reflections and glares.  All in all, they have perfected the perfect everyday blade.

The blade on the Para 3 is a leaf blade. This is a signature blade shape of Spyderco. This blade shape gets its name because it resembles a leaf. Spyderco started developing knives with this shape for a few reasons, one is that it set them apart from their competition. But the main reason that they started producing knives with the leaf shaped blade is because it allows room for the Spyderco oversized thumb hole. This thumb hole is what is used to open the knife. This shape of knife has a belly that has a slight curve and then it turns to a harsh point. The belly makes this knife able to slice well. This knife is very similar to a spear point blade, except that it is not a symmetrical blade. The blade can also stab or pierce pretty well. The point on this knife is strong, so you don’t have to worry about the tip of the blade snapping or breaking. This shape of knife blade is excellent for all purpose knives and gives you a great balance between being able to slice and being able to pierce—two of the most important aspects of an everyday knife.


The Handle:

The Para 3 is very slim knife and to keep it that way, it features a lightweight, open backed construction style. The knife features stainless steel liners with textured G-10 scales. G-10 is a laminate composite that is made out of fiberglass. G-10 is made by taking layers of fiberglass cloth and then soaking them in a resin. This material is compressed and baked under pressure. G-10 is very similar to carbon fiber, but it can be made for a much more inexpensive cost. This material is very tough, very hard, very lightweight, and very strong. G-10 is actually considered the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and even stronger than Micarta. To give texture, G-10 has checkering or different patterns etched into the material. Because the Para 3 has a less obvious texture if you were looking at it, but it is definitely obvious when you hold it. This handle gives you a solid, comfortable grip. The G-10 handle makes it great for an everyday knife or a tactical knife because the material is rugged, yet still very lightweight. This handle is black with a lanyard hole carved into the bottom. There are some fantastic benefits to using a lanyard with your knife. A lanyard helps to secure your knife against loss, adds better visibility to your knife in case you lose it in the wild or the dark, and adds a little bit of your own personal style to your knife. The butt of the handle has a slight flare to it as well as integrated jimping which helps add extra control to any cutting job that you have.

Spyderco Para 3 Knife--Back
Spyderco Para 3 Knife–Back

The Pocket Clip:

This knife comes with a great pocket clip. This clip is silver with the Spyderco logo etched onto it. The clip is kept in place with three screws. This is a reversible pocket clip, so you can carry it left or right handedly. This pocket clip is ambidextrous friendly. The pocket clip is a tip up or tip down carry. The four-way positional pocket clip is truly exceptional.


The Mechanism:

This knife features Spdyerco’s patented Compression Locking system. Spyderco explains how this system works, “by using a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin).” This locking system provides high lock strength and ease of use. This is a manual knife, so you open and close it using the oversized Spyderco hole. However, the Compression Locking system actually allows you to safely close the blade with only one hand. With this locking system, your hand never actually has to come close to the cutting edge of the blade while you are closing it.


The Specs:

The overall length of this knife is 7.24 inches long, with a closed length of 4.29 inches long. The blade on the Para 3 is 2.95 inches, so on the smaller side of blade lengths. The edge length is 2.62 inches long. The thickness of the Para’s blade is 0.145 inches. This knife weighs 3.4 ounces.

Spyderco Para 3 Knife
Spyderco Para 3 Knife

The Pros of the Para 3:

  • The steel on this knife is extremely hard and tough.
  • The steel maintains its edge very well and can get a fine edge.
  • The steel is pretty resistant to corrosion, so maintenance time has been cut down.
  • This knife has a full flat grind which is the perfect grind for everyday tasks.
  • The satin finish helps cut down on reflections and glares.
  • The leaf shaped blade is great for every day uses.
  • The leaf blade shape gives you a great balance between stabbing and slicing.
  • The leaf blade shape has a strong tip, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking.
  • This is a slim knife that fits excellently in your hand.
  • G-10 is tough, hard, and durable, yet still lightweight.
  • G-10 is pretty inexpensive, so you get a lot of bang for its buck.
  • The texturing on the G-10 scales provide you with a very solid grip.
  • The handle comes with a lanyard hole drilled into it.
  • The pocket clip is durable and reversible in four different directions.
  • The Compression Locking System is strong and easy to use.
  • This is the perfect everyday knife; it can really handle anything.


The Cons of the Para 3:

  • S30V steel is a little tricky to sharpen, this task is going to be a little more difficult for a beginner sharpener.
  • This is a manual folder, so it is not going to open quickly like an automatic knife.



Spyderco is an excellent knife company that has changed folding knives as we know them. They are the company that revolutionized adding a pocket clip to a folding knife, adding serrations to a folding knife, and adding their opening hole to the top of the blade. Spyderco keeps their knives simple yet functional. Every aesthetic option that they add serves a function. The knife company loves the simplicity of Spyderco’s knives while they still function just as well as other company’s knives.

To create another masterpiece, Spyderco based this design off of the beloved Paramilitary series that they have previously produced. They started the blade with a superior stainless steel: CPM S30V. This steel is known for having the best balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. Not only that, but it has great corrosion resistance. The shape of the blade is Spyderco’s leaf blade shape, which is a unique, lesser known blade shape. It has similar qualities to a spear point, because it has a belly and a great tip. But it also has very similar qualities as a clip point. Really all you need to know about the leaf blade shape is that it is versatile and the perfect shape for your everyday tasks. The handle is made out of the durable and lightweight G-10. This handle fits in your hand perfectly while also giving you fantastic grip. The butt of the handle is flared to add control to your grip and gives you more security in your cutting. The pocket clip is one of the best—with four way reversible abilities. And last but not least, the Compression Locking system seals the deal at providing you with a masterpiece. This locking system allows you to close the blade with only one hand, all while keeping your fingers out of position from the cutting edge of the blade.

This knife has been designed for quite a while now, but only just made it into production and sales. I would recommend this knife to anyone who is looking for a versatile everyday knife–you can get yours here.

Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 Knife Review

About three months ago I finally broke down and bought the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 Knife for everyday carry.  I had to see what everyone was talking about.  I know they have been out for several years now, but I had never purchased one.  I’m glad I finally did.

Spyderco ParaMilitary 2
Spyderco ParaMilitary 2

First off, if you haven’t owned a Spyderco knife before, the quality of construction and the materials they use are superb.  The ParaMilitary 2 features a CPM S30V blade and G10 handle scales.  You can pick up the knife with the standard variations of blade finish, either black or satin. You can also choose between a few different G10 handle scales including the standard black or DigiCamo.  I went ahead and picked up the DigiCamo version with a black blade for a couple of reasons.  First, I have many knives with black handles and I was in the mood for something a bit different.  Second, I went with the black blade because I wanted to see how the black finish held up over time.  I’ll address that in a bit.

The very first thing you notice about the ParaMilitary 2 is the size.  It is the perfect size for everyday carry.  The handle measures just under 5″ at 4.81″, thickness is not quite 0.5″, and width is about 1.25″ at the widest points.  This means it fits great in the hand but doesn’t take up too much space in my pocket.

The very next thing I noticed was how easy it was to open and close.  The iconic SpyderHole makes the blade simple to one hand open with your thumb.  Unexpectedly, the blade is just as easy to close one handed.  Just press the spine compression lock with your finger and give the knife a little shake.  Voila, the blade closes up and you can put the knife right back in your pocket.  Since you are able to do everything with one hand, what the ParaMilitary really delivers is freedom, speed, and ease.  You are able to get more things done in a faster time period because you don’t have to use both hands to access and deploy your knife.  You don’t even need both hands to close it and put it away.

The blade opens smooth.  The ParaMilitary 2 uses the Bushing Pivot System.  What is this?  It’s a fancy name for smooth as silk, smooth as butter, smooth as a cat, smooth as … whatever you want to put in here next, it fits.  Take my word for it, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 opens smooth.   And once you have the blade deployed, the delight factor just keeps rising.

The blade delights with its classic Spyderco style and shape.  With a classic drop point blade curve on the cutting edge, the spine tapers down to a point to create a uniquely Spyderco look and style.  The SpyderHole has a steep thumb ramp behind it with fairly aggressive jimping.  When you hold the knife in the classic saber grip, your thumb is lined up right down the center of the blade to deliver maximum blade control and power.  I haven’t met a cut I don’t enjoy with my ParaMilitary 2 knife.  The sharp tip allows you to pierce everyday things with ease and the classic blade edge shape gives you serious cutting power.  The blade has classic flat grind which allows you to make slicing cuts with ease.  One of my concerns about the ParaMilitary 2 was the elongated shape of the tip.  I was nervous I would “tip” it (knife lingo for breaking the tip off your knife–generally happens when you aren’t using the knife blade to pry rather than cut).  I have used my knife hard over the past several months and have not broken the tip off.  In fact, we have sold hundreds if not thousands of these ParaMilitary 2 knives over the past few years and I haven’t heard of a single case where someone has broken the tip off.  So it appears my concerns were unfounded.  The blade has passed every hard use test I have put it through over the past few months with flying colors.

About a month ago, my oldest son was up visiting.  He saw I had the ParaMilitary 2 and asked if he could use it for a few days to see if he liked it.  I said sure and let him take my knife.  I have never missed one of my knives more. I tried carrying an older knife I used to carry.  It just wasn’t the ParaMilitary 2.  So after a week, I broke down and bought another one–this time with a black blade and a black handle.  Then I drove down to see my son and traded him the new one for my old, trusty Spyderco knife.

The knife carries good, cuts great, and is strong enough for hard work.  In my mind, the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 is one of the best EDC knives on the market if you are looking for a mid sized folder that delivers.  Check it out, I’m glad I did.  By the way, the black finish on the blade still looks great.

Spyderco BaliYo Pens

Spyderco BaliYo
Spyderco BaliYo Pen

In 1976, Sal and Gail Glesser began traveling across the United States, selling Spyderco’s early products out of a converted bread truck. The company took its name from two inspirations: The look of one of its earliest inventions, a hobbyists’ helper device called the Portable Hand, and the automotive categorization applied to certain high-performance sports cars. The rounded configuration of the company’s arachnid logo reflected Sal Glesser’s desire to make its identity friendly rather than aggressive. His drive to perfect every product Spyderco offered testified to his commitment to excellence.


In the years since Spyderco’s founders drove from one knife show to another to promote first their Tri-angle Sharpmaker knife sharpener and, later, their knives, the company grew from kitchen-table sized to become a multimillion-dollar enterprise, headquartered in Golden, Colorado. Many of Spyderco’s design exclusives and innovations first showed up on the C01 Worker, a knife that the company introduced in 1981. These firsts included the Spyderco Trademark Round Hole™, the assistive feature that enables users to open knife blades one handed and ambidextrously, and the pocket clip that Spyderco translated from other types of products to become a fixture of knife design. Throughout its history and into the present, Spyderco has focused its brand on introducing new functional features, new blade steels, new handle scale designs, and an unrelenting focus on using the best materials to make the best products.


Second-generation knife maker Eric Glesser carries his father’s dedication to ergonomics and functionality into a new millennium. Along with designs such as the Kit-Carson-inspired Domino flipper, the Signature Series Manix family, and the Tenacious folder, he also transformed his love of knives into something completely different, in the form of the Spyderco BaliYo butterfly knife pen.


Butterfly or balisong knives knives date back more than 1,000 years, although the restrictions on their use make them rarities in many parts of the world today. Eric Glesser always has loved them, but these fascinating blades labor under the stigma of illegality in a lengthy list of countries, states, and municipalities. Even in the Philippines, in which butterfly knives originated, only those who can demonstrate a professional need for these unique knives can carry them. Some jurisdictions ban them outright under the same statutory language that regulates automatic, switchblade, gravity, or flick knives; some allow them as collectables but not for sale or purchase; and some ban their use as concealed weapons.


With the Spyderco BaliYo pen, the flipping, fanning, and other manipulations that characterize the butterfly knife become a legal pastime that anyone over the age of 5 can enjoy.


The Butterfly Knife

Call it a click-clack for the sound it makes as it opens and closes during a flipping maneuver, a fan knife for the way it pivots, or use the traditional Filipino terms Batangas knife or balisong: This enduring pocket-sized blade style conceals itself within its two folding handles. Depending on the construction method, a butterfly knife either conceals its blade within a sandwich of layers of material, or hides it inside a milled or cast channel or groove, with half of the blade inside one and half inside the other of two handles. Regardless of whether it uses the sandwich or the channel method of construction, a butterfly knife incorporates specific and distinctive parts and features.


The bite handle of a butterfly knife covers the cutting edge, and typically incorporates the latch that secures the blade in its closed position. The safe handle covers the unsharpened edge. Pivot joint pins allow handles and blade to rotate, while a tang pin keeps the blade from contacting the handle in the closed position, protecting the cutting edge from dulling contact. The user can open the knife with one hand, and can perform fast-opening maneuvers that approach the wizardry of sleight of hand.


Given the suspicion that greets many automatic, switchblade, or gravity knives because of their association with self defense and their use as weapons, butterfly knives have become less common, even among collectors. Whereas once they entered the United States by the hundreds of thousands as Asian and European imports, they now lack the legal status to be sold and carried in the U.S. and many other countries. Even the U.S. manufacturers, including Spyderco, who craft knives of this type do so virtually only for an overseas market.


In light of the diminished popularity that results from the challenged legal status of butterfly knives, those who love them, including Eric Glesser, must look for other ways of enjoying the unique features they offer beyond their fundamental nature as cutting tools. To rekindle the love of butterfly knives in a form that everyone can enjoy, Eric Glesser designed and Spyderco began marketing the BaliYo pen, first introduced in 2008.


Spyderco BaliYo: The Pen That’s Also a Skill Toy

The Spyderco BaliYo pen offers a completely legal outlet for the butterfly knife user’s dazzling dexterity and speed, and the clever rotational, flipping, and hand-to-hand transfer maneuvers that typify the advanced implementation of these knives. In fact, the Spyderco BaliYo makes it possible to perform tricks that would expose a butterfly knife user, and anyone in the vicinity, to the dangers posed by a flying razor-sharp blade. With a little practice and some helpful hints from Spyderco, you can turn the BaliYo into a source of unending entertainment that also fosters hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. At the same time, the Spyderco BaliYo also serves as a high-quality writing instrument. Rather than carrying a banned knife that you risk losing to confiscation as an illegal weapon, you can amaze your friends and family with the skill you gain after you master some basic moves and move on to advanced tricks that swing, flip, and launch the Spyderco BaliYo, as well as transfer it from hand to hand.


Spyderco fabricates the BaliYo in three parts, each fabricated from customized injection-molded polymer with stainless steel pivot screws. The two parallel arms that flank the center stem move around it in the same way that butterfly knife handles rotate around their blade. Each arm ends in an opening that incorporates a built-in weight ring, and carries a removable wire clip to help secure the Spyderco BaliYo in your pocket. A third weight ring runs around the center stem just past the twist-open mechanism that reveals the pen. The arms pivot more than 180 degrees, and the brass weight rings balance the handles dynamically so you can flip, swing, and twirl the Spyderco BaliYo to the amazement of friends and family.


Since introducing the BaliYo in 2008, Spyderco has strengthened the product, adding durability to the polymer formulation and improving the steel pocket clips. The symmetry, weight balance and ratios, and sturdy design of the Spyderco BaliYo make it a lasting source of battery-free enjoyment, fun, and skilled play. At the same time, it also functions as a high-quality writing instrument. To replace the Spyderco BaliYo ink cartridge, twist clockwise on the ring below the pen point and pull out the tip after you unscrew it. Twist out the cartridge counterclockwise, and close the pen back up after you insert a new refill.


Spyderco BaliYo Tricks

The easiest and most basic Spyderco BaliYo trick consists of a move called The Drop. Positioning the closed Spyderco BaliYo with its weight rings pointing up, you pinch the ring at the end of the arm farthest away from your fingers, and allow the BaliYo to drop open. To complete the trick, hold your hand palm up, swing the open handle back up, and catch it to close the BaliYo.


The Single Flip, Double Flip, Thumb Roll, Out to In Grip Switch, and Open Thumb Roll round out the introductory series of tricks that Spyderco demonstrates with instructional videos on its BaliYo website. Like many feats of manual dexterity, these tricks make best sense when you see them performed onscreen by an expert rather than simply read descriptions of their steps.


Heavy Duty Spyderco BaliYo Models

The Spyderco BaliYo product line separates into two categories, including the heavy duty models that introduced the action pen to Spyderco customers. The initial Spyderco BaliYo offering features a white center stem with red and blue arms. Manufactured in the United States, it includes a blue Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge that can write upside down, under water, and on surfaces that include grease or oil. The Fisher refills cost $5.95 directly from Spyderco.


In the years following the butterfly knife pen’s 2008 introduction, Spyderco has added new color themes to the heavy duty lineup of BaliYo pens. Model YUS101 features pink arms and an orange center stem. For 2016, Spyderco has introduced three new colors. The red and black model YUS110 BaliYo sports a black center stem. The green and blue model YUS111 BaliYo has green arms. The glow in the dark model YUS112 looks off white in the daytime, but after exposure to the sun or indoor brightness, it emanates a slightly green glow when you switch off the lights.


At 4.25 inches long and 0.41 inches in diameter, the heavy duty Spyderco BaliYo models weigh in at 0.85 ounces and feature a twist-to-open pen mechanism. A one-year warranty covers the product, and Spyderco also makes replacement clips available if you misplace yours. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the heavy duty Spyderco BaliYo models is $34.95.


If you bought a Spyderco BaliYo in 2008, the product incorporated an instructional DVD, which no longer is included. Instead, Spyderco posts its learning videos online on a website dedicated exclusively to BaliYo.


Lightweight Spyderco BaliYo Models

Along with the U.S.-made heavy duty Spyderco BaliYo models, Spyderco also sells two lightweight versions of the product at introductory prices. The company first offered these models in 2009, approximately one year after the heavy duty red, white, and blue BaliYo became a hit.


Made in China, lightweight Spyderco BaliYo models come with bodies fabricated entirely in one color. The black model YCN100 and the grey model YCN101 offer the same endless amusement and dexterity building as their U.S.-made product counterparts. Along with differences in materials and place of manufacture, the lightweight Spyderco BaliYos also use a more nearly generic ink cartridge, which writes in blue like the Fisher Space Pen cartridges of the heavy duty Spyderco BaliYo lineup but lacks its advanced output characteristics. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the pen is $9.95.


The lightweight Spyderco BaliYo pens use a generic blue ink cartridge that’s available as a refill part directly from Spyderco. The shape of the cartridge differs from the profile of the Fisher Space Pen refill used in the heavy duty Spyderco BaliYo pens. The refills cost $0.99 when ordered directly from Spyderco.


Heavy Duty Spyderco BaliYo Refills From Fisher Space Pen

Invented by American pen manufacturer Paul C. Fisher, the Fisher Space Pen and its specialized refill cartridges gained fame as an anti-gravity pen in the 1960s. Protected under U.S. Patent # 3,285,228, this innovative writing instrument uses a hermetically sealed, pressurized ink refill that enables it to write in zero gravity, at angles at which traditional pens lose their ability to emit ink, and in environments otherwise hostile to writing instruments, including under water, in high or low temperatures, on plastics and laminated materials, and on wet, oily, or greasy surfaces.


Contrary to popular belief, the Fisher Space Pen did not result from an abandoned NASA development program. Although the U.S. space agency did field an ill-fated attempt to create an ink-based writing instrument that could function properly in zero gravity, only to abandon the effort in favor of a return to the humble pencil, the large amount of expenditure that the program engendered did not roll over into the privately funded research that yielded the Fisher Space Pen. Fisher reportedly invested $1 million of his company’s money into the development effort that yielded the Fisher Space Pen.


When Paul Fisher approached NASA in 1965 and offered the Fisher Space Pen as a solution to the agency’s flight mission recordkeeping needs, he did so without any prompting from NASA or any other government agency. Like every product and part that must pass advanced military specification testing to gain acceptance in mission critical applications, the Space Pen went through its paces before NASA declared it flight capable in 1967, beginning with Apollo missions. Two years later, Russian cosmonauts also began carrying Fisher Space Pens into orbit on Soyuz flights.


Although the decidedly low-tech pencil provided one answer to the need for a space-friendly writing instrument, both wooden and mechanical pencils also presented dangers to astronauts and down sides to their use maintaining in-flight records. First, the graphite dust from pencil leads can damage equipment in a gravity free environment, as can broken pieces of leads and even eraser crumbs. Second, wooden pencils pose a fire threat. Third, both graphite-lead and grease pencils produce impermanent results that smear. Finally, obtaining flight-worthy pencils had proven to be an expensive proposition. The contract NASA signed with Houston-based Tycam Engineering Manufacturing for mechanical pencils in 1965 yielded 34 units at a per-piece cost of $128.89. By contrast, the agency’s initial order for Fisher Space Pens cost $6 per unit.


The Fisher Space Pen ink refill uses a nitrogen gas pressurized tungsten carbide shell with precision made parts that form a leak-proof seal. The thixotropic ink stays in a nearly solid state, roughly the consistency of rubber cement, until the ball point mechanism liquefies it in a shearing motion across the writing surface. A float slides inside the refill as the ink level drops in use, separating the writing reservoir from the pressurization medium. The refill operates normally at altitudes up to 12,500 feet, in zero gravity, and in temperatures ranging from -50 degrees F to 400 degrees F. Because of its pressurized design and specialized ink, a Fisher Space pen cartridge lasts approximately three times longer than a traditional unpressurized ball point pen ink supply.


Today, you can buy a Fisher Space Pen directly from the company, along with refills that accommodate various brands and models of pens offered by third parties. Paul Fisher set up a separate corporation, established in Boulder City, Nevada, solely to support this unique family of writing instruments. When Fisher died in 2006 at the age of 93, the company stayed in the family as he passed control to his son, Cary Fisher.


Other Considerations

Whether you choose a heavy duty or a lightweight model, the Spyderco BaliYo action pen can provide years of fun for adults and children alike. If you’ve always been a fan of butterfly knives but can’t carry them legally where you live, now you can rekindle your love of the dexterous tricks for which these fascinating implements are famed—and share that love with family and friends. The sturdy construction and reasonable price of the Spyderco BaliYo makes it an easy choice for birthday and holiday gifts as well.

Spyderco BaliYo
Spyderco BaliYo Pen

Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 Knife Review and Comparison

Spyderco ParaMilitary 2
Spyderco ParaMilitary 2

Knife owners associate the Spyderco name with innovative products that offer new blade steels, aesthetically advanced handle designs, a primary focus on ergonomics and comfort in use, and lightweight configurations that pack enduring performance. The Para Military 2 family puts the reliable capabilities of Spyderco’s Military Model into a smaller size that offers tactical qualities but can double as an everyday carry. For 2016, Spyderco introduces a refined Para Military 2 lineup of five models, offering finessed feature sets and new blade steel choices. Although Spyderco often produces limited-edition Sprint Runs of Para Military 2 models with special handle-scale colors and blade steels, these five models—the C81GP2 Para Military 2, C81GPBK2 Para Military 2 Black Blade, C81GPDBL2 Para Military 2 CPM S110V, C81GPCMO2 Para Military 2 Camo, and the C81GPCMOBK2 Para Military 2 Camo Black Blade—represent the broadly available year-round production of this knife family.


Blade Profile

The blade shape on the Para Military 2 features a modified drop point with a nearly flat spine. Spyderco has made the blade longer on this version of the Para Military 2, lengthening the tip and increasing the amount of cutting edge.


The Trademark Round Hole represents Spyderco’s patented innovation in blade deployment: A round opening machined into the blade shape to accommodate the tip of a thumb or finger as it transitions the knife from closed to open position in a one-handed movement. When the knife is closed, the Trademark Round Hole appears in the portion of the blade that projects beyond the handle. On the Para Military 2, which lacks a flipper tab or other assistive mechanisms, the Trademark Round Hole provides the sole means of deploying the blade. Spyderco has enlarged the Trademark Round Hole on the Para Military 2 to 14 millimeters, enhancing its functionality.


A jimped thumb ramp on the blade spine helps hold the hand in position during tasks that require heavy pressure. A jimped choil that starts on the blade ricasso (the unsharpened portion of the blade at its thickest point) and continues onto the handle also serves as a forefinger grasping location as needed.


Blade Finishes

Spyderco makes the Para Military 2 in five models, but these represent three fundamental versions, based on handle appearance and blade steel. Models C81GP2 and C81GPCMO2 incorporate satin finished blades, the former with black and the latter with green digital camouflage patterned handle scales, both fashioned from G10 continuous-fiber glass laminate. The variations on these two models, designated models C81GPBK2 and C81GPCMOBK2, also feature black and camouflage handle scales respectively, but with Spyderco’s signature Diamond-Like Carbon, or DLC, coating on their blades for a low-contrast black finish. Model C81GPDBL2 incorporates Crucible Industries’ CPM S110V powdered metallurgy steel in a satin finish, and does not come in a corresponding version with a black coated blade.


Spyderco’s DLC coating consists of a mixture of graphitic carbon and a diamond-like material. Applied to blades and other knife parts, this nanocomposite virtually eliminates reflectivity at the same time that it boosts resistance to wear and corrosion, and helps reduce friction. All seven types of commercially available DLC consist of an amorphous material with its crystals arranged in cobblestone patterns made up of randomly alternating lattices, including cubic as well as hexagonal structures like those in a beehive. DLC coatings see wide use in medicine, thanks to their biocompatibility with living tissue, as well as on razor blades and in racing engines. DLC coatings also serve to lengthen the life of food processing equipment and to provide electrical insulation.


Blade Steels

Over the first 40 years of its company history, Spyderco has developed a well-deserved reputation for innovation, always in the service of producing superior quality and finding better solutions to the challenges of knife design. Look no further than the lengthy list of the blade steels it uses to find evidence of its commitment to refining its materials. The Spyderco Para Military 2 family uses two outstandingly progressive steels in its blade fabrications.


Crucible Industries of Solvay, New York, pioneered and patented the process of powdered metallurgy under the trademark Crucible Particle Metallurgy, or CPM. The impetus to invent this process stemmed from the limitations of conventional steel making and the performance drawbacks it introduced into the alloys thus produced.


Simple steel consists of a mixture of carbon and iron. As metallurgy in general and blade science in specific have advanced over centuries, steel makers have developed increasingly sophisticated and complex recipes in which other elements join carbon and iron to enhance specific attributes of the resulting metal. Although it might seem that the easiest way to produce an ideal blade steel would be to add as much as possible of every alloying element that produces desirable characteristics, that simplistic approach won’t create the expected result.


The principal characteristics for which to evaluate a blade steel alloy include hardness, toughness, wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. Some of these characteristics exist on a continuum with each other, with an increase in one causing a corresponding decrease in the other.


Toughness and hardness compete with each other for supremacy in typical blade steels. Hardness correlates with resistance to dents and impact. Toughness measures the ability to bend instead of breaking, heading off the chips and cracks that can occur in heavy use. Wear resistance indicates a steel’s ability to avoid the damage caused when it encounters rough surfaces and materials that can adhere to it. Corrosion resistance designates the ability to withstand exposure to the forces that cause oxidation, including humidity, moisture, salt, and other chemicals. Edge retention indicates the ability to stay sharp despite blade use. As corrosion resistance rises, edge retention drops.


Obviously, all these qualities offer desirable contributions toward knife performance. Because some of them represent trade-offs with one another, however, steel makers and knife makers must compromise to find a workable balance in their products.


Identifying the desired mixture of elements and the proportions thereof forms the first step in producing a blade steel. The acts of conventional steel production involve melting these ingredients together prior to pouring the mixture into the ingot molds that create the first rough form in which steel can be sold and machined.


If the act of combining the elements of a steel in a furnace created a homogenous mixture that remained thoroughly blended as it cooled in a mold, the advanced science of Crucible Particle Metallurgy might not have been necessary. Unfortunately, the blend of elements starts to separate as it loses heat, and the individual components become segregated from one another. As a result, the consistency and performance of the resulting metal varies within a single production batch as well as from one batch to another.


Ingenuity overcomes obstacles. Crucible Industries invented Crucible Particle Metallurgy to overcome the segregation of elemental steel and retain the homogeneous makeup of the metal past the point of production. In the CPM process, the elemental recipe of a steel melts and mixes in a furnace, but instead of pouring from a ladle into ingot molds, it mists through a small nozzle into a highly pressurized blast of inert gas. The alloy immediately turns into tiny droplets that cool virtually instantaneously, forming powdered particles. Because of the immediacy with which this powder cools and forms, the molten steel doesn’t have time to lose its homogeneity. As a result, every tiny spherical particle becomes an individual ingot that contains the fully mixed, balanced original recipe of the alloy.


Powder can’t make blades, however. The output of the particle-making step loads into a pressurized canister for further processing, called sintering. At a temperature just below the melting point of the alloy, the combination of heat and pressure alters the molecular structure of the steel even as it turns it into a larger solid form. These molecular alterations transform the steel into a structure called austenite, in which carbon enters iron molecules. The next step quenches the steel in liquid, air, or oil, causing a rapid temperature drop that produces a second molecular alteration into martensitic steel, in which the carbon becomes a permanent part of the iron. Martensitic steel requires low-temperature heat treatment to overcome its brittleness. This step raises toughness as it reduces hardness and strength by a slight amount. The resulting powdered metallurgy steel demonstrates edge retention and wear resistance beyond anything that conventional steel making can produce.


Spyderco has selected two of Crucible Industries’ powdered metallurgy products for the blades of its Para Military 2 models. Models C81GP2, C81GPBK2, C81GPCMO2, and C81GPCMOBK2 use CPM S30V, while Model C81GPDBL2 uses CPM S110V.


CPM S30V incorporates 1.45% carbon, 14.00% chromium, 2.00% molybdenum, and 4.00% vanadium. This high-carbon steel displays high toughness, hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. Carbon increases hardness and wear resistance at the expense of reduced toughness and greater brittleness. The level of chromium content designates CPM S30V as a stainless steel, and contributes to tensile strength and hardness. Molybdenum boosts edge retention as well as high-temperature strength and corrosion resistance. Vanadium produces fine-grained steel with high levels of wear resistance and edge retention. This alloy balances many of the most desirable performance attributes in a single blade steel.


CPM S110V includes 2.90% carbon, 15.25% chromium, 2.50% cobalt, 3.00% niobium, 0.40% manganese, 2.25% molybdenum, 0.60% silicon, 0.20% tungsten, and 9.10% vanadium. The addition of niobium boosts CPM S110V’s wear resistance and edge retention. Silicon helps strengthen the steel and remove oxygen from it during production to limit pitting damage. Tungsten heightens wear resistance. The extreme amount of vanadium points to equivalently extreme levels of wear resistance and edge retention. As a result, this premium alloy requires intense skill to machine and sharpen.


Handle Materials

Spyderco chose textured G10 laminate for the handle scales on all its Para Military 2 models. What differs among these models isn’t the material, but rather the color in which it’s rendered.


Most commonly, G10 appears in solid black, which Spyderco uses on Para Military 2 models C81GP2 and C81GPBK2. Spyderco uses dark blue G10 on those of its knives that feature Crucible Industries’ CPM S110V powdered metallurgy steel blades, so the handle scales on Para Military 2 model C81GPDBL2 appear in that color as a corresponding signal of its blade alloy. On Para Military 2 Camo models C81GPCMO2 and C81GPCMOBK2, Spyderco uses the U.S. Army’s green digital camouflage pattern.


G10 originated as a highly water-resistant, electrically non-conductive material used in the production of circuit boards. In combination, the ingredients that make up G10 create a rigid, lightweight, hard, strong product with low moisture absorption and a high resistance to chemicals. This sturdy material consists of a laminate made from layers of fiberglass fabric soaked in an epoxy resin binder, and formed in a mold under heat and pressure. G10’s performance properties remain stable even in harsh environments. The textured surface on these handle scales stems from the molding process that produces G10 parts.


To support the Compression Lock mechanism that holds open the blades on Spyderco’s Para Military 2 models, the company uses nested split stainless steel liners formed into a leaf-shaped spring. The rounded end of the lock bar engages into a notched area in the hidden portion of the blade tang, as well as with the stop pin at the spine of the blade.


Handle Designs

Regardless of which model of Para Military 2 you choose, the handle incorporates a forefinger groove that forms half of the 50/50 choil on the knife. The butt of the handle culminates in a subtle quillon shape that helps keep the hand from sliding off the knife, and supports the fingers when they grasp in a reversed grip. The Para Military 2 displays Spyderco’s emphasis on ergonomics in every aspect of knife design, especially in terms of handle shapes and their influence on grip positions. For 2016, Spyderco thinned down the heel of the handle to enhance the feel of the Para Military 2 in the hand.


Including the pivot, the entire knife assembly fastens together with three Torx screws, two of the same smaller size along with the larger pivot. Para Military 2 models C81GPBK2 and C81GPCMOBK2, which feature black blades, use Torx screws with a matching black finish. Spyderco has enlarged the lanyard hole on the Para Military 2 to incorporate a wider range of materials. Like the Torx screws, the lanyard tube also appears in black on Para Military 2 models with black blades.


Because the pocket clip on the Para Military 2 offers ambidextrous attachment and both tip-up and tip-down carry positions, the handle scales on all five models incorporate mounting screw holes at both ends and on both left- and right-hand scales.


Blade Deployment and Locking Mechanism

The Spyderco Compression Lock system uses an ingenious implementation of a locking-liner design to provide secure retention of an open blade. The leaf-like shape formed by a split stainless steel liner engages into a notch in the hidden blade tang, locking into the blade itself as well as onto the stop pin located just below the spine inside the handle. This design represents a patented Spyderco invention that users praise for its strong hold as well as the ease with which they can disengage it as and when necessary. All five models in the Para Military 2 family use this innovative lock design. The Para Military 2 family also uses a new system for its bushing pivot, smoothing out the opening action and yielding tighter tolerances in manufacture.


Pocket Clips

Spyderco pioneered the implementation of pocket clips from other types of products into the realm of knife designs. The Para Military 2 family offers Spyderco’s most flexible pocket clip: A four-position clip that provides ambidextrous tip-up or tip-down carry depending on its attachment point. On those Para Military 2 models with black blades, the pockets clips and their attachment screws also feature a black finish. For 2016, Spyderco has reduced the handle thickness at the end of these knives, increasing the depth at which the Para Military 2 knives position themselves in a pocket.


Knife Dimensions and Weights

All five of the models within the Spyderco Para Military 2 family offer closely comparable dimensional and weight specifications. In fact, the sole difference among them comes in the weight of model C81GPDBL2, the Para Military 2 CPM S110V, which weighs 3.8 ounces, or one-tenth of an ounce less than the other four models.


Other than that slight differentiation, all five models measure 8.281 inches overall, with a closed length of 4.812 inches. Their blades measure 3.438 inches long, with a thickness of 0.141 inches and an edge length of 3.078 inches. Handle length equals overall length at 8.281 inches, while handle thickness comes in at 0.46 inches.


Other Observations

The Spyderco Para Military 2 family offers enduring popularity based on its performance, reliability, flexibility, and attractive design. Although the 2016 roundup of Para Military 2 models offers refinements that some may see as subtleties rather than big leaps forward, the net effect of the entire suite of improvements continues to make a great paramilitary knife design even better.


  Para Military 2 Para Military 2 Black Blade Para Military 2 CPM S110V Para Military 2 Camo Para Military 2 Camo Black Blade
Model number C81GP2 C81GPBK2 C81GPDBL2 C81GPCMO2 C81GPCMOBK2
Weight 3.9 oz. 3.9 oz. 3.8 oz. 3.9 oz. 3.9 oz.
Overall length 8.281″ 8.281″ 8.281″ 8.281″ 8.281″
Closed length 4.812″ 4.812″ 4.812″ 4.812″ 4.812″
Blade style Modified drop-point Modified drop-point Modified drop-point Modified drop-point Modified drop-point
Blade length 3.438″ 3.438″ 3.438″ 3.438″ 3.438″
Blade thickness 0.141″ 0.141″ 0.141″ 0.141″ 0.141″
Edge PlainEdge™ blade PlainEdge™ blade PlainEdge™ blade PlainEdge™ blade PlainEdge™ blade
Edge length 3.078″ 3.078″ 3.078″ 3.078″ 3.078″
Steel Crucible Industries CPM S30V Crucible Industries CPM S30V Crucible Industries CPM S110V Crucible Industries CPM S30V Crucible Industries CPM S30V
Grind Full-Flat Full-Flat Full-Flat Full-Flat Full-Flat
Lock type Compression Compression Compression Compression Compression
Handle length 4.812″ 4.812″ 4.812″ 4.812″ 4.812″
Handle thickness 0.46″ 0.46″ 0.46″ 0.46″ 0.46″
Handle material G10 G10 G10 G10 G10
Handle color Black Black Dark blue Green, digital camouflage pattern Green, digital camouflage pattern
Clip Ambidextrous (Left/right, tip-up) Ambidextrous (Left/right, tip-up) Ambidextrous (Left/right, tip-up) Ambidextrous (Left/right, tip-up) Ambidextrous (Left/right, tip-up)
Best use Tactical Tactical Tactical Tactical Tactical
Manufacturer’s suggested retail prices $204.95 $224.95 $249.95 $204.95 $224.95


Spyderco Native 5 40th Anniversary Model

Spyderco Native 5 40th Anniversary
Spyderco Native 5 40th Anniversary

When a company sets out to create a special-edition product to celebrate a milestone anniversary in its progress from startup to success, the result typically aims for the combination of special high-grade materials, either in an all-new design or in a command-performance version of a time-tested, popular offering. As Spyderco’s 40th year in business arrives, the company has done just that in creating the model C41CF40TH Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus, based on the enduring Native family and dressed up in premium materials.


Throughout its four decades, Spyderco has relished its reputation for ignoring tradition when it stands in the way of innovation. The head of the company enjoys the doubting comments of those who don’t quite understand his company’s focus on researching the best (and often the most interesting) ways to solve technical problems, meeting needs that customers don’t necessarily realize they have, giving quality control obsessive attention, and always looking for the best blend of performance, reliability, and enduring materials. That focus has enabled Spyderco to invent and engineer features that stand today as normative expectations of what a folding knife is and does, including the pocket clip and the serrated cutting edge. The company’s history includes numerous collaborations with custom designers and expert users, and the introduction of more than a dozen blade steels. From launch to 40th anniversary, Spyderco epitomizes entrepreneurial spirit, beginning with founder Sal Glesser and wife Gail Glesser traveling the knife show route in a converted bread truck.


Given that history, you won’t be surprised at the attention to detail and the carefully considered specifications that make this Spyderco anniversary knife much more than a commemorative issue. The Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus emerges from Spyderco’s headquarters and manufacturing facility in Golden, Colorado, as a limited edition (Sprint Run, in Spyderco’s vernacular) that’s certain to find a home in many prized collections.

Blade Profile

Among Spyderco’s offerings, the Native series forms a signature family of knives that feature designs refined over the course of multiple generations of products. Building a premium commemorative edition of the company’s practical, affordable Native tools recognizes the importance of the Native series within the Spyderco product line, at the same time that it adds materials that elevate the anniversary edition to the level of hard-working art.


Spyderco pioneered the leaf-shaped blade as a slightly asymmetrical version of the spear-point profile. You won’t find a swage on the spine of this design, but you will find the signature Spyderco Trademark Round Hole in the blade itself to make it an ambidextrous knife you can open with just one hand. The leaf shape doesn’t include the ample belly curve you’d find on a drop-point profile to increase the area of the cutting edge.


Instead of a traditional forefinger groove on the bottom edge of the handle, Spyderco uses a jimped choil that removes a curved area from the blade between the cutting edge and the handle. The shape of the choil blends seamlessly into the corresponding curve of the handle’s front quillon. A second set of jimping grooves appears on the spine of the blade just in front of the handle.


For this momentous special edition knife, Spyderco adds its 40th anniversary logo to the left side of the blade, laser engraved next to the company logo. The company name and the name of the blade steel appear on two lines of type, parallel to the ends of the handle and located between the sets of jimping grooves on the spine and cutting edge of the blade.


Spyderco offers the Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus with a full flat grind on a single-edged blade. This edge style lightens blade weight and reduces the tendency for a blade to drag through the material it cuts. Spyderco also refers to this unserrated blade grind as a smooth edge.

Blade Finish

No coating for this Spyderco knife: Black-finished blades may offer tactical advantages in terms of their ability to make knives virtually disappear in the dark, but when a product features a steel as beautiful as the Damasteel DS93X Thor pattern used for this anniversary knife, covering up the intricate whorls and swirls of its pattern with a coating would constitute a waste of a premium material.

Blade Steel

With names such as Björkman’s Twist, Odins Eye, Vinland, and Thor, the products of Sweden’s Damasteel sound like places and people in an epic saga. In choosing Damasteel’s DS93X Thor for the Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus, Spyderco incorporated Damasteel’s 20th anniversary pattern into its own celebratory product.


Damascus steel consists of a combination of two or more steels. In the crucible steel of ancient Persia, secret recipes produced smelted results that used poor grades of steel by modern standards. The process of repeated twisting, folding, and forging, and the many-layered results it produced, aimed to overcome the weakness that could beset long-bladed weapons in which the grain of the metal needed to align along the long dimension to reduce the chance of breakage across the blade. In modern production, Damascus steel often is produced by welding the two steels together in a seven-layer sandwich, and then forging and folding the result over and over again until it consists of more than 100 layers. The combination typically matches up a high- and a low-carbon steel, marrying high-carbon’s strength and eventual bright color with low-carbon’s softness and dark appearance.


Headquartered in Söderfors, Sweden, Damasteel operates in a village with nearly 350 years of steel-making tradition. The proprietary Damasteel process dates to 1992 and brings the ancient art of Damascus steelmaking into the very modern day. Instead of being smelted, heat treated, and formed, Damasteel uses gas atomization to produce a powdered result. As molten steel flows through a small nozzle under high pressure from an inert gas, the steel piles up in tiny particles, each one a miniature ingot representing a thorough mixture of its component elements. Next, the powder loads into a canister for processing under heat and pressure, which densifies it into a capsule approximately 30% smaller than the material that enters the forming container. This capsule moves on for forging and rolling into the proper dimensions for the final patterning process.


Ancient or modern, the process of forging and layering Damascus steel produces dramatic patterns of light and dark metal across the billets that result from it. Many of Damasteel’s patterns carry trademarks denoting their uniqueness. The patterns stem from planned fabrication sequences that create a predictably exotic appearance in the steel. Unlike textures that only exist on the surface of a steel, Damasteel patterns run all the way through the metal. The patterns snap to life after the steel undergoes chemical processes, including etching with various acid mixtures that yield specific shades of light, dark, or bright gray on the two alloys combined in the forged metal. These etching solutions consist of hydrochloric or sulfuric acids and other chemicals.


Martensitic steels demonstrate a specialized tetragonal crystal structure. Damasteel’s martensitic stainless Damascus steel combines two powder-based Swedish alloys that result from cutting-edge metallurgy. RWL 34, the bright high-carbon steel, features 1.05% carbon, 14.00% chromium, 0.50% manganese, 4.00% molybdenum, 0.50% silicon, and 0.20% vanadium. It takes its name from the initials of the knife maker Bob Loveless. PMC 27, the dark low-carbon steel, incorporates 0.60% carbon, which technically classifies it as a medium-carbon steel, along with 13.00% chromium, and 0.50% manganese. Both of these component alloys represent variations on a classic 420-type steel, although PMC 27 contains more carbon than standard 420 steels do. The alloys used in Damasteel’s martensitic products feature the hardness and corrosion resistance necessary for an effective blade steel. In general, hardness comes from the carbon, chromium, and silicon, and manganese content; toughness from vanadium; corrosion resistance from chromium and molybdenum; wear resistance from carbon and manganese; and edge retention from molybdenum.


Among the basic performance parameters that characterize knife steels, hardness measures a material’s ability to resist impact. The Rockwell Hardness Scales quantify this property, with the C scale used to characterize knife steels. Toughness, which exists on a continuum with hardness, represents a steel’s damage resistance and its capacity to bend rather than break. Wear resistance defines a steel’s ability to withstand the twin forces of abrasion and adhesion. Abrasion results when a steel comes in contact with a rough substance; adhesion, when the steel picks up material dislodged from another surface. Corrosion resistance quantifies a steel’s lack of oxidation when it encounters environmental elements such as moisture and salt. Finally, edge retention provides a subjective measure of a steel’s continued sharpness despite use.

Handle Materials

Carbon fiber composites provide light weight, rigidity, and a high strength-to-weight ratio, characteristics that offer obvious benefits in knife handle fabrication. The carbon filaments come from precursor polymers, which are spun into yarns about the diameter of a human hair, heat treated to remove impurities, and formed into unidirectional or woven sheets. These sheets can be layered at 60-degree angles or combined with a backing material. With the application of a thermoset or thermoplastic resin, the desired “sandwich” of carbon fiber is molded and formed under heat and pressure. Short-run parts can be produced in a vacuum mold or fashioned from carbon fiber that’s impregnated with resin before being shaped. For quick production of large batches of parts, carbon fiber can be produced under compression in a highly precise mold. Some complex parts require the use of a filament winder to position the carbon fiber around a core shape.


The Spyderco model C41CF40TH Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus uses handle scales milled from carbon fiber. If Spyderco had attempted to mold in the knife’s distinctive sunburst surface texture, the result would show softer lines than the crisp precision that results from machining the carbon fiber instead.

Handle Design

This is no quietly plain knife handle. On Spyderco’s model C41CF40TH Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus, CNC-machined carbon fiber handle scales feature a sunburst pattern milled into the surface of the material. The rays of the sunburst fan out from a point located in the middle of the area occupied by the knife’s back lock. The pattern combines aesthetic appeal with the grip assistance of a texture permanently built into precisely milled parts. The shape of the handle also enhances your grip, with a quillon at the front of the handle belly to protect the user from the injuries that can result if fingers accidentally slide onto the cutting surface of the blade during a hard strike or forceful move. The jimped choil in the blade edge and the point of the quillon form a continuous semi-circular curve that leads into the shape of the handle belly. The butt of the knife culminates in a rounded point that echoes the curves of the rest of the handle. The back lock on the spine of the handle curves into the scales in a shape that parallels the finger-grooved belly.


Four Torx screws, including the blade pivot, secure the Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus together. A lanyard hole, centered in the width of the handle, appears near the butt of the knife, adjacent to sets of attachment holes that accommodate alternative positions for the knife’s four pocket clip attachment.

Lock Mechanism

To hold a blade safely and securely in an open position, Spyderco uses 12 different systems in its knives, including nine locking and three non-locking mechanisms. The back lock located on the handle spine of the model C41CF40TH Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus represents a refinement of a design that Spyderco introduced many years ago, and that the company uses on its entire Native family. This lock uses a rocker arm with a center pivot hole and a lug on the front end. The lug engages with a notch in the tang of the knife blade near the pivot screw. In profile, the lock silhouette might remind you of the shape of a long pipe wrench.


The manual operation nature of a back lock knife like the Spyderco Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus means that it can’t match the virtually instant blade deployment of an automatic design. To open the knife, position the pad of your thumb in the Spyderco Trademark Round Hole and slide the blade away from the handle. Wait for a click that indicates the back lock has engaged.

Pocket Clip

The stainless steel pocket clip on the Spyderco Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus represents the company’s most-implemented clip style. Attached with three Torx screws, this clip features an ambidextrous, reversible design that accommodates tip-up or tip-down carry positions. The knife handle incorporates two sets of attachment holes on each scale, one set at each end. This four-position flexible clip style characterizes the entire Spyderco Native family.

Knife Dimensions and Weight

Spyderco’s model C41CF40TH Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus measures 6.95 inches long overall and 3.97 inches long closed. Its blade measures 2.98 inches long and 0.122 inches thick, with a cutting edge that measures 2.48 inches. The knife weighs 2.7 ounces.

Other Considerations

If you enjoy adding limited-edition knives to your collection, either to use and admire every day or to retain in as-new condition as appreciable assets, the model C41CF40TH Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus represents a must have. Its premium materials, thoughtful design features, ambidextrous clip attachment, and collectable nature give it a special significance, especially for those who appreciate Spyderco knives. The knife includes a padded zipper pouch for storage.


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  Native 5 Carbon Fiber Damascus
Model number C41CF40TH
Weight 2.7 oz.
Overall length 6.95″
Closed length 3.97″
Blade length 2.98″
Cutting edge length 2.48″
Blade thickness 0.122″
Edge Plain
Edge length 2.48″
Steel DS93X THOR
Grind Full-Flat
Lock type Back lock
Handle Fluted carbon fiber
Clip 4-position ambidextrous (Left/right, tip-up/tip-down)
Origin USA

Spyderco Autonomy Automatic Knife Review

Spyderco recently released the Autonomy automatic knife.  In production for several years, this knife has previously been available only to members of the US Coast Guard.

Spyderco Autonomy
Spyderco Autonomy auto knife, C165GSBBK

Several years ago, Spyderco was contracted to build an auto knife for the US Coast Guard rescue swimmers.  These swimmers have some pretty incredible standards of fitness that readies them for the wide variety of environments they operate within.  They must be able to do 50 shoulder width push-ups, 60 sit-ups, 5 pull-ups, 5 chin-ups, a 500 yard crawl swim in 12 minutes and a 25 yard underwater swim done 4 times as well as a buddy tow of 200 yards.  And to complement their incredible fitness, they need equipment that performs to the standards they operate at on a daily basis.

Spyderco Autonomy
Spyderco Autonomy

The Autonomy features an H-1 steel blade.  H-1 steel is nitrogen based and immune to saltwater corrosion–making it the perfect blade for Coast Guard rescue personnel.  The knife boasts a coil spring nested in a unique, removable shroud that allows for the spring to be serviced without taking the whole knife apart.

Built with open construction, the Autonomy is easy to clean and dry.  The black G-10 scales proffer a secure, solid grip even in the water.  And the firing button is designed so you can index easily even in the dark, when your hands are cold, or when you have gloves on them.  This ideal auto knife is perfect for those who operate in water environments.

The sheepsfoot style blade has full serrations which makes it perfect for cutting straps with minimal chance of cutting whatever is wound up in the strap or rope. In 2012, this knife won the “Most Innovative American Design” award at Blade Show.  Find it here on our website.

  • length overall 8.625″
  • blade length 3.75″
  • blade steel H-1
  • length closed 4.875″
  • cutting edge 3.625″
  • edge type fully serrated
  • blade style Sheepsfoot
  • weight 5.35 oz
  • blade thickness .11″
  • handle material Black G-10 with Stainless Steel Liners
  • Push Button Automatic
  • Pocket Clip Tip Up
  • Made in USA