I mentioned in an earlier post that I really liked my Kershaw pocketknife, and kept it, even though I’d damaged and re-ground the blade.

I also mentioned that I had carried a Spyderco knife previous to the Kershaw.

I didn’t, I think, mention that I now carry a Spyderco again.

Here it is:

SPYDERCO delicaI originally happened across Spyderco knives when I started kayaking rivers where rescue ropes were routinely seen.  Every PFD (lifejacket) that I’ve ever owned had some kind of tab for affixing a knife, and the bulky overstuffed thing I first wore on the Nantahala river was no different. Time, then, to get a knife.

I had an old sheath knife in a waterproof box in my boat, but that was mostly for eating lunch with- no way to get at it efficiently during a problem, you see.

I remembered the sort of utility/rescue knives some scuba divers had, from my days when I dived a little.  Those were really cool, but they were very single-purposed in a multi-purposed way, what with their screwdriver ends and barbed line-cutters and saw edges on the back and all. They were scuba knives, and not for anything else.

Gerber made some nice kayaking knives a little like that.  Plastic sheathed, made to wear upside down so you could reach up to your PFD, grab the handle and bring it down and out to where you’d want it. Square tipped for screwdriving. Very cool. Good for PFD.  Good for tacklebox.  Couldn’t put it on your belt or in your pocket unless you wanted to be made fun of.

Instead of that, I bought a folding Spyderco knife.  It looked like something I could use on the river and in my pocket.  Molded plastic handle, with a big, round thumbhole in the back of the blade for single-hand opening.  Very slick.  Little pricey, but not so much if you think you might carry it around all the time, not just on rivers.

So I bought the one that was all they had left in that flavor- half regular blade, half serrated and not too big or small.  Delica.

Turned out great.  It was a little iffy on the knife tab of my PFD.  The integral clip could have been longer, and it would have stayed put better, but I kept an eye on it and it worked out okay.

And, of course, I never used it to free my (or anyone else’s) ankle from a trailing rope or unfortunately placed fishing line.

It was hell on FedEx boxes and the like, though.  Zip, zot, and you’re in.

And I lost it.

And I got another.   I may have found the first one again, if memory serves.  And then misplaced and refound both in turn for a while.

While I still had the first one, though, I was wearing it clipped to the edge of my right-hand pocket like I (and various outdoor workers, rednecks, woodsmen, and doughty men ’round the world) do, when I spotted a couple of friends at the pet food store.  One friend ran in for dog food and the other (a well-known local radio personality! Hi Bev!) stayed outside to watch their dogs and chat.  “Where’d you get the left-handed knife?” she said.  She obviously knew more about knives than I do.  “The whuh?” I said, intelligently.  She pointed out that the way the knife was turned in my pocket, it was meant to be a lefty.  I thought back to when I bought it years and years before.  THAT was the reason they only had this one left. “Left” being the operative word.

Turns out that the way I like to slide my hand straight down the knife in my pocket, draw it out and open it one handed is a little backward to what people usually like.  I do better with a lefty set up.  Weird.

I didn’t really think much about it ’til I got that nice Kershaw.  I drew it out of my pocket the same way, but there was an extra little roll of the hand to get it ready to open that I wasn’t used to.  I got used to it, and liked the way a Kershaw springs open.  And like I said, I stuck with Kershaw, and made gifts of Kershaws for a few years.

This last time, feeling I needed a whole knife blade again instead of the little re-ground thing I was down to, I went back to the Outdoor store to get a Kershaw (Bass Pro Shops, at least the one I go to, no longer carried them, and though everything’s available on the internet, I like to shop in person.)  And saw the Spyderco knives.  No longer molded all of a piece, the clips are now metal and bolted on, and can be changed around to suit the buyer.  There was a mixup on the price, and I discovered that it was half again as much as the Kershaw I had come in for.  “Screw it.”  I thought.  “I’m going back to the ol’ Spyderco.”  and I did.  And it was a little iffy going back to opening a knife with my thumb the first few times, but it all came back.  I now pull it out and open it, and then a box, without thinking about it.  Nice.  Plus, another thing that irritated me about the Kershaw was the way you closed it. The lock was inside the handle, and you moved it aside with your thumbnail, then got your fingers the heck out of the way before you close it up.  Not a problem, really, but it was tricky when I was teaching knife safety to cub scouts.  (there were no injuries.)  The Spyderco has the lockswitch on the back of the handle, so you can put your fingers across the back of the blade, push the lockswitch with the other hand, and, just like the Cub Scout Bears book tells you, safely close the knife.  I like that better that the Kershaw, even if opening the Kershaw is totally, totally, really cool.

So, there’s your product review. Spyderco.  If you have the extra bucks to spend on a knife, and you have the hand and head for carrying and opening a knife the way I do, then they’re great.  Worth returning to, even after years.  I attest to that.  Their steel is Japanese, and their logo looks more like a tick to me than a spider, and now you have all the details.  Looking for a pocketknife?  Look close- there are imitators of Spyderco, with spider or ticklike logos and everything.  Spyderco’s a good choice. I will not attest to the cheap knockoffs.

Oh.  And I now wear one of those clever multi-use Gerbers on my PFD.  I’m not risking a good Spyderco on the river any more.