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Old 05-02-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default New Delica and Endura variations!

My first experience with Spyderco was almost an accident. A local gun shop was having a clearance sale and I got a good deal on a box with an assortment of knives. In that box where two Spyderco knives: a Viele and a light weight Walker. I’d read about the brand, but hated the look of their knives, and I really didn’t care for the synthetic handle materials either. Up to this point I’d been using and collecting nothing but traditional knives. The only plastic handled knives I owned were SAKs and I even had the scales on a few of them replaced for wood.

I tried to sell those two Spydercos, but at the time I wasn’t that well connected with the knife community and it was tricky to find buyers. I ended up taking them on a trip and after a week or so of daily use I just fell in love with them. I started looking for more of this mysterious brand (almost unkown in Argentina back then) and ended up going on-line to look for them. I found a few knife forums, started ordering stuff from recommended vendors and the rest is history.

I like Spyderco for many reasons, their products are excellent and fairly priced, their customer service is top notch and the owner is probably one of the nicest guys in the knife business. He even has the unusual habit of listening to his customers, time and time again if enough people ask for something that’s reasonably feasible, Sal Glesser will make it happen (like the UKPK, just to name an example).

It’s the sort of company that I genuinely enjoy giving money to! Besides these objective reasons, Spyderco holds some sentimental value for me because it was the brand that helped open my mind to new designs and materials and taught me to try something out before standing on my little soap box and ranting.

Spyderco pioneered features that are now standard in modern pocket knives (one hand opening, pocket clip, serrations) and has cultivated quite a following because their knives just work. They are prime examples of form following function. From an aesthetic point of view, few of them give me the same pleasure as a well worn carbon steel slipjoint with carefully jigged bone handles, but I just love using them. They are knives that I enjoy with my hands rather than my eyes.

Another great thing about these fellows in Golden (Colorado) is that they can’t leave well enough alone. Their models are constantly improved upon or modified to offer the customer more options. And that brings me (finally!) to the knives I want to review today, the newest version of two or Spyderco’s best sellers: the Delica and Endura.

A while ago Spyderco introduced some big changes to their classic Delicas and Enduras. They added steel liners to the FRN handles (which in turn allowed for a four position pocket clip), switched from pinned construction to screws (huge step forwards, IMHO), made some changes to the handle shape and completely changed the grind on the blade from a hollow grind with a sharp point (that some users found weak) to a sabre grind with a reinforced tip. Most people liked the newer versions (called Delica 4 and Endura 4), though some had complaints about the small increase of weight due to the steel liners and the thicker edge geometry. While the liners didn’t bother me, I did find the blade on my older Endura 3 more satisfying to use than the Endura 4 (the Delica 4 was fine because of the thinner blade stock, it made up for the thicker grind).

There was a sprint run of G-10 handled Delicas and Enduras with full flat ground blades, but they were more expensive than regular ones (on par with other G-10 handled, full flat ground Spydies), so they weren’t a real alternative. As great as they are (I ADORE my G-10 Delica), they lacked one of the best qualities of FRN Spydercos: relatively low price. They are also heavier.

People wanted those great, thin edged flat ground blades on an FRN handle, and once more Sal delivered. In fact, he went a step further and offered different colours for the FRN handles. They can be had in brown, green, purple, blue (my favourite) and grey. I placed an order with my wholesale distributor as soon as they were available and kept a blue Delica and a Blue Endura for myself. It was love at first sight, the blue coloured FRN is a nice break from the ubiquitous black handles and the grind on the blades is excellent.

Here are the links to the manufacturer’s specs:
:: Spyderco Product Details ::
:: Spyderco Product Details ::

Such great edge geometry coupled with a high quality stainless steel like VG-10 yields terrific performance. They are awesome slicers, and also work very well for wood carving. The tips might seem thin compared to the regular versions, but I’ve yet to snap the tip on any of my folding knives. I don’t pry with them, I use the screw driver on my SAK for that (and I know its limitations). I’ve carried them both in the city as well as outdoors and while working at my dad’s ranch. They’ve done everything I need a folding knife to do. I’m rather partial to the Delica because I like the way it looks a bit more, and also because it’s just so light and unobtrusive, yet delivers such amazing cutting power that I just feel like kissing it.

I give the blades an A. I’m a big fan of Spyderco’s flat ground blades, and I’m very happy to finally see them in their more affordable FRN knives instead of just on their G-10 and carbon fibre handled ones. As I said above, VG-10 is a very high quality steel. I’ve been using it for years and when it comes to EDC folders, it’s my favourite blade material. The balance between edge holding and ease of sharpening is perfect.

Ergonomics on both handles are very well thought out. Even though it’s small, the Delica is very comfortable in my large hands. The handle on the Endura is quite long and allows for some extra reach if you grab the end of the handle (useful in some SD scenarios as well as for things like cutting on a hot grill). The texture on the FRN is well done, grippy but not too much. The area where the clip meets the handle has a Spyderco logo instead of the texturing, a nice touch that makes drawing the knife much smoother and keeps pockets from getting damaged. The clip can be installed in four different positions.

The lock used is the tried and true lockback, which has a long and successful track record. The only modification is the Boye dent that helps avoid accidental disengagement.

The opening hole, choice of lock and the clip placement options make these knives fully ambidextrous.

Since they are screwed together rather than pinned, pivot tension can be adjusted, they can be taken apart for detailed cleaning and anything that breaks can be replaced (Spyderco sells a replacement parts kit). One can also switch around the blades between the different models. All my training knives and guns are green, so I swapped the blades between one of the new green Enduras and my Endura Trainer (comes in red from the factory).
I know most of the folks here are interested in knives as emergency SD weapons as well as utility tools. In my novice opinion, either of these knives could fulfil that role well. The locks are strong, deployment is quick, the handles offer good purchase and the blades are wicked sharp. Those who think the Delica is too small for an effective SD knife should watch some of Michael Janich’s videos on YouTube. He’s been carrying two Delicas as his self defence knives for ten years or so (he mentioned it on the Spyderco forums) and has run loads of cutting tests. This guy really, really knows what he’s talking about. Still, I feel a bit more comfortable with the Endura, especially now that winter is coming to South America and bad guys wear thicker clothes. Mr Janich discusses some of his credentials and shows some cuts with a Delica in this video:


A huge advantage that both the Delica and Endura have when it comes to being pressed into SD duty is that there are dedicated training versions available. And they are excellent, I use them three times a week and the edges are rounded enough to be used for full contact practice (with some care when stabbing). I see a lot of people who order folding knives from me to use as SD tools, and then buy fixed blade rubber training knives. You need to train with what you carry. If a 3” folding knife is going to be your main edged weapon (perhaps that’s the legal limit in your area), you need to train with a 3” folding trainer. Just start a fight with a training partner with your knife clipped to your pocket and try to draw and open it while punching, kicking or grappling. It’s not that easy at first! I used to think that folding trainers were a waste of money (they cost more or less the same as the “real” knife), but I’m now convinced that they are a must for serious training.
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Old 05-02-2010, 12:25 AM   #2
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What's not to like about these new Delica and Endura variations? Some people might find the tips a bit too thin for their liking, those people might be better served by the regular Delica 4 and Endura 4 with their reinforced tips.

Ok, enough rambling. Here are some pictures of my new blue toys.

From left to right: blue ffg Delica 4, Delica 4 G-10, Delica 4, blue ffg Endura 4, Endura 4, Endura 3 (with clip positioned for left side carry).


Three Enduras. Top one is hollow ground, middle one is sabre ground and the bottom one is flat ground.


Top is a sabre ground Endura 4, bottom is a full flat ground Endura 4.


Spine view of the regular Endura 4 (top, black handle) and the ffg Endura 4. Notice the stouter tip and thicker blade on the regular Endura.

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Old 05-02-2010, 12:29 AM   #3
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More pics...

Three Delicas (all are Delica 4 variations). Top one is sabre ground, the other two are flat ground.


Regular Delica 4 on top (sabre ground) and the new blue ffg Delica 4 below.


Spine view (sorry for the quality, my camera died shortly after). Regular Delica 4 on top, ffg Delica 4 on the bottom.


The new full flat ground (ffg) Endura and Delica with a blue Swiss army knife for scale.

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Old 05-02-2010, 12:31 AM   #4
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Couple of shots of the knives closed.





Thanks to those who made it all the way through my post! I just love talking knives, but since English is not my first language (or even the second one) I imagine the text must be quite an ordeal for you guys to read.

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Old 05-02-2010, 12:56 AM   #5
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Great post(s) Francisco.

I have used a Spyderco Harpy as my EDC Knife since about '88. Before that was the "PIG" (Pride, Integrity, Guts), now known as the "Police Model".

Today on the range I used the Harpy so often that one guy asked me "How often do you use that thing?". The answer was, "About 10 times a day in a normal day". I don't leave home without it.

And I have an original Delica hanging on my backpack.

I agree with everything you said about the company. They listen, and care.

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Old 05-02-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
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Another superb review Francisco. Thanks. My EDC is almost always my Delica. They are very good quality knives in my novice opinion. They do everything I ask them to do. It is also great to hear that they are a customer service oriented business. That is the Hallmark of a great company.

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Old 05-02-2010, 09:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroxAZ View Post
It is also great to hear that they are a customer service oriented business. That is the Hallmark of a great company.
Like any other product manufactured by humans, Spyderco knives can be flawed.

In my opinion, a good company is one that will try their best to spot those faulty products before they leave the plant, and have a sensible return policy for those few that somehow do get past QC. A great company, however, will do both those things and also do all they can to make sure the customer is happy and warn other customers if they think it might not be an isolated issue. Spyderco is one of those great companies that goes beyond that bare minimum customer support that most businesses offer nowadays.

If somebody reading this thinks that I'm just an irrational fanboy, let me assure you that I've got good reasons to support this company. I'm a very small time dealer (I basically sell knives to pay for new additions to my collection), in a country that represents a tiny, tiny market for knife companies. I'm used to being somewhat ignored whenever one of my customers needs to return a faulty knife or get a replacement part, I usually just give them a new one for free and don't even bother contacting the company (shipping to the US and back is 200 dollars). The guys over at Spyderco actually listen to what I need and try their best to help out, last week one of their salespeople spent 20 minutes on the phone with me working out a way to get me some spare pocket clips for discontinued knives. That sale was a whooping $5 for Spyderco, yet the guy I spoke to treated me like I was ordering two of each of the knives in their catalog.

I also like the way Sal handles himself. The knife scene is full of loud alpha males who're constantly getting into pissing contests. He even says good things about his competition and even when it would be fine for him to say bad things (like when his designs get copied), he handles himself like a gentleman. IMHO, his behaviour has a positive impact in the way knife enthusiasts are viewed by the general public.
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franciscomv View Post
Like any other product manufactured by humans, Spyderco knives can be flawed.

In my opinion, a good company is one that will try their best to spot those faulty products before they leave the plant, and have a sensible return policy for those few that somehow do get past QC. A great company, however, will do both those things and also do all they can to make sure the customer is happy and warn other customers if they think it might not be an isolated issue. Spyderco is one of those great companies that goes beyond that bare minimum customer support that most businesses offer nowadays.

If somebody reading this thinks that I'm just an irrational fanboy, let me assure you that I've got good reasons to support this company. I'm a very small time dealer (I basically sell knives to pay for new additions to my collection), in a country that represents a tiny, tiny market for knife companies. I'm used to being somewhat ignored whenever one of my customers needs to return a faulty knife or get a replacement part, I usually just give them a new one for free and don't even bother contacting the company (shipping to the US and back is 200 dollars). The guys over at Spyderco actually listen to what I need and try their best to help out, last week one of their salespeople spent 20 minutes on the phone with me working out a way to get me some spare pocket clips for discontinued knives. That sale was a whooping $5 for Spyderco, yet the guy I spoke to treated me like I was ordering two of each of the knives in their catalog.

I also like the way Sal handles himself. The knife scene is full of loud alpha males who're constantly getting into pissing contests. He even says good things about his competition and even when it would be fine for him to say bad things (like when his designs get copied), he handles himself like a gentleman. IMHO, his behaviour has a positive impact in the way knife enthusiasts are viewed by the general public.
Quoted for truth

I was, at one time, a Spyderco Law Enforcement dealer, basically like Francisco, as a way to finance my Spydie habit. Dealing with the company was very easy. The main issue I had was that sometimes their turnaround time on sharpening, retipping, and repairs was a little long. Most of the time if the knife belonged to a LEO, they didn't even charge for the sharpening. There is nothing like getting the knife sharpened at the factory. The only real complaint I had was when my pink Cricket didn't pass their safety test. They replaced it with a black Cricket. I had a heck of a time trying to find another pink one. Then I used it an an excuse to be 3 more.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Francisco,
Thanx much for your kind words. We're very lucky to be able to do what we do. We're also very blessed to be able to work for the Glessers.

Make it a good day!

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Old 05-08-2010, 07:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Francisco,
Thanx much for your kind words.
You guys earned them with years of good service. Now, if you really want to thank me, please please make an H1 Swick.
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