The Spyderco Hunters Edge

Two new edged tools, one lock-blade folder and the other fixed-blade, both custom designed and with blue-collar affordability.

Spyderco folding knives, with their large, round, thumb engagement hole in the blade for one-hand opening, are probably the most easily recognizable edged tool available today. Their broad range of functional blade patterns and knife configurations also make products from this firm highly popular for “Every-Day-Carry” (EDC). Little known is the fact is that Spyderco also produces several knives, both fixed-blade and folding, that are designated in their catalog as “specialty” knives. While not necessarily hunting knives, there are several models that provide superior service for big game hunters. Two such new from Spyderco knives are the Ouroboros lock–blade folder and the Junction fixed-blade.

Photo courtesy Spyderco

As stated, the Ouroboros is a lock-blade folder that incorporates a heaping dose of function into a compact, high performance package. Named after the mystical Greek serpent often depicted swallowing its own tail, the knife is custom-designed by automotive engineer Paul Alexander. The broad, symmetrical, leaf-shaped, spear-point pattern blade is a tad over 2-1/2 inches long and crafted fromVG-10 stainless steel (carbon 0.95-1.05%, chromium14.50-15.50%, cobalt 1.30-1.50%, manganese 0.50%, molybdenum 0.90-1.20%, phosphorus0.03%, silicon0.60%, and vanadium 0.10-0.30%).

The blade is paired with synthetic G-10 handle scales that are thin and curved to work with the recessed blade choil to form perfect hand-to-knife contact. Within the handle scales are nested stainless steel liners that interface with the back-access compression lock for a bank vault blade lockup. The whole package is topped off with a reversible, deep pocket, wire attachment clip, allowing blade tip-up, ambidextrous knife access.

Pictured here with a Justin Sip custom rifle is the Junction fixed-blade (top) and the Ouroboros lock-blade folder (bottom), either one of which makes a fine hunting knife for big game field care. Image: Durwood Hollis

You wouldn’t think that a tiny 2-1/2 inch blade could handle tough skinning chores, but I’ve used this knife extensively doing just that and the performance is outstanding. And the fact that the knife shape seems to stick to your hand, even when working in contact with slippery body fluids and tough hide, is a real advantage. While the knife may not be designed with hunting in mind, it certainly performs in that arena as an edged skinning tool.

Designed by custom maker Gayle Bradley, the new Junction fixed-blade knife is definitely a multi-functional, edged outdoor tool. This full tang knife features a blade crafted from PSF27 spray formed tool steel (carbon 1.55%, chromium 12.00%, molybdenum 0.75%, vanadium 1.00%, nitrogen 0.07%, silicon 0.40% and manganese 0.40%), with a Rockwell hardness of Rc 60.5-Rc 62. A very slight drop-point is incorporated into the flat-ground 3.68-inch sharpened edge. Furthermore, the design combines an integral guard with G-10 molded handle scales. The knife’s sheath is crafted from Boltaron, a recycled ABS/acrylic PVS extruded thermoplastic sheet material similar to Kydex.

Spray forming a blade (also known as spray casting), such as the one used in the Junction fixed-blade, begins by melting powdered alloy steel in an induction furnace. The molten steel is poured through a ceramic nozzle and broken up into droplets by gas jets and deposited onto a collection surface, thereby forming a steel billet. SPF27 tool steel is a relatively new spray formed powdered steel that is quite similar to D2 tool steel, with many makers of the opinion that the extremely fine grain and homogenous matrix make it basically “D2 on steroids.”

Photo courtesy Spyderco

When compared to regular D2, the enhanced chemical composition of SPF27 imparts elevated toughness and increased wear resistance. It must be remembered, however, that even though the steel has a significant level of chromium, like regular D2 it cannot be considered fully stainless. While PSF27 requires some level of care to prevent rust, that is offset by the increase in overall wear resistance.

There’s no doubt that the Junction fixed-blade is a reliable big game knife, fully able to handle field care with every thing from dik dik to deer and elk to eland. Since I tend to bone-out all of my game in the field, I especially like the thin and somewhat flexible nature of the knife. With it I can turn any game animal into chunks of manageable venison in a matter of minutes. And when I am deep in the backcountry, that’s a real significant advantage.–Durwood Hollis

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