Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Review: Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife

Spyderco has some interesting designs and collaborations, such as this one with well known knife maker, Des Horn. Their Taichung models have a reputation for legendary fit and finish, though none of the Taichungs ever really called my name. Getting a Des Horn from Amazon on black Friday for $62 definitely called my name.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product Link
Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product Link


Product Description


This is a small-ish pocket knife made in their Taichung, Taiwan factory from USA made CPM-S30V steel and carbon fiber scales. It features a one way, right-handed, tip-down deep carry clip. I guess I would call the blade geometry a modified wharncliffe.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - With Tag Heuer Link and Fisher Space Pen


Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - With Spyderco Mantra - 1

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - With Spyderco Mantra - 2


Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Made using the highest quality materials
  • Tested for quality and durability
  • The most trusted name in you cutlery needs
  • Right hand, tip-down clip
  • Michael Walker Liner Lock.
  • Black Smooth G-10 Handle

Initial Impressions


Wow, this thing has a sharp tip, probably the sharpest point I've seen on any knife. In all my years of knife collecting, I still haven't cut myself on a knife, and my first thought with the Des Horn was "don't cut yourself!"

It's extremely light. Between the slim blade geometry and the carbon fiber scales, I can't even feel it in my pocket. Which leads me to my only real gripe with it. The Des Horn comes with the clip tip-down out of the box and cannot be configured for tip-up.

But overall, this is a beautiful specimen, just like the Mantra I bought shortly after this one. I can see why people make a fuss about their Taichung models. 

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 1

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 2

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 3

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 4
The carbon fiber scales are beautiful, but they are fingerprint magnets!
Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 5

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 6

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 7

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Product View 8

Build Quality


It's easy to spot on the uninformed people on the Internet scolding Spyderco and its founder, Sal, for moving production of certain models overseas in order to increase profit and lower quality. For some companies I might agree, but Spyderco's Taichung plant is making models that are probably better overall than their Golden, Co cousins. 

My specimen lives up to its name. Everything about this knife just screams well built. I've never been a big fan of their wire clips, but this one is built well, and I understand that they didn't go to all the trouble of making this knife so light just to add a heavy clip.

Fit And Finish


Near perfect. The scales and blade are pretty much flawless. A blade with this weird geometry just begs them to make a mistake on the grind or the edge, but nope, both are perfect. Blade centering, perfect. Uniformity of the carbon fiber, perfect. No tool marks, blemishes, scratches, scuffs or anything that usually takes away from a finish.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Blade Centered



Blade


The Des Horn has what I would call a hollow grind, modified wharncliffe blade, which comes to an extremely sharp tip. I said 'extremely' right? I'm not sure what to call the jimping on the side of the blade. It seems designed to give you a little extra grip deploying the blade from the spydie hole, and does its job well.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Blade 1

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Blade 2

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Blade 3Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Blade 4



Handle


Carbon fiber is a material that Spyderco is adept at working with. The scales have a few grooves on each side to give a little better grip. It's still not ideal, but it's not bad either. However, the handle design isn't so ergonomic.

It's kind of a clumsy grip on the knife with my largish hands. I would consider this a "gentleman's folder" but maybe gentlemen have small hands. Either way, it seems to me like this knife was made more as a work of art than a functional tool.

Clip


The one way, right-handed wire clip is well designed and carries well even though tip-down carry isn't my thing. So the clip is well done even if the tip-down configuration is a deal breaker for me personally. I've read reviews where people carry it in their shirt pocket, and the tip down clip would do pretty well there.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Clip

Locking Mechanism


I'm not sure what a "Michael Walker Liner Lock" is, but I know what a liner lock is, and this is one. It's very well done, and solid, but a little hard to unlock because it's recessed a little. But it deploys nice and smooth, and locks up solid, and that's what I look for.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Lock Usability


There's no reason this wouldn't make a decent EDC, but this one is going to live a pampered life in its box for now, until I decide its fate. I've never been a huge fan of wharncliffe type blades, but this is more of a stabby warncliffe which seems like an oxymoron. 

But again, if you don't cut yourself, this style blade should be able to open mail, packages, cut rope, whatever. I think it probably excels as a "gentleman's folder" and I may carry this one the few times I wear a suit.

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - In Hand 1

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - In Hand 2

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - In Hand 3

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - In Hand 4

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - On Scale
It feels lighter than 2 ounces

Spyderco Des Horn EDC Pocket Knife - Calipers

Conclusions


Spyderco has always pushed the boundaries of knife making both with their own designs, and their collaborations. The Des Horn ... maybe pushes them a little far. Mine is a beautiful work of art that I'm never going to part with, but I just don't see myself carrying it much.

As a gentleman's folder, I think it could really shine, and I've seen other reviewers saying something to that effect. It's not that it's a bad design, it's just that there's so many better designs for EDC, like my precious Native.





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