Thursday, July 9, 2015

Spyderco Lum Chinese Folder ~ C65BK ZDP-189

Now I should really be trawling the net and get to know more about the knife I'm talking about... Then again this isn't gonna be a tech. review. For that, there are a lot of better sources and authority out there... Briefly, this is a discontinued model from Spyderco, designed by the late Bob Lum and in my opinion, one of the finer Spydies made. While retaining their signature hole opening , which really isn't always a winner with every design.. in this instance, it does sync aesthetically with the overall curvature of the design from handle to blade.

Spyderco has never really been on my radar.... in fact if it wasn't because of playing courier-boy for a couple of friends to ferry a Paramilitary 2 from one to the other --I'll probably still be blissfully unaware.... yes, unbelievable I know. 

Things kick started with a Spydie Southard before chancing upon this.... there's just something within the leaf blade shape that kept drawing me back. Plus the fact its ZDP-189... a steel I've been dying to try out.... Not many companies uses ZDP-189 and I didn't fancy most of the other ZDP Spydies with FRN handles.


Normally sub 3.5" blades are passed as preferred carries of mine are flat 3.75" blades with the usual drop point and Wharnies or one of those large belly upsweep variants. However the Spydie-Lum comes with a generous edge which when slicing is made more pronounced by being relatively wide. It feels and slices a lot like my bigger knives. No doubt helped along by the thinly ground crazy sharp steel.

No, come to think of it... it actually slices better than many of my other knives. Gotta to say I am plenty happy to be getting a lot out of such a small knife. I could go on and on here but with a soon to come writeup of a  shoot-out of my different blades, this nifty little piece here is sure to espoused again. It's already my benchmark for certain edge cutting tasks, displacing others in the short time it has been in my possession.

Carrying is easy too as once folded it has a rather thin footprint. Only concern is not to scratch it up. Normally not adverse to wear for users but I would like to keep this as part of the collection, yet not relegated to being a total safe queen.

Almost passed this up too because of the word "aluminium" handle, knowing nothing about Almite coating in my utterly ignorant state then. Thankfully the nylon washer used for the Nishijin Carbon Fiber version sounded even less appealing.

Looking at the ergonomics vs actually feeling them are two very very different things I have come to know from my other endeavors. Like mountain bike handlebars it's an endless discussion of how up-sweep, back-sweep and length etc come together giving a rider the right feel. Often the most amazing pics of the latest bling products in the market may just turn out to be a huge disappointment.
Yet quiet (by design) and unassuming ones sometimes turn out to be the just one of those Zen-out as "One-with-the-Bike". Much like this knife here- a natural extension of the hand.

The hand feel (me, a med-large glove) mated to the subtle curvatures works extremely well with the overall blade shape for such a thin knife. Certainly not a rumbling behemoth tacticool screamer. If it can be put into an audio analogy, , it would be like comparing the sounds of a soft soothing flute vs a pounding electric guitar

"pi"? Who would have guessed, coffee cup stain art :) ... actually this knife somehow reminds me of my primary and favorite weapon during weapon-training in karate days.. the Kama ( かま) aka sickle.

And the Almite coated alu handle?--- Now that's just pure unadulterated baby butt smoothness. Almost velvet-like is all my limited vocabulary induced state after a long day now can best describe. The lush tactile feel mated to the blade action of sureness and sharpness as the knife slices is something that simply need to be felt. Two different type of smoothness, one nestled in the hand while the other effortlessly gliding forward without hesitation in my usual fetish quest for sub 1mm julienne. Pity whatever may be used as test subjects (and why the Missus bars me from cutting up spring onions-- she says when I'm thru she is left with a paste most time :)

Thought I knew by now what kind of knives are for me, yet this little guy here has defied my thinking in more ways than one. But at the core I reckon what it showed is in line with my fundamental philosophy of  "Form Follows Function". The best looking tool/ equipment is moot if it isn't so.

The relatively thin blade made out of ZDP-189 is a good match if you ask me.  It takes advantage of the high rc (hardless) by being ground down thin. Can't help feeling when using, there is this notion of "surgical precision" much like my 20 yr old trusty scalpel from bio lab days that's still very much a part of my no-nonsense EDC pack. What's left now is really to search out the factory's edge dps and see if it it makes sense to push it another couple of degrees down when it next meet the stones.

Not doubting it can take a bit of beating cutting down hard, again I always caution in understanding the difference between hardness and toughness. While there are always overlapping properties as more steel types comes into the market, the heuristic approach is to classify my knives into 2 broad categories.. (a) Hard and Sharp and usually with good edge retention)  vs Tough and chip-resistant. This certainly belongs to the former.

The only thing to know in the longer run is when it comes time to sharpen-- how difficult will that be. According to a few friends. ZDP 189 can be quite a handful. Super hard to grind down,wire edge and all... Well.. we'll see.

One handed operation and smoothness of the pivot and washer on this is bar none. Of course how well that works is really a matter of individual hand size.


In fact, right now it is seeding thoughts of how well it's bigger brethren the 3.75" VG10 with G10 Handle might feel... I can justify that this is a keeper and the bigger VG10 may just become my next errmmm.. much needed EDC ;)

 OK time to go do some hunting for another one of these discontinued models.

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