Friday, February 17, 2012

Inital Review of the CRKT S.P.E.W. Small Pocket EDC Wharncliffe

The SPEW got here a little over an hour ago and I've been busy checking this neat little knife out. I'm not huge on the blade steel and I can't decide if the name is crap or a memorable trademark, but I think Alan Folts and CRKT are going to make a tidy sum over this new blade.

The blade steel is 5CR15MoV which is also used in the Folts Minimalists. It takes a decent edge and be resharpened very easily, but it will not hold long. It is not especially strong and being a wharncliff means that the tip is the weakest part of the whole knife. I've had two other wharns, the Kershaw Leek and the Cold Steel Kiridashi, that both have bent tips. There is already a 2 Star review from AZ on Knife Center where someone broke the tip off theirs from a "slight amount of abuse". I personally don't know how to take this. Saying abuse indicates misuse on the part of the user. Stainless steel is very unforgiving of physical abuse but very forgiving of neglect.

The factory edge will not win contests. It cuts paper ok, but is a bit on the ragged side. So it is sharp enough to do good work. It is still miles ahead of the edge on the Timberline previously reviewed. Fortunately, being a straight edge, this wharncliffe should be no problem for even the greenest knife sharpener to take proper care of.

The grip on this blade is very comfortable. It feels good in hammer, saber, and reverse grip. The textured G10 looks great and has a good roughness that will aid in retention. The jimping is rough but shallow and unfortunately flawed. The grips do not share the ridges of the passing jimping. Thus only the tip of the thumb ramp has a good roughness for control. A nice choil helps keep this knife in place. The paracord end helps get a better saber grip, but it is somewhat useless in reverse grip.

The sheath is somewhat above average. The choil is exposed and can be gripped when drawing the blade. Also, it is easy to thumb the sheath off of the knife. This means that it could be carried in the pocket without and mounting parts. However, I've found it works well for my normal karbiner carry technique. It comes with paracord for neck carry. Being so light, it should work nicely for that.

It comes with a belt clip, that just manages to work with the thick velcro parts of my rigger's belt. The clip can be fixed for vertical or horizontal carry. The package is slim. It rides well and conceals well offhand and strong hand in both modes of carry.

However, the design of the sheath means that the clip will be mounted at the bottom so it is something of a high ride in horizontal. In vertical, it is easy to configure to draw from hammer, saber, and even reverse grips. It especially disappears in small of the back vertical carry. The knife is too small and flexy to cause spine damage should you fall.

For defensive use, it's reasonably sharp and fast. I'm sure it'll hurt someone very badly if they go for your gun. Not sure if it will survive a bone hit.

Going to be EDCing this to work for a few weeks in place of my Cold Steel Mini-tac Tanto. As much as I wish for better steel, I think this knife will sell well at the price point. It is a very neat design. I hate to see potential so limited by cheap steel.

Update: Final thoughts on the SPEW.


Dan said...

Excellent review RK! Man it is great to get your thoughts on this one. I found the 5Cr to be adequate on my Minimalist, although I'd always like something better. I look forward to getting more insights from you after carrying it at work. Thanks for the detailed review!

J.R.Shirley said...

Thank you for the thoughtful review.

I guess another way to view it is that, as primarily a defensive knife, the cheap steel makes it accessible/affordable to many more people.