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Spyderco Superleaf or Esee 3 (or 4)?

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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-18-11 10:44 AM
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Spyderco Superleaf or Esee 3 (or 4)?
I think I would like to get a good general purpose outdoor knife. This is as kind of a reward for myself for all the preparation I'm doing for the GRE at the end of April. I will apreciate any opinions offered.

Presently, I have a Marbles "Plainsman" with has a traditional stacked leather handle, leather scabbard, 4ish" straight-spine blade with a significant curve on the edge. I like it except the handle is a bit narrow to get an easy grip when doing a lot of work and I suspect the steel is a bit soft. I also have an old 6" Cold Steel "SRK" in Carbon V steel as an intermediate size knife and a Marbles 10" "Trailmaker" for splitting logs. (I'll upgrade that eventually.) And I have a bunch of Swiss Army knives. I also have a Spyderco Endura 4" VG10 stainless full-flat-ground with hard plastic textured grips. Great pocket knife, but the grips don't exactly fill the palm.

Folding knives are convenient to carry (even if its in a rucksack) and will, thorefore, more likely be available if needed; but I prefer the ergonomics and strength of a fixed blade in actual use. The Spyderco is VG10 Japanese stainless which is nice for a pocket knife since persperation is corrosive. It looks like it would be tough and ergonomic for a folder. The ESEE (formerly RAT Cutlery) is 1095 spring steel which is nearly indestructable. It is not stainless, but since I won't be using it in the jungle or at sea, I don't anticipate a problem. Both will hold a wicked edge, though stainless might be just a bit more brittle.

Sadly, no one around here sells either of these retail so there is no chance of holding them before purchase.

I'm not worried about the price difference.
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SteveM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-30-11 02:51 PM
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1. I prefer fixed blade for splitting a deer's ribcage....
While I have a fairly modern Gerber locking folder which holds a fairly good edge, and is good for opening the abdomen of deer and skinning, the old Schrade Walden stacked leather knife my Dad gave me in the early 60s is great for zipping open the ribs. I straddle the animal and position the knife an inch from the cage center (where cartilage "buttons" are), and rip upward. It pays to do a practice air stroke to keep from bending your arms and whipping the knife close to your face; other than that, this $2 knife is easy to hold and work with. But boy, does it ever grow dull after that exercise! It doesn't help that I use a stout limb to bop the handle in order to split the pelvic arch.

For some reason the two-sided metal hand guard is loose and rattling.
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spin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 06:32 PM
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2. I own an ESEE 3 and it's a great knife ...
However, I don't hunt or camp so I can't give you a lot of advice on how it will hold up. However, the knife forums have a lot of praise for this knife.

You will probably have to order over the internet and I have had excellent results from several sites. / / /

The first two sites sell Bark River Knives. Bark River Knife and Tool, in my opinion, makes fantastic fixed blade knives, but they are not cheap. They are actually semi-custom knives and are made in the United States. However they are convex blades and many people find them difficult to sharpen as you strop them on a leather strop hone using sandpaper or sharpening compound. This method of sharpening took me a little time to master, but now I find it much easier to sharpen my convex blades than my other knives. I found the secret is to use EXTREMELY light pressure while sharpening the knife on the hone.

You can buy an excellent sharpening kit for convex blades such as this one from DLT Trading company.

or a less expensive kit from Knives Ship Free. I should mention that the sharpening compound shown should last you a life time.

This Knives Ship Free link contains videos showing how to strop a convex blade. As I mentioned, I find stropping a convex blade very easy. When I have used the knife, I just give it a few passes across the hone and it's razor sharp again.

Spyderco makes some excellent knives and I own several. VG10 is excellent steel.

You may well be able to look through the posts on Blade Forums / Another good forum is at ? which has a sub forum dedicated to Bark River Knifes at /

I EDC (every day carry) a fixed blade knife for most light tasks around the house especially food prep. I never use a folding bade knife for food prep as they are too hard to sanitize. For tough jobs such a cutting wire I carry a Spyderco Endura with a fully serrated edge. I used to carry a Benchmade Model 710 with a partially serrated edge, but I found it a poor compromise.
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