Initial Thoughts On the Spyderco Smock:

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by Quiet, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    First of all, thanks to fellow Bladeforums member @abbazaba for a tremendous deal on this Smock, as I've been wanting one of these for some time, but the timing never seemed to work out. Well, thankfully it was finally "my time", and so here we are!

    I've gotten the knife in and have carried it for a day or so, and some things jump out at me immediately as being both good, and maybe not great on this knife. I won't say "bad" because this is truly an excellent knife in my opinion. I'm glad to have it. Let's run down both the Good and the Could Be Better, shall we?

    I'll put the "TL;DR" up front: Ultimately, I like the Smock, like, REALLY really like it. It has a flaw or two, but overall, I'm glad to have it and will definitely be carrying this one.

    The full version:

    1. - It's slim and light, makes a perfect EDC knife, especially in perhaps less-than-visually-permissive environments (I work in an office space setting). Slips into a pocket and totally disappears.
    2. - The edge as it comes from Spyderco was screaming sharp, and the grind seems respectably thin behind the edge (no calipers, so no measurements).
    3. - The fit and finish are perfect, and exactly as expected from a Taichung Spydie.
    4. - The button compression lock really is good, because it allows me to depress the knife and swing it closed like an Axis lock knife. This makes for quick in & out cutting and repocketing at need.
    5. - I love, love, love the blade shape. I just love wharncliffe type blades. I use my knives primarily to eat, open mail, and snip off threads, and this knife excels at those roles (did all those things with it last night, actually.)
    6. - The scales actually have an element of grippiness to them, which is good, because this knife definitely needs it (goes hand in hand with a con below).
    7. - I really like the flipper tab's placement. That is just a great design feature. When tabbed properly, it flips open just fine. It's not bearings-fine, but serviceable.

    Could Be Better:
    1. - It's a tad small. This knife is roughly the same size as a Spyderco Delica. I'd love for this knife to be just a hair bigger. Of course, I recognize that if it were, it'd probably suffer a hit to the first pro listed above. As is, this is much more of a gent's sized knife rather than a work-sized knife. So, bear that in mind if you're looking at this guy.
    2. - The finger choil is not in the best place if you have large hands. It needs to be moved up a centimeter or so, or else eliminated entirely. I DO understand why it's there, and like that it allows actual, functional access to the Spyderhole, but still. I find that I use my middle finger in the choil, and the index finger rides on that blocky section just above it. That said, a full handed grip IS possible if you choose to hold the knife with your index finger in the choil.
    3. - The flipper tab needs, needs, NEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDSSSSS jimping on the top. Aesthetically the smoothness works because there's no jimping anywhere else on the knife. I get that. But there were a few misfires until I got the hang of it. If your hands are wet, or whatever, it's easy to have your finger slip right off the tab. I am going to fiddle with it some more and get some muscle memory going to see if that helps. The detent IS fairly strong, so you can't flip or even deploy the blade if you don't mean to.

    Overall, it's a great little knife, and definitely one of those that'll be sticking around. Onto some pics I took today:

  2. Casinostocks

    Casinostocks Factotum Platinum Member

    Mar 20, 2016
    ^ anyone who puts this much time in writing up an honest and tangible (as in hands-on) opinion piece based on a popular model, deserves much more than a mere "like". Well done Sir :thumbsup:
    Murphjd25, palonej, WValtakis and 6 others like this.
  3. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Thank you, I appreciate it. I don't review many knives, but when I get my hands on something that's out of the ordinary like this Smock, I'm just compelled to post up. I was glad to get a great deal on the Exchange on this knife, but have to say after much consideration, I would have paid full price for this knife (I've seen them run around $180, though I see BladeHQ lists them at $162.50* ) and would still feel that I'd gotten my money's worth. Perhaps not everyone would share that view, but (shrug) it's mine!

    *Outta stock of course!
  4. Casinostocks

    Casinostocks Factotum Platinum Member

    Mar 20, 2016
    I had been eyeing some models to add to my sheepfoot style “game” as I’m slowly becoming more appreciative of their utility WRT my own usage of such. As a steel snob, I generally eschew S30V (mental block issue!) plus this being a smallish folder will further accentuate thr Smock’s descent into my “maybe” list, hence why your review is much appreciated :)
    Quiet likes this.
  5. abbazaba

    abbazaba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 30, 2015
    Great review. Agreed on all points, especially the blade shape. Really hoping they introduce more "tang" flipper tabs and Smock locks...

    I love the Mordax and Freeman 451, but the button lock is not as confidence inspiring and can be little sticky. The Smock is just as fun and the lock is much stronger.

    The flipper placement is just perfect IMO, which solves the "pocket pecker" complaints, and somehow also feels like a better "front" flipper design for my hands.

    Could they pull this off with a Smock Lock Sage6, would the same flipper type be possible?
    metaxasm, Casinostocks and Quiet like this.
  6. 8-Fingers

    8-Fingers Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 21, 2017
    Just get it! I absolutely love this knife! I've been carrying it for the last 3 days and it is excellent as an office-friendly EDC! I lucked out and scored one at WMK (listed at $162.50) and with a widely available 10% discount code, this has been an absolute steal, far exceeding my expectations! I absolutely agree that the Smock button-compression lock is more confidence inspiring than my button lock Mordax. I also can't decide whether I like opening with the flipper tap or the Spydie hole more, but it is nice to have options.

    It has broken in nicely and has an almost hydraulic shutting motion with the depression of the button, not quite on par with the Mordax but close enough. The 2-7/8" cutting edge of the wharncliffe type blade is just perfect for my needs and the handle fits my XL long fingered hands very well. As far as the handle finger coil, more often than not my middle finger seems to find it pretty regularly with the index finger wrapping around the pivot area, I'm not too worried about the index finger falling off onto the blade because I have found the CF to be pretty "grippy" in all sorts of environments. If I need more leverage, all of my fingers fit on the handle behind the finger choil.

    Casinostocks likes this.
  7. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    I will say that I'm right there with you in general principle on the steel snobbery. However, as I've gotten a bit more into the "slow burn" phase of my knife collecting/using hobby, I've come to realize that there are so many awesome knives out there that, while they may not be made of supersteels, are still great knives. I also have had to take an objective look into how I use my knives. I realize that my EDC uses are actually pretty tame and easy on steel, so it has allowed me to kinda relax my "have to have features" list a bit. I still love my supersteels (I've got nearly all the Delicas LOL) but there's certainly room for more...pedestrian steels as well!

    Thank you, I appreciate that, my friend. I have found that this knife is definitely smoothing in as I essentially sat and watched TV last night for a couple hours just flipping it. It's breaking in very nicely, and in fact is in my pocket again today! A Sage with a small quarter circle cut out in the back to account for a small flip tab would be AMAZING. The pivot point of swing (whatever it's called) would probably have to be adjusted to account for it, but I bet it could be done.
    mycough and Casinostocks like this.
  8. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    All of the steels that once were "super" (440C, ATS34, 154CM, S30V, S35V, etc.) are no longer even acceptable to many knife lovers. This change alone is a good lesson in the fact that the "steel experts" are full of crap. It's not the steel, but the "knife" as a total design and construction package that's most important. There's also the "knowledge base" to consider. The heat treat for S30V is well proven, but not so for the "flavor of the month" super steel. The constant progression of better steels has probably more to do with marketing than substance.
  9. whp


    Apr 26, 2009
    Marketing is a powerful force.
  10. palonej

    palonej Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    A most excellent write up Forrest!!
    Great pics too!
    Quiet likes this.
  11. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Yes, but actually no. If I had say, a warehouse full of boxes to break down, and I had two knives, all other things being equal (in other words, the same knife just in two different "sprints", let's say) and one of them was in something like D2 or 440C, and the other was in something like ZDP-189, M390, 20CV, etc., I'd take the one in the actual super steel all day long. It will stay sharp for far longer, which would allow me to get my work done much more easily and faster. Those facts are not in dispute, and it's a reason why the market for super-steels exist. For everyone like me, who sits at a desk all day and primarily uses knives for VERY minimally abusive uses, there are a ton of guys out there who use their knives on a work site, or in a warehouse, or in some other way where edge-holding, durability, and steel strength are all things they absolutely need and find those are things worth paying for. I don't agree that steel experts are full of crap, it just seems that you dislike the idea that there are indeed relevant, valid uses for them. For someone like me? One of those mystery steel $4 Wal-Mart folders would probably get it done.

    But life is short, and I'm not carrying any of that nonsense. S30v is pretty much my "floor" for steel choices these days. So, your statement:

    "The constant progression of better steels has probably more to do with marketing than substance."

    Sorry, I disagree as that's objectively incorrect.
    mycough likes this.
  12. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Thank you, brother Joe!
    palonej likes this.
  13. South paw draw

    South paw draw Yep.....I'm a idiot. Platinum Member

    Sep 23, 2019
    The smock is begging for a front flipper mod. And if syderco ever makes it in a left handed model I'll be picking one up just on your review. I've sold all but two if my compression lock sydercos. The pm3 because everyone should have a pm3. And a heavily modded shaman. Like very heavily modded. I took it in modded. And had WValtakis take it to the next level. It's now almost perfect and totally left hand friendly. I'll try to get my mitts on a smock. Never was interested in it till I read your review. It good. Damn good. Are you sure your not a shill? Lol

    Edit. And ii should mention I have a left handed pm2. But its left handed and i love that knife.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
    WValtakis and Quiet like this.
  14. Quiet

    Quiet "That guy" Platinum Member

    Oct 11, 2013
    Well, let me put it to you this way, brother. I hadn't bought a Spyderco knife in at least two years, and then suddenly in the last month I've bought ten (!!!) of 'em! My latest, I am going to have a review of an Amalgam up next week (if there's enough about it for me to say, it seems to be a pretty straight forward knife!). Funny thing about the Smock. I was actually on the fence for awhile when it first came out. I remember hitting BLADE this year with @WValtakis and some other friends, and I actually wanted to look at one in person. There were allegedly a few at various tables, but all were sold by mid-day Friday. That's right, there wasn't a single Smock anywhere in the building, as I was told by a couple different dealers. Then I got back and was looking around online and saw that retailers were having issues keeping them in stock, as they'd be gone within an hour of them being posted. The Exchange here was the same situation, (poof) gone quick. So, I knew that it was going to be SOMEthing when I finally got one, either for good or bad. I am deeply glad to say that it's definitely worth grabbing one. It's been in my pocket all this week, actually. Just got back from lunch, where it made quick work of the steak kabobs I'd had. As I've been sitting at home in the evenings deploying it, it's smoothed out some, and it's an all-around top ten pick in my personal collection list now.

    Thinking about the front flipper idea, I am not a fan of front flippers personally, but know they have their fans! That said, I don't know that this knife could be modified to be a front flipper because of how far down the pivot is. Also, you'd have to modify the scales and the liner of the knife on that front "squared off" part above the finger choil, and possibly add some additional jimping up to the edge of the tang. It could probably be done, but that would be a pretty significant change, I think.
    South paw draw likes this.
  15. South paw draw

    South paw draw Yep.....I'm a idiot. Platinum Member

    Sep 23, 2019
    We both know who would be up for that challenge and I'm not a huge fan of front flippers but there's something about the smock that say "it needs to be done." So if one should find it's way into my collection someday it will find it's way to WValtakis and be yet another heavily modified syderco. And a front flipper smock will exist if its possible. Who knows it may not even be possible. Right now I'm on a sell the collection and but CRK kick. Just bought number 3 today a large 21 insingo lefty.
    Quiet likes this.
  16. GlockMonster30


    Nov 19, 2008
    I haven't purchased a Spydie in quite some time but this one might change that. Thanx for the review.
    Quiet likes this.
  17. HopalongCassidy


    Sep 22, 2019
    The thing that stands out to me about the knife is where a big part of the blade is missing.
    I understand why it's there. Seems like it is begging to get caught and hung up on something.
    Do you have to be constantly mindful of this, or am I imagining something?
  18. Gamecocks84


    Dec 9, 2019
    I wanted to ask the same thing. Is this knife modded? Or does it come from the company missing all that edge?
  19. HopalongCassidy


    Sep 22, 2019
    The missing piece in the blade has to make room for the button lock when it closes. Not only does it look weird to me, but it seems like it would get caught on stuff when slicing and using the whole blade. Apparently my query doesn't rate a response.

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