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Spyderco Endela Review: A ‘Just Right’ Compromise Between 2 Great Models

Spyderco Endela knifeSpyderco Endela knife
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The Spyderco Endela marries two of the brand’s most popular models — the Enduro and the Delica — for a true display of function over form.

I’ve never been a fan of Spyderco’s aesthetics. As an amateur bladesmith who has forged and sold my share of custom knives, I couldn’t understand why the brand’s knives had strange curves, a big hump on the spine, and an unsightly hole in the blade. But after a few hours with the Endela in my hand, it all started to make sense.

Spyderco Endela Review

Spyderco Endela knife

The Spyderco Endela is a through-and-through example of function over form and has been obviously obsessed over by a team of engineers well-versed in the needs of pocket knife users. For starters, the Endela uses Spyderco’s signature blade design with a trademarked Roundhole for ease of opening.

Although this is the aesthetic feature I liked the least, I’ll be darned if it didn’t end up being my favorite design element. The ease of use far outweighs the traditional thumb-stud of most folding knives. The spine of the Roundhole also provides a functional rise for a perfectly positioned choil that integrates nicely with the rest of the handle. The choil jimping even extends far into the handle for enhanced grip.

The 4.7-inch handle of the Endela seems an afterthought at first glance. But upon further inspection, I realized Spyderco put a lot of engineering thought into it. It inlaid fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) with skeletonized stainless steel liners to provide strength and structure for the handle. The FRN carries Spyderco’s trademarked Bi-Directional Texturing, which provides exceptional grip for such a thin handle. Between the handle scales lies the locking mechanism with a recessed locking bar to prevent accidental unlocking.

The handle, while extremely thin, has superb feel in the hand. It lends itself well to the lightweight nature of the knife. To top it all off, the handle has four different mounting positions for the pocket clip so you can optimize your carry position.

Endela: Blade, Steel, and Serration

The 3.4-inch blade on the Endela is unique. On one side, Spyderco implements a full flat grind. On the other is a secondary bevel, serrated on 90 percent of the blade and smooth on 10 percent near the tip. For those unfamiliar, serrated edges are controversial in the knife world. They are very effective for quickly cutting things like rope and seatbelts. But they can leave jagged cuts where you desire a smooth line.

Serrated edges also tend to stay sharper much longer than smooth edges but prove difficult to sharpen. I was surprised to see an almost full serration on the Endela, but in the end, I never found myself wishing I had a smoother edge to work with. The minimal amount near the tip sufficed for all my needs.

Ask me again when it comes time to sharpen the Endela, but at the moment I’m enjoying the large amount of serration on this knife.

For steel, Spyderco chose to use the lesser-recognized VG-10, which is actually very common as a kitchen knife steel. VG-10 has a higher carbon content (for edge retention) than even the venerable 1095 steel but also mixes in a healthy smattering of cobalt, vanadium, and molybdenum to place it soundly in the stainless steel category.

Spyderco Endela: A High-Functioning Blade

Spyderco Endela knife

Although I started out as less than a fan of Spyderco’s aesthetic, I quickly realized that the brand overlooked no feature or function with the Endela. In the knife world, where often form is key over finish and function, it was a breath of fresh air to dive into the construction of the Endela and realize that no detail of usage had been overlooked or sacrificed for the sake of beauty. As an amateur bladesmith, I would be happy to have the Endela in my pocket any day. And at the relatively affordable MSRP of $123 (available for $86 now), you should be too.

Josh Taves works as a fly fishing and hunting guide in the beautiful mountains of Southern Colorado. He loves learning about the simple life. When he’s not working, you can find him fly fishing, shooting, mountain biking, hunting, and horseback riding as much as possible.

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