To Wharncliffe or not to Wharncliffe, that is the question

I’m not a knife fighter, but I do carry a folder just in case.
I like Spydercos having carried a Spyderco Rescue while on a SAR team, not for defensive use but for cutting seat belts and other stuff. What always impressed me about the Rescue was that I could flick the blade open with one hand, but as it is designed for rescue situations it has a blunt “point” and not the ideal for fending off an attacker in my humble opinion.
When my daughter moved to Los Angeles for graduate school I carried a Spyderco Delica because the blade length was just under what was allowed by a Los Angeles ordinance, but the conventional blade design wasn’t as quick to deploy as my old Rescue.
Now that I no longer have a need or desire to go to Los Angeles, I’m not as limited by blade length for EDC so I’m considering adding a longer Endura… The Wharncliffe blade looks more exposed ( top heavy?) like the Rescue but has a more pointy “point” more like the Delica so I’m hoping that it opens just as quickly as the Rescue. but is more tactically oriented.

Has anyone had any experience with the Wharncliffe blades? Are they any quicker to deploy than the regular Spyderco?

1 Like

If you’re looking for flickability, you might look at models like the Spyderco Paramilitary 2. Cutlery Shoppe has a Wharncliffe Paramilitary 2 listed but it’s expensive (maybe a limited run?).

I have an M4 Spyderco Yojimbo 2 but don’t carry it too often:

The main reason I don’t use my Wharncliffe or Tanto blades is that I use my carry knife often, and sharpen it relatively often, and don’t want to either have the blade reshaped from sharpening mostly near the point, or sharpening the entire blade edge when only the point needs it in order to maintain the straight edge profile. Maybe my reasoning is silly, but I don’t miss using the Wharncliffe when I carry a more traditional shaped blade.

Another option is the Hawk Bill profile. This is basically like the knives/blades used for cutting up carpets. You can find them in the hardware store in the same place you find Whrancliffe style blades (box cutters).

Spyderco has a few hawk bill knives, as well as variants (Matriarch line) that are specifically marketed for self defense. The Salt series (rust resistant) and Matriarch series are examples:

Personally, my two most carried knives (I carry a separate multitool) are a Leatherman C33TX and Benchmade Nitrous Stryker 913D2 (black version; Ti liners), both discontinued:

Wow. I like that Leatherman. Too bad it is discontinued.

1 Like

I like a good folder. I always have one on me, and I pick up new ones whenever something strikes my fancy. I decided a month or so ago to get one of those handy little zipper-case organizers made must for folders. It holds 24, so I figured it would give me room to grow my “collection.” I went about the house, car, and garage collecting my knives and putting them in the case. I was wrong about the size. I ran out of space before I ran out of knives. Another case it on the way. Fortunately, most of them cheaper than guns.

1 Like

I should also mention, the Delica and Endura type knives should loosen up with a lot of use and some oil applied regularly.

Folders with removal bolt/screws can be adjusted to fit how loose you want the blade (blue loctite suggested… just make sure it doesn’t overflow into the bearing area). Also, for whatever opening design you chose, make sure the handle doesn’t flop open in the pocket by accident, or if the other things in the pocket might slightly open the knife.

For one handed opening of the Delica or Endura, you might also use the old Buck style one handed opening method (today, people call it the “Spydie Drop”… they probably don’t know that people have been opening Buck folders this way since the 1960’s).

Basically, hold the blade and flick open the handle.

Here’s the Spyderco Rescue

As you can see, there isn’t much of a point to the point!

In a “get off me” scenario maybe that shouldn’t be something to be concerned about—that serrated edge is still wickedly sharp even after some 14 years of use—but it’s certainly no hog sticker. Maybe that’s a good thing from a defense lawyer’s perspective?

FWIW the “Spydie Drop” is what I’ve been using with the Rescue—in fact it’s what sold me on it😀

Ok long post so bear with me…

Knife design and you consistently training defines speed of deployment, not blade shape. Spyderco (and similar) in general is one of the fastest deploying knife types. I personally prefer the Emerson type opening system and if you practice, short of an automatic, there is no faster way to end up with an open folder in your hand. You don’t “flick” an Emerson, it comes out of your pocket already open, look it up. Spyderco used to sell knives with blades of that design, don’t know if they still do.

If you have to use a knife for SD, stabbing is one of the least effective moves you can make with a folding knife in a SD situation unless you’re carrying a very large knife that can go very deep and that’s not practical for EDC. With a folder your chances of getting to anything really crucial in the human body while stabbing are very small and your choices of targets are VERY seriously limited.

Long slashing cuts just about anywhere on a body bleed much more and faster, usually disabling relatively quickly, and psychologically speaking are WAY more effective in changing a bad guy’s attitude towards you.

A slash across the forehead is FAST, faster than drawing a gun from concealment, and bleeds like crazy and usually ends a fight in a hurry. You can’t fight what you can’t see. A long horizontal cut on the soft low belly will absolutely slow an attacker down while he’s holding on to what was inside him a second ago. Sorry for being so graphic, but I want to make the point quickly. Neither cut is usually lethal.

So don’t fret the knife “point”. Short of a Karambit, a Wharncliffe is THE most aggressive cutting edge configuration you can get so they are exceptionally good for SD.

Another point, serrated edges which are good for cutting rope and seatbelts are not the best for SD because they hang on certain common fabrics slowing your cut. A razor straight edge is tops in cutting and as a SD tool.

Your blade should be RAZOR SHARP, WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR LONG TERM EDGE DURABILITY, a knife fight is a short affair. If your edge is not shaving sharp it’s not good enough for SD use. Edges dull over time even when not used because of micro oxidation on the edge, even on stainless blades. You don’t need to sharpen the edge again, just strop it to polish it.

And last, your SD knife never gets used for “chores” like cutting boxes, opening mail or lending to other folks to do the same. I always carry a separate chore knife for menial daily tasks or cutting my steak in a restaurant because I hate the dull restaurant knives you get even in good steakhouses.

Hope this was helpful.

1 Like

Very helpful, thank you!

1 Like

You are most welcome!

I think it is hard to beat the Emerson knives for fast and reliable opening and build quality but they are out of my price range. I have settled for the not as fast but very reliable assisted opening knives by Kershaw. They aren’t as fast as button activated spring deployed knives but they are legal in a lot more places. They have a wide variety of blade styles and steel choices and many can often be had for less than $40 on sale.

1 Like

Kershaw makes a great knife (Im a big fan of the Blur Series) and if you like Emerson, Kershaw and Emerson had a collaboration to make a working man Emerson. The CQC-4KXL, 5" closed, 3.9’ D2 Steel. Comes shaving sharp from the factory and at $56 on Amazon Prime it’s a lot of knife for the money. I have a lot of carry SD knives and this is my primary because it’s as good as anything else out there and better than most, and if I ever have to hand it over to a LEO to put into an evidence bag and never see it again I won’t have to cry like I would over a $300 Emerson.

You can see mine in this EDC picture…


Thanks for that suggestion! I have a Kershaw assisted opening knife that has served me pretty well for many years. Unfortunately I do a lot of work in CA and even though assisted opening knives like the Kershaws are perfectly legal there I have read a bunch of accounts of people who had to hire a lawyer to prove it in front of a judge. So a completely manual option that can still be quickly and reliably deployed sounds like a safer bet.

1 Like

Another reason I’m a big fan of the Emerson design. No way anyone can call it an automatic or even assisted opening so I know I’m legal in all 50 states.

1 Like