With all of the knife talk recently, I thought I’d finally get around to writing a review of my current EDC pocket knife, the Spyderco Delica 4 with the Emerson Wave feature. I’ve owned this knife for close to 4 years now, and it’s been a good companion during that time. It’s always a lot of fun to review an item that I’ve used extensively. Let’s have a closer look at what’s good, and what’s great about it:
The scales on the Delica 4 have a nice texture, and a really nice ergonomic shape. They are drilled on each side, and at each end of the knife so you can choose whether to carry the knife in your left or right pocket, and whether or not you want to carry it tip up, or tip down.
The Spyderco Delica has a single locking blade with a traditional lock back design. When opened, the blade snaps into position, and the lock holds it very secure. Spyderco did a great job fitting the lock so it snaps open and locks effortlessly, yet still holds strong without a hint of a wiggle.
There are a lot of high zoot knives out there that have other locking systems that work really well (Benchmade AXIS lock for example), and then there are a lot of mid-grade knives that are being built with liner locks. In my opinion, the old standard lock back on the Delica is worlds better than a liner lock, and nearly as good as the Benchmade AXIS (yeah, the lock back lacks the cool factor, I know).
The pocket clip on the Delica 4 attaches with 3 tiny torx screws which hold it nice and secure. The clip holds strong, although I have over bent it a handful of times. Each time I’ve just unscrewed the three screws, and bent the clip back into shape, and reattached. No big deal.
The blade on this knife is the only part that I really have a problem with. It’s made from VG-10 steel, which is supposed to be a great, strong steel for a knife blade. It’s a high carbon stainless steel, which should make it ideal for an EDC knife. According to Wikipedia, VG-10 is a grade of stainless steel that is popular for kitchen knives, and Spyderco is one of a few companies that pioneered using it in pocket knives.
When it comes to corrosion resistance, the VG-10 blade is superb. Just to test it, I’ve went so far as to cut some acidic foods with the knife, and left it dirty for a couple of days to see what effect that had on it. After a quick wash, there was no discoloration, and to the naked eye, nothing changed. Do the same with a carbon steel blade, and you will wind up with a patina on the steel.
The Delica’s blade is 2.9″ long with a 2.5″ cutting edge. This sounds really short, but I can’t say I’ve ever wished it was longer.
Instead of a thumb stud, the blade sports a nice large thumb hole that is great for one handed opening. This was my first knife with a thumb hole, and I really like it a lot better than a thumb stud.
When the knife first arrived it was mind blowingly razor sharp with a convex edge. I still remember cutting some plastic packaging with it, and the blade slid through it with such ease, I couldn’t believe it.
Keeping the blade that sharp has proven to be a bit more difficult for me. Now, being completely honest here, I don’t have a lot (I have none) experience with sharpening convex edge knives. Being that this was the case, I purchased a Spyderco Sharpmaker knife sharpener just for this knife, but I’ve found the Sharpmaker just doesn’t do a good job on this knife even after following the instructional DVD that came with it. (The Sharpmaker does work fantastically on my kitchen knives though…)
After a lot of work, I can get the blade sharp enough to drop hairs on my arm, but it doesn’t seem to stay that sharp for very long. Again being completely honest, it’s entirely possible that I’m doing something wrong sharpening this knife, which is causing it to dull quickly. I should probably have a professional clean it up for me and get it back to factory sharp.
The Emerson Wave is the feature that sold me on this knife over other knives on the market. I really like how Spyderco integrated the large thumbhole, and the Emerson Wave into the blade. The wave feature is the funny shaped hook on the top of the blade, and it works really well at deploying the blade with one hand. I’ve been surprised how often I need my knife while holding something in one hand, and being able to deploy the blade with just the other hand is a great help. Obviously there are a lot of other knives out there that allow for one hand opening, but how many of those can you use to open a beer?
The nice thing with the Wave feature is that the knife remains just a standard pocket knife, and doesn’t use any springs to open the blade like some other assisted opening knives that have questionable legality in some jurisdictions.
All in all, I like the Delica 4. My only complaint is the blade steel is really hard to sharpen, and it doesn’t seem to hold an edge quite as nicely as some other blades I own. It does get hair droppingly sharp after a little bit of time on the Spyderco Sharpmaker sharpener, it just takes some more work than other knives.
BladeHQ has the Spyderco Delica 4 at the same price as I paid several years ago. You should check them out, and support Triangle Tactical at the same time!