Pocket Knives

Knife Review: Spyderco Delica/Endura

Image courtesy Spyderco

Spyderco Endura VG-10

[Editor’s note: reader Nathan uses his knives more in an average workday than most of us do all week. He recently stepped up with a great article about the practical excellence of VG-10 stainless, and here he returns with a user’s review of some of his favorite Spydercos.]

The Delica and the Endura have been in the Spyderco lineup for years. The fourth iteration is seen by many as perfection. They come in a rainbow of colors, full flat grind or sabre grind, one with an Emerson Opener, stainless, serrated, and even trainers. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life . . .

Image courtesy Spyderco

Spyderco Delica4 w/Emerson Opener

 The Blade

Image courtesy Nathan

The blade is 3.75” on the Endura and 2.875” on the Delica. The shape is a modified drop point with an excellent belly and a very precise tip. It will not easily flatten, but I did drop my Delica and it’s just slightly rounded now. It’s very good at penetration, cardboard slicing, and precise cutting (more the Delica on that last one). The blade is VG-10, which I spoke highly of in another write-up. It also comes in ZDP-189, which is hardened at a higher Rockwell level. I have no experience with ZDP-189. The blades take an excellent edge, keep that edge, and do not rust.

Image courtesy Nathan

The grind differs depending on what version you choose. The FRN versions come in a full flat grind while the Emerson versions featuring a sabre grind. And yes, there is a difference in cutting performance. The FFG blade simply slices better. The sabre grind has a more abrupt angle so cardboard tends to get caught up more. I prefer the FFG version, since I cut a lot of cardboard working in a grocery store.

IMage courtesy NathanThere’s jimping on the ramp just behind the thumbhole, standard for most Spyderco knives. The thumb hole makes it easy to open. When I work in the freezer I wear thick gloves, so I like to have that bit of blade protruding to make up for the loss of dexterity.

Ergonomics

Image courtesy NathanThe shape of the handle fits just about anyone’s hands perfectly. I have pretty small hands and have no trouble with an Endura. The FRN texture gives good traction for slick environments. They are not lightweight blades, but aren’t super heavy either, considering their liners. The thin profile makes them easy to carry in your pocket, unless you don’t like the thumb hole. One of my female coworkers loves my Delica because she can carry it in her skinny jeans, unlike some other, fatter blades (I’m looking at you, Griptilian).

Build/Construction

Image courtesy Nathan

These are lock-back designs and I have a high level of confidence in the strength of these locks. While maybe not the strongest locks out there, they will serve you well through just about all standard knife tasks.

A nice feature of the lock-back design is it’s the easiest lock to operate when I have my freezer gloves on. The pivot is lined with phosphor bronze bushings, making the opening smooth. I can flick the Endura open with no wrist action about 80% of the time. The Delica some needs wrist action because the blade doesn’t have as much weight to carry itself out. The Emerson opener is the quickest to deploy, since it catches on your pocket as you pull it out.

Image courtesy Nathan

The pocket clip is Spydero’s hourglass design. It’s a good clip, but will bend after enough use. I caught mine on a shopping cart and it bent pretty badly, but I still use it. It’s not a deep carry clip design, but I’m not a stickler about that. The lanyard hole also goes right through the clip area.

Performance

Image courtesy Nathan

I have had my blue Delica for nearly a year now, my Endura for 6 months and the Emerson Delica for about 2 months. Long story short: they are all magnificent. Carrying at work is no problem, and I’m not afraid to whip them out around customers. Well, pull them out. Whipping them out might actually scare someone. I’m even hesitant to utilize the Emerson Wave.

Without a doubt, these knives can handle just about anything you can use a knife for. Last weekend, after having 3.5 days of decent use, I used my Endura to cut up a slip sheet. Slip sheets are pieces of cardboard that are roughly 5’ x 5’ but sometimes vary. It just kept chugging through it. At the end it still had a usable edge, but couldn’t shave hair. After a few minutes on the Sharpmaker it could shave again. Printer paper and newspaper are no problem at all for this blade. I do not have any thick rope to cut, but it goes through paracord easily.

 Conclusion

For $60 or less (currently $54.86 on Amazon), the Endura is probably the best value on the market. If I can only have one knife for the rest of my life and it had to be under $100, it would be the Endura. These are a home run for Spyderco and will easily stand the test of time.

Discussion

9 responses to ‘Knife Review: Spyderco Delica/Endura

  1. Great review!

    I own one of the original Delicas with the full serrated blade. I got it in the early 1990s, it’s still in perfect shape and it has never rusted in years of saltwater use. Mine is not VG10. The blade is marked Seki, Japan and the blade steel is ATS-55.

    The reason I bought this knife is an interesting story. Back in those days I was making very frequent trips to the Caribbean and fishing for large Blue Marlin. Most all fishing was catch and release but we did boat one that weighed in at 806 pounds.

    During a weekend tournament a mate on one of the participating boats was killed by one of these big fish. He grabbed the leader and made the wrong wrap on his hand. The fish made another run and dragged him straight down about 150 feet in just a few seconds. We all helped with the search but he was found dead floating face down a couple of hours later by another boat. The event shook us all pretty bad and I decided to do something about it.

    Back in those days safety line cutters did not exist and I was determined to not let that wrap accident happen to me. My requirements were a knife that would not rust, that could slice easily through the 1000lb test monofilament leader we used (3mm thick), with a way to clip the knife to my pocket and a lanyard hole to tie it to my belt so I would not lose it if I went in the water.

    I had never seen a Spyderco Delica but once the salesperson at the sporting goods store showed it to me I knew it was perfect for the job. Thankfully I never had to use it for its intended purpose.

  2. Nice write up Nathan. I carried Enduras and Delica’s for several years before moving on to other brands. I still have a Endura with the integrated plastic pocket clip, before they went to the screw-on metal clip. Your write up makes me want to check out the latest version of the Endura.

  3. Outstanding review, and I really appreciate the ‘on the job’ performance notes. Sometimes it is hard to visualize whether or not a specific blade is going to be (more) useful in your regular work environment, based on the typical ‘test criteria’ we see in reviews. There are not many opportunities to cut free hanging rope where I work, but we do cut a ton of cardboard in a day.

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