Stretch Review

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Mr Blonde
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Stretch Review

Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:25 am

Part 1 of 4

The Stretch
I got this knife as a gift, so you bet this is a biased review! Still this knife deserves more attention, so here is my contribution.

My first impression of the Stretch, when handling a pre-production prototype (hey gotta brag every now and then ;) ), was that is was a very ‘retro’ looking knife. It reminded me of the original Civilian with its kraton inlayed handle, or the older hunter models Spyderco offered in the past. And since I am always into the ‘new stuff’, the Stretch did not appeal to me cosmetically. I must add that I got the opposite reaction from non-knife people whom I showed the knife to. Without any exception, all of the 8 (non-knife) persons I showed this knife to, all thought that the knife looked ‘cool’, ‘pretty’ or ‘nice’. Furthermore, I don’t hunt and could never imagine ever going to hunt for recreation either. So what possible use could I have for such a purpose-driven hunting design?

Now this is a very dear gift, which by itself is reason enough to make it into my top three knives that will never leave my side! Furthermore, I felt that I had to give this knife a good workout. Both out of courtesy and to find out why Spyderco would release this “old-looking” knife. Since the knife is a bit too big for me to carry and use outdoors (for me that’s the city center of one of Holland’s oldest cities), I mostly used it indoors.
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part 2 of 4

Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:29 am

Food Prep
The Stretch is a great folding kitchen knife. In this category, it knocked my beloved Military, Paramilitary and Chinese folder of their crown. The Stretch has a flat grind, but the blade is much more polished which translates into a much sharper knife (by feel). There is hardly any food sticking to your blade, just like in those TellSell infomercials over here ;) . You will also feel the effect of this blade polish on more mundane things like string, tape, potato chip bags and other everyday stuff. The semi-skinner blade shape allows you to bring a lot more edge to the cutting board, compared to the Military for example. The Stretch also has more point, compared to the Chinese Folder, which is better for cutting steaks. In my case, I used to be a certified butcher and I always ask my butcher not to clean my steaks since I enjoy to do that myself in the weekend, and I think I can do it better anyway ;) ! Cutting-wise, this knife certainly is the Calypso Sr.

Utility
The Stretches blade tip is thicker than the Military’s, so I used for prying and cutting the lids of heavy cardboard boxes at work, the ICT people always like to see me with a new knife. I am the only ‘suit’ in our office that occasionally comes down the ICT department to help them clean up their boxes. Well they call it cleaning, I’m testing blades! The serrations in the choil, coupled with the shape of the handle’s butt, make the stretch the most secure and comfortable upside down cutter of all the Spydies I own. Often you are cutting with the edge facing up, when carefully opening a package for example. This knife will do that very safely, because you thumb rests securely against the serrations in the choil. I think this is a typical hunter-grip, for skinning or caping for example. In addition, it’s nice to see the “Military-size” hole becoming a standard on all of Spyderco’s hard-use knives. The thumb serrations on the blade’s spine are the same that can be found on the Paramillie, Chinook II and Native III. It took a while for me to get used to them, but they do offer a good grip without being too sharp for your finger or your pocket.
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part 3 of 4

Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:32 am

Grip & Clip
So far, you have a pretty much ideal utility folder. It’s sharp, cuts well and allows for cutting on a board and a variety of other grips, such as edge-up. In addition the handle is really comfy, despite that uncomfortable looking (but not ‘feeling’) pointy butt-end which could be a problem for people with bigger hands than my XL-sized mitts. Reverse grip (edge-in or out) is safe and comfy. In the hand, the kraton inlays combined with an SS frame works really well; it’s comfortable and secure. Although others disagree for cosmetic reasons, I really like the four-way optional clip positioning (aka “the Swiss cheese option”). I’m a lefty and with this size knife the vote for tip up or down should fall somewhere down the middle. My personal rule is always, when the knife’s blade is three inches and under the clip should be tip-up. Four inches and bigger, and the clip should be tip-down, for fast retrieval and opening. The Stretch has an around 3,5 inch blade and works best for me in a tip-down carry mode. And another thing -for the neophytes that always complain about longer handles for shorter blades- the Stretch blade fits perfectly in its handle which isn’t a micro-inch longer than its blade, so you don’t have to worry about so-called “efficient handle to blade ratio’s” ;) .
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part 4 of 4, my apologies for the length!

Postby Mr Blonde » Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:35 am

Improvement
One thing I don’t like about the Stretch is the way the kraton inlays feel when putting this knife in or out of your pocket. Sure, the kraton works when gripping the knife and keeping the knife in your pocket (friction), but the stuff is equally grippy when you pull it out of your pocket. Maybe for hunters who may work around a lot of fluids and grime, the grip is more important than pocket carry, but for us ‘urbanites’ (who are used to G10) it is not so good. Because of this the Stretch could not be my all-day carry folder. More so, because of its blade length and more importantly because it is a cherished gift that I certainly don’t want to lose or damage.

My one and most important suggestion for improvement would be to replace the kraton with that ultra-grippy G10 found in the latest generation Spydies such as the Dodo and the Yojimbo. Perhaps a blue edition for forumites??!!

The conclusion, if you don’t mind the kraton for getting the knife in and out of your pocket (perfectly remedied by a sheath BTW), then get over the retro-look or “unsightly” clip-holes and get it! The Stretch may look bulky and ‘unsophisticated’ but the truth lies in the cutting. The Stretch’s blade geometry is in the same league as the Calypso jr., but only bigger and with a stronger tip. In that respect, the Stretch is mostly a knife for ‘people in the know’.

Wouter
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Postby Simon G » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:23 am

Mr Blonde,

Excellent review!

I do not wish to bring into doubt your honesty ;) , however, it seems that I am going to have to get one of these for myself................just to see if your review was a genuine appraisal you understand!!!!! :D

Regards,

Simon.
"From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered; we happy few; we band of brothers...for he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother." -Henry V

"......and he that has no sword, let him sell his cloak and buy one." - Luke 22:36

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Postby walderdackel » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:41 am

I was waiting for a review and wondered why noone seems to care for this fine knife. i have to get one....it will replace my bm555.
Yep ,i like blades with alot curves...well done Spyderco.

Excellent review :)

Thanks alot

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Postby walderdackel » Mon Nov 15, 2004 11:57 am

Ow...just one...
For a huntingknife it would be perfect if the kraton slaps had a nice olive or dark green color.

Colors for the world :D

Thats no criticism

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Postby Ted » Mon Nov 15, 2004 1:51 pm

Good review and if it weren't for the kraton, I would probably be carrying one!

Ted

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Postby GarageBoy » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:06 pm

Nice and thin too! No pocket bulge here. How about smooth G10 inserts?

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Postby The Deacon » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:39 pm

Great review of a great knife Wouter. I've been singing the praises of the Stretch since it first hit the streets. As with all my EDC knives, my Stretch is now clipless and rides loose in my left back pocket. Carried that way, I find the Stretch just as easy to retrieve as my FRN Calypso Jr and Native, and my Schempp Persian. Perhaps the kraton becomes a problem when the clip is used, but it works well for me. I'd prefer if the grooves on the thumb ramp were cut like the ones on the choil, as I think they would both look and feel better that way, but the existing ones certainly work well enough.
Paul
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Postby Mr Blonde » Tue Nov 16, 2004 2:31 am

Yeah Iforgot to mention that the Stretch is really thin and lightweight for SS handled folder. Thanks for the kind words guys. A forum run with Green G10 inserts, should be able to spread the gospel of this particular model, hint hint? :D

Wouter
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Postby jimbo@stn24 » Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:31 pm

Good work Mr Blonde.
I too have just recieved this knife and am impressed with its' feel and cutting ability. As an aside, I am also partial to the Military, and have noticed that the handle and blade edge, have a remarkable resemblance to the Military, only smaller when compared open. However, as my wife and I say, "all that partying never affected me". :D Never the less, great reveiw of a great, under-rated knife!

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Postby Jeff/1911 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 10:48 am

Mr. Blonde,

Thank you for this truly excellent review!

Well done, Jeff/1911.


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