Caly 3 Review & My First Super Blue Experience...

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Uke
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Caly 3 Review & My First Super Blue Experience...

Postby Uke » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:33 am

Hello all,

I've been thrashing my Super Blue Caly 3 for just over two months now so thought it's about time to stick up a review. Well, despite still not managing to land myself a Super Blue Caly 3.5 I finally got my grubby mitts on this smaller sibling, albeit with a few bumps along the way. There were a few quality control issues that kept a decent specimen out of my hands for a while (described in detail below), but despite these problems I'm now a solid fan of the Caly 3 (unsurprising since I love the UKPK and the full sized Calypso!). As for Super Blue...it's certainly a lot of fun but I'm still umming and ahhing about it.

Anyway, here is what I've found :) ...

To begin, here she is all nice and shiny out of the box:

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And here she is after two months in my hands:

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I should probably give that grey G10 a bit of a scrub!

Specs:

length overall - 7.04" (179 mm)
blade length - 3" (76 mm)
blade thickness - 0.118" (3 mm)
length closed - 4.04" (103 mm)
cutting edge - 2.67" (68 mm)
blade steel - SUPER BLUE
handle material - G-10
weight - 3.1 oz (88 g)

With Super Blue being a carbon steel known for it's high ability/susceptibility for developing a patina, it is kept nice and moisture free during transit by this special brown paper wrapping...

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...straight out of the box I was taken by just how beautiful the Super Blue blade looks before a patina has formed. It has an almost oil-like quality to it's surface, making me thing of the gleam of VG10 but with the 'striation' lines of S30V. Unfortunately though, the first two examples I received had the exact same defect...the blades were ground so off-center that the tip scraped along the liner when opening and closing...

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...This was coupled with some very aesthetically unappealing lop-sided jimping on the thumb ramp. I returned the first knife to the retailer who informed me that it was the last example they had (the nature of sprint runs unfortunately!), I then ordered the second from a different retailer and experienced the same issue; tip hitting the liner, last example they had in stock :( After a few months of searching I found my current Caly 3 on the second hand market...this example is perfectly centered but bizarrely still has the same lop-sided jimping, albeit to a lesser degree (the angle isn't as steep).

Here is a photo illustrating this (one of my first examples on the left, my current user in the middle and a flawless UKPK on the right:

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'It's only wonky jimping, just use it you moaner!' I hear you cry. Well that's exactly what I did! it doesn't effect use, but I'll be honest...if I can have flawless jimping on all of my UKPKs, all my Urbans, my Paras, my Manixes, etc. etc. etc. why not on my cherished Caly 3 sprint? Maybe we got a dodgy batch over here in the UK? Anyway, it could just be my bad luck but I do find myself slightly dubious now when it comes to Moki's QC as if anyone remembers my Calypso Sprint review I had a QC issue with that Moki blade too...

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...or my less than symmetrical Street Beat Scales...

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Anyway, the dodgy jimping aside the rest of the knife was Spyderco's usual fantastic quality.

A backspacer and scales so smooth they look like one piece:

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Last edited by Uke on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Uke
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Postby Uke » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:33 am

Rock solid lock up, no blade play in any direction bar the usual lock-back 'give' of a couple of mm vertically if you apply upwards pressure on the tip of the blade. The lock bar has a Boye dent, I can take it or leave it:

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Goldilocks G10...not too smooth, not too rough, just right :) :

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I absolutely love the ergos of the Caly 3 and I'd presumed that I was going to as my UKPKs melt so nicely into my hand, although I was surprised at the little differences between the two. I noticed that 'in the cockpit' the lower choil of the Caly 3 is actually more akin to the choil on the Calypso, whereas the choil on the UKPK (and indeed the Urban and Squeak slipits) is far deeper and more pronounced. You can see this pretty clearly here:

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Purely speculation but maybe this was intended to give the slipits that extra bit of security, them being non-lockers? I know my hand locks in tighter to the UKPK but has more 'room to breath' on the Caly 3.

Their blades are almost identical but strangely enough you can actually feel the difference between the UKPK's 2.938'' blade and the Caly 3's 3'' blade. The Caly 3 is 19g heavier than a G10 UKPK as you'd expect with it having liners (these are slightly skeletonised to keep the weight down). Despite the Caly's liners, the knives are almost exactly the same thickness, only the protruding pivot screw fattening the profile of the Caly 3...

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...I'm not sure why these screws are preferred for the Caly 3 and 3.5 but I do wish Spyderco would make more use of that gorgeous pivot they paraded on the full size brown Calypso sprint. Just look at the difference...

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...ahh, that Calypso really is a thing of beauty :)
Last edited by Uke on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Uke » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:34 am

In hand comparison with the well known Paramilitary 2:

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I had a smooth action straight out of the box with all three examples, no pivot grittiness that I've seen reported on some of the regular Caly 3s and 3.5s. The blade retention on the Caly 3 is superb, snapping shut authoritatively and staying that way! No amount of shaking sets the blade loose (and I gave it a good old try!).

Any closer to the handle than this and the blade snaps firmly shut under its own steam:

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The deep carry pocket clip is, as usual, superb riding snugly and discreetly in the pocket...

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Now, onto the Super Blue!

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I've used her heavily every day for the last two months, with the blade seeing most of its use on food prep (mainly meat, tomatoes, onions and peppers). I decided I'd let a patina form naturally, only applying tuff glide to the pivot area and the choil recesses. The rest of the blade was simply washed with soapy water and dried after each food prep. If used for non-food daily tasks it got a wipe on the thigh and that was that. Every night I gave her the once over to check for any 'proper' rust and wiped it away with a cotton swab if spotted.

Here is the blade brand new, then after one month of use, finally after two months of use:

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I came so close to forcing a patina so many times, but in the end I'm glad I let it develop naturally. I have no idea why but the whole process was very satisfying! And just look at all the character to that blade now! :D

Super Blue makes my M4 blades seem almost stainless by comparison! Here is a shot comparing the Super Blue with my CPM-M4 Manix 2:

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I've been using that Manix 2 for the last 2 years! You can see a patina developing slightly around the Spydie hole and the spine of the blade seemingly from my sweaty fingers rather than food prep, but not a lot else...whereas the very first onion I cut with Super Blue left a faint shadow of onion rings! I'd say you have to be on your guard for any brown rust patches developing when using Super Blue, but other than that I haven't babied it at all. Going through the oily looking early 'brown' and 'orange' stages of patina I did get an interesting smell coming off the blade, but no significant taste on the food. As the patina begins to approach a more flat grey this smell dropped away. You can see that the further from the tip the less dense the patina is, although its slowly spreading with use.

Here is a close up of the patina around the bug logo:

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As for sharpening, the Super Blue sharpens up a treat, very easy in fact. It takes a hair whittling edge although in use I'm getting some quite odd results. I'm finding that I sharpen the bevel all nice and shiny and watch it light-saber its way through anything I throw at it, although by the end of the day the bevel has formed a patina and can no longer glide unhindered through paper. Now strop away the patina and we're back to hair whittling without even needing to touch any stones, but my M4 blades can go days seeing the same use and never need the slightest touch to the strop. Could this be the patina changing the surface of the bevel? :confused: I could maybe treat the bevel with tuff-glide but I want the blade to be food-safe. Well, the Super Blue certainly sharpens up easier for me than M4, but I'm constantly chasing the **** stuff with the strop! Alas, I'm going to say for my usage, as fun as Super Blue is to sharpen and patina, I prefer M4 for a carbon steel user. I'll keep playing around with my Caly 3 though and I suppose time will tell!
Last edited by Uke on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Uke » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:35 am

Here is the Super Blue freshly sharpened at 30 degrees inclusive:

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Well, there you go, I absolutely love the Caly 3 despite a bit of a niggle about QC and it is a great mid sized folder for anyone who loves classic Spyderco ergos. As for Super Blue, it's a lot of fun, if not quite my greatest ever 'super steel'! Such a 'quick-to-patina' steel certainly makes you feel attached to it as you put your own mark on it through use (that is if, like me, you're susceptible to getting sentimental over inanimate objects! :rolleyes:) . On that note here is a final 'before and after' pic...

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...That macro lens doesn't take any prisoners does it! By the state of those scales you'd think I'd never been taught to wash my hands! :) I hope you've enjoyed the review and that someone finds it useful.

Cheers for now!

Uke.
Last edited by Uke on Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby xceptnl » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:45 am

A very detailed review on one of my favorites. I especially enjoy the macro shots of the patina'd bug logo.
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Postby mattman » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:50 am

Excellent write-up, Uke!

(too bad about your QC issues... I don't think that's the norm, on this model, although you did seem to catch too many on a row, if you count your brown Calypso...)

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Uke
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Postby Uke » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:12 pm

mattman wrote:Excellent write-up, Uke!

(too bad about your QC issues... I don't think that's the norm, on this model, although you did seem to catch too many on a row, if you count your brown Calypso...)
Cheers mate, glad you enjoyed it. Yeah I seemed to have quite a run of bad luck. Like I said, maybe we got a bad batch over here. I've seen Sal say in the past that different people with different experience on the grinder give different results. Sprints are a lot harder to come by this side of the Atlantic so I just couldn't pass this one up though, especially after missing the 3.5!

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Postby rodloos » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:01 pm

Great review! Sorry you had the QC issues, but glad you didn't give up on Spyderco, and you were able to get a better blade. I've had some less-than-perfect specimens, but nothing as drastic as the warped blade on your first two (except a Byrd Wings that failed to lock, but was quickly replaced under warranty). While I would prefer perfection (who wouldn't?) for a knife that I'm going to use and get dirty it is less important, as long as the blade isn't actually rubbing the liner or something like that. I have a CF Dodo that has a cosmetic flaw on one side, but the vendor I got it from was out of them by then, and I wasn't sure if Spyderco would have any stock to exchange it with, so I just decided that would encourage me to actually *use* it - but yes I would have preferred a non-defective sample. I still like CF though :) .
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sal
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Postby sal » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:49 pm

Hi Ike,

Thanx much for the review and pics.

sal

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Postby steelrat » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:09 pm

Great review! Thank you!

I recently bought a SB Caly 3 and 3.5 myself... Can't wait for them to arrive :)

Hope I'm not affected by these QC Issues... Overseas returns are hard to handle :(

Nico.
I've gone CF only: C94CFP UKPK (many thanks to Donut), C113CFPE Caly 3 ZDP189, C144CFPE Caly 3.5 ZDP189, C41CFP Native 4, C123CFP Sage 1, C134CFP Gayle Bradley, C152CFP Chaparral 1, C131CFP Bob Terzuola, C116CFP Superhawk, C101CF90VP2 Manix 2 S90V :)

exceptions: C113GPGY Caly 3 SB, C144GPGY Caly 3.5 SB, C10FPGY Endura SB, C11FPGY Delica SB, 2 x C36GPGY Military Cru-Wear, C154PPN Squeak Pink, MGREP Manbug ZDP189, C12PBN Matriarch brown, C94PBK UKPK

sold: some

looking for: anything CF

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Postby Liquid Cobra » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:53 pm

Wow what a great review! I loved the before and after. Really well done. I feel like I came close to getting one of these, I think after this post I should go back on the hunt.
Most recently acquired: Paramilitary 2 Tanto, YoJUMBO, Swayback, Siren, DLC Yojimbo 2, Native Chief, Shaman S90V, Para 3 LW, Ikuchi, UKPK, Smock, SUBVERT, Amalgam, Para 3 CTS-XHP, Kapara, Paramilitary 2 M390
Grail Paramilitary 2 M390 X 2! ACHIEVED!!

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Holland
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Postby Holland » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:13 pm

awesome review! thanks for sharing and taking the time to write it up :)
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Postby The Mastiff » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:06 am

Uke, very well done with excellent pictures. I always like before and after pictures. :)

Joe
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Postby Syncharmony » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:51 am

Seeing that patina makes me want to get some Superblue pieces. I really want a Dragonfly in it! Great pictures and review, sucks that the QC was off on those two pieces. I wonder if they can ship some Superblue to Taichung...

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Uke
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Postby Uke » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:57 am

Thanks guys, glad you're enjoying the review.

As the patina develops further over time I'll be sure to post a few more shots in the 'Show Your Patina' thread! :)

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Postby Donut » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:26 am

I was going to take a nice picture of my Caly 3 yesterday, but forgot.

The patina on mine has almost erased the darkening of the Spyder logo.

Here's an image I posted earlier of my Caly 3 Super Blue:

http://sharpthings.net/st/users/Donut/D ... -25-13.jpg
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LC Kid
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Awesome Review!

Postby LC Kid » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:27 am

Hi Mr. Uke!


And Thanx Much for your awesome review and fantastic pics for the Caly 3 Super Blue, which is one of the most beloved models in my collection.
:D And curiously, mine also had the same QC issue regarding the blade alignment and centering. Actually, is the only Spyderco where I've seen that. :rolleyes:
Stay Sharp!

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Postby anagarika » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:25 am

The lockbar seems to have an indentation? Referring to the photo where it's almost snapping shut ..

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Postby Sharpdressed man » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:15 am

Great review and really nice pictures.

My CF ZDP-189 420 j2 has a lopsided grind where the jimping ends and spine of the blade begins above the Spyder hole. It's like a FrankenCaly 3. It's new so this may be a current QC issue in the Caly department. None of my other Spydercos have such a glaring flaw.

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Postby xceptnl » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:32 am

anagarika wrote:The lockbar seems to have an indentation? Referring to the photo where it's almost snapping shut ..
All of the examples of the Calys I have seen have this indentation. It is more evident on the lockbar engagement face. I suspect this is to control lockup as it effects the travel like a stop pin. Just my observation.
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