Xplorer wrote:Although I've temporarily lost count, I own somewhere around 32-34 Spydercos. I have to say the Gayle Bradley 2 was the best knife for the $$ I've bought yet. The M4 blade is one of the toughest blades you can get, and among the "tough" blades M4 stays sharp for an amazingly long time. The construction is bomb-proof. The hollow grind creates a thin shoulder behind the cutting edge that makes it cut like a laser. Considering all you get in this knife, I was amazed at how low the price is. I got a chance to talk with Gayle Bradley for about an hour a few months ago. Gayle is a no-nonsense guy. Gayle is also a cutting competition champion. He's not making knives to be pretty, or to include the latest fad opener or locking mechanism. This guy is an old-school knife USER and maker, and he makes knives for people who use them every day and need to count on them to get the job done well. There are A LOT of Spyderco knives you can buy and be glad you did....I believe the Bradley 2 is so good that it's worthy of consideration for a person's first Spyderco (although I still think PM2 is the perfect starting point) but anyone that owns 3 or more Spydercos should definitely have a GB2 in their collection IMO.
I love this post.
I am jealous you got to chat with Gayle.
I disagree that he doesn't make knives to be pretty because a) they are dead sexy in hand and to the eyes, and b) his custom stuff does have purely aesthetic flourishes.
GB2 is what I hoped the PM2 would be for me. It's not quintessentially Spyderco in every regard like the Golden models are, but if I could only have one Spyderco folder, it'd be the GB2. I think it marries what makes Spyderco great with some of the more mainstream aesthetics; coupled further with Taichung's fit and finish at this price and it's a home run.
The only people that seem to truly not like the GB2 are the GB1 fans that expected the GB2 to be another GB1. For me, they are completely different patterns with similar design cues (dolphin vs shark, for example).
I had a feeling I might catch a little grief over the "pretty" comment.
I should have phrased that better. I completely agree that his knives are good looking. Both production and custom alike. I was really meaning that his designs are all about function, and the aesthetics come after function in the design process. I appreciate his approach because as much as I like to look at knives...I stop using them if they don't work well. Gayle's knives get prettier to me every time I use them.
He shared awesome stories with me. Some of the stuff I'll never forget. He's a talented guy who knows his craft. For example, he was talking about how he doesn't like to use any of the fancy new jigs and tools for creating a distal taper on a blade, instead he just holds the blade with his vise grips and presses it "against the grinder with a stick". He said he can do it well because he's done it so many times. I just LOVE hearing the masters of this world talk about how they do things "their way". I'll continue to buy every design he produces.
Spyderco fan and collector since 1991.
Father of 2, nature explorer, custom knife maker.
@Xplorer42 on Instagram.