Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

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SpyderEdgeForever
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Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:39 am

I have a question here for everyone about blade choils. In general and in specific applications, what are the ups and downs of choils in your opinion and in your own experiences?

I can see both ups and downs:

In some cutting situations I like the large choil because it gives another place for one to safely rest their grip and thus get greater more detailed control over the blade. But in other situations, I like the blade edge to continue all the way down to the hilt or base of the blade and handle. Also, sometimes the choil does not have cosmetic appeal to me.

A related question: If you had a knife with a large choil, do you want that choil to be smooth or do you want a ridged or ribbed surface on the edge of the choil for better grip?

Here are some interesting articles I found to give some more ideas on this:

http://www.blademag.com/blog/can-define-knife-choil

http://knifenews.com/choil-or-no-choil/

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby carrot » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:42 am

I’ve honestly never wished a choil knife to lack one, but many times I’ve wished a knife to have a choil. I like my grip options and I’ve personally never come into a circumstance where a choil held me back.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby mb1 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:57 am

I rarely find myself using the choil in cutting. But on a backlock, they are nice for one-handed closing. Makes a perfect safety catch against your index finger.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Jazz » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:15 am

I find the Delica design is perfect. Choils usually get hung up when working. I rarely use them.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Evil D » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:52 am

Choils are literally a give and take situation. You give edge length and you get grip length. They make perfect sense on smaller knives like the Dragonfly because they allow you to have a more usable amount of grip while still keeping the folded size small and compact. You sacrifice edge to get that, but on a small knife it may not be such a big deal. I don't think a knife with a near 50/50 edge to handle ratio makes any sense if the handle is only an inch and a half long and you can barely hold onto it. On larger knives I think choils are still just as usable but for different reasons. They don't serve so much to provide more gripping area like they do on a Dragonfly, but they do offer an additional gripping position closer to the edge for finer detailed cutting. I don't think this is necessarily impossible to accomplish without a choil though, in fact I'll just say it absolutely can be done without a choil, it just takes the right handle design. On knives like the Sliverax and Mantra, I'm just fine without the choil because there's enough grip area to use the knife and it maximizes the edge length, giving you a bunch of cutting edge in a more compact folded package than you get with other models.


So, to sum all that rambling up, my stance on choils is basically this; On smaller folders I like having a choil because of the increased grip, but on medium to large folders I'd rather the handle were designed in such a way that it positions your index finger as close to the edge as possible so you get the same effect as a choil without sacrificing edge length.

A good example is the Manix 2. I really like that knife, it's one of my favorites, but I think the handle could be adjusted just a bit so that the index finger is right behind the edge/right at the end of the G10, and then remove the choil and gain cutting edge. I'm not as bothered by losing cutting edge on the Military because it only sacrifices about 1/4 inch of edge and being able to choke up on such a long blade does aid in control.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Eli Chaps » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:05 pm

I worry that Spyderco has become overly fixated on the 50/50 choil. On an EDC I rarely need a choil. For me, choils are mostly used for fine work. Choking up on the blade, often with your thumb along the spine, and doing some kind of detailed work where you want a lot of control. I guess some folks might like them for hard "stripping" or shaving type work but I've never really found that to be needed. Usually I ham-fist the handle of a knife, regardless of design, for hard work like that.

I love the Dfly2 but I really don't use the choil that often. I do because I am forced to but if it wasn't there I wouldn't miss it at all.

The issue I have with the 50/50 choil is that the rest of the grip suffers. The Stretch 2 was a blaring example of this for me. A very cool knife that I very much wanted and very much wanted to like. But the choil is the exact reason I didn't. If I held it in the choil grip it was great, but if I just held the handle without the choil then it didn't work for me. It is the same with the Sage 5 and Native 5 for me. They basically require a choil grip to really feel comfortable. That isn't okay with me, as, like I said, I rarely need to use that type of grip.

The Buck 110 was and remains insanely popular for many reasons but one of them is absolutely the handle shape. It's thin and tapered and simple and fits a lot of different hands.

The M2LW is at the top of my list largely because it finds a great balance between the comfort of using the "main" handle and also using the finger choil.

I'd prefer Spyderco got away from using the 50/50 choil. It looks neat and feels neat but it just doesn't have a lot of practical application in my life.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby APS » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:08 pm

I don't generally like them but I love the improved backlock on the Native 5 series so I put up with them. For me I don't think the minor amount of increased tip control is worth the
1. hassle of the choil hanging up on stuff when using a hammer grip. Try cutting up a T shirt for cleaning patches with a Native and a Positron to see the difference.
2. distance your hand is away from the cutting edge when using a hammer grip and applying force

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby spyderwolf » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:28 am

I said 2 years ago 50/50 choils are a hype which will go away the way glass breakers did.This year's Spyderco catalog proved me right.Other than the DF -a masterpiece,by the way-where the choil is part of the design to the point you cant use the knife without it,no knife NEEDS a choil.If you love it,its nice to have it,but you could do without it,just as fine,perhaps even better.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Wanimator » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:50 am

I always use the choil on my Paramilitary 2 and Manix 2 XL. In fact I tend to miss having one on any knife that I is that's without one. However it's not entirely a deal breaker if the rest of the design accommodates it enough.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Wrathhog » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:35 am

My index finger seems to naturally fall into the choil, even on the larger knives. I've never found myself wishing a knife didn't have one, but have found myself wanting one on a knife that didn't have one. For my cutting purposes, I've never found a choil to be a negative.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby foofie » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:12 am

Not a necessity - but the choil works really well on slip joints like the ukpk and the urban. Gives you a touch more control of the blade during usage and closing.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby The Deacon » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:25 am

WIth the lone exception of my Jester, all the Spyderco knives I've carried more than a couple times in the past 13 years have 50/50 choils, so I guess I'm solidly in the pro-choil camp. As for whether it should be smooth, while I don't see any practical advantage to jimping on the choil, from a purely esthetic standpoint I think it should match the thumb ramp.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Doc Dan » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:28 am

Evil D wrote:Choils are literally a give and take situation. You give edge length and you get grip length. They make perfect sense on smaller knives like the Dragonfly because they allow you to have a more usable amount of grip while still keeping the folded size small and compact. You sacrifice edge to get that, but on a small knife it may not be such a big deal. I don't think a knife with a near 50/50 edge to handle ratio makes any sense if the handle is only an inch and a half long and you can barely hold onto it. On larger knives I think choils are still just as usable but for different reasons. They don't serve so much to provide more gripping area like they do on a Dragonfly, but they do offer an additional gripping position closer to the edge for finer detailed cutting. I don't think this is necessarily impossible to accomplish without a choil though, in fact I'll just say it absolutely can be done without a choil, it just takes the right handle design. On knives like the Sliverax and Mantra, I'm just fine without the choil because there's enough grip area to use the knife and it maximizes the edge length, giving you a bunch of cutting edge in a more compact folded package than you get with other models.


So, to sum all that rambling up, my stance on choils is basically this; On smaller folders I like having a choil because of the increased grip, but on medium to large folders I'd rather the handle were designed in such a way that it positions your index finger as close to the edge as possible so you get the same effect as a choil without sacrificing edge length.

A good example is the Manix 2. I really like that knife, it's one of my favorites, but I think the handle could be adjusted just a bit so that the index finger is right behind the edge/right at the end of the G10, and then remove the choil and gain cutting edge. I'm not as bothered by losing cutting edge on the Military because it only sacrifices about 1/4 inch of edge and being able to choke up on such a long blade does aid in control.
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I like a small finger guard that gets as close to the blade as possible on a knife with a 3 inch blade or longer. On smaller knives a choil comes in handy. The exact problem, for me, regarding the Native 5 is the choil is actually in the way of the blade and keeps the knife from being as useful as it could be. I have found the choil actually gets in the way of cutting, in fact. The Manix 2, which I love, similarly could be made perfect with the guard moved outwards and the choil done away with. I would still be able to choke up on the blade if I so desired.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby seber » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:32 pm

I detest finger choils. If you need more handle length then buy a knife with a longer handle. Why waste cutting edge. The choil catches what I'm cutting. It reduces leverage. It makes sharpening harder. If you need protection for your finger when closing, your closing method sucks. A properly designed knife will put your forefinger right next to the cutting edge without the need for gimmicks.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby tonijedi » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:11 pm

I just like the choil on the Dragonfly. Not on bigger knives and specially not in fixed blades.
I can understand the choil on the Native 5 (although I don't like it very much) but I can't see why the Para2 ended up with one.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby vivi » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:32 pm

Eli Chaps wrote:I worry that Spyderco has become overly fixated on the 50/50 choil. On an EDC I rarely need a choil. For me, choils are mostly used for fine work. Choking up on the blade, often with your thumb along the spine, and doing some kind of detailed work where you want a lot of control. I guess some folks might like them for hard "stripping" or shaving type work but I've never really found that to be needed. Usually I ham-fist the handle of a knife, regardless of design, for hard work like that.

I love the Dfly2 but I really don't use the choil that often. I do because I am forced to but if it wasn't there I wouldn't miss it at all.

The issue I have with the 50/50 choil is that the rest of the grip suffers. The Stretch 2 was a blaring example of this for me. A very cool knife that I very much wanted and very much wanted to like. But the choil is the exact reason I didn't. If I held it in the choil grip it was great, but if I just held the handle without the choil then it didn't work for me. It is the same with the Sage 5 and Native 5 for me. They basically require a choil grip to really feel comfortable. That isn't okay with me, as, like I said, I rarely need to use that type of grip.

The Buck 110 was and remains insanely popular for many reasons but one of them is absolutely the handle shape. It's thin and tapered and simple and fits a lot of different hands.

The M2LW is at the top of my list largely because it finds a great balance between the comfort of using the "main" handle and also using the finger choil.

I'd prefer Spyderco got away from using the 50/50 choil. It looks neat and feels neat but it just doesn't have a lot of practical application in my life.
I agree.

I end up buying a lot of knives from Spyderco with choils because I like the overall design, but if I could get them with no choil I would.

I find more utility out of extra cutting edge on pocket sized knives, and I like having the cutting edge closer to the main grip.

If a knife doesn't offer a comfortable grip behind the choil, 99% of the time its off my radar. I've found I don't like knives such as the dragonfly where you're forced to use the choil for a full four finger grip. It's one reason I prefer the Para 2 to the 1, because I can get a good grip on it without using the choil.

One of the reasons the Chinook 4 is on my radar is the lack of a choil.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Jazz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:43 pm

The choil, or ricasso on the Delica, etc. does help in one hand closing a lot. I don't like how the Mantra's edge goes right to the handle. Same with the Centofantes.

The Dfly absolutely wouldn't be the same without the choil, and I have about 7 or 8 of them, so I guess I was wrong about my choice. I do like choils on some knives.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby crazywednesday » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:57 pm

OP, you should have made this a poll!
I for one like a finger choil. Call me an idiot for not buying a knife with a larger handle or whatever. For me it comes down to comfort and choice. To me it just feels right. I appreciate the fact that spyderco makes many knives with choils, and those without. Freedom of choice is amazing and I have no ill feelings for you choil haters out there.
On that note, I like a finger choil so much I added one to my Tasman :eek:. Oh BTW, it didn't shorten the blade one millimeter.

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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Doc Dan » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:25 pm

This thread needs a poll.
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Re: Choils on Spyderco Knives: Ups and Downs?

Postby Tdog » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:07 am

With a couple exceptions, I'd gladly give up the choil for additional cutting edge.


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