Lately I've been experimenting with hawkbills as EDC folders.
My introduction to this blade shape was through the byrd Hawkbill. I was very favorably impressed with the quality of the knife. It was solid, strong, sharp. The 8Cr13MoV steel held its edge surprisingly well and was a breeze to get back to top sharpness. After carrying it for a few weeks, and having a lot of accrued Amazon points, I decided to splurge a bit and buy the next level of hawkbill - the Tasman Salt 2. SE, of course. Seki made, a bit larger than the byrd, those glorious H-1 serrations and of course totally rustproof - an improvement all around.
And yet, after a couple weeks of carry, I found myself actually preferring the $26 byrd to the $85 Tasman. I thought I would do a comparison thread to explain why.
(As a preface, this is more a compliment to the outstanding quality of the byrd line than a criticism of the Seki Salts)
First, both came less-than-perfect as far as fit and finish goes. The byrd backspacer was a little proud of the handle scales (for photos see the "byrd hawkbill" thread) and the Tasman's lockbar, when in the locked position, sat a bit proud also. The Tasman has gotten a bit better with usage but it still isn't perfectly flush:
Although neither issue was a big problem, I much prefer a proud backspacer to a proud lockbar. For one thing, the backspacer is easier to fix; for another, a proud lockbar means that the degree of lockup is not as good as it could be. However, as I said, neither of these flaws were deal-breakers, just something to keep in mind. (Although it's certainly more excusable on a $26 knife versus an $80 one.)
Second, the spring on the byrd is much stiffer and stronger, which results in snappier lockup, greater close bias, and less blade play generally - and gives a much more favorable overall impression of strength and security. I can hold the Tasman Salt by the handle and fully open it with a quick flick of the wrist - impossible with the byrd. The byrd also locks open with much more authority than the Tasman.
I also preferred the blade design of the byrd to the Tasman. The curve of the cutting edges are essentially identical until you get to the very tip, where the Tasman's blade tip drops sharply:
This is obviously a personal preference; but for my EDC uses I found the hooked tip of the Tasman to be unnecessary and made the tip more difficult to use for fine tasks like cutting strips of paper (yes something I actually had to do the other day.) The byrd's cutting edge follows its natural progression all the way to the tip and is more suited, in my opinion, for more delicate cutting tasks - making it more versatile. Again, my personal preference - yours may vary.
Another - major - factor contributing to my preference of the byrd was the style and grind of the serrations. Here again, this is my personal opinion but it is one shared, I believe, by a number of folks here. For EDC, I prefer serrations that are less spikey and more bumpy. The spikey serrations tend to snag and tear - which may be fine if you only use your knife to cut thick rope, but for EDC, I want a smoother cut. The Tasman's serrations are much spikier and more snaggy than the byrd's.
Exacerbating this problem is the fact that the Tasman's serrations are ground thicker than the byrd's. (Both, by the way, had quite obtuse chisel grinds - I couldn't hit the apex even on the 40° Sharpmaker setting.) Evil D made an excellent thread awhile back going deep into the nuances of serration design and style and I really couldn't add to what he said; I highly recommend looking it up for more information on how all these parameters interact.
Really, I wish all the Spyderco SE lineup would adopt the byrd style serrations. They are the perfect compromise of serrated aggression without being a saw.
So, there it is. As I said at the start, this is less a complaint about the Tasman than it is a compliment to the great quality of the Byrd line. I will still keep the Tasman and use it (what I'm thinking is using as a backup dive knife), but for everyday carry, I choose the Byrd.