Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Disappointing Knife

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MichaelScott
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Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Disappointing Knife

Postby MichaelScott » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:05 am

I can’t remember waiting for the arrival of a new knife with as much anticipation as I did this week for my new Spyderco Smock. I received it yesterday and this morning it is back in its box. My disappointment is almost palpable.

There is nothing materially wrong with the knife. Fit, finish, alignment, operation, all are perfect. In my opinion Spyderco upheld their commitment to quality but went astray from their commitment to functionality, to design from the edge out, for the user to have a tool that enhances particular types of cutting requirements.

The Spyderco Smock is so packed with technical innovations and enhancements that someone forgot that it is supposed to be a knife. The handle, for example, is a long, blocky assemblage with ergonomics so slight as to be unnoticeable. One’s hand naturally seeks the large cut out, which isn’t positioned well as a choil but is there to accommodate the button that actuates the compression lock. (A technically interesting but functionally unnecessary feature requiring design considerations I don’t find acceptable.) Grasped this way the clip presses into the palm. This is tolerable for occasional, light use, but very irritating for longer and harder cutting sessions. There is no provision to move the clip to the pivot end to get it out of the way.

Held in this “natural” position there is still a long distance between one’s forefinger and the beginning of the cutting edge, necessary again to accommodate that button. The blade, or ricasso, button clearance is shaped more like a fish hook than a finger choil. It does work as a choil but it’s forward bottom edge is sharp, constantly warning you to be careful. It is not secure like the finger choil on my Para 3 for example. And, it would seem, is a catching hazard during certain cutting motions.

The Spyderco Smock’s uncertain and uncomfortable handle belies the thick blade stock and high hollow grind that calls out for tough and sustained cutting tasks. The beautiful slope of the blade from spine to tip where it meets the thin edge portion of the blade says, yes, I am a slicer too. Nice! But whomever decided to dump the perfectly serviceable Wharncliffe straight cutting edge in favor of that long, meek belly did the knife no favor.

Inclusion of the compression lock - superb. Lanyard or fob hole - a good addition even though the Anti-Fobs will scream. Peel ply carbon over G10 - fine. Ball bearings at the pivot - only there to enhance the flipping action. I must admit to being somewhat of an anti-flipper snob. I don’t like them. They are unnecessary and require compromises in knife design that over-complicates pocket knives. The only “flipper” design I have felt belonged on a knife is that on the Ikuchi. Would that I still had mine.

The second detent which is there to help the knife stay closed when you want it to stay closed is a very useful enhancement.

The Spyderco Smock is a pale image of Smock’s original design, sporting some useful and not so good design elements. It seems an answer to a design question that was never asked.

I think Smock’s original design is both esthetically handsome and practically useful in way’s Spyderco’s rendition avoided. To have brought Kevin’s design components together in a reasonably priced production folder would have been greeted with much more enthusiasm than this Spyderco expression has done. Create a handle shape that Spyderco is known for, ergonomic and secure, suitable for a knife’s intended purpose. Keep the button actuated compression lock, give the knife a full flat grind Wharncliffe blade, make a real finger choil that is naturally part of the grip and reduce the overall size by 20%.

Disappointed in Colorado,
Michael
Last edited by MichaelScott on Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby JacksonKnives » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:11 am

[makes some popcorn]
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby VooDooChild » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:14 am

I never got one because after looking it over I assumed I would feel the same.

Block handle, blade cutout would snag, button lock seems more of a fidget feature.

A lot of people like it. Thats cool too. But not for me.

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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby TkoK83Spy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:31 am

I personally love my Smock, I think it's such a unique design and much different than most Spyderco models. I love how it disappears in your pocket, takes up no space! But, I completely agree about the cutout for the button lock. I understand it has to be there, but it does make one think it can be a choil...a risky one at that. I never try to utilize it, seems too sketchy. It definitely is a snag point as well. I actually find this grip to be very comfortable when using mine. If you haven't tried it, maybe give it a shot.

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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby soulspy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:43 am

Never liked the look either. Nothing about it looks ergonomic, but I do like the button compression lock idea. I would like to see some other models sport that feature.

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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby JuPaul » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:48 am

The Smock has definitely been a divisive model - you love it or you hate it. I'm in the love camp. I think the design is unique and beautiful, and I find it very comfortable in hand when held much like Rick does in the pic above. I agree, the cutout needs to be a more functional choil, although I do actually use it as a choil for delicate tasks (my fingers are small, though, and I wouldn't trust it for a cut that requires real pressure). It is a snagging point, for sure. Otherwise, I love the unobtrusive corner flipper tab and the button comp lock, and as Rick said it's excellent in the pocket.

Anyhow, sorry you're disappointed, Michael, but you shouldn't have any problems selling it off.

Edit to add: I did put micarta scales on my smock, and I think that's helped my enjoyment of it, too, and also the nice feel in hand.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Bdubs808 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:56 am

I sold my Smock not long after obtaining it. I prefer the Ikuchi.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Wartstein » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:04 am

Sorry Michael for your disappointment!

The Smock would not be my kind of folder anyway (though it might be a great knife, just not my "style" and what I prefer at this point in my "knife journey").
But tbh just from looking at it I assumed I probably would feel like you do if I got one. But certainly I can´t weigh in, cause I never even handled one.
But then: I found that there are sometimes knives that need quite some time of real use and carry before "I get them" it "clicks" and I suddenly DO like them after all...
Last edited by Wartstein on Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby MichaelScott » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:09 am

Wartstein wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:04 am
Sorry Michael for your disappointment!

The Smock would not be my kind of folder anyway (though it might be a grea knife just not my "style" and what I prefer at this point in my "knife journey").
But tbh just from looking at it I assumed I probably would feel like you do if I got one. But certainly I can´t weigh in, cause I never even handled one.
And: I found that there are sometimes knives that need quite some time of real use and carry before "I get them" it "clicks" and I suddenly DO like them after all...
True. Some knives require a familiarization period to appreciate them. However, the Spyderco Smock has too many negatives for me to believe that would be beneficial. I attempted to detail most of my objections, rather than a “just don’t like it”. I know many people do.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Sharp Guy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:23 am

I cringed a little when I saw that you (Michael) ordered a Smock. I was pretty sure it wouldn't be something you'd like.

I received my Smock the other day and I actually like it much more that I thought I would. Is it a knife I'd grab for a sustained cutting job? No it's not. But I don't think there are many of us here who actually use any of these knives more than a minute or two at a time. If I plan on doing so I grab something different. The Smock (like many others) is something I'll keep in my pocket to use for occasional EDC tasks. It'll be fine for that. During my typical day, while at home or at work, it's not very likely I'll have a situation where I'll need to use the knife that's on me for a long time. So they don't have to be perfect and I don't expect them to be
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby bearfacedkiller » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:33 am

I have been trying to understand the appeal of this knife for a while now?
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby koenigsegg » Sat Apr 04, 2020 10:48 am

I preordered mine and waited over a year for it and sold it a week later for these same reasons. Put in a choil and sculpt the handle or something then maybe.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Burton Knut » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:31 pm

I fall in the love it camp, but it’s not a hard or even extended use knife for me. It falls in the casual/gentleman’s carry categories for me. I find it to be aesthetically pleasing, functionally unique and a great conversation piece. I think the OP is right with all his points, but for me it’s going to make a great string cutter, letter/package opener, etc. I’ve got the original, now sporting micarta, and the newly released exclusive, but I don’t see getting another as these two give me a bit of variety for some occasional pocket time or sitting next to my recliner ready for mail call.

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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Spydergirl88 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:06 pm

I've avoided it bc of the snag factor. Also doesn't it have a feature that prevents you from opening the knife by pressing the compression lock "button"? Occasionally I like to open compression locks by pressing the tab if i have something i need to cut that is already in that same hand. Please correct me if wrong
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby curlyhairedboy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:51 pm

By pure coincidence I happen to have a smock on loan. I agree that ergos come a distant second to fidget features.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby JuPaul » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:55 pm

Spydergirl88 wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:06 pm
I've avoided it bc of the snag factor. Also doesn't it have a feature that prevents you from opening the knife by pressing the compression lock "button"? Occasionally I like to open compression locks by pressing the tab if i have something i need to cut that is already in that same hand. Please correct me if wrong
You can depress the lock button and flick it open. With my micarta scales it's not super easy to do since the button sits pretty flush with the scales when the knife is closed. But on the thinner stock scales it's probably easier.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Spydergirl88 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:57 pm

JuPaul wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:55 pm
Spydergirl88 wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:06 pm
I've avoided it bc of the snag factor. Also doesn't it have a feature that prevents you from opening the knife by pressing the compression lock "button"? Occasionally I like to open compression locks by pressing the tab if i have something i need to cut that is already in that same hand. Please correct me if wrong
You can depress the lock button and flick it open. With my micarta scales it's not super easy to do since the button sits pretty flush with the scales when the knife is closed. But on the thinner stock scales it's probably easier.
Ok thanks
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Halfneck » Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:59 pm

Handled one at BLADE and the ergonomics did not work for my hand.

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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby Evil D » Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:22 am

The huge cutout in the blade ruined the rest for me. I get the need for it but for how I use my knives I can't live with it.
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Re: Spyderco Smock:Technical Showcase, Dud Knife

Postby araneae » Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:47 am

I snagged one for a fellow forumite at the SFO. I liked the button lock and the action, but couldn't see it being a knife I'd use, for most of the reasons just mentioned.
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