I recently picked up a Chaparral after hearing so many good things about it. I've read many of Wartsteins posts raving about one of the thinnest Spyderco blades in a folder. The constant talk of the sub 2mm blades performance solidified my decision to buy one. You could also say I've got the bug and want to try all the steels Spyderco has to offer.
The knife surprisingly feels heavier than it looks. Lock up is great, no blade play whatsoever. The backlock makes a very crisp and satisfying sound. It feels like it could use a lighter lock bar spring but I can definitely live with it. This Chap has the CQI beveled lock bar, possibly to make unlocking more comfortable.
The blade has even bevels and could shave hair out of the box. It also has a finger choil, something I've grown to love.
There's a unique metal backspacer that gives the knife a more premium feel. I think more FRN models should come with one.
The fit and finish is top notch, I hear that's to be expected from Tiachung. The wire clip is deep carry which is nice. That coupled with its thin profile makes it disappear in your pocket. It's currently one of my smallest folding knives measuring 3.6"/91mm closed with a 2.8"/71mm blade. This would have been an average size knife to me a year ago but now it feels a little on the small side.
I wanted to quickly get an idea of how it was going to perform compared to my other knives. That's why I decided to do a back to back cut test switching between other knives to really get a feel for it. There's things you may not notice if you just use 1 specific knife for the day.
I got ready by prepping some clean cardboard into manageable pieces. Then pulled out my Pm2, Manix 2, and of course the Chap. The Delica or UKPK would be a better comparison, but I don't have those...yet.
With it being so much bigger I just assumed the PM2 would dominate. I just cut cardboard until a hotspot would form somewhere on my hand. I'm not measuring anything, just seeing how it feels in moderate use.
I didn't have to cut much to find out what I was after. The PM2, while just as sharp, needed considerably more force. I have the scales lightly contoured so it takes awhile for hot spots to develop but they do. It might help to break the edges on the inside of the scales.
The Manix LW on the other hand was a lot harsher. It took about the same force as the PM2 to cut the cardboard. The problem was hot spots from the sharp corners and jimping. Texturing on the FRN is molded deeper than the Chap as well as having sharper corners.
I like that the Chaparrals FRN is in a different style than the Manix 2 lw. That smoother profile lets you cut longer without hot spots forming. Let's not forget that beautifully thin blade that makes cutting even easier. It glided through the cardboard like it was a sheet of paper. It's like cutting with a fillet knife, just really short. I could just keep going without any hotspots and little fatigue. Even though it's handle is smaller than the others I never felt like my grip was compromised in any way. The blade actually got noticeably warmer from how fast I was able to cut.
I did notice it felt better cutting with the end of the blade. It's thin blade really makes it stand out from the pack. I hope Spyderco brings more thin designs to market.
The Chaparral is definitely a keeper in my book. This knife is already in my edc rotation and once I have more time using it I may update this post. Oh just in case you didn't see my other thread I'll add this. The Chaparral is supposed to showcase all different kinds of scale materials so I 3d printed some for it like my mule. I already remodeled them again to fix the clip cut outs and to make it slightly bigger. I was having issues with parts under .5mm so I made them thicker to sand down after assembly. I just need to print the new model. It's awesome to have an idea in your head and in under an hour its in your hand. That includes time to make the model and print it.