The best motto I could think to sum up the new Spyderco Serrata is,“Everything old is new again.”
While the motto itself is creaking with age it does not make it any less true.
The Serrata is a well made knife with a lot of personal experience put into it by the folks at Spyderco and its designer Stuart Ackerman. Mr. Ackerman is custom knife maker from South Africa who currently lives in New Zealand and by all accounts knows his stuff. Ex-military, and experienced in the bush Mr. Ackerman obviously puts a great deal of time and thought into his designs with a unwavering set goal in mind. A knife for use in the bush as its ancestors were used for centuries. He achieves it. The knife is a great general use knife for the outdoors, its hand filling grips are very ergonomic G-10 and they are smooth with no jimping or traction points to cause discomfort in use. Hunting, fishing or general woods bumming would all find a use for the Serrata
Any person who has seen and handled old knives used in the bush will see the lineage of the old traits put into the new Serrata. Old knives are thin and sharp with a good point. They are ‘live’ in the hand and allow for long use with little hand fatigue. They usually eschew a guard and have a good curve for slicing, allowing the blade to get down in the work without getting hung up. The Serrata fits all these as if made from a checklist.
Size wise the Serrata is about 9 ¼ inches overall with a blade just a hair longer than 4 ½ inches. The knife is compact but not uselessly small. Weight out of the sheath is 7.9 oz (224 g) and it feels a lot lighter due to good balance. The blade is tapered from ¼ inch thick at the base to a taper towards the tip.
Even the old tech of stainless steel is used in this blade with a new modern twist that many would not see with the naked eye. This 440C stainless blade is cast using the lost wax method and Spyderco’s high tech techniques to make it dendritic steel. This method creates branching tree shaped crystal structures in the steel that enhance its strength and cutting ability. Once again old is new with a modern twist. This steel’s performance is so far beyond that of old traditional 440 stainless that hunters of a bygone era would consider it magic. I found it noticeably different after stopping and getting it back to sharp than my experience with other 440c blades.
The blade shape and cross section itself also is a cross between a traditional full belly spear point and the distal taper that many users prefer in their blades. This allow the knife to have more sell at the base where strength is enhanced and less at the tip bringing better balance and cutting ability.
I used the Serrata for evaluation during a island trip recently for delicate tasks such as trimming a lamp’s wick up during some cleaning and repair for a badly neglected light source. It cut a razor straight cut exactly where needed and went back into the sheath easily. Later after taking down a sapling with it, the Spyderco chopped, sliced and trimmed it up quite well. My initial worry of the lack of guard was offset by the fact that the hand locks so well into the the grip whatever way you hold it. I would not stab it into an assailant, but it’s not designed for that, so that is not really a factor. The blade never stained during food prep and its cleanup was quick and easy. To bring it back to a razor edge I limited myself to a leather belt strop or a car window edge. Both makeshift sharpeners brought the blade back up to top shape. I’m sure a aboriginal bushman might have used a rock if he felt it needed it but I’m sure the Serratta would not have been able to tell the difference for the result.
On a later trip my wife used the Serrata as her ‘big blade’ for general camp use and it passed her critical eye. She felt the handle was comfortable for small or large hands and more importantly it passed the thread cutting test. When doing her needle point she used it instead of scissors to trim thread ends after tying off the stitch. Let me tell you, I have seen many of my sharp knives fail this without giving a clean fuzz free trim to the ends. The Spyderco did it perfectly with such a delicate cut to make and earned her approval. Many projects require clean precise cutting in the woods and the Serrata is well up to those types of tasks.
The Serrata has a custom-molded Boltaron sheath with G-Clip attachment that allows left or right hand carry on a belt or pack strap. The Serrata retails for around $149.00 and is available at most knife outlets.