By Nicholas Seliga
Phrike is known in Greek mythology as the goddess of fear and horror. The outcast, the odd one, the unconventional. And the minds behind the operation and designing scheme at Spartan blades have aptly applied this archaic name to one of their creations. At this point I choose to “spoil” the ending for my reader. This is a fantastic knife. While I have done extensive first-hand review of this knife, my opinion hasn’t changed from the moment I laid eyes on it. From the design characteristics to functional dynamics it offers features that make it extremely useful, comfortable, and practical. Now, for those who would appreciate more detail on the subject of this awesome blade, read on.
I refuse to subjugate my reader to the mundane and somewhat drawn-out details of my interest and career in the knife industry, instead I will simply summarize my experiences by saying that since my parents gave me my first knife when I was five years old – a Swiss army knife – I have been a knife freak, a true believer in the religion of blades, I love knives, from making them to using them and everything in-between. I am by no means an expert; however, it always brings me joy to have the right tool for the right job. In our everyday activities we see that there are multiple chores that require a knife and having a good one can make all the difference in the world.
Generally, there seems to be three major schools of thought in the knife community. Those who believe that one knife should be able to accomplish every task the user wants to apply it to, those who own a particular, dedicated knife for each individual job, and finally, those who don’t fit neatly into either of the other categories. Personally, I fall somewhere in the last class. For certain jobs it’s great to have the perfect knife: a thin, flexible razor for cleaning fish, a great santoko for kitchen prep, and a spear-point scandi for bushcrafting. That being said, sometimes you can only have one knife and it had better be good at doing a wide variety jobs. Circumstances that arise during travel or emergency situations mean that what you have is what you get and in a scenario like that I would want a Phrike with me.
Spartan Blades has created one of the very best all-purpose every-day-carry fixed blade knives I’ve ever had the pleasure to carry and use. Here’s the cold numbers: 4.25 inch blade, 8.50 inches overall, 3/16 inch thickness, S35VN stainless steel, textured G10 inset handle, 59-60 HRC, and the proprietary Spartan Blade coating. Together with these excellent features, the Phrike has a saber grind that makes easy work of most cutting tasks. Also, because of the swedged drop point blade shape, the Phrike has a strong and versatile tip. The handle is one of my absolute favorite features. The inset G10 looks incredibly thin and in fact the overall thickness of the handle is only about 5/16 inch thick. Despite this, the user is able to have great control while gorilla gripping or doing more fine cutting. Also, this makes the knife very wearable whether using the nylon MOLLE sheath or an in-the-waist-band kydex.
When I first received this knife for review I put it through some usual trials. I started by doing some feather sticks and some fire prep work. Right out of the box I was able to get some very nice results doing shavings and feather sticks with minimal effort. After doing a bunch of these I paper tested the edge and was happy to see that it was still in good shape. Next, I did some batoning through a stack of wrist thick branches which the knife made short work of. Again, I paper checked the edge and again, no problems. After this I decided to push the edge a little so I processed a pile of cardboard boxes. After reducing these – approximately fifteen large boxes – into one foot squares I thought I’d definitely see at least a dull spot somewhere on the knife. But, while it may not have gone through the paper with the same absolute smoothness it still went through easily and without any tearing.
Since then, I’ve been able to carry this knife on a daily basis and put it through many more chores including: cutting webbing and rope, opening boxes, and most other everyday tasks over a three year period. And to this day I’m still happy to put this knife on.
I should mention a word or two about sharpening. Because of the nature of S35VN steel and because of the hardness this knife is heat treated to, it takes a little while to get used to sharpening it. This doesn’t mean that any special technique or equipment is required, just that a few more repetitions are necessary. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have talked with and read what some other uses have had to say about sharpening this knife. Some have told me that they think that it takes too much work to get a serviceable edge on this knife but I have not had this experience. In the time I’ve owned it I’ve sharpened my Phrike a few times. Mostly, I’ve used a simple strop to polish the edge, and once I used a felt wheel on a buffer. Bottom line, this steel is hard, durable, and tough. It takes a wicked edge and holds it well. And the best advice I can offer is, like with any knife, keep it sharp instead of letting it get completely dull.
So, there’s my story, the Phrike offers a whole lot of knife in a minimalist package. I’ve carried mine across the country and through all kinds of situations and it has never let me down. As a backup, self-defense, bushcrafting knife, it shines and I never hesitate to recommend it to my fellow lovers of knives.
Click below to view the slideshow: