By Dexter Ewing, Knife Collector and Enthusiast
|Spyderco has long been known for bringing out fresh, new folding knife designs. They never fail to do that year-after-year! 1998 was certainly no exception. The Golden, Colorado based company released their very first two-bladed lockback called the Mini-Dyad. Upon looking at this unique piece of pocket cutlery, I cannot help but to think that this is as close as Spyderco gets to producing a traditional pocket knife done up in the traditional Spyderco fare (complete with the blade holes and a pocket clip). The Mini Dyad is very, very handy for it offers both serrated and plain locking blades in one easy to carry compact package that is very eye-appealing to boot.
Spyderco selected ATS-55 (a close relative to the mighty popular ATS-34) to be the steel of choice for the blades of the Mini Dyad. The blades in this package are a plain edged, flat ground clip point and a serrated hollow ground sheepsfoot. Both feature humpbacked blades with the Spyderco hole for easy opening. The blades work off of pivots that are placed at each end of the handle, and feature proven rocker bar lock mechanisms. As usual per Spyderco, both blades were extremely sharp right out of the box.
An aspect that the blades share is small opening holes (due in part because the knife itself is on the small side) measuring 5/16" in diameter. I found the small size of these holes make one-hand opening a tad difficult at first (felt a little like my thumb could slip off the blade : guess I'm too used to bigger blade holes!) But after getting used to the size of the Mini Dyad, I am now able to bring either blade into play using the one hand method. But holding the knife in one hand then pinching the holes and pulling with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand, I found that either blade could be opened quickly
The handle scales of choice are black linen micarta, and the fit and finish are very smooth as per other micarta shod Spydercos. The multiple liners are of stainless steel and the bottom of the handle is where you will find the lock releases. Both blades open smoothly and locked solidly. There is a matching black pocket clip that fastens the knife tightly to the waistband or pocket for ease of carry, and the knife rides low in the pocket. Overall width of the handle, minus the pocket clip, is 7/16", which puts the Mini Dyad's thickness in the neighborhood with that of traditional pocketknives. It is comfortable to carry via the clip or in the bottom of the pocket, wherever the user chooses to carry it.
The Mini Dyad's advantage is double-edged (so to speak!) I can envision this knife fitting in well with the handyman type, or anyone else whose job depends on knives to cut a wide variety of materials. Instead of carrying two separate knives (one plain, and the other serrated), the Mini Dyad presents both edge styles in one easy to access package. For those whose daily cutting chores require using both serrated and plain blades, the Mini Dyad maybe your knife, as it eliminates having to carry two separate knives. Usage with both blades open is something that Spyderco does not recommend for obvious safety reasons.
Even though the blades are on the small side, don't let that fool you into thinking that they're down for the count when faced with big jobs! Look closely at the cutting edge of the serrated sheepsfoot and you will notice that it has a slight belly to it. This slight belly accentuates the cutting power when using a back-and-forth sawing motion. The combination of this belly and the super-sharp two step style serrations make this blade perform like serrated blades twice its size. I was able to easily cut cardboard up into small strips and slice up a section of an old garden hose. Looking at the blade spine, Spyderco has ground away about half of the blade's body to make access to the opening hole on the plain edge blade easier, without compromising blade strength.
The other blade in this compact package is the humble plain edge clip point. The tip of the blade is rather thin, which is good for tasks that require a sharp blade and precision cutting.
As long as the user does not twist or pry with this blade, the thin tip shouldn't pose any problem at all. This particular blade is easy to control, which makes it good for such tasks like wire stripping, opening packages, and cleaning underneath fingernails. The plain edge does have some muscle to power through the layered cardboard sheets. The very pointy tip facilitates ease of piercing through the thick material with ease. For precise cutting work, this combination of the clip point blade and a compact handle is a very good match.
Speaking in terms of carrying comfort, the Mini Dyad SP 39PS carries very well because of its compact size. When clipped to the lip of the pocket or the waistband, this knife virtually disappears and you can hardly tell that it is with you. Do not limit yourself to clipping it to the pocket or waistband. A knife of this size and weight can also be clipped to alternate areas, such as the inside pocket of a sportcoat. This factor contributes to the Mini Dyad being a very handy knife that is convenient and effective. Also, regardless of which humpbacked blade is open, the one closed blade accommodates the user's grip very comfortably, and there are no harsh edges that meet your fingers. If anything, the closed blade enhances the grip by providing more for one to grab on to, slender as the handle is.
All in all, the Mini Dyad SP 39PS is a very handy knife in such a small, pocket friendly package. Users will no doubt benefit from the convenience of having a plain edge and fully serrated blade in one knife. For those who like bigger knives, just sit tight! The Spyderco folks already have a larger version in the works, appropriately dubbed "Dyad". The bigger brother features blades that work off of separate locking liners, thus even more user friendly than the Mini Dyad is. The SP39 is ideal for those people who cannot make up their minds about getting a knife with a plain edge or serrated edge and the Mini Dyad has both, in a pocket friendly package.
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