By Dexter Ewing
Specialist in Edged Weaponry
Jess Horn, a respected knifemaker for many years, specializes in turning out investment-grade folders that are a hit with collectors. Several years ago, the folks at Spyderco caught wind of Horn's work and approached him about the possibility of collaborating to produce a factory knife. Horn agreed and the result of their mutual efforts was the model C27. This knife is a radical departure in appearance and construction from the other Spydercos. This ATS-34 bladed piece features a jigged bone handle, with a stainless steel bolster. The readily identifiable Spyderco blade hole is missing. In its place is a trapezoidal shaped indentation that serves the same purpose as the hole. This knife looks like a true handmade, not a factory made Spyderco! But the C27 carries a price tag of $449.95, putting the knife out of range for most collectors/users. In comparison of the price you'll pay for one of Horn's custom creations, the price of the C27 is a small drop in the bucket. Well, for those wishing to own a Horn design and find the C27 a bit too expensive, Spyderco released two more Horn designs. The C34 and C38 are much more affordable at $119.95 and $69.96 respectively. They are identical in all respects except for the handle materials.
The slender AUS-8 clip point blades are hollow ground, with an unsharpened false edge. This blade shape makes these knives perfect candidates for a daily carry folder. These knives excel at performing tasks like opening mail, packages, cleaning underneath fingernails, picking out splinters, and anything else that one would use a lockback of this size for. The clip point also makes precise cutting tasks easy, coupled with an easy-to-grip handle. Both the C34 and C38 are offered in plain or serrated edges, with the C38 also available with a partially serrated edge.
As mentioned above, the only difference between these two are in the handle materials: black micarta on the C38, and black Zytel on the C34.
The fit and finish of the C34's micarta handles are the usual Spyderco high quality. The pins are mirror polished and are flush with the surface of the handle material. There is also a stainless steel spacer which helps to round out the overall appearance of the knife and adds to the feel of the opened knife. As with the rest of the micarta handled Spydercos, this one has a lanyard hole that is lined. Nice touch!
A unique feature of the C38's handle is the repetitive usage of the designer's name to aid in a non slip grip. This pattern appears only on the scale opposite the clip. There's no doubt as to who designed this knife! Other than that, the size and shape of the handle is identical to the slightly more expensive C34. Upon hearing that the handle is Zytel, one may assume that the pocket clip is the usual molded-in style. Wrong! This one makes use of the regular Spyderco steel clip, fastened with three screws. Even the clip is eye-catching: black in color with the fat spider logo in gold. In my opinion, this is the way that all Zytel handled Spydercos should have their clips. This way, if the clip were to be accidentally broken, it is completely user replaceable.
The two Jess Horn models offer the collector/user a genuine Jess Horn design at very reasonable prices. Kudos to Spyderco for introducing these two models, as the original Jess Horn Spyderco C27 maybe too expensive for many knife collectors. I find the blades of the C34 and C38 to be attractive and functional. The false edge makes the entire knife lighter, but I can see where concerns regarding blade strength at the tip area may be addressed. At the tip, the false edge grind meets the main hollow grind. I would advise against using the Horns in heavy-duty work where minor prying or twisting may be involved. The ideal use for these knives would be as a gentleman's knife. Keep them handy for tasks like opening mail, cleaning fingernails, and other seemingly "mundane" tasks. As with all Spydercos, these two came out of their boxes scary sharp.
The Spyderco Jess Horn models C34 and C38 provide a readily available custom design at very comfortable prices. The size of these knives makes them low profile pieces that are very comfortable to carry on a daily basis. Spyderco continues its manufacturing excellence by offering two affordable models designed in conjunction with one of today's respected knife makers.
DEXTER "Blade Man" EWING
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Have a knife day!
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