By Dexter Ewing, Knife Collector and Enthusiast
You may not know his name, but you are familiar with his famous contribution to knifemaking, repopularization of the side lock. Walker, along with his wife Patricia, are one of the few husband and wife knifemaking teams. They were among the first to make knives out of then exotic materials, carbon fiber and titanium.To attest to this fact, a few years ago Walker and Spyderco worked in harmony to produce the C22. Perhaps the most expensive factory folder on the market currently ($434.95 retail price), this edged beauty sports carbon fiber handles, a liner, screws, and pocket clip all made of anodized titanium, and an ATS-34 blade. But its uniqueness does not stop there -- this is the only Spyderco manufactured in Switzerland, by famed knife makers Klotzli. In early 1996 Spyderco unleashed another Walker design, the C37 Lightweight. Identical in size and shape to the C22 (but without the hair raising price tag), it offers everybody a shot at owning a genuine Michael Walker design.
Available in both plain edge and partially serrated, the modified drop point hollow ground AUS-8 blade is very pleasing in both form and function. The evaluation knife had a partially serrated blade, and the serrations are like shark's teeth -- sharp and pointy. They aggressively ate through anything that was applied to them. On the bottom of the blade before the cutting edge, Walker added some serrations to assist in a more secure grip. AUS-8 blades offer a low cost and relative ease in resharpening. The blade solidly locks open thanks to the recessed stainless steel liner. Overall, the blade is compact but harnesses great cutting power.
As stated before, the handle shares the same size and shape as the SP22. The big difference is in the material: Zytel. As with the Delica, Endura, Rescue, and other Zytel Spydercos, the pocket clip is molded into one side. The rear of the handle curves downward, making for a comfortable grip. The curve seats itself against your palm , eliminating any harsh handle edges to dig into your hand. On the lock release side, there is some checkering to provide hand traction.
The SP37 is a great knife for anyone requiring a small lightweight sidelock. Personally, the blade size is too small for my requirements for a daily carry, but makes an excellent back up blade for certain tasks. I can clip this knife to my waistband all day, and forget that I have it. It is a blast to carry.
Only two gripes to air about this knife. First, when the knife is closed, the back of the blade spine protrudes a little. Comparing the SP37 with my SP22, I discovered that the SP22 has this corner rounded off slightly. I would not recommend filing this corner off, as the removal of too much metal may cause problems with the lock up. Second, some C37's may not have smooth opening and closing action initially. Since the pivot is not adjustable, there's no way to fine tune the action. But as time goes on, the pivot will become broken in, and the action will smooth itself out.
In summary, the Spyderco Michael Walker SP37 is an excellent bargain for a custom designed production knife, especially a Michael Walker design. I read in a recent Tactical Knives magazine article that this knife would make a good folding hunter if Spyderco would lengthen the blade to about 3 1/2 inches long. It would also make an excellent work knife, somewhere along the lines of the Endura.
DEXTER "Blade Man" EWING
If you have some thoughts or comments to share with Mr. Ewing, please email him using his linked name below
Have a knife day!
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