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I messed with the bulls and got the Horn... (review)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by dinoadventures, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. dinoadventures

    dinoadventures Empty Pockets

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    So after all the lip service you guys gave me in my "Explain Spyderco to me" thread I finally broke down and impulse-bought one. A sprint-run ZDP189 Jess Horn.

    Pics:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    So after the week or so of waiting, I finally got it, took it out of the box. I then put a lanyard I had made (during my waiting time) on it and put it in my pocket and walked around and took it out a few times.

    The good:
    I used it to open a few plastic bags for my girlfriend. It's scalpel-sharp. Bloody amazing edge on this thing. The lock is super-solid. It fits in my medium-sized hand perfectly. It weighs easily half of what my Gerber mini covert or LM Squirt P4 weigh.

    The bad/weird:
    The thing is... I can't get used to the spyder hole. Maybe my opposable digits are short or something, but I can't seem to open it without putting my hand in an uncomfortable contortion. Also, though it's tip-up carry which I like, but the clip, while great, is on the wrong side. I'm right-handed, and I like having the opening stud/hole/tab/slot/whatever on the same side as my thumb when I pull it out of my pocket. I don't feel that's unreasonable.
    Some traction grooves would be nice on the blade spine behind the hole as well, though this knife is clearly not designed for the kind of serious cutting you'd use a bigger/heavier knife for.

    Bottom line is it's a really nice knife if you like Spyderco's. Personally, I don't think it's a keeper for me because I'm super-picky, so expect it for sale on here momentarily.
     
  2. laurent

    laurent Empty Pockets

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    Whaou. Great line, great photographies.
     
  3. Deaths Head

    Deaths Head Banned

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    Great unbiased review. Love the pics too. If you are not a Spyderco fan after handling a Jess Horn, I don't you will ever be a Spyderco fan. I'm glad that you gave Spyderco a fair chance. That is one of their better knives.
    Spyderco used to make a few knives using a hood over the hole so that it can be opened like using a thumbstud. It was called the Cobra hood. There are a few knives available circulating around.
    I'm sure someone here would take that knife off your hands.

    I don't want to hijack your thread, but I am always looking to improve my pics. could you make a thread giving us tips on how to make great close-up pics like yours?

    Thanks!

    DH
     
  4. dinoadventures

    dinoadventures Empty Pockets

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    Paul,
    When I originally set out to photograph the knife, I knew I wanted to do something fun with it. I realized pretty quick that I don't have much cool "tactical" type stuff around (NJ isn't a common sense state, so no AR-15's in my apartment). However, I did have a boatload of padded mailers from doing my lanyards and from clearing out the house on ebay for our move. I thought to myself, this knife isn't really meant for like hacking down trees or splitting logs or anything like that; it's meant for slicing lighter stuff. I felt the background was fitting, plus i could use it to aid composition and make things a bit more interesting.

    For lighting, in the first one I used a diffused off-shoe flash positioned perpendicularly above the knife. This was done to show the blade profile. Some ambient fill was provided with a 13W daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulb (home depot sourced, 100W tungsten equivalent) from the top right.
    The second one has the flash positioned similarly, but from the top right, maybe 2' above the object. I took some aluminum foil and crinkled it up and taped it to a sheet of cardboard and held it facing downwards towards the knife tip just below the flash. This functioned as a reflector, throwing the light from the flash used as the main light to throw light at a different angle at the blade, highlighting the point and defining the edge. Also, being silver, the foil throws a color color cast on the blade, making it stand out more against the warm-colored envelopes.

    If you don't have a nice flash and an off-shoe cord, or your camera doesn't have a hot shoe, you can still get a slave flash to go off concurrently with on-camera flash. If you have a decent camera, you can regulate your on-camera flash output to make it minimal (act as fill) and use the slave flash as your main light. A decent flash can be had for like $80. Websites like strobist.blogspot.com can help you learn lots of cool flash tricks on the cheap! You can spend days learning stuff on there. Though mostly geared towards SLR users, you can get all kinds of ideas for modifying light and setting up scenes.
     
  5. Deaths Head

    Deaths Head Banned

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    Thanks dinoadventures. Those are some great tips. I am presently using a black light box with three 13 watt bulb lamps. I only use a point and shoot and set it to macro which there is no flash of course. So far this set-up has served me pretty good. I am always looking to make my pics a little better without having to do any too extravagant.

    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  6. Goldtanker

    Goldtanker Empty Pockets

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    Excellent photos Dino!
     
  7. powernoodle

    powernoodle Loaded Pockets

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    I find that the useability of the hole depends on the knife. On a Spyderco Delica, for example, using the thumb hole is completely natural for me. Couldn't be better. On a Native, its configured a little different and is not so easy to use. On smaller knives like a Dragonfly or Ladybug, the hole is almost impossible to use.

    Thats a nice looking knife. I'll have to check one out.

    peace
     
  8. Deaths Head

    Deaths Head Banned

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    There is a technique to opening all one-handed openers. When using your thumb, you shouldn't arc your thumb, following the movement of the hole or thumbstud. Rather, you should flick your thumb directly forward, parallel to the handle of the knife.
    With this technique, the knife should open much easier and faster.
    There are a number of other ways like the wrist flick and Spydie Drop as well.
     
  9. dinoadventures

    dinoadventures Empty Pockets

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    I've found I can open it fairly quickly by depressing the lock and wrist flicking it. There's not enough heft to the blade to do it the regular way.
     
  10. PocketLint

    PocketLint Banned

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    I don't get the statement above. Since it's a hole it's on both sides. You could be right or left handed and use the hole. With a Spyderco it's always on the same side as your thumb. ;)
     
  11. kkimo

    kkimo Loaded Pockets

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    One thing you might wanna try is the "spyder flick" method for opening. Spyderco used to include a small instruction sheet with the knives on this, but discontinued the practice a fair while back.

    Basically to do the spyder flick, you hold the knife "pinching" it between the thumb and forefinger in the Spydie hole, and flick the handle down to open. It sounds and looks like it's not very secure, but it's a much better grip than you'd think. While it isn't really all that useful for opening as it requires extra manipulation to get to the starting position, it does help acclimate one to the spydie hole.

    Dave
     
  12. dinoadventures

    dinoadventures Empty Pockets

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    the blade was facing the wrong side, in my opinion. it makes for extraneous maneuvering.

    oh and Dave, I was never a fan of the Spyder flick. it's weird and i don't feel it's a very secure way to open something, especially in an SD situation.
     
  13. mkphc

    mkphc Loaded Pockets

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    Excellent pics, review sad to hear you don't like the Spydie, is it maybe too small for your hand?

    anyway I have a 11" picklock , Frank B darkhorn maybe you would be interested for a trade?
     
  14. kkimo

    kkimo Loaded Pockets

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    I agree, by no means was I suggesting to use it as the primary opening technique, but playing with it that way did help me become comfortable with the spydie hole fairly quickly.

    Dave
     
  15. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

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    Very nice Spydie. Great pics! O0
     
  16. ghostrider

    ghostrider Empty Pockets

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    Sorry to hear you don't like the knife. Not every knife is for everyone. Good thing is that the Jess Horn ZDP-189 should get a decent resell value. While I haven't handled the Jess Horn, I haven't had any of the problems with my Spydies that you seem to be experiencing. I have noticed that many knives are designed to be handled differently than others. Some are designed better for saber grip, some are better designed for hammer grip, etc... I would make sense that if you are used to the thumb stud, and don't make the necessary adjustment for the hole opener then you will most likely have problems.

    Instructions for opening the Spyderhole are still available:
    http://spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/index.php?item=7
     
  17. Sharpdogs

    Sharpdogs Uber Prepared

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    Nice knife! Even better pictures. You can have AR-15s in NJ, they just have to comply with law in terms of magazine capicity, no bayonet lug etc. I love Spydercos. I never should have opened this thread, now I have another knife I want.
     
  18. TKC

    TKC Loaded Pockets

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    Great unbiased review. That is a great knife that you purchased, and if you don't like it, then you will never like any Spyderco knife. ThatIS one of the better ones, like has been mentioned already. You take great pix too. Thanks for sahring.
     
  19. carrot

    carrot Loaded Pockets

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    The Delica 4 does address some of the complaints you mention. It has grooves on the back of the spine behind the SpyderHole, and has a clip that can be placed in 4 different positions on the knife, allowing the user to adjust how it's carried (tip up, tip down, left side, right side). But it's not as elegant as the Jess Horn.