The Spyderco Shaman

Not An Urban Carry Knife
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Up To The Task

I tested the Spyderco Shaman with a PlainEdge DLC blade. I know you are used to pristine-looking photos of knives for this kind of review, but I’ve been beating up this knife for about two years. If you can dish out the abuse, the Shaman is up to the task.

My Shaman comes in S30V steel with a 3.58″ blade that is 0.145″ thick. This is the same thickness of the ParaMilitary 2, except the blade is wider and the taper to the edge appears to put more steel on the pointy and sharp parts. The edge geometry and the index-finger choil attracted me to the Shaman in the first place. This is a full flat- grind blade, and, even though I’ve put the edge back on several times, it has not feathered, chipped or cracked.

The DLC (Diamond Like Coating) is a great non-reflective surface. S30V is moderately stain-resistant, so I wouldn’t think twice choosing the satin-blade version, which is available. It also comes in SpyderEdge, their original serrated design. There have been sprint runs of the Shaman knives, including a CPM REX45 blade and brown G-10 scales. All versions of the Shaman are attractive, and the design profile is unmistakable.


DIY Upgrade

My Shaman has thick G-10 scales with finger-indexing contours and milled flat sides. These contours fill the grip and allow for three-dimensional blade applications. Rather than just allowing the hand to bear down on the cutting surface, the user can chop, carve, roll and reverse cut with this design. There is jimping in both the choil and the spine of the blade, giving it a full advantage in wet climates or if it’s ever employed as a defensive blade.

The Shaman weighs 5.2 oz., and the scales are backed by skeletonized steel liners. The blade is held rigidly by the Spyderco Compression Lock, a tremendous improvement on a standard liner lock. The compression lock never rattles; it always indexes against the pivot stop, and users don’t have to put fingertips into the path of the blade when closing the knife.

You might notice I’ve added a couple of patches of textured skate tape on my Shaman. If you’re wondering, I like to use my tactical knife for cooking when camping. Skate tape is a cheap improvement.

If there is anything I could tell you about the ergonomics, it’s the fact the user can bear down a lot of pressure on the reinforced point. Think sticking it through sheet metal, like a car door, which I did, by the way.

On those scales, Spyderco has placed four sets of pocket clip holes for tip-up, tip-down, left or right deployments. I am tip-up right-handed, and this configuration works for me. The hole and pivot-point placement allows a quick and smooth deployment. It rides relatively low in the pocket, but there is something you should know: This knife has bigger bones than most urban carry knives. It will take up more pocket than lesser knives and it’s a bit heavier.

The Spyderco Shaman with serrated blade.

Rugged And Dependable

I beat up on this knife. I did the usual rope-cutting tests, where the tester cuts a piece of hemp rope a prescribed number of times, then checks edge retention. I did some limited chopping one can do with a folding blade. I ran it through wire-cutting tests. After this long-term test, the blade still opens smoothly, it still holds an edge and I just barely scratched the DLC.

For a couple of years, I carried the Shaman everywhere it was legal, and some places where it wasn’t. It was easy to clean and maintain. It was up to any cutting chore short of chopping kindling, and it was perfect for carving a campfire-cooked steak.

I have determined the Spyderco Shaman can handle a beating. When you’re not carrying a sheath knife walking around the woods, this is a good choice. If you’re an urban knife user, this is not your knife.

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