THE THIN LINE
Spyderco’s Junction has surprising comfort in a very narrow package made for serious use in the outdoors. BY JOSHUA SWANAGON
The old adage holds true, nev- er judge a book by its cover. In the not too distant past, I was fortunate enough to be able to make a trip out to my homestate of Colorado, while there I took advantage of an invite to the Spyderco headquarters in the nearby town of Golden. During my visit I was introduced to the Junction. Considering that it is intended to be a bushcrafting knife, at first glance of its extremely narrow profile, I was dubious about how comfortable it would be for any kind of extended use in the field. Fortunately, I recently received one in the mail and got to find out firsthand if my concerns were well founded or not.
Straight out of the box, I was immediately drawn to the clean lines and no-frills functional look of the Junction. However, although I felt that the 0.375-inch-wide handle would make it extremely comfortable to carry, I couldn’t help shake the nagging feeling that it was going to be uncomfortable during use. For the first few days after receiving it, I spent a fairly considerable amount of time holding it and squeezing it tightly in my hand to try and identify any troubling spots in the grip. To my surprise, it was comfortable no matter how tightly I gripped it—during this process, my concerns were slowly alleviated. The more I gripped it, the more I really started to take a serious look at the details.
With an overall length of 8.45 inches, the Junction sports a 4.15-inch, PSF27 stainless steel blade that is the perfect size for bushcrafting applications. Just forward of the 4.3-inch handle is a small choil that is just enough to give excellent control without being over-
“…THE EDGE RETENTION AND GEOMETRY GAVE ME A VERY NICE FEATHER STICK THAT WOULD BE PERFECT FOR FIRE PREP.”
bearing. Just above the choil is the iconic Spyderco Trademark Round Hole, but in this instance, it is very small and understated, giving it an overall classy look.
The G-10 handle scales have a smooth finish, but due to the narrow grip, I didn’t notice any loss of control or sliding around in my hand. The handle itself has two nicely placed holes that are perfect for lashing the Junction to a stick or attaching paracord for retention while in use. The Junction comes with a very solid pancake-style Bol- taron sheath with a G-clip attachment and well-placed grommets for turning your G-clip vertically, horizontally or diagonally—or you can affix another type of attachment of your choosing. At the tip of the sheath is a small drain
hole, in the event that water gets in your sheath, which I find to be a very nice touch.
Through the Paces
As I have mentioned a couple of times in this article, I had my concerns about the narrow profile of the grip, measuring in at under ½-inch. So I started out my testing by focusing on some carving chores that would give me some time with the knife in hand.
I began whittling a small try stick with a few different types of notches and carvings, front and back, on a piece of maple. I was very surprised to find that during the few hours I spent carving this try stick and some other simple whittling chores (to make sure that I had enough time with it in hand), it was quite comfortable and I didn’t develop any hotspots or fatigue worth noting.
I squared off the second half of my try stick and proceeded to shave very fine, feathery curls into it. Even after all the whittling I did with the Junction, the edge retention and geometry gave me a very nice feather stick that would be perfect for fire prep.
Once I had my feather stick, I looked to the 90-degree angle of the spine to throw some solid sparks from my ferro rod, which it did without any issue at all. One point of notice regarding this practice, although it is common to use the spine of a knife for ferro rod striking, make sure to practice extreme caution when doing so. When hands are cold, wet, sweaty, etc., bad things can happen.
Believing that a knife is only as good as the tools it can help make in the field, and wanting to see how it performed working in tight spaces, I proceeded to make a field expedient, two prong, frog/fishing gig. I found a green piece of maple, about 1-inch in diameter, and batoned the Junction down about seven inches to split the stock. Then, I whittled the sides off until the tip was about ¼-inch thick. I then wedged a small twig down into the split to hold it apart and wrapped the shaft just under the twig with paracord to keep it from further while holding the twig in place. Finally, I narrowed the prongs by whittling away the excess wood from the inside, opening it up for more separation and carved a small barb on each prong. The Junction performed really well in such a tight space. Finally, as I do after all of my tests, I did the rope press cut test. I took some of my ½-inch climbing rope, placed it on a log and pressed the Junction straight down onto the rope to see if it would cut through without needing to slice the rope. I was able to press the Juncsplitting
tion through the rope easily for four clean cuts. I am sure I could have kept going, but that rope is expensive.
I am always excited to find out that I have a package coming from Spyderco, because they never let me down with the high level of quality in all of their products, and when the Junction showed up I was just happy to see Spyderco on the package. When I opened it up, I was reminded of how I felt at the factory when I first saw one
“THE MORE I GRIPPED IT, THE MORE I REALLY STARTED TO TAKE A SERIOUS LOOK AT THE DETAILS.”
and was again concerned about how narrow it was, almost not giving it a second thought.
I am so glad that I did, because I almost forgot a good rule of thumb: just because a knife doesn’t look comfortable, doesn’t mean that it isn’t. In the same vein, just because a knife looks comfortable, doesn’t mean that it is. The Spyderco Junction reminded me that you have to let a knife live on its own merits and not on how you think it will perform at first glance.
I would have no reservations about recommending the Spyderco Junction to anyone looking for a solid bushcrafting knife that is light and slender enough to fit almost anywhere in your gear.
As noted, don’t judge a book by its cover. KI Blade Length: 4.15 inches Overall Length: 8.45 inches Blade Thickness: 0.102 inch Blade Material: PSF27 Weight: 4.1 ounces Handle Material: G-10 Handle Thickness: 0.375 inch Sheath: Boltaron MSRP: $309.95
Above: I was able to get some very fine, feathery curls for my featherstick.
Right: The handle on the Junction is a de- ceptively comfortable 0.375-inch.
Right: I was able to carve a few different notches on a try stick and some other whittling without any discomfort. ACTUAL SIZE 1:1
The Junction worked great getting into the tight spot for carving out the barbs on the prongs of my frog/ fishing gig.
Above: The 90-degree spine was perfect for striking a ferro rod.
The Spyderco Junction is a very sleek, comfortable design.