Spyderco Calypso 3 ZDP-189 Laminate

Reviewed by corwin99 on October 24th, 2009

I reviewed this one on video a while back, and have finally gotten around to writing up a written review for the non-youtubers out there. My impression of the Caly 3 Carbon Fiber with ZDP-189 Laminate blade has matured a bit with ownership of this knife, but I still really like it.

For collectors, one of the most annoying things about this knife is the tang area and the marks that the steel gets on it. I’m not sure if its due to the construction of this knife or the softness of the 420J2 Steel. Either way, its a deterrent if you plan to collect this one. As a user it is quite irrelevant as the knife cuts like snot.

After further analysis of the finish on the carbon fiber handles of this knife, and comparison with other Spyderco knives using Carbon Fiber, I have decided that Spyderco simply uses 60 grit sanding belts on their Carbon Fiber and leaves it like that for cost reasons. I am used to the Carbon Fiber finishing on custom knives which is smoothed down to a fine 600-1500 grit, giving it a very smooth finish. To me, this almost defeats the purpose of using Carbon Fiber, as its visual qualities are not realized with such a rough finish. The argument the other way is that the rougher CF allows better grip on the knife handle. To each his own I suppose.

Out of the box, this Laminated ZDP-189 steel is deadly sharp, just like all other Spydercos, regardless of steel. The full flat ground Calypso 3 blade is a great size and extremely thin, allowing wicked cutting ability. It deploys quickly because of it’s large spydie hole and easy access, and the wire clip is easy to use not causing undue friction on the pants pockets.

If i had my way, I would have liked to see this knife with smoother CF scales and a full ZDP-189 Blade. The FRN version are also good, as the Calypso 3 is all about quick, light fast cutting ability making lighter handle materials the best choice. The ZDP-189 is more difficult to sharpen than VG-10, and definately holds an edge longer. Whether this is a good thing is a matter of personal preference.

Overall a great choice, and while the minor annoyances are there, the improvements over the standard VG-10/FRN Calypso 3 far outweigh the annoyances.

Overall Length: 7″
Blade Length: 3″
Closed Length: 4 1/16″
Weight: 3 oz
Blade Steel: ZDP-189 w/420J2 Laminate
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber

Video Review:

2 Responses to “Spyderco Calypso 3 ZDP-189 Laminate”

  1. Richard Says:

    My Caly3’s CF scales were smooth as silk. Not sure where the 60-grit observation comes from…

    Sadly, my Caly disappeared about a year ago. I still miss it. It cut like a razor.

  2. corwin99 Says:

    The observation comes from examining my Caly 3 along with knives like the Sage and T-Mag. In Photo 3 you can see the lines on the CF. While 60 Grit is probably a bit harsh, It is probably not far off from 90 grit.

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