1. Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win an Ontario Knives Spec Plus SP8 Machete Survival Knife & Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter, , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!

    Be sure to read the rules before entering, then help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread! Entries close at midnight, Saturday Sept 7!

    Once the entries close, we'll live stream the drawing on Sunday, Sept 8 at 5PM Eastern. Tune in to our YouTube channel TheRealBladeForums for a chance to win bonus prizes!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Spyderco Hawkbill Blades: Much Misunderstood

Discussion in 'Spyderco' started by JD Spydo, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    There is one group of Spyderco's great blade designs that I think get's a bad rap and the group of Spyderco folders are just totally misunderstood. I'm speaking of Spyderco's great line up of Hawkbill blades. We have the iconic Harpy, the awesome Spyderhawk, the past model Merlin, the current H-1 TASMAN and you can add the past model Superhawk or even the Ladybug Hawkbill for that matter. It is a lineup of Spyderco knives that I think are completely misunderstood and under-appreciated IMO.

    Many people think of Hawkbill blades as being the lust objects of "Mall Ninja" types or strictly for the martial arts sector. But that's just not the complete truth because Spyderco's Hawkbill blades have a lot of practical uses and are unfairly overlooked IMO. Now I use most of my Spyderco Hawkbills as companion folders for my main EDC which is usually a Spyderco plain edged folder. I find that Hawkbills are great for pull cutting and really excel in the Spyderedge models. AS most people who do use almost unanimously agree that Hawkbills do perform better with serrated edges.

    As much as I like Spyderco's Hawkbill models I don't even recommend them as a main EDC even though I have talked to a couple of guys who do use them in that manner but I use them as a companion blade or a backup for my main EDC. With the good success I've had using them I'm still baffled as to why most people have pre-conceived negative ideas about hawkbill blades. I want to know why Spyderco's Hawkbills are indeed overlooked to a large degree? But also I want to hear from the guys who are fans of the Spyderco Hawkbill blades and what they use them for?
  2. 1Ronin


    Jan 13, 2015
    Looking forward to hearing more on these knives. I almost pulled the trigger today on a beautiful black handled Tasman in H1 today. Had to fight the urge really hard. And am at present wishing I would have gone ahead and got it.

    So while we are on the subject how to they ride in the pocket compared to the Delica. Was wondering about the width and being able to access keys and change deeper in the pocket.
  3. ZuluKilo


    Apr 28, 2012
    The biggest 'hold ups' I had were basically ignorance over what the purpose of a Hawkbill was and overcoming a double dose of 'weirdness'...'This blade shape is different, but why???'...'Serrations?? Those don't cut as well as a plain edge.' 'Serrations and weird blade shape? ...I don't know.'

    The errors in my thinking were:

    -I was closed minded as to the strengths of serrations over plain edge...fibrous materials like cordage, rope etc. Serrations don't/can't cut as cleanly as a plain edge, but on the appropriate steel they are tenacious, ripping and ripping and ripping.
    -I was uneducated as to the purpose behind the blade shape....drawing the media into the edge, packing more cutting edge into a compact space.
    -At the time, I was unaware of the 'magic' of serrated H1...you just have to experience it.

    Believe me, I'm still a plain edge kind of guy mostly. But, my SE LadyHawk comes with me everywhere I go...complementing my PE primary knife nicely. People laugh. People call it cute. People dismiss it. But a lot of folks who use it say: "Whoa!" afterward. :D
  4. Kwon Kwang

    Kwon Kwang

    Jul 7, 2013
    I like hawkbills because I like the way they cut. Going to buy a SE Tasman Salt sometime. Hawkbills are just fun to cut things with because for things they're good at cutting, they cut really efficiently.
  5. ThePeacent


    Sep 15, 2013
    I love them.



    I find them useful. They are great rippers, awesome piercers (when doing like "chopping cuts" inserting the tip inside the surface like you'd do with a hammer head), excellent package and clam shell openers.


    Catch and pull!



    They do make terrific blades to use on flesh, meats, soft targets and god forbid an evil human being.


    Incredible gardening and pruning tools. Beautiful to the eyes.


    My favorite steel, H1. Had to be this steel, with serrations and a hawkbill shape. Best combo ever for a chainsaw-like pocket cutter!


    It is indeed my most loved and fondled Spyderco.


    And weighs nothing!!
  6. mastiffhound


    Dec 27, 2013
    My first ever knife was a hawkbill folder that I received on my 8th birthday from my grandpa. I've always loved them but I have no use what so ever for serrated edges. I like a clean cut and I can sharpen PE so much easier also. I know that a SE might not need touched up as often but it doesn't bother me to do it. A SE just drags through materials too often where my PE just goes smoother.

    I'd probably have a Matriarch if they came in PE (I'll be picking up a Cold Steel Black Talon in PE this month probably), and would love a Spyderhawk in PE also. The Tasman interests me also but H1 doesn't seem to hold an edge as well as VG10 and I don't live near salt water so I don't really need a mini H1 folder. My favorite would be a Superhawk in PE, I came to the party too late to get one though. I'd pick one up in a heartbeat if it was re-released.

    Unfortunately I'm just not going to pay collector prices for anything, but luckily it looks like Spyderco often comes back to previous models. I'm looking forward to the ATR for example;)
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  7. nick21


    Feb 22, 2014
    I don't have much need for them, but I do appreciate the history of hawkbills and the pruning blade shape in general.
  8. The Dude1

    The Dude1

    Dec 22, 2013
    I love them. I have a plain edge SpyderHawk and I had a waved matriarch 2 and a superhawk. I regret selling them, but I recycle my knife budget. I want to get a SE Tasman salt. Other than eating hawk bills work better for most of what I use a knife for. I usually carry a Delica for food use if I carry the SpyderHawk.
  9. carbonsteelfan


    May 29, 2014
    Hey , Hey... I love Hawkbills ! I own 3 myself , all Harpies : 1) A plain edge Stainless Steel VG-10 model 2) An old ATS-55 G-10 model 3) A Stainless Steel VG-10 serrated model. Had them for a good 6 years now. The Serrated stainless steel one sees the most use. I use it for cutting ropes and nets in my yacht , gutting deer and fish and rabbits after hunting and fishing , and clearing Weeds in my garden. Handy little tool. The ATS-55 G-10 one can do whatever the SS VG-10 one can , but l tend to keep that knife locked away due to the rareness factor. The plain edge one has no practical uses for me and is more of a curio. It's capacities when it comes to gutting , or cutting rope or net or fibrous materials is pretty anaemic compared to the serrated ones ( no wonder G Sakai stopped making them last year )
    I have even used a serrated Harpy in a self defense application which l would rather not talk about.
    That being said , these are kinda what you might call special purpose blades . They make a good secondary blade. But if l carry only one knife ( which l do ALOT ) then lt is wise to opt for a plain edged straight blade ( l prefer a Spyderco Native ) . They are good for a selective number of tasks but what they are designed for , they do a REALLY good job at. To answer your question , since many people only carry one knife , they opt for a blade that has a wider set of applications than a Hawkbill. Just my take on the matter
  10. vanslem6


    Oct 4, 2014


    The only thing I really don't care for is the Ti clip. It's a little too stiff.
  11. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Greetings Carbonsteelfan :) Somehow I just knew you would chime in on this thread ;) Seems to me I remember you on the G-10 Harpy thread we had a while back? Oh how I would love to see those back in production again :cool: I would even love to get one like you have with the ATS-55 blade steel because I've always found ATS-55 to be a great blade steel for serrated edges as well as some of their older AUS-8 stuff as well.

    I very much agree with you that Hawkbills are truly a companion blade for a main plain edged EDC>> which at this time my M390 Military model gets more pocket time than most anything else I have. I even wish they would do a Sprint Run of the Spyderhawk model in G-10 handles. Over at the other Forum we've been chatting about Hawkbills and how they stack up against some of Spyderco's Reverse S blades. Needless to say it's been an interesting discussion. You mention the NATIVE model which has always been one of my favorites for brutal, destructive cutting jobs. I have a 440V, SE Native I use on jobs that I fear might even destroy the knife. But that Native is a tough cookie needless to say as well as some of the other GOLDEN CO made Spyders.

    I also love the fact that you made mention of Hawkbills being handy field dressing game animals like deer and so forth. Because one day I discovered that an SE Spyderhawk will go through a rib cage with the greatest of ease. Now for self defense I highly prefer a Reverse S blade and the full sized Matriarch being my very favorite>> and I hope to GOD I never have to deploy one but it sure feels good having one on me at times here in KC, MO USA where I'm currently residing.

    Very interesting responses and input there guys :)>> I'm wondering how some of you also might compare Hawkbills to Spyderco's Reverse S type blades i.e. the Civilian, Matriarch, Lil Matriarch ect. ??
  12. James Y

    James Y

    Feb 18, 1999
    I own several Spyderco hawkbill blades, all serrated. Harpies, Tasmans, a Spyderhawk Salt. The one I carry as a back-up knife is my black Tasman. Honestly, if you have a Sharpmaker, the SE Tasman won't be any more difficult to resharpen than a PE one; and, from some reports, the SE might even be easier.

    Another great thing about the Tasman is that I drop it down in my pocket, clip and all, and it's flat and light as a feather. And it works great for certain special cutting jobs/materials that a normal blade might tend to slip off of.

    As for people thinking that hawkbills are only for mall ninjas, martial arts, or 'killing people', the same can be said for hunting knives with 'gut hooks' on the back of the blade. I've heard people in sporting goods stores who see such hunting knives exclaim, "You can really eviscerate someone with that!" Or, "That's so you can stab someone going in and then stab them coming back out!" Most of it is simply ignorance. I'm sure most non-knife people would consider a basic Delica as mainly designed to be a weapon.

  13. carbonsteelfan


    May 29, 2014
    Yeah , about that ATS-55 Harpy , I'm dealing with a bit of a problem lately. The blade has developed some spots on it around the edge. The VG-10 one never had that problem. I've got 2 Military models too : An S30V one and a D2 one . They were my first linerlocks. Regarding the reverse S blades , l own only one : A VG-10 Spyderco Civilian. Bought it after reading " Hannibal". The knife is next to useless for me
    . It's not good for utility purposes AT ALL. It is solely a slasher. I remember using it once to remove a soda cap ( big mistake ) and and inch of the tip came off clean. Of course , Spyderco is not the one to blame. I was using the knife for a purpose it wasn't made for. Mr. Glesser was kind enough to regrind the tip for me. But l haven't used the knife anymore. Hawkbills are much more sturdy and robust blades in my opinion . And l don't care much for single purpose blades :)
    P.S : Sorry , l haven't been very active on BF in awhile. I was gone on a trip to Philippines. Came back now with a good half dozen of Filipino Handmade Balisongs. But l don't suppose you are interested in those much. But now , l am back to Bladeforums !
  14. JD Spydo

    JD Spydo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    You make some great points there "JIM" ;) Many people lose sight of the fact that a knife is merely a "tool". You could kill or injure someone with a claw hammer, pry bar, hatchet, or any number of hand tools for that matter. But that's just how ridiculous and short sighted some people are when it comes to knives in general :(. I started this thread because I'm mainly interested about the "tool value" of the much maligned Hawkbill blades that Spyderco does so well with.

    And your point is well taken when talking about serrated Hawkbills having much more ability than plain edged Hawkbills do. I've found Hawkbill blade to excel in "pull cutting" and on certain cutting jobs where piercing is helpful. Field dressing game animals is another job that serrated Hawkbills really are helpful for.

Share This Page