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Spyderco C114 Phoenix

Spyderco C114 Phoenix

You know how it is, sometimes you pick something up for the first time and you just know it’s right. This is rarely about looks though they do help, but more about the tactile sensation and potential of the item, for me this is summed up by the new Spyderco C114 Phoenix.

Designed by custom knife maker Howard Veile it bears his two trade marks – the three holes in the blade and the three-legged symbol of the Japanese god of war (cool). The initial look and feel reminds me of the earlier Poliwog with its down-curved shape. Similar too is the ball bearing locking system that sees a precision ground ball forced forward under spring pressure to lock the blade rigid in the frame. Very different to liners and lock backs but fast and near self-adjusting too.

Bigger Better

Whereas I always found the Poliwog a bit too small for easy handling; certainly when closed, the Phoenix is bigger though not gross. The 3” blade is VG-10 stainless and shows a hollow ground, plain edge, with a swept down shape, not unlike that of their older ATR (At the Ready) folder that compliments the handle and grip perfectly. Fixtures and fittings are stainless too, but the frame is titanium with white (ivory) micarta scales. You wouldn’t think this look would work but it does.

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The frame is semi-open in that the rear section is open topped and finger grooves and a deep choil lock the knife into the hand nicely. As ever there’s the Spyderco thumb hole opening system, though here it’s integrated into the main body of the blade and not in a raised hump.

Like A Pistol

The opening/locking action is smooth and consistent though disengaging the ball bearing lock requires a finger either side to pull it back, meaning a two handed operation.

In the hand the Phoenix gives a tip down hold and points like a pistol as the handle feels and angles in the hand like a gun butt. Though the scales and frame are smooth there’s plenty to get hold of in terms of depth and girth. This aided by a clothing clip on the right rear, which gives a mandatory, point-up carry, which I do prefer as it makes pulling and opening the blade far more instinctive.

Overall this is a most pleasing design in terms of looks, ergonomics and mechanics and for me very much the sort of folder I would carry for every day use.


  • Spyderco C114 Phoenix - image {image:count}

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  • Spyderco C114 Phoenix - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge


  • Name: Spyderco C114 Phoenix
  • Type: folder
  • Lock: ball bearing
  • Blade: 3” VG-10 stainless
  • Frame: titanium
  • Scales: ivory micarta