Spyderco byte May 2024 - Featured Product: MILITARY 2 / PARA 3 CRU-WEAR CANVAS MICARTA

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Spyderco byte May 2024 - Featured Product: MILITARY™ 2 / PARA® 3 CPM® CRU-WEAR® CANVAS MICARTA​

C36MPCW2 / C223MPCW​

MSRP: $275.00 - $305.00
MAP: $206.25 - $228.75
WHOLESALE: $137.50 - $152.50

When Spyderco introduced its first Sprint Run™ knife combining the traditional look of brown canvas Micarta® scales and CPM® CRU-WEAR® blade steel, customer response was overwhelming. Although we were confident that knife—a limited-edition Shaman™—would be well received, we were honestly not prepared for the passion it ignited for what has become known as the “Cru-Carta” theme.


After that first Shaman Sprint Run sold out in record time, we followed with a larger production run of a very similar knife. By definition, our Sprint Runs are one-time expressions of a particular model that cannot be duplicated exactly. To replicate the first “Cru-Carta” Shaman as closely as possible without violating our Sprint-Run policy, we chose Z-Wear PM blade steel, a German-made equivalent to CRU-WEAR manufactured by Zapp. This provided a functional equivalent of the original version, while still qualifying as a “different” steel. Once again, it sold quickly and clearly confirmed the market’s insatiable demand for this unique combination of materials.


To meet that demand without disappointing anyone, we decided to evolve beyond the Sprint Run format and make CRU-WEAR/Micarta-themed models part of our ongoing production efforts. Announced in Reveal 7 and released in late 2021, the first member of this full-line family was the venerable Para Military® 2. It proudly set the standard for this theme, both in its widespread availability and its highly refined form.

Spyderco is now extremely excited to announce that the “Cru-Carta” Para Military 2 has been officially joined by its larger and smaller brethren, the Military™ 2 and Para® 3. All three designs proudly share the same materials and unique construction details.


Defining Features
The first defining feature of these elite knives is obviously their blade steel. All three showcase blades crafted from Crucible® Industries’ CPM CRU-WEAR. An air-hardening tool steel capable of achieving working hardnesses of HRC 60-65, CPM CRU-WEAR is a powder metallurgy version of conventional ingot CRU-WEAR. That steel, introduced in 1994, was Crucible’s equivalent to Vasco Metals Corporation well-established Vasco Wear.

CRU-WEAR and other equivalent ingot steels were originally conceived as an upgrade to A2 and D2 tool steels to provide better wear resistance, greater toughness and higher attainable hardness. CPM CRU-WEAR adds the many advantages of the Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM) process, including ensuring uniform distribution of the alloys within the steel and giving it a finer, more homogenous microstructure. Even more specifically, the particle metallurgy process makes CPM CRU-WEAR easier to machine and more resistant to chipping than conventional CRU-WEAR.


CPM CRU-WEAR’s alloy composition features less carbon and chromium than D2, but more vanadium and tungsten. This finely tuned balancing of elements promotes the formation of more vanadium carbides in CRU-WEAR, giving it enhanced wear resistance. At the same time, its lower carbon content reduces its overall carbide volume, making it tougher than D2. Despite the reduced carbon content, thanks to the secondary hardening response created by its tungsten and molybdenum content, CRU-WEAR has a higher attainable hardness than D2. It also tempers at a higher temperature range than D2 (900-1050°F versus 400-600°F), so it is more compatible with surface treatments like nitriding and PVD coating. It readily retains its hardness after these processes, making it a more suitable substrate than D2.

The PlainEdge™ blades of the “Cru-Carta” Military 2, Para Military 2, and Para 3 take full advantage of CPM CRU-WEAR’s exceptional qualities to offer superior edge retention and toughness. All three are full-flat ground and beautifully satin finished to provide outstanding edge geometry and low-friction cutting performance. Each also includes a fully accessible Trademark Round Hole™ for swift, ambidextrous, one-handed opening and as proud symbol of their Spyderco heritage.


At first glance, the handles of these knives appear identical to the standard versions—except for having Micarta scales instead of G-10. However, there is another significant difference. Unlike the nested stainless steel liners of the ordinary G-10-scaled models, the “Cru-Carta” versions all feature full stainless steel liners that fill the entire profile of the handle. Skeletonized to minimize weight, these liners support the slim Micarta scales across their entire surface area.

A classic, old-school material, Micarta is a trademarked brand name for composites of paper or fabric impregnated with phenolic resin. Developed by George Westinghouse as early as 1910, it originally used phenolic resins invented by Leo Baekeland, “The Father of the Plastics Industry” and inventor of Bakelite. The resins were used to impregnate paper, linen, canvas, and various other fabrics, which were then cured under high pressure and temperature to polymerize the material and yield a thermosetting industrial laminate. Micarta’s strength, durability, and insulating properties made it a popular choice for a wide range of industrial applications, including electrical insulators and printed circuit board substrates.

As a knife-handle material, Micarta first appeared on World War II “theatre” knives—handmade knives crafted or modified in forward theatres of operation. It also saw use on some Randall Made Knives as early as 1959. Legendary knifemaker Robert W. Loveless later popularized the material by using it extensively on his trendsetting custom knives.


Although not as structurally strong as G-10, Micarta is durable and very dimensionally stable. It can be sanded, bead blasted, or polished to achieve different finishes and surface textures. Polishing makes it more water resistant and highlights the distinctive character of its layered construction, especially when it is made with coarse-textured fabrics like canvas and burlap. When sanded or blasted to a natural finish, Micarta provides a more secure grip; however, it tends to patina more quickly. This quality—a subtle changing or deepening of color with age and use—gives Micarta-handled knives a very traditional, old-school character.


The unpolished scales of Spyderco’s “Cru-Carta” knives are sanded to blend seamlessly with the full stainless steel liners that support them. In addition to providing structural strength, the liners also form the foundation of their high-strength Compression Lock® mechanisms and provide solid mounting anchors for their four-position pocket clips. Fully configurable for left or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry, the clips and all other hardware are brightly polished to complement the handsome satin finish of their blades. The handle design of these knives also features stainless steel standoffs to create a lightweight, easily cleaned, open-backed construction and lined lanyard holes for easy attachment of fobs, lanyards, and safety lines.

Our pairing of CPM CRU-WEAR and brown canvas Micarta created a distinctively traditional fusion of form and function that resonates deeply with Spyderco enthusiasts. We are very proud of our unique “Cru-Carta” theme and look forward to adding even more models to this rapidly growing family.

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