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The same search for an everyday carry pocketknife that led me to experiment with the Gerber Paraframe has now led me to six months of use with the Spyderco Delica 4 — and I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty good six months. As I said in the post about the Paraframe, it’s a competent locking folder that does everything that you need it to in an affordable package. I stand behind that, and still recommend it. But after carrying and using the Delica, I can tell you that it is a higher quality knife in almost every way — but that means it comes at a higher price point as well.
What are my needs in a pocket knife? A locking blade, a clip for easy pocket access, and one-handed opening. The Delica ticks all these boxes and more. If you’re ready to spend a little more on an everyday carry knife, and these are your needs, here’s everything you need to know about the Spyderco Delica 4.
A little bit about Spyderco
Sal and Gail Glesser founded Spyderco in 1976, then in 1978 they set up shop in Golden, Colorado — also home to the Coors Brewery, FYI. They first focused on selling a sharpening device — the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, which is still available today — at fairs and trade shows. In 1981, Spyderco introduced the C01 Worker, their first folding knife. A lot of the features found on this knife would become industry standards in time — like a clip for easy access at the top of the pocket, and the hole in the blade to make one-handed opening possible.
Overall, Spyderco has been in the game for awhile, and the Delica has benefited from years of experience in knifemaking.
Spyderco Delica 4 Specs
Into lists and details? here you go.
Overall Length: 7.125″
Blade Length: 2.875″
Closed Length: 4.25″
Handle material: FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon)
Cost: Roughly $85
So what does all that mean?
I’m sure that you understand the measurements. So we’ll skip that and start with the VG-10 steel. I’m not a metallurgist, and I won’t get too technical, but VG-10 is a cutlery grade stainless steel with a high carbon content produced in Japan. Spyderco uses it in a lot of its popular knives, and it’s pretty damn reliable.
Moving onto the grind. A flat grind starts at the spine and thins out as you get closer to the edge bevel in a flat slope. It’s super versatile — thick at the spine for strength, but gets thin as it tapers, allowing for easier slicing. The bevel is where the sharpness of the blade comes into play. Overall, it’s a good general use kind of grind.
And lastly, the handle is made up of fiberglass reinforced nylon, or FRN. Basically it’s a high-strength plastic that is injection molded into whatever shape is needed, and is commonly used in making folding knife handles.
How I use it
I carry the Delica almost daily, so it sees a fair amount of use. The number one task I use it for? Opening packages. Lots of folks have told me that I shouldn’t use my pocketknife for this as it can dull them more quickly especially as adhesive sticks to the blade. That’s probably true, but the whole reason I carry a knife is to have access to a reliable blade at a moment’s notice. So my Delica opens a number of boxes a week. It has also trimmed plants, cut leather, shaved wood, shaped bone, trimmed rope, sliced fruit, and cut bison steak. All in all, not the heaviest of possible usage, but frequent.
How the Delica 4 holds an edge
In one word — well. The blade was sharp out of the box, and it retained its edge quite well. I had the Delica for six months before I sharpened it. Normally I wouldn’t recommend going so long without maintenance, but I wanted to see how long I could go before I started to notice a real reduction in performance. It took about four and a half months to notice, but it kept working consistently for another month, no problem. Heavier use, of course, would necessitate more frequent sharpening, but preventative maintenance will keep this knife sharp and ready for action without much effort.
Sharpening the Delica
Sharpening the Delica 4 is a pretty easy task. The flat grind is simple to sharpen. Just make sure that you keep the bevel edge flat on the sharpening stone as you work it. If you’re used to a scandi grind, like on the Mora, the process is absolutely the same, just with a smaller bevel . You can always use a permanent marker to color the bevel edge, which will let you see what you’re removing from the knife as you sharpen. I like to finish up with a high-grit ceramic stone and then leather strop.
In other words, the Delica isn’t hard to sharpen at all.
The ability to open a pocketknife one-handed and have the blade safely lock into place is incredibly important for usability and safety. Out of the box, I struggled to open the Delica with one hand. I opened and closed the blade 20-30 times to get things working smoothly and make sure everything was lubricated properly, and haven’t had trouble since. Additionally, I was accustomed to the Gerber Paraframe which has a small knob — probably not a technical term — on the blade which I found easy to use. The Spyderco uses a circle in the blade instead, which took some getting used to on my end.
As for locking, when fully extended the blade locks into place with a satisfying “click.” The sound isn’t necessarily important, but I do like that I can hear and feel when it’s safe to use. The back lock release requires enough tension that it would be difficult to accidentally unlock the blade, but not so much tension that I struggle to unlock it.
One thing that I like about the Spyderco Delica 4 is that you can reposition the clip as you see fit. I prefer to carry my folding knives with the tip facing down and blade facing back. That orients the knife in such a way that when I pull it from my pocket, it’s ready to open one-handed and put to use. To adjust how the clip is oriented, simply use a T6 Torx bit to remove the screws, move the clip to the other side or end, and then screw it into place.
The FRN handle features Bi-Directional Texturing™, a texture pattern molded into the handle with both forward and backward graduating steps radiating outward from the center of the handle. These will help improve your grip while the knife is in use. On the hollow on the spine of the knife, there are some small notches — called jimping — where you can use your thumb to help guide the blade for precision work.
There are other Spyderco Delica 4 options available — different colored handles, metal scales, blade shapes, and blade edges, should you desire them. I’m not a fan of serrated blades, so the flat grind works well for my needs.
Here’s the Pros and Cons of the Spyderco Delica 4
Find lists helpful? Here you go
- The Delica 4 holds an edge like a champ. With light use, you can probably go 4-6 months without sharpening, for moderate use, maybe 2-4, and for heavy use, a quick monthly maintenance sharpening will treat you right. Actually, do monthly maintenance anyway.
- It’s a safe knife to work with — the texture on the handle and jimping on the spine provide excellent grip, and the locking mechanism is solid and reliable.
- The VG-10 steel is effective, reliable, and durable.
- The movable clip allows you to orient the knife however you like in your pocket.
- After an initial breaking in stage it’s easy to open one-handed, and locks safely.
- While I like the texture on the handle and jimping on the spine, when clipped in my pocket, I’ve scraped my knuckles up a few times when I put my hands in my pockets.
- Over time the clip can get a little loose and the screws may require tightening again.
- Challenging to open one-handed right out of the box.
- The clip rides higher than I would like — it would be nice to have the option to carry a little more discretely. To this end, I actually purchased a different clip for this purpose on Etsy.
- Although it’s frequently on sale around $90, it retails around $120, so the price point is high for some.
Spyderco Delica 4: My final word
This is a pretty great knife. High-quality materials and excellent craftsmanship from a reliable company. The price point is higher — although in the knife world, $120 isn’t exorbitantly expensive. Is the Delica worth the cost? I think so. It cuts incredibly smoothly, maintains an edge through consistent use, and is safe to work with thanks to a reliable lock and the textured handle.
I like that the clip can be adjusted to ride the way you want it to in your pocket, but I do wish that it rode a little lower for a more discrete carry. Despite these drawbacks, I think the Spyderco Delica 4 is an excellent tool, and worth every penny.
The Spyderco Delica 4 is a pretty damn good knife, and I recommend it for anyone who wants to spend a little more to get a high-quality knife for everyday carry.