This time last year I discussed the Candiru, a knife which does a remarkable job presenting a durable hard-use package in a tiny size. It does so at the expense of easy sharpening and precise cutting, two things which the similarly sized and shaped Spyderco Dragonfly 2 does very well. After a year of using both it is worth elaborating on the comparison.
I carry the Dragonfly on a daily basis, as well as on almost every trip I’ve taken into the woods in the past year. As a folder with a good pocket clip (once I took it off and made the bend more aggressive), it’s just easier to carry and access than the Candiru. The thinner blade, and steel which holds an edge far longer, makes it more suited than the Candiru for the things I most often ask of a knife: slicing apples, packaging, and the like. It cuts easily enough to gut a fish, or even a squirrel, though the moving parts make it harder to clean. The needlessly abundant texturing on the handle and corrugations (“jimping” in pretentious knifespeak) on the blade significantly enhance this crud collecting tendency, without providing much real world function. I can see corrugations for the thumb on the upper part of the blade, but like those on the Candiru they should be spaced further apart. The Dragonfly handle should be smooth plastic, though presumably it would then look a little less cool. These niggles aside, it’s an ideal pocket knife; being just big enough to get things done, with good ergonomics, light weight, and a reasonable price.
The Dragonfly is not a hard use knife, as the chips I’ve put in the blade show. I can’t recall what I did to snap the last millimeter of the tip off (I’ve done this twice, actually), but I know it wasn’t prying. The largest chip furthest down the blade was inflicted during some aggressive and targeted whittling of a 12″ larch, in order to extract a broadhead after a missed shot on a deer two days ago. Clearly, a task for which the Candiru would have been better suited. Even if one is reasonable and stays far, far away from the often ridiculous world of bushcraft, prepping, and zombie hunting, it’s easy to indulge in a hagiographic, almost paranoid desire to have a knife with which one could do anything up to and including build a crude cabin. And this desire is rooted in fact, albeit a fact I encounter perhaps every 18 months, or roughly 50-60 field days. For this reason I’ve occasionally brought the Candiru along on trips where the potential for things to go wrong seemed higher (or where fear was simply more abundant), but the lighter weight, convenience, and usually more pragmatic attributes of the Dragonfly has meant it has almost always been the knife in my pocket.
Ideally, I’d like one knife which combines the slicing and edge retention of the Dragonfly with the abuse-ability of the Candiru. The Bark River Micro-Canadian has been the number one candidate for some time, but it violates my no-knives >100 dollars policy. A year from now I’ll probably have purchased one, and will hopefully have glowing things to write about it.