When a Paysan (farmer) has the sophistication of an aristocrat, it is a beautiful thing – function enhances form.
I’ll admit, I’m a Spyderco fan as it is, I tend to keep an eye on their products regularly. The only hardship is that they are always coming out with really great knives, so it can be tough to land on a standout. However, when a knife like the Paysan comes out, it makes the decision much easier.
The flowing, sculpted lines on the handle of the Paysan add elegant style, while at the same time, contours to the hand nicely for comfortable extended use. At first glance, I noticed that the handle seemed a little shallow, 0.8185 inch at its shortest, and was afraid that it was going to be too small for my hand. However, once I used it, I found it to be very comfortable.
Incorporated into the handle is an integral frame lock with a replaceable steel insert to prevent wear and tear on the titanium lock. Lockup is rock-solid and easy to disengage single-handedly. At the butt of the frame is some jimping for additional retention, and a uniquely placed lanyard hole.
The lanyard hole is placed on the spine of the handle, rather than through the sides of the handle. My only concern is that a lanyard put through that hole might eventually be cut by the tip as it is closed each time. I did place a lanyard in there just to check it out — I don’t place lanyards on too many pocketknives — and it seemed to be ok. But, if you are going to leave a cord in the knife, I recommend checking it periodically.
The pocket clip comes configured for tip-up, right-hand carry only. Although I realize that some may want to configure a knife for other carry positions, placing extra holes around the frame would detract from the clean look of the Paysan. The clip is a bit low on the handle, which makes the Paysan ride a little high in the pocket. Some may not like the higher ride, but it does make the Paysan easier to retrieve quickly.
The 3.88-inch CPM S90V blade comes with a polished stonewash finish, significantly reducing drag while slicing through a myriad of subject matter. The Wharncliffe blade profile gives exceptional focus on the tip during slicing chores (for increased utility) while maintaining a good point for penetration and drilling tasks. The blade utilizes a saber grind, leading to a hair-popping edge.
The spine of the blade features some nicely rounded jimping that promotes solid retention during use, and is very comfortable on the thumb. Immediately below the jimping, at the top of the blade flat, is the well-recognized Spyder Hole that is large enough to get a solid grip with the thumb for easy one-handed opening.
Even though the balance point is perfectly at the pivot, the blade has considerable forward momentum with excellent control. The blade’s weight allows for easy one-handed opening, with just a flack of the wrist, while the detent holds it firmly in place when closed.
For me, this year’s standout has been the Paysan. I am a fan of the strength and aesthetics provided by an integral frame, and it is great to see Spyderco working with Peter Rassenti to add more solid-frame knives to their lineup. The Paysan has proven itself to be very comfortable in the hand, comfortable in the pocket, and not afraid to do some serious work.
Although the price point is a bit high, it is on-point for an integral frame and premium materials like titanium and CPM S90V. I would have no issues recommending the Paysan as a legit EDC solution.
Read the full #review in the Sept/Oct issue of Knives Illustrated as Joshua puts the Paysan through its paces