Spyderco in 2022: The Stovepipe

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Good things take time, like a stew on the stove, or cooking a steak to a perfect medium rare. Quality gear is the same, especially when making the transition from one-off custom designs to a mass-produced model without losing the flair and craftsmanship of the original. The Stovepipe is based on custom knifemaker David Rydbom’s Super Bill the Butcher custom cleaver, which he makes for his shop Kingdom Armory. The collaboration between him and Spyderco to bring his design to life as a production model has been four years in the making, and the result—like the knife itself—is impressive.

As with the original custom overbuilt cleaver, the Stovepipe doesn’t hold back on the specs, which largely contribute to its heft and price. The stout, 0.157“ thick, 2.78” cleaver blade comes in 20CV steel, best known for its superior toughness and edge retention, as well as a deep hollow grind to assist with serious slices. This massive blade pivots with an oversized and decorated pivot pin (which itself acts as an overtravel stop for the lock bar) into two thick slabs of titanium, with a Reeve Integral Lock on the rear side handling security during use. A machined titanium clip and backspacer round out its industrial stonewashed finish.

What we like: It’s not every day that Spyderco releases a premium custom design released as a production knife, especially in the materials the Stovepipe comes with. It joins an exclusive and rare list of midtech knives in a top tier steel, titanium, and produced at Spyderco’s Taichung, Taiwan factory (responsible for some of their highest fit and finish models), which includes legendary and incredibly hard to find models like the Peter Rassenti Nirvana and Paysan. That unique combination of features and collectability may be worth the sticker shock of its asking price.

What we don’t like: Unfortunately, said sticker shock may be too much for many people wanting to get their hands on the knife. Even with a retailer price of $420 from its MSRP of $600 it’s a big ask, as at that price you’re within range of many midtech and custom knives. Another thing that may turn off potential owners is the Stovepipe’s sheer size. It’s by design, of course, but may be too big for many pockets and a bit cumbersome as a main EDC blade. And finally, the knife is strictly right hand, tip-up carry, even if its Round Hole allows ambidextrous deployment, which unfortunately means a knife not 100% ideal for lefties.

Check It Out


The Stovepipe is still in the proverbial oven and doesn’t have a release date yet (be sure to keep an eye out on its links above), but to tide you over and give you promising alternatives, we’ve put together a short list of other similar knives from Spyderco’s stable below.

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Techno 2: The Techno 2 closely matches some of the beefy proportions of the Stovepipe with a 2.55“ blade length and similarly stout titanium framelock build. The Techno 2 differs, however, in blade steel and shape. Its sheepsfoot blade is still plenty versatile and similarly thick, while the CTS-XHP blade steels performs similarly.

Spydiechef: If you still want a large, premium titanium offering that channels some kitchen-borne utility, the Spydiechef offers a more versatile blade shape than the Stovepipe’s cleaver-style blade. At 3.32“ blade length, the Spydiechef measures longer, which may make it more suitable for more substantial cutting tasks and general food prep. Keep in mind the longer length is a tradeoff for pocketability and legality in some locales.

Roc: The Roc more closely matches the Stovepipe’s cleaver-style blade, but with a more streamlined design overall at a more affordable price point. Tradeoffs in materials and features bring the Roc’s price point lower, offering G10 handles and a steel liner lock instead of the Stovepipe’s titanium frame lock construction. The Roc’s 3“ cleaver blade features VG-10 steel, a step down from the Stovepipe’s more premium CPM-20CV steel. If you want Spyderco design language and a cleaver style blade in a more affordable package, this is worth a look.

McBee: You might consider the McBee to be a “mini” version of the Stovepipe in spirit, with its similar chunky proportions, titanium frame lock, and blade shape. If you want something similar to the Stovepipe—materials, shape and all—but on a smaller scale and at a more affordable price, the McBee might fit the bill.

Pochi: Similar to the aforementioned McBee, the Pochi is a smaller knife boasting a titanium frame lock construction, stout 1.58“ blade, and premium CPM-S45VN steel. And like the Stovepipe, it has its own unique charm with its pupper-inspired design courtesy of Japanese knifemaker Kazuyuki Sakurai. For a “little big knife” that’s even smaller with plenty of its own character (albeit less aggressively styled) and at a more affordable price, go fetch one of these good boys.

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