As part of being knife nut, I really enjoy useful knives– those that are truly built for specific tasks and have a real purpose. It feels good to complete a task with the proper tool. Most times, the right tool is a fixed blade, but due to my current lifestyle, I rarely carry a fixed blade in public. I almost always carry a folder, and a small gentleman’s folder with an excellent steel and a small footprint is great fun to carry and endlessly useful for small tasks. The Chaparral 2 Titanium by Spyderco is a small knife that fits into this category.
When I first inspected the Chaparral 2 Titanium, I noticed how light and compact it was. Once I opened the blade and held the knife, I was impressed with how well it fit in my hand, especially considering its size. The knife is 6.4 inches in overall length, with a 2.8 inch blade and a 3.6 inch handle, and the whole package only weighs 2.7 ounces. This is the type of pocketknife that can easily disappear when carried. I fluctuate between large folders and small folders over the course of a year, and lately I have been carrying larger folders. The Chaparral 2 is a nice change. The entire knife has a thin profile too. The blade is only .77 inches thick, which will make slicing and cutting easier.
The handle is made of titanium that has small triangular, textured patterns finely cut into it. These patterns are slightly raised in certain areas to enhance the grip. The handle is very ergonomic, allowing it to fit nicely into a variety of different-sized hands. When I gripped the knife taking advantage of the finger choil, I was able to keep my forefinger in the choil and the remaining three fingers on the handle – no dangling my pinky off the end. There is jimping on the top of the blade’s thumb ramp and inside the finger choil. It is just aggressive enough to provide extra grip without hurting your thumb or forefinger.
The blade is flat-ground and leaf-shaped with the trademark Spyderco hole for easy opening or closing. It is made of CTS-XHP stainless steel, which is one of today’s popular “super” steels. CTS-XHP was designed by Carpenter Steel, and according to their specs, this steel is meant to have a Rockwell hardness of up to 64. They designed it to be a stainless version of the D2 steel.
This model also has a reversible wire pocket clip. There are cutouts on each side of the knife that the wire clip can fit into. A small Torx screw is used to hold the clip in the cutout. This simple design makes for easy switching for right handed or left handed users.
When it comes to usage, the Chaparral 2 was quite handy when used for the appropriate tasks. The knife came with an excellent edge from the factory. It was shaving sharp, evenly ground, and the edge was perfectly centered. Every Spyderco model I have ever purchased has come with this type of top quality grind and edge. I commend them for their excellent attention to detail.
This type of small knife is most useful as an everyday carry type of knife. With its small sized blade, tasks such as cutting strings, opening packages and mail, and performing light kitchen duties were easily done. I generically divided my tests into two categories – everyday carry tasks and specific tasks such as food preparation.
During the time I tested the knife, I used it for tasks such as opening packages and mail. The thin, sharp blade had no trouble with them. I used it to open one of those plastic clam shell packages that are common now. While it is just clear plastic, they can be difficult to get apart. The Chaparral had no problem cutting around the edges to get the package open. The knife also performed well with the other odd jobs that pop up from time to time, like getting rid of an annoying tag on the back of a shirt. This takes a little more finesse than swiping the blade across a cardboard box, but the combination of a very sharp edge and nicely pointed tip got the job done.
I also used the knife for some simple lunch preparation. I cut up some carrots and green peppers for my kids. Throughout, I was able to grip the knife comfortably. With bigger vegetables, I had to alter my methods for cutting, but this is an understandable limitation of a small blade. Overall, the knife was very useful. I really like finger choils, and several of my own personal Spyderco’s have them. The forefinger choil allows me to get a firmer grip on the handle and on the blade, providing better control of the cut.
After all these tasks, the CTS-XHP still held a shaving sharp edge. Over the time of the testing, I found the edge retention to be well above average, as it should be for a knife of this quality and price.
I carried the knife for a couple weeks. I found that the wire clip provided a good grip on my pockets, while still allowing the knife to be easily extracted and clipped back on after use. Also, the knife rides low in the pocket, making it less noticeable to others. I found that the knife carried quite well, and it never got in the way of taking other items in and out my pocket.
With high grade materials like titanium and CTS-XHP steel, and knife like this is generally more expensive than a common knife. However, titanium and high grade steels are more durable and last longer. I prefer these higher quality materials, and I understand the premium price. The MSRP on this model is $319.95, but I found prices on various Internet sites in the $169 to $255 range. The Chaparral 2 Titanium is a very useful, compact, high quality knife that carries comfortably. If you like smaller blades that have the ability to perform a multitude of tasks, take a look at this excellent model from Spyderco.
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