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Thread: The Shoot-Out is Over! (R2 - vs - Stretch)...

  1. #1
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    The Shoot-Out is Over! (R2 - vs - Stretch)...

    ...and it's probably a good thing that knives don't hold a grudge. After a month (actually a bit over five weeks) of sitting on the shelf while I carried a PE R2 as my weekday EDC and used it almost exclusively in the kitchen as well, my PE Stretch has been declared the winner and is once again tucked away in my back pocket. I am sure it will remain there for the foreseeable future.

    R2 Pros:

    Weight - The R2 is lighter than the Stretch, quite noticeably so.

    Uniformity - The traction grooves on the thumb ramp match those on the choil, looks neater

    Aesthetics - The gently convex spine, combined with the truss work handle give the R2 a far more elegant than the funky "hunter" spine and volcano pattern kraton allow the Stretch to achieve.

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    R2 Cons:

    Thickness - The thicker handle of the R2 is nice for the few minutes a day the knife is in use, but since I carry loose in my back pocket it becomes a literal, as well as figurative, PITA the rest of the time.

    Smaller thumb hole - What can I say, this is one of those places where bigger is better, at least to me.

    Screw construction - Ok, perhaps partly my own fault, I should have just gone for the "industrial strength" Loctite the first time. As it was, took three trips to the local speed shop before the R2 stopped trying to shed its blade. Of course now I'm no longer certain it I could unscrew it without damaging something, so after considerable annoyance and a bit of expen$e, am back, I essence, to a riveted knife.

    Thumb hole placement - This is obviously a very subjective observation, because it is totally dependent on hand size, thumb length and perhaps additional "personal dimensions" as well. All I can say with certainty is that the motion required to open the Stretch feels more "natural" to me than that needed to open the R2

    Closing motion - The relationship between the blade pivot and the kick, choil, and lower edge of case makes closing the R2 one handed by allowing the blade choil to drop against your finger more of a test of faith than performing the same action with the Stretch

    Less than fully ambidextrous - Granted, my penchant for loose pocket carry removes the inconvenience which the right hand tip up only clip on the R2 would normally cause a left hander. However, since the only thing constant in life is change, I could wake up tomorrow with an irresistible urge to clip a knife to my left front pocket.

    Traction - While the truss work handle provides far more traction than a smooth stainless or almite one, it does not approach the "grippiness" of either the kraton on a stock Stretch or the 200 grit finish canvas micarta on my customized one.

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    Tossup:

    Cutting ability - Two full flat ground VG-10 blades of equal thickness and almost identical length exhibited very similar performance. Thats about as surprising as finding out an ice cube feels cold.

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    Pleasant Surprise:

    The Almite coating stood up extremely well to scrunging. Must have been washed close to 100 times.

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    Unpleasant surprise:

    The problem with unintentional disassembly. In fact, it was so unexpected that my first inkling of it was when I heard the blade pivot screw hit the bottom of my kitchen sink. And while the blade pivot screw was the worst offender the lockbar pivot screw got into the act a couple times as well.

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    Nit Picks:

    While the matching traction grooves on the ramp and choil look far tidier than the Stretch's totally different ones, I prefer the finer style used on the ramps of the UKPK and DKPK and the choil of the Stretch over the somewhat coarser ones used on the R2.

    I never met a Boye dent I did not dislike, the one on the R2 is no exception. In fact, if the R2 had "won" the shoot out, my "master plan" called (among other things) for finding someone to replaced the lockbar with and undented one.

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    Bottom Line:

    The R2 has a lot going for it. Aside from the problem with screws loosening, all my reasons for preferring the Stretch are based on
    "personal biometrics" and are totally subjective. Hand size and shape, handedness, and carry preferences all came into play. Both knives offer excellent quality. The R2 is, at least to my eyes, the better looking, and its roughly twenty dollar lower "street price" makes it even more attractive. So if you are in the market for a 3.5" bladed EDC knife and, can live with RHTU or loose pocket carry, it is definitely worth consideration.

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    Suggestions for Stretch II

    On the theory that even the best can get better...

    Replace the "stepping stone" traction grooves on the ramp with grooves identical to those currently used on the choil.

    Remove the "landing pads" for the clip, in fact remove most of the center from the inlay areas leaving just a lip around the perimeter and a couple "bridges".

    Replace the Kraton inlays with inlays of Dymondwood or other stabilized wood. Machine checker the inlays at 28 LPI, with full coverage except for the area where the "landing pads" were located. Leave that area smooth to allow easier removal from the pocket when clipped. It would also allow individuals to add a thin metal oval for engraving with initials, etc.

    Open the thumb hole up to 15mm.

    Ditch the Boye dent - (hey, I can dream)

    Consider offering a "Presentation Grade" version with inlays of more exotic stabilized wood and a damasteel blade. Limited quantities, perhaps done as a single-source "exclusive".
    Paul
    My Personal Website ---- Beginners Guide to Spyderco Collecting ---- Kiwimania ---- Spydiewiki
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  2. #2
    Spyderco Forum Registered User DAYWALKER's Avatar
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    Aloha Paul,

    VERY nice results! I love reading your reviews, and this was one of the better ones ...I nearly fell outta my chair when you said you might have the urge to actually clip the R2 to your pocket!

    Hey, on the vision of your StretchII...how about some graphics when time permits? 28LPI inlay, fine traction grooves...mmmmmmm!

    Mahalo Deac' and God bless you my friend.
    Proverbs 16:3...Commit YOUR works to the LORD, and YOUR plans WILL succeed!

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  3. #3
    Spyderco Forum Registered User 224477's Avatar
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    Paul,

    thanks for the very interesting deep-in-depth review!
    Whoa, 15mm opening hole? For double gloves on? Maybe most of the little thumbs would get through (not my problem ) would be some interesting testing.
    IMO, the landing pads are there to prevent fast wearing out of the kraton inlays. Wooden inlay, or even a Santa Fe custom inlay would be interesting. (Could anyone play with photoshop? - Dialex, Sia are you listening?)

    Thanks,
    Jano
    "Having a dull knife is like having a stupid friend."

  4. #4
    Spyderco Forum Registered User pjrocco's Avatar
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    Paul,

    Excellent review, comparisons and results!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deacon
    Ditch the Boye dent - (hey, I can dream)
    That would be a beautiful thing!
    Rock

  5. #5
    David Lowry
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    Funny thing is I knew from the start, just by how you seem unsatisfied with all other knives, that the Stretch would win. It's easy to see by how much you talk about the Stretch.

    You can't hide it that well.

    About the Boye dent. It sucks. I really wish they would freaking get rid of it for good. It makes a good knife worse.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon

    Replace the Kraton inlays with inlays of Dymondwood or other stabilized wood. Machine checker the inlays at 28 LPI, with full coverage except for the area where the "landing pads" were located. Leave that area smooth to allow easier removal from the pocket when clipped. It would also allow individuals to add a thin metal oval for engraving with initials, etc.

    Open the thumb hole up to 15mm.

    Ditch the Boye dent - (hey, I can dream)

    Consider offering a "Presentation Grade" version with inlays of more exotic stabilized wood and a damasteel blade. Limited quantities, perhaps done as a single-source "exclusive".

    While I think those are good suggestions for what you want, most people don't want a Spyderco with wood inlays. Also what is with people wanting huge opening holes?

    I think the stretch would look better without any inlay at all. I think the Kraton looks cheap.

    Here's a real suggestion: Make an FRN Stretch or a G10 Stretch
    Last edited by David Lowry; 10-19-2005 at 07:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Spyderco Forum Registered User
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    Thanx Paul.

    I'm planning on making some changes to the Stretch and planned on starting a thread looking for input. Appreciate.

    sal

  7. #7
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Vincent's Avatar
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    The R2 looks like a great knife, which i had the money for it./

  8. #8
    Spyderco Forum Registered User greencobra's Avatar
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    Nice post Paul. I just got a pair of R2's, one each PE & SE before they dry up. I doubt if I'll use them much but so far like them a lot. Do like those traction grooves.

    And put me down for disliking the Boye dent also.

  9. #9
    Spyderco Forum Registered User spydutch's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review Paul. Now you've answered my question(read the "what are you carrying" post before this one)
    I can live without the boye dent too. Used and gripped my G10Harpy rather hard and I've never had the knife close on me.

    For the Stretch: No Kraton and SS, but G10 and more serrations on the CE(fully serrated or 60%SE and 40%PE)

  10. #10
    Spyderco Forum Registered User UK KEN's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great review........

    .......Paul!

    My R2 has not arrived yet so your review has made me more eager for its arrival!

    As far as the Stretch is concerned, I would like to see it with a dark wood (ebony) inlay, retaining the steel handle for balance and a good feel in the hand. Though the multi-position clip is attractive to some users I feel that there are too many holes, to the extent that I'd like to see a "clip less" version Sorry guys, but this is one knife I would be happy to carry without a clip.

    I agree with Paul about the finer traction grooves and would be happy to have some additional ones towards the tip of the blade like the Jester.

    Regards, Ken

  11. #11
    Spyderco Forum Registered User skcusloa's Avatar
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    I never even looked at the stretch before. It does look like a hell of a knife. Flat ground, ambidextrous, SS with inserts.

    How does kraton handle chemicals?

  12. #12
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Simon G's Avatar
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    Thanks Paul, great review! The Stretch has been at the top of my wants list for a little while now.......................unfortunately, others just keep popping up!

    God bless,

    Simon.
    "From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered; we happy few; we band of brothers...for he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother." -Henry V

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  13. #13
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Stevie Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Deacon
    ... my PE Stretch has been declared the winner and is once again tucked away in my back pocket. I am sure it will remain there for the foreseeable future.
    Paul,

    Thanks for the comprehensive review and writeup. Sort of figured the Stretch might win though ...
    Steve

  14. #14
    Spyderco Forum Registered User gull wing's Avatar
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    Deacon,

    Great review, it made pay attention to the R2.
    I have wanted a larger VG10 blade, flat ground, but just didn't like any of the available blade shapes. I like the R2 blade.
    The Calypso Jr is the only VG10 blade I have and it is a cutting machine. In some uses, I like the VG10 getter than all of my S30V blades.
    QUESTION:
    Does the R2 cut like the Caly Jr?

  15. #15
    Spyderco Forum Registered User The Deacon's Avatar
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    Sal, anytime you want to start such a thread I'll be more than happy to contribute to it.

    Chad, I could wake up tomorrow and decide I to get my nose pierced. About as much chance of that as my getting an urge to carry clipped, but, you never know.

    Jano, The ability to open the knife with a gloved hand in winter would be a nice added benefit, but was not my primary goal. I just find a larger hole easier to use. The only Spyderco I have with a 15mm opening hole is a Snap-It EMT which, as luck would have, it cannot be opened left handed. Find that easy enough to open right handed that I'm sure it would work well for me on a knife I could open "normally". Never thought of my thumbs as particularly large, just would rather have one slip into the hole a bit further than needed that slip out before the blade was fully open.

    As far as the landing pads, it's probably a bit of both. Kraton opposite the "business end" of the clip would definitely wear out quickly and it would also create more drag when drawing the knife. On top of those Sal stated when the Stretch first came out that a "side benefit" of them was their ability to serve as canvases for "embellishment", such as initials/monograms.

    I feel that leaving the stablized wood smooth in that area would allow the same ease of draw. In addition, eliminating the current pads would give a slight reduction in weight, and would make cutting and fitting the stablized wood inlays considerably easier. Am not sure how the weight would compare with that of the current Kraton ones, but I don't imagine there would be very much difference. The only piece of stablizied wood I currently have (maple about 2 X 5 X .25) feels very light to me. From what I understand, stabilized wood can be checkered. As on a gunstock , the checkering would serve two purposes. It would provide traction, probably as good or better than the current Kraton, while adding a touch of class the Kraton lacks. Stabilized wood may not be quite as strong as G10, or even FRN, but that should not be an issue here as the steel handles provide more than adequate strength without it.

    Stone, while perhaps even prettier to look at than wood, tends to be fairly slick and considerably heavier. On a knife the size of a Kiwi, that added weight is slight and thus, at least to me, an acceptable tradeoff for its value as "eye candy". On one the size of the Stretch, it would make the knife heavier than I would like it to be. It also might prove more expensive both in terms of material cost and the amount of work involved in finishing it. In the thin cross sections used for these inlays, stone becomes quite a bit more fragile than "plasticized wood". Perhaps that's the reason Bill Wirtel of Santa Fe Stoneworks turned down another forumite's request to "stone" a Stretch. I am looking for a better looking carry piece, not another showcase queen.

    I realize that, to a great extent, different people are going to place greater or lesser importance on this, but one of the reasons I like the stainless with inlays is that, for me, it provides the best possible combination of minimal thickness, maximal strength, and reasonable cost while allowing 4 way clip mounting to accomodate the tastes of the maxiumum number of users. The first, slimness, is very important to me, but I do realize it may not be of equal import to others and that some may actually find a thicker knife more desirable. However, since there are several of those already in the lineup, those who prefer their knives that way already have a fairly decent selection to choose from thickening the Stretch would be counter productive. I'm not really a fan of G10, and again, there are already a number of knives in the lineup that use it, whereas no Spyderco yet has used stablizied wood.

    David, I honestly went into this wanting the R2 to win. I figured the screw construction would make it easier to find someone to replace the blade with damasteel and the lockbar with an un-dented one. But yes, pretty much knew from early on that it just did not fit my hand as well as the Stretch does. Someone else might have just the opposite experience.

    An FRN version of the Stretch, especially if done like the new Delica and Endura, with partial liners and four way clip, might make a good addition to the lineup. But, given Sal's estimate of tool-up costs for an all new FRN handle, am not sure the risk would be justified.

    skcusloa, not sure how it handles chemcials, except that, in my experience, nothing handles everything well. Can say that drowning it in a couple gallons of boiling water might cause the kraton to loosen a bit at the edges.

    gull wing, just so happens I had "virgin" samples of all three here, compared them a few minutes ago on paper, heavy corrugated cardboard, and steak. They all cut like demons. If anything the larger handles on the R2 and Stretch made cutting the cardboard and steak a little easier that it was with the smaller Calypso Jr.
    Paul
    My Personal Website ---- Beginners Guide to Spyderco Collecting ---- Kiwimania ---- Spydiewiki
    Dead horses beaten, sacred cows tipped, chimeras hunted when time permits.
    WTC # 1458 - 1504 - 1508 - Never Forget, Never Forgive!

  16. #16
    Spyderco Forum Registered User 5150's Avatar
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    i think i need a stretch to try for edc even though
    i still love the pro grip ss.

  17. #17
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Axlis's Avatar
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    I've been anticipating these results! Thanks for the in-depth reviews Deacon,very informative.
    When you've got a Delica and a Dodo, everything else is just eye-candy!

  18. #18
    Spyderco Forum Registered User gull wing's Avatar
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    Deacon,
    Like music to my ears. I must have one.
    Thank you.

  19. #19
    Spyderco Forum Registered User Dr. Snubnose's Avatar
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    Great Review Deacon......as always most informative...Thanks.....Doc
    "Always Judge a man by the way he treats someone who could be of no possible use to him"

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  20. #20
    Spyderco Forum Registered User jaislandboy's Avatar
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    Paul, great review; enjoyed reading your honest appraisal of the two knives....love your ideas for a Stretch II...esp one with stabilized birdeye maple inlays!
    brian
    "All paths lead back to the Spyderhole..."

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