Meaning “American bison” in the Lakota Sioux language, “Tatanka” is also the name of Spyderco’s first “super-sized” folder. Its defining feature is its high-strength PowerLock™–a deceptively simple yet incredibly strong lock that at first glance looks like an ordinary back lock. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll see a secondary cam component that is the secret to the lock’s strength. When the blade is opened, the tang contacts a sturdy stop pin in the handle to stop its rotation. At the same time, the spring-powered lever in the back of the handle rotates the cam around its pivot, causing a finger at the bottom of the cam to wedge against a concave surface on the top of the tang. This wedging action creates an incredibly secure lock-up, yet allows the lock to be released smoothly and easily.
The Tatanka’s handle consists of two skeletonized stainless steel liners, a stout stainless steel back spacer, and textured black G-10 scales. Its screw-together construction ensures precise alignment of all parts and provides an extremely solid platform for the PowerLock mechanism. Measuring just over five inches in length, the Tatanka’s blade has a saber grind that combines a full-thickness spine with a partial flat grind for a superior balance of strength and high-performance edge geometry. A swedge (unsharpened bevel) on the back of the blade reduces weight and increases point utility, while jimping (textured grooves) on the thumb ramp and an opposing index-finger choil (finger groove) provides a solid purchase that allows you to “choke up” on the knife for increased control.
Despite its impressive size, the Tatanka carries easily by virtue of its four-position pocket clip. Together with Spyderco’s Trademark Round Hole™ in the blade and the PowerLock, this feature ensures that both carry and operation of this remarkable folding knife are completely ambidextrous. Although the Trademark Round Hole facilitates ambidextrous one-handed opening of the knife, because of the blade’s size and mass and the location of its lock release, it should be closed with two hands.