Last updated: February 10, 2018
Ah, the Spyderco Delica – is there a more classic EDC design? Well, if we are talking about modern folding knives, I’d argue there really isn’t. One of Spyderco’s most popular knives, the Delica 4, is the brand’s bread and butter; a simple, reliable folding knife that is built with easy carry and utility in mind.
Many will wonder why it took me so long to review the Delica. Even the relatively new fourth generation version (hence Delica “4”) has been out for a while. The truth is, there are too many knives and too little time. Also, I reviewed the Endura 4 a while back, and since the knives are so similar it took me a while to get around to the Delica. Better late than never however, and I finally intend to give this knife the attention it deserves.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Delica has an overall length of 7-1/8″, a 2-7/8″ blade, weighs 2.5 ounces, and is made in Japan. This is a slim and lightweight design, perfect for every day carry (EDC).
The Delica features a leaf shaped blade, and is defined by its large thumb hole. This is a classic Spyderco blade shape. For the uninitiated the blade will almost look goofy, but for those that appreciate this unique aesthetic it’s a beautiful sight to behold. The 4th generation has been given a full flat grind and a beautiful satin finish. All in all, it’s a pretty unremarkable blade, just a simple look that is designed for performance. The tip is fine and lacks reinforcement so the user needs to take care and avoid any prying tasks.
The standard Delica comes with a VG-10 blade. VG-10 is a Japanese stainless steel. This is a serviceable mid range steel. It’s easy to sharpen, takes a fine edge, and holds on to it for a reasonable amount of time. It’s not a super steel, but it’s a step above budget blade steels like AUS-8 and 8Cr13MoV.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle on the 4th gen is fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) over full stainless steel liners. The liners have been nested inside the scales and are thoroughly milled out. This keeps the knife very slim and lightweight. Everything has been bolted together so you can take the knife apart if needed. Since the Delica has a backlock, this is a closed back design.
You can get the Delica 4 in a variety of colors including blue, purple, brown, white, green and of course black. Collectors like this, and I admit the choice of color is fun. I went with green for mine, it’s a friendly color that stands out from the sea of black handled knives in my dresser drawer.
The ergonomics on the latest generation of the Delica are quite nice. This is no surprise for a design that has spent over 20 years in the Spyderco catalog. That said, there have been a number of refinements to improve the already solid foundation. The FRN scales have been given what Spyderco calls a “bi-directional texture” – this allows for a slip resistant grip at any angle. Jimping extends from the back of the handle to the top of the thumb ramp, and it locks the thumb in nicely. The handle shape is smoothed on the edges and has plenty of room for large hands. This handle is very comfortable in all the normal grips.
The pocket clip is discrete and offers unparalleled carry options. This is a standard “spoon” style pocket clip and has been coated flat black. This is a removable clip and can be positioned on any of the 4 corners of the knife with 3 torx screws. I love the versatility of this clip, this is a truly ambidextrous design. Clip retention is excellent and the knife rides low in the pocket. The only negative I could find is that the coating does wear off with use, which happens with pretty much any pocket clip.
Deployment and Lockup
It should be no surprise that the Delica uses a thumb hole for deployment. This particular spyderhole has a diameter of 13mm. I have found this to be a good size for both gloved and bare hands. Deployment is smooth and the knife can be flicked out with a practiced hand.
The Delica uses a back lock located right in the middle of the handle. This is easy to access but it will take some technique to close this knife with one hand. The lock is very secure with no blade play at all. The spring on the back lock is very good so inadvertently opening the knife is highly unlikely. The Boyd dent on the lock bar helps ensure that the knife will not inadvertently close either.
Spyderco Delica 4 Review – Final Thoughts
It doesn’t take long to discover why this is one of Spyderco’s most popular designs. One thing that strikes me is how well built the knife feels. The nested liners are flush, the blade is centered, the FRN is well finished. I love the satin finished blade and shaving sharp edge.
I also can appreciate how lefty-friendly this knife is. The thumb hole, lock back and pocket clip are entirely ambidextrous. Add in the choice of colors and this really feels like a knife that was made for me.
As I struggle to find negatives about the knife, I’ll mention that at around $65, it is not a cheap knife. Especially if you are considering this as a step up from $20-30 knives. I think you get what you pay for. I would also say that it would be really nice if they made the Delica in America. These are really minor issues, and if its the worst thing I can say about the knife then it really says something.
In conclusion, the Spyderco Delica is an outstanding knife. It has been refined over decades and has become a measuring stick in the EDC knife world. If you are on the road to collecting pocket knives, the Delica 4 is a foundation blade. If you are simply looking for a practical EDC knife, then the Delica 4 fits that bill too.
- DELICA 4 - An equal partner in the history-making accomplishments of the Endura, the Delica 4 family includes a full range of handle colors, blade grinds, and edge configurations, as well as a blunted training version and a model with the Emerson Opening
- FRN - Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon is a polymer mixed with glass fiber then injection molded into formed and textured lightweight high-strength knife handles.
- FULL-FLAT GRIND - This knife features a blade ground with flat bevels that extend from the spine all the way to the cutting edge. This grind reduces drag during cutting and decreases overall weight.
- PLAINEDGE - A sharpened knife blade with no serrations or teeth sometimes referred to as a smooth blade.
- SPECIFICATIONS - Closed Length (Inches): 4.25, Overall Length (Inches): 7.15, Blade Length (Inches):2.9, Blade Steel: VG-10, Grind: Full-Flat
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