Last Updated: August 11, 2019
Every now and then I see a knife that I absolutely have to own. Now, believe it or not, my collection of knives is small in comparison to the size (and value) of many knife collectors, so I like to think I exercise some “restraint” in my purchases. This might have more to do with the size of my bank account than anything else, but my point is, this knife really struck me as something special, and I bought it. I am talking about the Boker Exskelibur, a collaboration between Boker Knives and South African custom knifemakers Mike Skellern and Fred Burger.
The Exskelibur is part of Boker’s “Plus” Line which is their line of high quality value knives. For purposes of the review I would classify the Exskelibur as a EDC knife, and perhaps even a collectors knife. I know mine wont be seeing much use even despite the very reasonable price tag – I simply want to keep this knife nice for my collection. What we really have here is a gentleman’s folder; it’s simple lines and rich titanium accents make the Exskelibur an exercise in minimalism and elegance that will feel very at home in an office or carried during a formal event.
I have found the attention to detail and build quality on this knife to be extraordinarily high. What may be most surprising to some readers is that this knife is made in China. Now, my Spyderco Tenacious review showed that Chinese manufacturing isn’t always synonymous with low quality, but the Exskelibur isn’t just well made for a Chinese knife – it’s well made for any knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Exskelibur I has a 3 5/8″ blade, an overall length of 8″ and a weight of 3.3 oz. Due to the advanced handle construction almost all of that weight is in the blade. And speaking of the blade, what a beautiful piece of steel. It’s a large and simple drop point design with a high hollow grind. The blade has been given a nice satin finish that glows under the light of my studio. What strikes me about the blade is how big it is relative to the handle. The blade to handle ratio is very impressive and has to be close to 1:1.
The steel chosen here is 440C, which is a mid grade steel that is very popular in European knives. Seeing how this is a mid range knife I was very happy to find 440C here, it is one of my favorite all purpose knife steels. 440C is capable of taking a very keen edge and my Exskelibur I came shaving sharp right out of the box. The blade is beautifully finished and has a “Boker Plus” logo on one side and a Skellern logo on the other.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle follows the same minimalist approach of the blade, while weaving in a couple interesting features that really elevates the style and sophistication of the knife. The handle is made almost entirely out of black G10. The G10 is very lightly textured and doesn’t offer much in the way of friction, however the there very good jimping on the spine of the knife and the handle has been contoured to allow your fingers to wrap around it comfortably. The resulting grip is very good for normal EDC tasks. I think the texturing is adequate and fits very well with the overall classy theme of the knife.
The construction of the handle is not open, a piece of G10 runs the entire back length of the handle and in between that piece and the handle slab is a thin strip of red G10. This is purely for aesthetics and is a very interesting detail that makes the Exskelibur a little special and is really quite cool.
The pocket clip is a piece of titanium that has been finished in a dark matte blue. It’s a little stiff but it performs well and is reversible for tip up or tip down carry (right side only). The clip is held in place by 3 small Phillips screws which is a bit of a departure from the allen or hex screws we often see. Another thing to note here is that there isn’t a lanyard hole in this knife. Since this is a larger EDC knife, I really don’t miss the lanyard hole, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
Deployment and Lock
The Exskelibur deploys with an unobtrusive flipper located on the back of the blade by the pivot. This is a very simple yet effective method of deployment. The blade moves easily and I find that I can quickly and easily open this knife with 1 hand. The bushings on this knife appear to be phosphor bronze and everything is very smooth. The knife opens quietly with a soft click as the blade snaps into the titanium liner lock.
There is only one liner on the Exskelibur and it is made of the same blued titanium that clip is fabricated from. It makes the knife incredibly lightweight and it provides another interesting detail that sets the Eskelibur apart. I have found the lock to be strong and it locks in the middle of the open blade with no danger of slipping.
Boker Exskelibur I Review – Final Thoughts
The Exskelibur I is an outstanding folding pocket knife. The knife oozes style and is a simple and beautiful folder. I appreciate the great design and quality manufacturing and am not put off by the fact that this knife is made in China because the quality control here is outstanding. The titanium liners, the big sweeping blade and lightweight handle are all very appealing. I think 440C was an excellent choice for bladesteel and love how big and practical the blade is. It’s hard to find fault with the knife, I think if you use it as an EDC or gents folder you will be very pleased with the Eskelibur.
- 440C satin finished blade
- Blue anodized titanium liner
- Contoured G10 scales
- Red fiber spacer
- Reversible titanium pocket clip
At the time I was interested in a knife with a full flat grind, a large plain edge, G10 handle scales and pillar construction. The Tenacious had that and more – all for under $50. So I ordered the knife and had it at my door a couple days later. The following are my thoughts on the Tenacious after using it as a daily carry for several months.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Tenacious has an overall length of 7-3/4″, a 3 3/8″ blade, weighs 4.0 oz, and is made in China. The blade is not only long but it is fairly wide (from edge to spine) at almost an 1.5″ inches. This is a large knife for EDC (Every Day Carry), and people contemplating the Tenacious for that use may prefer it’s smaller brother, the Persistence or the Ambitious. Here is a size comparison with the Mini Griptilian and Kershaw Skyline so you can see what I mean:
For this reason, the Tenacious is more of a large utility knife than a true EDC. Sure, it can be carried every day, but it’s a good size knife.
The leaf shaped blade of the Tenacious is made of 8Cr13Mov Stainless steel. 8Cr13Mov is a more inexpensive steel that is comparable with Aus 8. However, Spyderco does an excellent job with the heat treat on this steel and my experiences have found that 8Cr13Mov sharpens well and holds a good edge. That said, compared to harder, more expensive steels you will have to sharpen the knife more frequently.
Also, I really like the full flat grind on this knife. It is like a small kitchen knife and is great for slicing, especially through cardboard. That full flat grind just zips through cardboard. The shape is fairly generic, but there is enough belly for EDC tasks
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle is a of pillar construction, which I really like because it makes the knife easy to clean. The handle is layers of steel with G10 scales. The steel has been milled out to reduce the weight, which is a great touch that I love to see on a cheaper knife. The G10 is lightly textured and feels good. It isn’t super abrasive so your pockets will be spared, but it offers nice tactile feedback. I haven’t had any problems with the knife slipping out of my hand, probably because the ergonomics are so good. The G10 has been contoured around the liner lock and there is very good jimping on the thumb ramp and the lock, this makes the knife very easy and comfortable to use.
The ergonomics on the Tenacious are quite good. It has a pretty big handle and it has been well designed. My palm fits nicely and the corners have been rounded slightly for comfort. Also the knife is designed to provide the user good traction, which I find to be important for a mid sized folding EDC knife like this. Since it is a cheap knife, I have a tendency to have it do my “dirty work” that I wouldn’t subject some of my more expensive knives too. The large thumb ramp and jimping really helps keep your thumb in place and maintain control when putting some power behind the blade. I’ve used this knife pretty hard and “Tenacious” is an apt name because it keeps on ticking.
Pocket clips can be a problem with expensive knives, let alone cheap ones, so I was really pleased with the clip on the Tenacious. It’s a signature Spyderco Hourglass shaped clip that provides good pocket retention without shredding your pants up. Also the clip is mountable on all 4 corners of the knife, so you can carry this knife in your left or right pocket, tip up or tip down. As a lefty on a budget, I loved this feature. The knife rides pretty low in your pocket.
I will say that my clip had a tendency to come loose until I hit it with some lock-tite. My guess is that you are going to want to do the same.
Deployment and Lock Up
The deployment on this knife is very nice. The thumb hole (“Spyderhole”) makes it easy to access the blade with bare hands or gloves – in rain or shine. The action is smooth, thanks in part to phosphor bronze bushings. The bushings on this knife are apparently pretty thin, but I’ve been flicking this knife open for months and it still deploys very smoothly.
Also, the lock on this knife is solid. The Tenacious uses a thick liner lock that bites deep into the blade. I detect zero up and down movement when the knife is locked and a tiny amount of side to side movement.
Overall Fit and Finish
So one thing that kind of concerned me about this knife was that it was made in China. At the time the Tenacious originally came out, there was a lot of stigma regarding Chinese manufacturing and Chinese knives. Today, with the advent of high end Chinese knife manufacturers like Reate, there is less of a concern, although certainly some of that original stigma still exists.
I will say that the build quality of the Tenacious is impressive considering the price. I am pleased with the fit and finish and whoever manufactured this for Spyderco did a good job.
Spyderco Tenacious Review – Final Thoughts
As I turn to my final remarks on the Tenacious, I think we should consider the topic of “value” – as that often plays in to the commentary on the Tenacious, and many consider this to be a “value” knife. To be honest, I think the knife is well priced right around $30. It’s a good amount of knife for the money, it’s well designed, the materials are adequate, the fit and finish is adequate – I really cant complain. That said, I would likely not pay $50, or $75 for this knife, and think it is priced appropriately for what it is.
The Tenacious rounds out Spyderco’s product line nicely and is an affordable knife that has all of the design elements and features Spyderco is known for. I like the Tenacious and recommend it for someone seeking an affordable larger EDC knife, or a hearty utility knife that can be used hard guilt free.
- GAME CHANGER - Being tenacious means you are persistent and cohesive. It's being tough and tireless in achieving your best performance; all worthy descriptive words for a hard-use knife
- SUPERIOR BLADE STEEL - The 3.39" 8Cr13Mov stainless blade is leaf-shaped and ground flat from spine to cutting edge for non-stop cutting performance.
- A SECURE GRIP - It has a black G-10 laminate handle, ergonomically milled with prolonged fatigue-free cutting in mind.
- EASY-TO-USE - The blade
- POCKET-FRIENDLY - The Tenacious includes a Walker LinerLock and a 4-way pocket clip lets the folder be set in a variety of carry and draw positions: Tip-up/tip-down left-hand/right-hand.
I recommend buying the Spyderco Tenacious at Amazon or BladeHQ. Buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com and keeps the website going. Any support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.