GPKnives just sent out an email blast about their new store-exclusive Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight folding knife, with white FRN handle and REX 45 blade steel, model C41PWH5.
They’re calling this a limited production run, and so supplies might only last a short while. Their previous exclusive, which launched in May, is still available.
The Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight is a fantastic everyday folding knife, with 2.95″ blade and lockback blade lock.
What’s special about this particular Native 5 is that it has white FRN handle scales, and its spear point blade is made from CPM Rex 45 steel.
GPKnives says that the white FRN handle offers the perfect platform for RIT dye – a popular fabric and general purpose dye. (According to online commentary, RIT and RIT DyeMore both seem to work with FRN.)
So, if you’re not a fan of the white handle scale, it should make a fine base for DIY color solutions.
Notes About the Rex 45 Blade Steel
The blade steel, Rex 45, a particle metallurgy tool steel that’s described as a super high speed steel with excellent hot hardness, good wear resistance and toughness. GPKnives’ page says Rex 45 is similar to CPM-M4.
Following are more comments about the blade steel, or scroll down a little to get to the Who’s it for? section.
They say Rex 45 is intended to deliver increased strength and edge stability for thinner, high performance edges, and with corrosion resistance comparable to CPM-M4.
A Crucible supplier (Grigg Steel) says that: CPM Rex 45 steel is tougher than all the other super high-speed steels and has a longer cutting tool life than the M series steels.
Knife Steel Nerds says that Rex 45 has a bit less wear resistance than M4 (see the vanadium content) though is capable of a bit more hardness due to the cobalt addition.
Here is what Spyderco says about Rex 45 in a listing for a different sprint-run Native 5 knife release:
Crucible CPM REX 45 is a super-high-speed particle metallurgy tool steel enriched with large volumes of cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum, and vanadium. Its high cobalt content increases the steel’s attainable hardness and enhances the positive properties of the steel’s other alloys. The addition of vanadium promotes the formation of vanadium carbides, which provide high wear resistance, fine grain size and increased toughness.
A true steel connoisseur’s blade material, REX 45 is an ideal steel for this prestigious Native 5 Lightweight Sprint Run produced in our USA factory.
I’m not very familiar with Rex 45 yet, but it seems to be a premium steel with focus on hardness and edge retention. If you need to know more than that, there are plenty of online forum posts where knife enthusiasts take things to hair-splitting levels – and I mean this literally.
Who’s it for?
I’d say that this particular folding knife might be a good fit for users looking to upgrade to a $75-$125 folding knife with 3″ blade, thumbhole opening, and lockback, or users with their eye on the Native 5 and like the idea of the white handle and Rex 45 blade steel.
Priced at $112, this special limited edition of the Native 5 is slightly lower priced than the standard Native 5 Lightweight model, which features black FRN handle scales and CPM S30V blade steel. S30V is a premium steel that offers balanced performance.
This is unusual, as exclusives and limited edition Spyderco knives usually cost more than their regular widely-available models.
I like the Native 5 for its smaller size, light weight, and comfortable pocket carry.
This particular version of the Native 5 has what looks to be limited edition white handle scales that could also serve as a good starting point for DIY dying.
The Rex 45 blade steel looks to offer high hardness, and thus edge retention (sharpness longevity), along with the slight compromise in toughness that often comes with this.
The Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight with FRN handle is a great premium folding knife for under $125. Compared to less expensive knives, this gives you an upgraded blade steel, textured handle, and it’s made in the USA.
|Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight, C41PWH5|
|Blade Material||CPM Rex 45|
|Blade Style||Spear point Satin finish|
GPKnives also has a Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight with white handles and black DLC Rex 45 blade, for $126.
I really have no need for this and am not in love with the grips, but I so want to play with a new steel.
I figure that’s one of the motivations behind Spyderco’s product decisions and partnerships.
This is how you entice enthusiasts.
But, it’s reasonably-priced enough for one’s first Native 5, prompting me to post about it.
And that’s my problem. I feel like I’m being marketed to. Which I clearly am. Apparently I need some kind of 12 step program for knives. Oh well.
Many users have a moment, whether they’re at the $25,$50, or $100+ folding knife level, where they learn their preferences and want to try something different.
The same can happen with flashlights and other everyday tools, as well as watches, wallets, sneakers, hats, and so forth.
At least this model is not solely aimed at enthusiasts or collectors, and is reasonably priced in line with other Native 5 models.
I have mixed feelings about some of these short-run knives or ones that are more oriented to collectors like Stuart mentioned.
First, from a normal customer’s perspective it can be frustrating to learn that the knife company did make the precise knife you wanted in terms of handle/blade/etc, only then you learn it was some super-limited run that sold out so fast you couldn’t possibly get one. It makes you wonder why some of these variations aren’t more available. For example, I like hi-vis handles on some of my tools. One such knife I’d like to have is the Spyderco Dodo with orange G-10 scales. They did make this knife, but it was a limited run years ago. Now collectors love them and they cost more than double their original price, assuming you can find one. I don’t care about it being a rare knife or whatever, I just want to use it for practical purposes. But while I feel that it’s a good knife I might spend $150 for, I’m not going to pay the collector’s premium for one at well over double that.
Second, from a collector’s perspective: I have learned this fact the hard way over many years of collecting various things. Products which are marketed specifically to collectors, or are artificially scarce “limited editions” are usually poor investments. A single $1000 comic book is a much better investment than 200 books worth $5 each; people will fight to bid over the former, the latter are nearly impossible to sell for what they are theoretically worth. Likewise, a rainbow collection of multi-colored Spydercos is a poor investment compared to one original Victorian coachman’s knife or a first pattern Fairbain-Sykes dagger. If I could pass on any of the knowledge I’ve learned from dealing in collectables ranging from Star Trek memorabilia to 19th century European sporting arms, it would be this one thing: focus on quality, not quantity. Don’t buy the things which were intended to be limited edition collector bait, buy the things which happened to be limited in quantity because of other circumstances.
People collect for different reasons.
With respect to knives, I have a couple beyond what I would consider for ToolGuyd review purposes, because I like to explore different color and steel options. I do not consider myself a collector, and I have zero interest in selling knives at a profit or at all.
With Spyderco at least, I don’t feel their limited editions or sprint runs are artificially scarce. I see them as lower risk opportunities for color or blade steel combinations they cannot offer as part of their main lineup.
Sometimes a sprint run will be widely available. With store exclusives, it’s similar, but with specific retailers getting all the inventory and the color scheme fitting the pattern.
Other knife brands also have dealer exclusive styles, such as Chris Reeve Knives.
I took a bit of a renewed interest in knives a few weeks ago when I started looking for a couple of new models, one for EDC and another specifically for carrying on my person when doing yard work. I am not a knife collector and it has been many years since I looked to see what was new on the market. I personally encountered several knives that I would have purchased on the spot had they been available, but instead the majority of the models I was interested in turned out to be limited runs that were either unavailable at all, or only available on the collector’s market at a steep markup. Three of those were Spydercos. So from my perspective–not a collector but just someone who wants a particular model of their knives with the intent of using them–they often are unobtanium.
There are other companies who are worse about this so I’m not trying to pick on Spyderco here, I’m just pointing out I have mixed feelings about these limited models. I feel bad for the guy who learns about them a year from now, wants one, and then finds that they’re all gone.
Ah. There are some models that only appear as sprint runs, such as the Meerkat, but most other Spyderco knives seem to have standard models, with sprint runs only special stylings, such as with handle color or material, or blade steel.
I forgot about how different blade shapes and knife models can also be sprint runs.
And to be fair, I can’t criticize all limited runs either. Despite the hype they are additional opportunities for someone to get the knife they want.
I am actually interested in an upcoming Spyderco sprint run, a re-release of the Massad Ayoob model, and even if I had an opportunity to purchase an original at a non-inflated price I think I’d still go with the sprint run as I like the G10 handles and it will be available in a plain edge. So in that regard it’s an opportunity to get a knife I missed out on years ago, in a configuration that I prefer, at normal street pricing. That’s great, though it’s complete luck I happened to learn about it shortly before its release.
That’s a peculiar model, and I know a lot of people have been waiting for a reissue or sprint run.
If that was a regular product, I wouldn’t be interested, but the “now or never,” or rather “soon or never” aspect definitely changes things a little.
I find that I just don’t buy lockback knives. Simple, strong design. I just don’t care to use them.
Personal preference to be sure, but I had the same view, and that view has gotten stronger as my thumbs get a bit arthritic. 🙁
If the lock isn’t an issue, the Native is a surprisingly nice folder in the 3″ class.
This is rather ironic. About two weeks ago someone had posted on a knife forum that I visit about one of the big online sellers having a substantial discount on the Native with a pale green handle. A few of the posters mentioned that this was likely an unpopular color they had excess inventory on, but there were a lot more people who jumped on the deal specifically with the intent of dying the handle either a camo green or a blue color. A white one sounds like the ultimate blank canvas if you wanted to customize your knife.
Are you referring to BladeHQ’s exclusive Native 5 Lightweight with mint green handle?
The model with DLC-coated blade is regularly $134, and there was a recent sale for $110. It appears the plain-finish-blade version sold out.
When searching for more background on this, as RIT-dying knife handles is a new concept to me, I saw a couple of complete custom-color jobs, as well as gradient jobs.
The white base color does seem like the ultimate blank canvas, similar to how white primer works great as a base for painting over, but I have also seen some interesting gradient dye jobs as well.
When you start with a color base, such as mint green or whatever, you can dip the handles to create a more interesting color pattern than simply custom-dying the handles.
As for mint green being a potentially unpopular color, I ordered a Sage in mint green last year, to gain experience with that particular model and its different locking mechanism. I don’t think BladeHQ would have worked with Spyderco on additional mint green exclusives if the earlier exclusives didn’t sell well.
Looking at their catalog, they also had a mint green Para 3 that seems to have sold well, judging by the number of reviews.
Maybe it’s not the mint green that perhaps didn’t sell strongly, but the mint green and black DLC handle, although perhaps that’s the more popular style that BladeHQ ordered in greater quantities.
I’m not 100% sure, I sort of skimmed over the thread as it wasn’t of that much interest to me, but it probably was that one. I didn’t pay attention to the blade steel or if it had a coating, it was the bit about dying the handles which caught my attention and I happened to remember.
They probably are talking about regular clothing dye. Back in the day, I used to dye the FRN parts on my RC cars with regular RIT we bought at the grocery store. Worked great.
Clever on Spydeco, let the customer pick their color, blaze orange, hot pink, deep blue, mix them up, whatever you want. Easier than resetting mold equipment for colors and then having multiple SKU in stock.
I’ve seen commentary for both, that RIT works well, and RIT DyeMore works well, with some saying it’s easier or better. DyeMore is described as suitable for plastic, and so I’d try that first myself.
I also saw one account of DyeMore bleeding color over time.
It’s interesting in how many retailers over the years have done exclusive/limited run knives. You could spend a lot of time on the subject. I’ve bought several myself in trying to find that perfect knife. Looks to be a great deal but not for me.
Thank you for a well written review!
Two comments, one on white FRN and the other on the Native.
Quite a few years ago ( maybe 20ish/) Spyderco did a run of Delicas, and possibly Enduras, with white FRN scales.
I remember a connection, or at least a theory that they were connected, to Tom Sachs and his “NASA” projects.
A lot of people used regular RIT dye on them. I bought several and dyed at least one of them. Spyderco didn’t offer the Delica or Endura in orange FRN at the time, and that was the way to get one. This is all going by memory so corrections are welcome.
On the Native, it’s a bit of an odd knife to me. I had always looked at it as a very unremarkable, even uninteresting, knife, and I’ve never been a big fan of kickbacks. In the mid-teens (again, IIRC) Spyderco ran off “forum knives” two or three different years, for people on the factory forum. I bought bought them and was surprised by how nice the Native was, but the kickback was an obstacle. It’s a very nice knife if you like mid-size kickbacks, and last I checked it was –> MADE IN THE USA.<–
Looks like there were four knives with white FRN scales, made in 2008:
it’s an intriguing idea and it would tick some of the boxes for me for a pocket knife. sub 3in – non assisted – easy open – made in the US – plastic handles
I would most likely dye it something – maybe red.
but it’s still a touch more than I really would want to pay for a knife. I will noodle it a bit – thanks for the notice.
Also consider the Delica 4. It has different blade and handle shapes, and is made in Japan, with the standard models currently priced at $89.
In my progression beyond cheap knives, I went from the Kershaw Link to the Benchmade mini-Griptilian, and then the Delica. It was a while before I got the Native 5.
If it doesn’t have to be made in the USA, the Civivi Elementum is nice. https://toolguyd.com/civivi-elementum-pocket-knife-value/
I got one today and man is it sharp…. and looks good too. Don’t know about dying it. Doesn’t have a deep carry pocket clip though. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Saw one on amaz.. but it said for G10 Native 5. Will that work?
MXG Gear has deep carry clips for the LW Natives. Nice titanium for under $30. I have several of them on my knives and am not disappointed.