Spyderco Mule Team - 52100 - MT01


June 14, 2008, 03:01 PM
Spyderco Mule Team - 52100 - MT01


First off, Thank you to the person that sent me this.
I am humbled.

Second, I have only had this knife for just a few hours.

Here are my first impressions.

I like this sucker! *GRIN*

The knife arrived in a simple, still functional Spyderco sleeve box.
I look at the end of the sleeve and read "Mule Team"

For a Southern Boy,often known to be as stubborn as a Mule, this is great!!

Nice plastic sleeve, containing the knife with blade in a nice heavy cardboard sleeve to protect the blade, atop a simple gray foam pad.
Form follows function, and the packaging is simple, functional while the quality is evident.
Spyderco Warranty and other information is printed on the back of the box sleeve.

Most folks know I have a preference for Carbon or Tool Steels, (non-stainless steels).
This one of course is 52100.


A ball-bearing steel, and as such is only used by forgers. It is
similar to 5160 (though it has around 1% carbon vs. 5160 ~.60%), but
holds an edge better. It is less tough than 5160 however. It is used
often for hunting knives and other knives where the user is willing to
trade off a little of 5160's toughness for better edge holding.

I am familiar with this steel and how well it takes and holds an edge.
One can read the Spyderco link above to see more information, including the heat treat.

Sharp as can be right out of the box!

Spyderco is known for having a sharp knife, ready to use, out of the box and this Mule is no exception.
Something I really appreciate, and respect a company for treating the consumer with the respect, to have a knife sharp, out of the box.

Fit and finish, superb!
While this offering has no handle, and is essence a test and evaluation item for review, and for folks to compare various steel, the attention to detail in this blank form is again , quite evident.

Nothing needs "de-horned" , not only could my hands not feel any areas needing attention, a strip of sterile gauze just draped over and around the knife did not find any areas that needed "de-horned" either.

This knife is ready to use out of the box.
I have already used it for a number of tasks, and I will share more about this later.

Out of the box, all this knife needs in my opinion:

-Back pocket leather sheath, akin to what A.G.Russel does for his Woodswalker.

-Kydex sheath, one that can used around the neck, and what I do is do a "cow hitch" the chain over my belt, and toss in back pocket.

Again, I am humbled, and I thank the person that sent me this.


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June 14, 2008, 04:51 PM
Congrats to you Steve on having received such a gift. Congrats to the sender for actually being born/raised with character and heart.

I turned a friend of mine on to the Mule when it was first made available. Being a Spyderco junkie, he couldn't resist. As I know what the spirit of the Mule experiment is, I decided to wait for one of the next offerings. That way, he and I could compare the knives in a head-to-head test and report the findings back to Mr. Gleser and the rest of the Spyderco fan base.

He has some beautifully figured Desert Ironwood scaled set aside for his.

Do you plan on putting slabs on yours?

Having handled the 52100 Mule, I know what you're girnning about ;) . Its a beauty, it'nit?


June 14, 2008, 05:18 PM
I really, really like 52100 as a blade steel. Nice gift.

June 14, 2008, 05:25 PM

I don't even undo and retie my tennis shoes , haven't for years.
Just slips feets in and out.

Me doing a paracord wrap, would require me making sure I could tie my own shoe laces, then having to follow instructions on wrapping a handle.

Oh I can tie someone else's shoe, just...been so long from my point of view...

At this point, I really am looking at this from the bare essential usefulness it does provide as is.

Re: Wrap.

I took a Neon green shoelace, that I had tied an overhand knot at the ends.
Slipped one in through the last hole like a lanyard hole, and pulled it back through.
Slip knot.
Slip through wrist, like I do, like when working over water and the like.
Now, with this Mule, having holes...

I just wrapped that shoe string down toward the blade and all and stuck the left over through a hole.
Adds some cushion, purchase, while still letting me have the lanyard easy to undo.

No, it won't win any wrap contests, that was not my intention.
My intention was simple "form follows function", which this does.

I do this same wrap with a Becker-Necker or Dogfish...just the way I am.

A real handle?
Micarta, but I have my own ideas of how this handle would be.

I have not bothered to sharpen this knife.
Nor have I stropped it.

The only "doo-dad" sharpener I own, is a Rapela gray two grit "V" dealie.

The finest grit stone I have is a Hard Arkansas.

I am most likely going to approach how I use this knife, from the perspective of someone being out and about, and not having a proper setting to set up a doo-dad...not sure, still thinking about it.

I suspect most folks are testing these, with enhancements, and using doo-dad sharpeners.
Being the old school I am, maybe I am best to do some testing from this perspective.

Not sure yet...

I do know from this knife, what I really want to see offered in a UK Pen Knife - type offering.
This knife in the short time I have had it, and the uses so far, confirm for me some offerings I know, would work for me and some like me.

June 14, 2008, 11:49 PM
I have a knife Shane Justice made from 52100 for me. It and my Spyderco Native worked great in Afghanistan, and both were used during some fire missions.

52100 isn't supposed to be as tough as 5160, but I flat-out abused my Justice by using it pry a frozen 120mm "tootsie roll" out of the ammo box. (For reference, this is probably about 45lbs, plus it was frozen to other ammo and wedged in!)

The Mule sounds like a good knife for you, Steve. It's real basic, which fits into how you like being able to be, and you can fix it up real nice when you have time. Sounds about right. :) I look forward to hearing more impressions when you have them.

My 52100 knife is one of the knives most special to me. It feels great in my hand, I've used it in combat, and it works well for lots of stuff, but it would rust if you looked at it hard. I used mine in a place without any of my gear before I deployed, and even though I cleaned it off afterward, there was a little rust on it the next morning. Being a nontraditionalist and a heathen to boot, I cold blued my blade before I shipped out. :D

Guessing you'll go the patina route, or maybe do a Dr. Pepper etch?


Don Gwinn
June 15, 2008, 12:24 AM
I'm enjoying mine, too, but I haven't done anything to it yet. I think I am going to attempt a cord wrap. We'll see how it turns out.

June 15, 2008, 12:37 AM

Nice to know whom else has one.
At this time, some of my impressions and sharing are with the person that gave me mine.

I have some ideas.
I am pretty sure you would approve.

Still...being an "experiment" I want to keep some things private, out of respect for Spyderco, to assist them, which in turn, might assist the consumer.

Spyderco is listening, as are some other makers and mfg's, which is important to me.


June 15, 2008, 12:48 AM
JShirley wrote:

Guessing you'll go the patina route, or maybe do a Dr. Pepper etch?

Bro' I don't tell everything I know....<looks over shoulders>....keep this a secret...

This knife is really great for cutting blackberry cobbler, and the geometry is just fine for getting a square of cobbler out of the pan.

Then...cutting a Fried Apple Pie in half, is a breeze.

Folks can have their duct tape handles...

I got a thang going on with Blackberry Cobbler & Fried Pie...and my method is not toxic like that cold blue...

There is always one mule, different from the others....*grin*

I really think I need to see what Blueberry Pie does tomorrow...

At the moment I need a Black-Light, I am not sure, but mine , might actually show up under UV lighting.

Only I would end up with a 70's era tie-dye pattern knife.

I feel a need for Jimi Hendrix and cranking up Purple Haze


Tom Krein
June 15, 2008, 12:51 AM
I have rehandled a couple of these in G-10 for customers and they turned out great.

I have one in the shop now that I am making into a "kit" for another customer. He wants to glue it up and shape the handles...

I am looking forward to the next steel in the Mule series as I think this is a brilliant idea by Spydeco!

I personally think they are a bit thin and sharp edged to use as they come, but they can be turned into a very NICE knife with handle scales and a kydex sheath.



June 15, 2008, 01:03 AM
Well sir,

I am the resident rebel, dumb southern boy, practical, traditional member around here.
I am 53, and am viewing, reviewing from a "new pair of bifocals" perspective if you will.

Now out of respect to Spyderco, I will not reveal some things publicly, anymore than I would if a Krein knife was sent to me, or any other maker, or manufacturers product.
Respect, just how raised.

I will share, mentors and elders when I was coming up, did some knife ideas, and they worked quite well for tasks, and I see this new offering through my bifocals , with yesterday's youthful eyes.

Simple, form follows function, dependable, reliable and fits tasks.


June 15, 2008, 02:21 PM
Mmm. Pie.

I don't care for Spyderco folders, but that fixed blade looks very nice.

Brian Dale
June 15, 2008, 08:56 PM
Congratulations on the new tool steel knife, Steve. Somebody smart knew where to get a diligent knife tester for Spyderco's nifty evaluation program. It sounds like everybody wins.

Good going, whoever sent Steve that knife (wish I could put that thumbs-up smilie in the body of the post). :)

Tom Krein
June 17, 2008, 10:37 PM
Steve, I think you misunderstood my post. :uhoh:

I don't think the Mule knives are bad!! FAR from it! I think it is a brilliant idea and am glad they are doing it!! I am a BIG Spyderco fan!

When I said I think they are thin, I am not talking about the blade! It is perfect! Only the handle section and this is easily solved by cord wrapping or putting handle scales on. The thin and sharp edged comment only applies to the handle and is also only my opinion. As I just pointed out it is not a big deal and is easily fixed.

There is nothing even close to comparing to the Mules at this price point either!

If you know anything about me you will know that I LOVE the philosophy of Form following Function!

With respect.


June 17, 2008, 11:02 PM
Mr. Krein,

I understood what you were saying in regard to the handle, being thin.

My apologies to you sir for making you feel mis understood.
I get a bit too laid back and folksy at times.
THR is like a old mom and pop hardware store to me, where everyone just kicks back and shoots the breeze.

Re: Handle.
Yes, I agree, it does not have a lot of thickness.
I also agree endless possibilities exist for the handles.

Bone stock, as it is, I also see and "feel" numerous possibilities.

Just like I do for a Krein Dogfish ( mine is plain edge btw).

To me, there is a place for a bone stock, all metal knife, I see the Mule, being one such knife as the Dogfish, and Becker-Necker.



Tom Krein
June 17, 2008, 11:05 PM
No problem, I just did not want it to seem like I did not like the Spydeco Mule Team knife/idea.

I promise I am not too serious of a guy :D I love to shoot the breeze (espeically about knives and guns) and that is why I enjoy posting on the forums!


June 18, 2008, 12:52 AM
Mr. Krein,

Please check your PMs.

No, I have not spray painted a Mule yet...but yeller dogfishes are sorta different...*grin*

June 18, 2008, 01:01 AM

I'm glad to see you following posts here. I don't have one of your offerings yet but I gotta admit, you are my favorite Grind Monkey. Your work is incredible and I hope to have a knife that you've worked your magic on soon.


June 18, 2008, 08:40 PM
and, let me say again, Tom is nice to service folk. That automatically puts him on my good list. (That, and he does great work, sheaths as well as knives.)


Tom Krein
June 18, 2008, 10:36 PM
Thanks everyone... I think, yellow dogfish huh!:D

Need to find more time to hang out on THR as I really enjoy it!


June 20, 2008, 09:37 AM
Be careful, Steve! Spydercos have this weird way of simply multiplying out of nowhere!

Originally posted by Rupestris:

I'm glad to see you following posts here. I don't have one of your offerings yet but I gotta admit, you are my favorite Grind Monkey.
I didn't know our favorite grind monkey is a THR'er! :D

Your work is incredible and I hope to have a knife that you've worked your magic on soon.


His work is simply amazing. He re-ground my Spyderco Endura (ZDP-189) into a light saber.

Originally posted by Tom Krein:
Need to find more time to hang out on THR
Yes, you do! :D Still carrying that reground ZDP Jess Horn?

Tom Krein
June 20, 2008, 07:28 PM
Spydies are addictive!

I have my Jess Horn in my pocket right now... love ZDP-189 with a regrind! Cuts like crazy!

Good to be able to find some time to hang out here.


August 18, 2008, 10:13 PM
Wanted to bring this thread back up, as I managed to get my clumsy hands on one of these knives. First impressions are really nice, now I just need to try my hand at making some handles for it.

Strangely enough, it reminds me of the AUK drop point I just got in the mail. Hope to take some pictures of the two tomorrow, in a bit of a comparison.

August 22, 2008, 09:01 PM

I'm shopping for scales right now. Hopefully I will find a nice bit of mammoth ivory or ironwood.


The AUK & the Muleteam. I would feel at ease with either of these on my hip. The AUK was much sharper, but I attribute that more to it being a custom knife.

August 22, 2008, 09:32 PM
Anyone want to sell one of these Mule Team blades?

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