Spyderco’s Stovepipe is full of drama and built to perform as strongly as it looks. The Stovepipe is based on one of David Rydbom’s famous custom knives, ‘Bill the Butcher’ from Kingdom Armory. A powerful cleaver-style blade made from CPM 20CV, with titanium handles and clip, as well as being packed full of milled details, this all really makes the Stovepipe stand out as something special. Join me in this review of the Spyderco Stovepipe to take in all of its details.
This video takes in all the details of the Spyderco Stovepipe, a folding knife inspired by custom knife maker David Rydbom’s “Bill the Butcher” design; the Stovepipe blends dramatic style with serious performance. In the video I cover the main design details, look very close-up at the knife, and then take Tactical Reviews standard detailed technical measurements.
What’s in the box?:
Or, in this case ‘What’s in the pouch?’ as the Stovepipe does not come in a box but instead in a nice quality padded storage/carry pouch. The knife is in a bubble wrap bag and comes with the knife information leaflet and a round sticker.
A good look round the Spyderco Stovepipe – Things to look out for here are:
Starting with the knife straight out of its wrapping and with protective oil making it look blotchy. Under the pocket clip a round plastic protector ensures when you get it the clip to handle contact point is completely unmarked.
A ring around the milled pivot bolt provides an over-travel stop for the integral frame lock bar. The more you look at the Stovepipe, the more details you find. As you step through this gallery you will see all the small milled in features and incredible attention to detail.
Explained by the Maker:
The reasons for certain design choices may not be clear when simply looking at an object, so this section is intended to give an insight into the thinking behind a design by speaking to the designer themselves.
This is the Spyderco description of the Stovepipe:
Inspired by custom knife maker David Rydbom’s “Bill the Butcher” design, the Stovepipe blends dramatic style with serious performance. Its stout cleaver-shaped blade is crafted from 4mm (.157-inch) thick CPM® 20CV stainless steel and has a deep hollow grind for superior edge geometry. The handle is constructed from two slabs of solid titanium joined by a titanium backspacer. Both scales are painstakingly machined to create beautifully crowned outer surfaces and the reverse-side scale forms the foundation of the knife’s Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) mechanism. The oversized pivot pin is machined with artistic accents and serves double duty as an overtravel stop for the lock bar. To allow convenient carry, the Stovepipe includes a machined titanium clip configured for right-side, tip-up carry. The clip, scales, backspacer, and blade all feature a no-nonsense, industrial-style stonewashed finish.
The Blade and Handle – Detailed Measurements:
For full details of the tests and measurements carried out and an explanation of the results, see the page – Knife Technical Testing – How It’s Done.
What is it like to use?
I find the Stovepipe a slight contradiction in that it is certainly built to work hard; materials, construction and strength are beyond question, but all the beautifully made details give the knife a lot of corners that are not hard-use friendly on your hands. The relatively compact size, despite the cleaver blade, and milled details creating lots of hot-spots mean that though capable of it, the Stovepipe isn’t a knife I would choose for heavy or extended jobs.
It looks fantastic and is both striking looking and by no means ‘usual’. Absolutely overflowing with interesting features, and a knife you will love looking at every time you bring it out to use.
The in-the-hand photos here show the Stovepipe in my XL-glove size hand. For me the Stovepipe has just enough handle for a solid grip and the blade length works for power cuts. The straight edge and blade tip present the cutting edge nicely for the type of EDC cutting I typically do.
One of the joys of the knife world is that there are so many designs, and so many purposes for a knife. The Stovepipe is an expensive knife, but one that justifies its price through quality of manufacture, intricate, intriguing and complex milling. Striking looks, with its origins in a proven custom design, the Spyderco Stovepipe is an outstanding cleaver-style knife.
The views expressed in this summary table are from the point of view of the reviewer’s personal use. I am not a member of the armed forces and cannot comment on its use beyond a cutting tool or field/hunting knife.
Something that might be a ‘pro’ for one user can be a ‘con’ for another, so the comments are categorised based on my requirements. You should consider all points and if they could be beneficial to you.
What doesn’t work so well for me
Too many ‘corners’ for comfortable extended use.
High price point.
Things I like
Superb quality and finish.
Packed with machined details.
CPM 20CV blade steel.
Super strong construction.
Very high quality storage case included.
Custom design in a production knife.
Striking stand-out looks.