Spyderco Manix 2 Breakdown and Copper Rebuild
So I dig copper.
Not everyone does, for very respectable reasons. It's soft, so it scratches and nicks. It's heavy as sin, so any knife you put it on is going to be weighty. It changes its appearance over time. And to some folks copper smells faintly like bile.
But I'm a fan of copper in knives despite all these and even more reasons, because I like its luster.Copper knives were once a thing, both as copper ore and as bronze. It's old school and kinda pagan, which is probably why I like it.
So I picked up some aftermarket copper scales and a copper bearing cage for my new Manix, and resolved to give it a copper overhaul.
For those of you who haven't bought one of these just to void the warranty by taking it apart in this manner, this is what the Manix ball bearing lock looks like, partially disassembled:
Actually quite a bit different from an axis lock. Fiddly as all hell, too. A ball, bail and spring that fits into the slot in spacered assembly. It has to be balanced just so to work, but does so pretty well.
Here's the copper replacement for the bearing cage, fit with the bearing and spring:
The spring is a little fierce.I thought about shearing a bit off of it. But for all I know, without that spring pressure, the bearing lock doesn't work well. So i left it as is. The tolerances on this knife are overall extremely close, which makes it quality gear, which you MIGHT think makes it easier to take apart and put back together. But knives with tolerances like this have no airgapping to create wiggle room. So taking them apart and putting them back together can be a frustrating exercise if you don't take your time and go slowly and very carefully. Everything must fit precisely just so before it will settle into place.
The knife all apart:
If you're eagle eyed you'll note that this knife only has two fairly small and thin phosphor bronze washers. On a knife made to less demanding standards I might be tempted to try and soup this action up, but the truth is it's already kinda dropping shut nicely and will wear in to be even nicer. And there probably isn't even room to add in even another extremely thin layer of washer. So I'm letting the washers go with a brief lapping and lubing.
Was it easy to put back together? Oh, no. No, in fact if you don't really know what you're doing, I'd suggest not taking apart a Spyderco beyond swapping out scales. I had to use a vise to press-fit the lanyard barrel into the copper scales, and that was the easy part -- getting the lock in was the hard part. It was hard, and I swore quite a bit. But I got it back together just so.
Is it heavy?
Yeah, it weighs about 240 grams now -- well over 8 ounces. The regular Manix 2 with G10 weighs about 5 ounces, so the copper is really adding significant mass to the knife. That's a thing that a lot of people often dismiss until the first day they have to do a lot of work with a small but heavy knife. So even though this knife has great ergonomics for work, it probably won't be the knife I reach for if I have a bajillion boxes to cut up. In fact I have a couple nice, chunky copper lanyard beads I was going to add to the lanyard on this originally, just to give the lanyard the bulk to function as counterweight -- but elected not to, and even went with a thinner paracord, just because the knife's already a fattie.
But what can I say, that's not the point of this knife. The copper is.
The lock cage, being copper, will wear in fairly quickly. The Flytanium folks say it only takes a day or so for it to fully wear in, but I'm not having problems with it now. Between this and the axis lock, I'll take the axis lock hands down, but a lot of people are going to prefer the large 'buttons' on this to the nubs on an axis lock.
I thought about giving it a bit of satin with the Dremel but leaving it as is won the day. Also thought about putting in a deep carry clip but, like, this is the sort of knife that you go ahead and let peek out of your pocket.
Anyway, there you have it: a cupric Cru-Wear Manix 2. Serious knuckle weight but awesome, and capable of great things. This one's mine, though. You'll have to put together your own. It'll be bad ass, but don't say I didn't warn you -- it's journeyman work at the very least.