Spyderco Alantic Salt

A shot of the Alantic Salt from the Spyderco website :

alantic salt


From the Spyderco webpage on the Alantic Salt :

It's been speculated the sheepfoot shaped blade originated with mariners who found the rounded tip especially beneficial when the knife was accidentally dropped (think working on a ship in pitching seas) as it couldn't stab the foot when hitting the deck. It's also been hypothesized that commanding officers on these ships preferred rambunctious hardworking sailors carry knives without pointed tips, especially while in port blowing off steam after months at sea. Spyderco's Rescue knives are long favored by seafarers and the design has since been embraced by rescue workers, EMT's and ranchers-anyone cutting around flesh in an emergency. Now available in a rustproof version, the Atlantic Salt is a modified Rescue made with state of the art non-rusting H1 steel. H1 is a precipitation-hardened steel containing nitrogen instead of carbon, which cannot rust. The hollow-ground blade is available PlainEdged orSpyderEdged with both configurations offering remarkable cutting performance in and around fresh and saltwater. Textured with a Volcano Grip pattern, the molded fiberglass reinforced nylon (FRN) handle comes in black or visible marine yellow equipped with a reversible steel pocket clip for right or left- handed use. We recommend threading a thong or lanyard cord through the lanyard hole for back-up retention around water, where once dropped, a knife is often irretrievable or lost.

The Alantic Salt has an overall length of 8 1/4", a blade length of 3 11/16" with a 3 3/16" cutting edge. The knife is made by stock removal out of H-1 stainless steel with a dual sabre hollow grind which is 0.415" high on a 0.117" thick blade. The edge is fully serrated, with the scallops being chisel ground, 0.039" thick at back and ground at 17.4 +/- 0.9 degrees included. A shot of this one alongside the Pacific Salt and the Meadowlark and Cara cara :

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Stock testing

The new in box sharpness was extremely high. The Alantic Salt readily shaved smoothly and could push cut newsprint with no draw even with the serrated edge. This high sharpness was reflected when cutting light thread as the blade only required 73 +/- 12 grams to push cut baisting thread.

The serrated edge doesn't push cut ropes well, but is well suited for slicing hemp and other cords, specifically taking a minimal 7 +/- 1 lbs on a two inch draw through 3/8" hemp which is extremely aggressive.

With the Sheepsfoot pattern, the Alantic Salt has little to no penetration on stabs and thus the standard work on a phonebook was not attempted. The Sheeptsfoot pattern trades off point penetration for safety as well as point strength.


A serrated sheepsfoot blade is fiarly limited in kitchen use as it lacks the necessary fine point for coring or other shaping of fruits and vegetables plus for jointing or removal of bones in general from meats, a plain edge is also more suited for chopping up stiff fruits and vegetables. The Alantic Salt is however well suited for slicing soft foods like tomatoes, oranges and such, as well as readily handling even the harder and thicker crustier breads. It also readily slices up meats and trims fats, though a sharp plain edge is better suited to precision meat cutting in general. The serrations also show their strengths in some preperation of fish, in particular steak cod and salmon. The serrations will easily cut through the backbone readily where as a plain edge knife has little ability to do so and requires a baton or a lot of force with the off hand. The steel is also very well suited for kitchen use because its resistance to corrosion is extremely high, and won't rust even if left exposed to salt water for extended periods of time.

Wood and general brush work

Cutting grasses and light vegetation the Alantic Salt works very well, easily handling even the harder stalks which were dead and dried. The latter can be a problem for plain edge blades which are too highly polished. For example the Alantic Salt out cut the plain edge Pacific Salt with the NIB edge. However when the Pacific Salt was resharpened to a more coarse finish with the medium Spyderco rods it then slightly outcut the Alantic Salt on the same class of vegetation.

For fire starting, the Alantic Salt works well for cutting grasses for first stage tinder, however it doesn't do well trying to make very whispy shavings, when used as a scraper, the points tend to make dusty powder that is fairly useless as tinder :

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unless it is used on small woods which can fit inside the large scallops to use scrapings. However the Salt easily makes nice shavings by carving the woods. It works much better with the chisel side facing into the wood, and as the cut is being made on a draw using the blade as to slice into the wood :

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These shavings will not take a spark, but will light easily with an open flame from a match or lighter :

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If a spark based firestarter is to be used, lighter tinder needs to be gathered, dry grasses, very light bark, or prepare before hand with charred cloth or vaseline soaked cotton balls or similar.

For carving woods a plain edge is more optimal, however the SpyderEdge serration pattern is fairly fluid and can make effective cuts as it isn't as restricted as some serration types such as found on the M60 which are near impossible for push cuts. Compared to the plain edge Pacific Salt carving a one inch point on a small piece of birch hardwood (2.5 cm by 1.5 cm), the Alantic Salt had about 50% of its ability in terms of number of cuts required. On softer woods the performance between the two knives was closer as the Alantic could actually saw somewhat through a cut on a draw and therefore could slice through a half inch Alder branch with a light wrist pop matching the cutting abiilty of the Pacific Salt on the same wood. For some types of carving a sharp point is needed, shaping a small bowl for example is much more difficult with the Alantic vs Pacific Salt, you can of course burn out depressions in woods, however this is many times longer than actually cutting them out with a knife.


Comparing the Alantic Salt to the plain edge Pacific salt with a high polish, the Alantic Salt out cut it readily on many materials such as various hard vegetation as noted in the above, rubber tubing and plastics. When the edge on the Pacific Salt coarsened using the medium Spyderco rods it could then match and even exceed the Alantic Salt on most of these materials, however for some of the harder ones like thin plastics, the Alantic Salt was still well ahead.

Even a very rough plain edge can't readily slice into thin plastics like the end of a pop bottle, the knife has to be just pressed through which takes a decent amount of force. However the Alantic Salt will readily slice into the bottome of the bottle with much less force and can also cut right across the sides of the bottle where the plain edge has to start a cut by poking the point into the material to open it up. The true strength of the serrations come in the extreme edge retention, in particular when cutting very abrasive and specifically dirty materials.

Edge retention

The Alantic Salt was compared to a S30V folder from Spyderco, the Paramilary, through some extended cutting of used carpet. The Alantic Salt significantly outlasted the Paramiliary showing the advantage of the serration pattern for edge retention. As a further advantage, during some of the runs, the blade edge blades hit a staple and would suffer extensive blunting as the staple smashed down the edge, in contrast the serrated Alantic Salt readily cut through the staple with only minor flattening in one small section about a millimeter in length. As a rather extreme piece of work, the Alantic Salt and a handful of other knives were used to cut up a SUV tire (the pieces of rubber were later used as firestarters). To start :

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The plain edged blades all worked well cutting into the side of the tire, and there were no problems cutting out strips, even a fine tooth saw could be used, though it was a lot less efficient :

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However cutting through the actual tire was problematic as it is reinforced with steel which blunted the plain edged folders almost immediately. The steel type didn't seem to matter, S30V lost its cutting ability no differently than VG-10. The Alantic Salt however, while it was wearing, readily cut through the tire :

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No damage was done to the blade by sectioning the tire, and though it was blunted it could still carve wood readily, note the stake in the bottom of the above picture, and it would still slice a tomato :

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The tips were rounded from wear and the scallops had to be cut out with a dremel to restore the fine cutting ability to optimal, sandpaper on a round rod would do the same.

Ease of Sharpening

Sharpening serration patterns is more difficult than plain edges in that it requires more specialized equipment. While the edges can be touched up by stropping the back of the serration pattern, or by light honing on a benchstone, if extensive sharpening is performed in this manner, the serration patten will be degraded. In order to preserve the geometry of the edge a sharpener has to be used which can get inside the scallops and hone them effectively, the Sharpmaker from Spyderco of course does this efficiently and honing with it is no more difficult than with a plain edge.


The handle on the Alantic Salt is made from FRN, and is a striking shade of bright yellow with a square checkering pattern to enhance grip retention. The handle is quite large, at 4.75", and is easily big enough for a full grip with a large hande, with or without using the index finger groove.

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The grip serrations on the thumb ramp and in the index finger groove are secure enough to greatly aid security without being too abrasive in use.

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The lock on the Alantic Salt was stable under white knuckling, torques and various heavy grips, with the stability in the latter enhanced by the milled out section of the lock bar which aids in preventing accidental releases.

Comments and references

Comments can be emailed to cliffstamp[REMOVE]@cutleryscience.com or by posting in the following thread:

More information can be obtained at the Spyderco website.

Last updated : 12 : 30 : 2005
Originally written: 05 : 05 : 2005