Knife review : Spyderco Temperance 2

Knives :

This review consists of :


Basic specifications :

Initial Impressions / comments on the new design

Initial impressions/comments compared to the original Temperance:

A few generalizations :

Immediate impressions on the changes are that the blade changes are generally improvements, the ergonomics/handle tend to balance out but the transition to a full slab tang and a heavier overall weight is a negative. While it does make a better hammer/striker with the end of the handle, and has a little more chopping ability, just doing some very light work, kitchen/utility etc. it is just extra weight in the hand.

Stock testing : main

The initial sharpness was high to extreme :

Some numbers :

On carving 1" quarted round pine wood compared to the #1260 Mora using light force, 10-20 lbs, the Temperance #2 :

The cutting ability is lower with light force because light force means shallow cuts and shallow cuts are only heavily sensitive to edge angle. The performance would then be expected to approach the angle ratio (10/18) = 55% but as the cuts, even when light, were wider than the edge bevel it will be influenced by the primary grind which is much thinner on the Temperance 2. A decent approximation is usually obtained by taking the square root of the ratio which gives 74% which is in agreement with the measurement.

Moving up to very heavy force, 50-70 lbs, on 1" square pine, the Temperance 2

As deep cuts move the entire blade into the wood, the primary grind becomes a much stronger influence and thus the performance of the Temperance 2 moves ahead of the Mora. The performance increase is not terrible significant but it does show the obvious advantage of a high primary grind which is that the apex angle can be much higher and still retain a higher cutting ability as compared to a single bevel grind.

In extended use, making 1000 slices into Pine :

Interestingly enough the grip on the original Temperance does better for the following reasons :


The Temperance 2 is essentially a fairly thick Chef's knife similar to the Boye Basic series. The only general drawback is that the front guard prevents the blade from working very close to a cutting board and thus the hand has to be raised to allow clearance. In regards to direct cutting ability :

Quartering an apple with the tip

And halving the quarters :

While the Temperance 2 can not match the performance of a high end Chef's knife which is much slimmer in :

In can out cut one of the better cutting tactical folders simply because of the much finer edge angle. This performance, just illustrated on apples, carries over to any similar stiff vegetables.

On harder/heavier work, working on a brace of rabbits the knife had :

The only downside is that the tip is very pointy and poses a significant risk of puncture. For this kind of work you want a more upsweep which also does better for the deep slicing.

In any case the rabbits were easily skinned, one cut and then the fur pulled off, the heads were removed, the forelegs cut off (palm hit to the spine to cut through the bones), the gut opened cleaned out, and then the carcass cut in three pieces and the main legs removed for ease of braising.

There was no visible damage to the edge from the bone cutting, no issues with traction even when the grip was bloody/wet and the point was not a huge liability though some care had to be taken.

Note of course that there is no actual need to cut the bones, the spine can be used to hit the forelegs in the joint area and break through the bones which allows just the tissue to be cut. Or of course cut away all the tissue then reverse the joints to pop them apart.

In short in the kitchen the Temperance 2 :


On woods, the chopping ability is rather limited as it is :

While it can be used in a far back grip, the stability is low and at most it can be used to cut down smaller sticks such as 1/2 to 1" softer woods like :

As the wood gets larger then it is more effective to bend the wood and simply slice/rock the blade through it and as it gets harder then it needs to be cut with an assist / baton.

Similar in cutting it for felling, braking the wood down for burning or general construction utility the Temperance is limited to softer woods which are 1/2-1" diameter.

The image at the right shows a pile of such wood which are easily cut with single snap chops. Beyond that it is necessary to open the wood in a notch and this is difficult with the Temperance 2 due to the low accuracy in swinging the blade by the back of the handle.

It is in fact more efficient to not actually use a notch but just hammer or baton the Temperance straight through the material taking care to try to avoid the tip because it is so thin that it easily cuts through batons trivially.

Of course if the wood is heavily dried or seasoned it can often be directly broken by :

However one of the most valuable woods to find and use is deadfall which are partially cut / harvested or simply windblown and are usually :

This type of wood is difficult to break down with the Temperance 2 even though it is usually just 2-3" in diameter and it also will resist very strongly any attempt to break it by bending. This is where it is of benefit to have a longer blade/axe or saw if serious wood work is to be done.

Moving on to splitting the wood which can be essential in many cases for :

The Temperance 2 can only handle the smaller of the wood (which was cut to length with a Voyager from cKc Knives) and as the wood gets harder to split there are issues because :

The thin tip actually causes the baton/stick which is used to hammer the knife through the wood to be cut to pieces. With the Temperance 2, unless the wood is relatively easy to split it is generally better to actually make wedges to split the wood. Again the Voyager from cKc Knives) easily handles such wood trivially.

In short for wood work the Temperance 2 has :


Ergonomics : the ergonomics are in general reduced over the original Temperance as the Temperance 2 has a flatter design in general which does make it easier to carry for some. The loss in ergonomics comes from the reducing contouring and in general lower contrast in width.

There are however a few improvements in the newer model :

Security : the Temperance 2 has a forward guard and significant birds beak / end swell and thus the security is very high and only exceeded with knives with the equivalent of front dual guards (similar to the Cold Steel Trailmaster for example).

In general it is a little behind the original Temperance which had the same designs however was just a little more prominent in the construction of both rear and forward contouring/guards. However to get practical concern then it had to be used very forcefully with a compromised (lubricated grip).

Durability : the handle is full tang with micarta slabs which basically mean it is nearly invulnerable to :

Micarta in general has a level of impact and chemical resistance which practically puts the grip itself at a similar class as the tang in regards to what it takes to cause significant damage.

Miscellaneous : the handle of the Temperance 2 does have a full tang / slab construction as opposed to the fully enclosed / partial tang of the old model. There is a popular argument for increased strength / durability with such a design, though the practical advantage has rarely been demonstrated, and the new design does add a lot more weight and exposes steel which reduces comfort in extremes.

Edge Retention

As a very basic check on edge retention, through 1000 slices through pine varying from very light force (10 lbs) to very heavy cuts (70 lbs) there was no :

Pine is a very soft wood so this is a very low end check on edge retention and mainly just checks to see if something went wrong in the heat treatment or sharpening, burr was left on the edge, it was over heated in the grinding, etc. . This cutting was done with the as-boxed edge and as expected there were no issues and no significant loss of sharpness. In general Spyderco consistently has among the sharpest as-boxed edges and the fewest initial problems.

On abrasive materials such as Cardboard, Spyderco's VG-10 has consistently shown itself to be a solid Class II type steel which is able to retain a working level of sharpness for an extended time cutting abrasive material.


The VG-10 in the Temperance 2 is easily able to be sharpened even with fairly inexpensive and basic stones such as the very basic no-name benchstone shown on the right. This is mainly due to carbide volume as there is an absence of the very hard carbides :

And in general the hardness (58 - 60 HRC) and carbide volume is moderate compared to many of the modern blade steels which can be 66-72 HRC and of extreme carbide volumes which can cause them to glide over basic stones.

However the problem with using very basic and very coarse stones is shown in the image on the right where the top image shows how large pieces can be knocked out of the edge and these will remain even when the edge is taken to a higher polish. This is why a balance has to be reached between :

In the initial shaping, especially on harder steels because the more coarse abrasives can, especially if pressed hard to speed up honing, easily take large pieces out of the edges especially at higher angles.

In general, with this consideration in mind, there was no real issues in general with sharpening VG-10 and the grindability, while not as high as in steels like MBS-26, 19C27 which have a lower carbide volume, is not so high that it is difficult to adjust the angle. To be specific, the first serious sharpening adjusted the edge angle down to 15 dps uniformly along the edge with 1000 pps on the inexpensive coarse benchstone shown in the above.


Modifications :


Overview :

Comments and references

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Most of the pictures in the above are in the PhotoBucket album.

Last updated : 1/5/2013
Originally written: 20/10/2012