One of the most anticipated Spyderco knives of 2018, the Kapara is Spyderco’s first collaboration with Australian custom knifemaker Alistair Phillips. The design is based on Phillips’ popular Redback folder and, like the term “redback,” draws its name from the redback spider (Latrodectus hasseltii), a species of highly venomous spider found throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. The adult female redback has a spherical black body with a prominent red stripe on the upper side of her abdomen. Inspired by this distinctive feature, Phillips’ handmade Redback folders showcase a contrasting red backspacer in the handle.
A self-described “spare-time knifemaker,” Phillips specializes in meticulously crafted slipjoint and lock-blade folding knives. After licensing Spyderco’s Trademark Round Hole for use in his custom blades, he posted several photos of his work on Spyderco’s online forum. Spyderco founder Sal Glesser was impressed with what he saw and purchased one of Phillips’ Redbacks for his personal collection. When he received it, he was even more impressed and ultimately suggested a collaboration project. Phillips eagerly agreed.
According to Phillips, he originally designed the Redback/Kapara as a personal carry knife that he could use for food preparation in an office environment. After gaining a bit of weight, he was committed to eating healthier and trimming down, so he decided to create a cutting tool that would help him achieve that goal. He began by measuring a variety of fruits and vegetables to determine an appropriate blade length. He then tried using several of his existing designs, which happened to be flipper openers, to prepare food on a cutting board. Realizing that the flipper tab got in the way of using the entire length of the edge, he envisioned a knife with a long cutting edge, a Spyderco Round Hole for easy opening and a Compression Lock to keep food from getting into the lock mechanism. Ultimately, he not only created a great folding knife design but managed to lose a significant amount of weight by putting it to use!
The heart of the Kapara’s design is its CPM S30V stainless steel blade, which is full-flat ground for truly impressive low-friction edge geometry. Its fully accessible Trademark Round Hole allows convenient one-handed opening with either hand and its drop-point profile gives it both a long, gently curved edge and an acute, utilitarian point.