Heads up armchair steel scientists: the High-Impact Ceramic Spyderco Mule is out today. This is a pretty special Mule fixed blade, made from an advanced, experts-only material.
Spyderco, unquestionably, is the knife company most interested in investigating innovations in metallurgy; but they go a step further by bringing in their customers on the process with the Mule series, a line of limited release fixed blades made from interesting, unusual steels – or, perhaps, we should say “materials” instead of “steels,” because what they’ve brought out this week is a Mule made from something that can’t technically be classified as a steel at all.
Even non-knife people will be familiar with ceramic knives; they show up all the time as commercial kitchen knives, groan-inducingly marketed as blades that never need sharpening. Ceramic can achieve hardness levels much higher than even very advanced steels and this means long (not eternal, but very long) edge retention. Of course, in material formulation you don’t get anything for free, and what this marketing neglects to mention is that ceramic blades, due to that high hardness, are quite brittle, prone to chipping and breakage.
As the name indicates, HIC aims to rectify that to some degree. It’s a proprietary formula that uses zirconia to imbue the ceramic with higher-than-average toughness. Spyderco is quick to point out that HIC still doesn’t reach the toughness levels of steel, so testers must be aware of the breakage risks even with this advanced stuff. Further, when/if you decide to sharpen your HIC Mule, you’re going to need diamond or cubic boron nitride sharpening tools; the standard stone will not suffice here.
You’re going to want to jump on this one quickly. All Spyderco Mules go quick, and this one seems like it’s destined for an especially fast vanishing act. Good luck and have fun!
Knife in Featured Image: Spyderco High-Impact Ceramic Mule
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