As many knife nuts know, the Spyderco Dodo was the first production knife designed by Eric Glesser son of Spyderco founder, owner and Guru Sal Glesser. The Dodo saw a relatively short production run from about 2003-2005. I never bought one of the originals because I just never saw the utility in it's blade shape for my uses. Recently however, Spyderco came out with a sprint run (of 1000 pieces) with Orange G-10 handles. According to Spyderco, they had received lots of emails requesting just such a knife. After seeing photos of it on the internet, I admittedly was a little intrigued due to the unique design, ball lock and of course the orange G-10 (Something about Orange G-10 just looks good on a knife). So after looking at photos for several days, I picked one up off of a bladeforums user.
My first impression when I opened the box and took it out was, "wow, what a cool looking knife". Even my nine year old daughter said, "wow, dad, that orange knife is awesome". I did the gratuitous Spyderco flicking immediately and was very happy with it's smoothness. The Fit and Finish felt very nice and it just felt like a good quality knife. My daughter also said, "dad, you gotta keep that one cause I want it someday". So I guess this one's a keep just for that reason :)
Spyderco calls the Dodo a "Little Big Knife" due to it's small size but being able to handle big tasks. The closed length of this knife is 4.375 inches and the opened length is 6.125 inches. The blade itself is just a hair over 2 inches long making it very sheeple friendly and also legal in some not-so-knife-friendly states or countries. Despite the length of the blade, it's substantially thick for such a short blade and feels as stout as any 2 inch blade I've ever handled. It weighs in at a very light 2.6 ounces. It clips in and out of the pocket with ease and has zero pocket hog issues. The photo below shows the size comparison to one of my favorite EDC knives, the Spyderco Dragonfly2 .
The Orange Dodo uses Orange G-10 as it's scales or handle. The Orange that Spyderco uses on it's G-10 is for lack of a better term; very cool and has become very popular amongst collectors. The Orange G-10 feels nice and grippy but due to the lack of any liners, there is some slight flex if you squeeze it tight enough; no big deal. The Blade is made from CPMS30V, a powdered steel developed by CMC in conjunction with Chris Reeve . S30V is a highly corrosive resistant stainless steel reportedly a little better than 440C and 154CM. Edge retention is also a bit better than 154CM and 440C. S30V's target hardness (depending on the heat treat) is a nice 58-61RC. This allows for very good edge retention but just soft enough that your average Joe can still sharpen it once it does dull. The only steel I like better is VG-10.
Spyderco chose to utilize torx screws to hold everything together rather than the pins they used to use. I think this just exudes more quality than pins and it also allows for repairs or cleaning. Overall, the materials in this knife are very nice for it's price range.
Blade shape on this knife is one of the things that makes it unique and one of the reasons I never purchased the original. The upward arcing belly of this blade I think will make it a little difficult to sharpen and to be honest, limit it's utility. The downward curving "beak-like" tip however should provide some unique advantages in some situations, like woodworking
The locking mechanism is another aspect that sets this knife apart from others. Spyderco calls the lock a Ball Bearing LockM. It's basically a ball bearing with spring tension behind it that pushes it into a locked position when the blade is open and again into another blade recess when closed to keep it closed. To disengage the lock when open, I have to grasp both sides of the ball bearing and pull backwards on it until the blade falls free. While the lock works very well for this purpose, it can be difficult to operate from one side. To disengage the lock one handed I have to pull back on both sides of the ball, allowing the blade to fall freely. I think with sweaty or greasy hands the difficulty disengaging this lock might be problematic. Not as simple as most of Spyderco's other locks but very doable none-the-less. I think some of the difficulties may lie in the fact that I have gorilla hands. All this being said, I find myself constantly playing with the lock and have become much better at making it work.
My only other concern with the ball lock is it's openness. The open design looks to me like it might have a debris collecting issues. Could this present a problem? I doubt it, but time will tell. You can see from the photo below that debris has already started collecting (click on it to enlarge).
FIT AND FINISH
Fit and Finish was typical Spyderco, well done with no blade play in any direction. No complaints here at all. In my experience, Spyderco rarely has any problems in the fit and finish department.
I have to hand it to Spyderco and Eric, this knife just fits the hand, more so than any knife I own. After handling it, I wonder if Eric Glesser made a mold of the hand when he made this handle...it just fits! The unique shape and design just "look Spyderco". This being said, if you're looking for a car door stabbing knife, food prep knife, skinning knife or batoning knife, this ain't it.
One thing I like about this knife over some of my other spyderco's is it's clip. On the little Orange Dodo, Spyderco has utilized a tip up (right or left) recessed wire clip. I like this clip better that the standard non-recessed clip because it doesn't have the tendency to loosen and wiggle back and forth like some of the other clips. It clips very well into the pants or into a shirt pocket. It is held in place by a single screw and it holds it in place well.
SMOOTHNESS OF OPENING/CLOSING
I was pleasantly surprised when I received the Dodo. It has that patented Spyderco flickability smoothness and does so with a definitive "snap" I like to hear. I think that the ball bearing actually aids in the opening smoothness. Closing was initially a little difficult due to the lock but after playing with it for a while, it became second nature. While I'm not a big video guy, I was emailed and asked if I could do a short one showing how easily the Dodo opened and closed. Here is the attempt :)
The only limitations I see in the Dodo are due to its blade shape. That said, there are some uses that the blade shape (as mentioned earlier) actually excels at over traditional shaped knives. For law enforcement or in any tactical situation, the grip is excellent and the blade shape would make a vicious slasher (think mini-civilian). The blade shape also seems tailor made for cutting cordage, so climbers campers, ect. will find this shape very useful. So it all boils down to what you need the knife for.
As long as you consider Dodo within the scope of it's intended use, it's an excellent "little big knife". My initial reservations when the original Dodo came out due to the blade shape have dissipated after handling and using it. This knife fits my hand better than any knife I own and its fun to play with. While initially I didn't think I would ever EDC this knife, it has won me over somewhat. Maybe it's the almost perfect hand fit or maybe it's the unique blade shape or MAYBE, it's because it's just a cool knife that everyone says, "ewww, how cool" or maybe it is all of the above. While the lock can be somewhat difficult to disengage, after "learning it" it becomes easier. It is very sheeple friendly and its orange color is going to garner lots of comments. If you are looking for a small bladed knife and think the blade shape is something that would work well for your purposes, or if your local laws prevent "scary" knives, the Dodo (in Orange, Blue or Black) just may be your knife. It's built very well with Spyderco's typical great quality AND IT IS AMERICAN MADE in Golden, CO which in my book counts for allot. If you like the Dodo's shape, you'd better grab one quick, they're disappearing from shelves fast and there are only 1000 being made....and the one I have is staying right here :)
Looks: 9/10 (love that Orange)
Fit and Finish: 8/10 (for a production knife, very good)
Camp Use: 7/10 (great for a couple of things but not so good for others)
Hard Use: 3/10
Police Use: 7/10 (would make a good CQC slasher but it's size and reach limit's it usefulness as a self defense tool)
EDC Use: 8/10 (perfect size and weight but blade shape might be limiting)
Food Prep: 2/10 (blade shape limits it for this purpose)
Skinning/Game Prep: 2/10 (would probably make a good gut hook but that's about it)
Zombie Usefulness: 3/10 (I guess you could hand them the knife and run while they marvel over the orange colors)
Collectability: 8/10 (only 1000 pieces made)