To truly understand and appreciate knives, it helps to understand the rich history of their evolution. To do that, we must also give proper credit to the innovative minds that fueled it. That noble cause is what Spyderco's Sage Series is all about.
Spyderco created the Sage Series to recognize the groundbreaking innovations that have shaped the knife industry, specifically the form and function of the modern folding knife. Every knife in this remarkable family follows the same basic design parameters—a full-flat-ground, leaf-shaped blade, an ergonomic handle design with textured forefinger choil and thumb ramp, and a reversible tip-up wire clip. What makes them unique, however, is that each Sage model highlights a specific lock mechanism and pays homage to the visionary knifemaker or designer who invented it. The knives in the Sage Series also support a very worthy cause, as a portion of the sales of every knife is donated to the Colorado Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
The first knife in the Sage Series was the Sage 1, which recognized custom knifemaker Michael Walker's revolutionary Linerlock mechanism. This elegantly simple lock had a profound impact on contemporary folding knife design and is still one of the most popular locks in the knife industry. Although Walker is not widely known or credited as its inventor, Spyderco's Sage 1 publicly acknowledged this fact and also recognized him for the ball bearing detent he later developed for it.
Introduced in 2008, the original Sage 1 had lightweight twill carbon fiber/G10 laminate scales, skeletonized full stainless steel liners, and an open-backed construction that reduced weight and allowed for easy cleaning. Its full-flat-ground, satin-finished blade was precision machined from Crucible CPM S30V stainless steel and featured a fully accessible Trademark Round Hole. Although the knife's Linerlock favored right-handed operation, the easily accessed blade hole and reversible deep-pocket wire clip made it very friendly to left-handed users as well.
Stylish, practical, and the perfect size for convenient everyday carry, the Sage 1 remained in production for more than a decade. In fact, it distinguished itself as one of the most popular members of the Sage Series, outlasting subsequent Sage models showcasing Chris Reeves' Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L., aka frame lock), Blackie Collins' Bolt-Action Lock, and the forward-positioned back lock developed by Harvey McBurnette, Dick Dorough and W.T. Fuller. Despite its longevity, in 2019, the original Sage 1 was discontinued—not because interest in it had waned, but to pave the way for a new direction in the evolution of the Sage Series.
Sage 1 Maxamet
All Sage models are expertly manufactured by Spyderco's maker in Taiwan. To take full advantage of the incredible quality of their craftsmanship, Spyderco has always made the extra investment to ship American-made steel to them. In the case of the Sage Series, that steel has traditionally been CPM S30V, a particle metallurgy stainless steel that still sets a strong standard in the knife industry. To raise the bar even higher, Spyderco decided it was time to showcase more exotic US-made steels—and the reintroduction of the Sage 1 was the perfect place to start.
This version of the Sage 1 is completely faithful to the original as far as its size, form, and function, but its blade is crafted from Carpenter Technology's Micro-Melt Maxamet. This extraordinary material is a super-hard high-speed powdered tool steel enriched with cobalt, vanadium, and tungsten, as well as more than two percent carbon. Its sophisticated alloy mix gives it properties that transcend conventional tool steels and approach those of cemented carbides—the ultra-hard materials used to machine other steels.
Carpenter developed Maxamet specifically for use in the rollers of their state-of-the-art steel rolling mills. Rolling and shaping red hot steel demands a material that is incredibly hard and tough and can retain those properties at extremely high temperatures. Maxamet's advanced composition allows it to meet those challenges and gives it qualities that offer extraordinary potential when used in other applications—like knife blades. When Carpenter first developed this remarkable alloy, they sent samples to various companies in the knife industry to evaluate as a blade steel. Although many tried, Spyderco was one of only a handful of companies to successfully develop the specialized methods needed to machine, heat treat, and grind this demanding material to produce reliable, high-performance knife blades. Currently, Spyderco's American factory leads the industry in the production of knives featuring Maxamet blades. Spyderco has also shared their hard-won wisdom with their Taiwan manufacturing facility to enable them to use Maxamet in the painstakingly crafted knives produced.
The primary benefits of Maxamet as a blade steel are its high carbide volume, extreme wear resistance, and ability to achieve a very high hardness while remaining reasonably tough. In use, this translates to superior edge retention and good working toughness. Although it does contain a significant amount of chromium, Maxamet's chromium content falls well short of a stainless steel, so it must be maintained properly and can be expected to patina with time.
In keeping with Spyderco's tradition of pairing exotic blade materials with signature handle colors, the Sage 1 Maxamet proudly features cool gray scales machined from peel-ply-textured G10. They are supported by the full stainless steel liners that form the foundation of the knife's Linerlock mechanism and are home to a deep-pocket wire clip that is reversible for ambidextrous tip-up carry.
The Sage 1 Maxamet continues to acknowledge one of the most significant and influential inventions in folding knife history, and Michael Walker, the man behind it. At the same time, it ushers in a new era in the evolution of the Sage Series—and a whole new set of possibilities.
- Blade Length: 3.00" (76 mm)
- Cutting Edge: 2.63" (67 mm)
- Closed Length: 4.17" (106 mm)
- Overall Length: 7.13" (181 mm)
- Blade Material: Maxamet Tool Steel
- Blade Thickness: 0.118" (3.0 mm)
- Blade Style: Leaf Shaped
- Blade Grind: Full Flat
- Blade Finish: Satin
- Handle Material: Cool Gray FRN
- Liner Material: Stainless Steel
- Locking Mechanism: Liner Lock
- Pocket Clip: Stainless Steel Wire (Tip-Up, Right/Left Carry)
- Weight: 3.3 oz. (94 g)
- Made in Taiwan