Mule Team, Micro-Melt PD#1
What is a Mule?
In the English language the term mule has multiple definitions: There’s the obvious equine reference being the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. It can be a coin minted from two dies by mistake and the auto industry refers to their test vehicles as a mules. Spyderco also calls knife models designed and built for testing and evaluation Mules. When a group of these are brought together they make a team of mules, thus the name of this knife series: The Mule Team. Knife and steel-devotees love trying out new blade steels. Spyderco leads the industry in offering, testing and manufacturing knives using new and exotic blade steels. Taking that idea a step up, why not offer a series (team) of blades using different, exotic and freshly unveiled steels? In doing this steel-obsessed knife knuts can try, test and use something normally not offered to the industry.
What is the Spyderco Mule Team?
The Mule team project was created as a simple, inexpensive venue for “steel junkies” to have an opportunity to test different blade steels themselves. Each run will have a different interesting steel. Each run will have the same pattern, a fixed blade with a full tang. Each run will have the same thickness, grind, edge and will be heat treated to the optimal hardness for that steel. The blade is leaf-shaped with a sharpened and finished PlainEdge blade, but with an unfinished handles providing some a do-it-yourself opportunity. The unfinished handle has a series of holes for attaching a custom handle or for wrapping in cord. No handle, scales or sheath are provided. This not only saves you funds, but gives you the opportunity to make (or have made) custom handles and sheaths.
How many and how often will they be released?
Spyderco’s plan is to release several variations per year using the same fixed blade pattern produced with different exotic steels. Each steel offering is limited to approximately 600 pieces and engraved indicating the steel used. Variations are priced accordingly with the only cost variable being the steel itself.
Spyderco’s twenty-seventh Mule Team installment features Carpenter Technology’s Micro-Melt PD#1 alloy—an air-hardening cold-work die steel that has superior wear resistance over conventional grades such as AISI D2, while still maintaining excellent toughness and possessing the compressive strength required for resistance to deformation in tooling applications. PD#1 possesses an extremely fine microstructure (fine, uniform carbide distribution) and uniform carbide distribution resulting from the CarTech Micro-Melt powder metal process. Collectively, these qualities give it a unique combination of wear resistance and toughness that make it ideal for use as a blade steel.