Mule Team, Cru-Wear
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 twelfth Mule Team Project installment features American-made steel called Cru-Wear. Upstate New York’s Crucible Steel manufacturers Cru-Wear as their version of Teledyne Vasco’s, long discontinued, Vascowear. Cru-Wear is a high-performance non-stainless tool steel “designed as an upgrade to D2 (and M2), it offers better wear resistance, greater toughness and higher attainable hardness.” Cru-Wear exhibits exceptional toughness, impact resistance and hardness for exceptional edge retention and is the first tool steel offering in Spyderco’s Mule Team Series. The Cru-Wear Mule is a limited 500-piece run with a sharpened PlainEdge cutting edge and it’s sold without handle scales or a carry sheath, focusing the project on the steel. Leaving the knife handle unfinished opens creative possibilities for designing custom handle scales or handle wrappings and carry options. Pre-drilled holes in the handle allow for attaching scales or whatever the imagination creates.