As its name implies, the Lil’ Temperance 3 is the third-generation expression of this remarkable folding knife design. A shining example of Spyderco’s passion for Constant Quality Improvement (C.Q.I.), to truly appreciate the qualities that make this knife so special, it helps to explore the rich history of its predecessors.
The original Lil’ Temperance was designed by Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser to distill the high-performance characteristics of his iconic Temperance™ fixed blade into a pocket-friendly folding knife. Like the Temperance, he envisioned the Lil’ Temperance as both a full-service utility tool and a potential personal-defense weapon. It therefore had to offer extreme cutting performance, exceptional structural strength, and highly refined ergonomics that supported its martial application. Introduced in 2001, the Lil’ Temperance accomplished all these things with distinctive style. It featured a full-flat-ground leaf-shaped blade crafted from CPM® 440V particle metallurgy stainless steel. The blade had a very minimal ricasso (the unbeveled portion of the blade nearest the handle) to maximize the length of the cutting edge while keeping the overall blade length to just over three inches. Its Trademark Round Hole™ was fully accessible from either side to support swift one-handed opening with either hand.
The Lil’ Temperance’s blade was supported by Spyderco’s patented Compression Lock™ mechanism. Glesser insisted that the lock be “Martial Blade Craft (MBC) rated,” which meant that it had to withstand at least 200 inch pounds of pressure per inch of blade length. The Compression Lock easily achieved this standard and its location on the spine of the handle made one-handed closing of the knife safe and simple. The stainless steel liners that formed the framework of the lock were nested within 3-D-machined green G-10 handle scales. The top surface of the peel-ply G-10 near the upper perimeter of the handle featured a non-slip, checkered texture, while the remainder of each scale was precision machined to create a thinner, smoother shelf. At the bottom of this shelf, along the centerline of the handle, were three concave “divots” that aligned with matching holes in the knife’s clip. Each of these index points served as an axis for the thumb and index or middle finger that allowed the knife to be quickly spun from standard grip to reverse grip—a technique used in some systems of martial knife use. The Lil’ Temperance’s clip was also unique in that its edges were folded 90 degrees to reduce the contact surface on the pocket and promote a smoother draw. It was configured for right side tip-up or tip-down carry and its design was refined several times during the knife’s active production.
In addition to the Lil’ Temperance’s leaf-shaped blade, Spyderco also made a version of the knife with an upswept, trailing-point blade reminiscent of a classic Bowie knife. Billed the Lil’ Temperance 2, it was also initially made with CPM 440V blade steel. Later, both versions were switched to CPM S30V and offered with a choice of PlainEdge™ or fully serrated SpyderEdge™ cutting edges. Manufactured at Spyderco’s U.S. factory in Golden, Colorado, the Lil’ Temperance and Lil’ Temperance 2 were ultimately discontinued in the mid 2000’s.
Today, interest in these designs remains high and original examples of both versions are highly prized by collectors. Based on this near cult-like following, Spyderco decided to update and reintroduce the design in a leaner, simpler form that takes full advantage of our current state-of-the-art manufacturing methods.
The Lil’ Temperance 3 still boasts the unmistakably classic lines of the original, but in a leaner, simpler form. Its broad, leaf-shaped blade is full-flat ground from CPM S30V particle metallurgy stainless steel to give it an incredible balance of strength, edge geometry, corrosion resistance, and low-friction cutting performance. The iconic Trademark Round Hole™ is fully accessible from both sides to support swift, ambidextrous, one-handed opening and a strategically placed section of jimping (textured grooves) on the thumb ramp provides a positive thumb purchase for enhanced control during use.
Like its predecessors, the Til’ Temperance 3 employs Spyderco’s patented Compression Lock™ mechanism to lock the blade securely open during use. Built on a foundation of skeletonized stainless steel liners, this high-strength lock is nested into CNC-machined recesses in the handle’s textured G-10 scales. This advanced, open-backed handle design reduces overall weight, simplifies cleaning, and keeps this amazingly capable knife thin and pocket friendly.
True to the design’s original spirit as a potential personal-defense tool, it includes a single indexing “divot” in each handle scale. These divots align precisely with the concave portion of the knife’s four-position pocket clip to provide a handy pivot axis for grip-change maneuvers. The clip itself has been updated to Spyderco’s time-tested hourglass design and can be easily configured for either left or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry.
The Lil’ Temperance 3 is an extremely versatile knife that is ideal for everything from casual utilitarian use to life-saving personal defense. It honors its proud heritage while advancing the state of the art of its design to even higher levels of performance.