MT Mule Team

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Spyderco’s Mule Team series offers the same fixed-blade knife pattern in many different steel variations. This ongoing project allows steel-obsessed knife enthusiasts an opportunity to test and evaluate different steels using the same identical design platform. Mule Team blades are purposely sold without handles or sheaths to make them more affordable and to give our customers the freedom to finish them to suit their personal preferences.

Appearance in catalogs

The Mule Team knives were not listed in the Spyderco product catalog, until the relaunch of the Mule Team project in 2020:

Designer

Sal Glesser [1]

History, mentionings from the forums, etc.

We are testing with a Military as the Mule. It would seem from your comments that a Delica would be a more effective mule?[2]


Last year, I was toying with the idea of making "mules" out of different steels for knife nuts. They could be cut out from a planned pattern such as a Dodo (very ergonomic) with a 2.5" - 3" warncliffe shape blade, ground (hollow or flat), tumbled, stamped with the steel and sold at a low price, factory direct to provide the "mule" to those steel snobs interested. No sheath, no handle, just a slab of steel. We can start to play with this for the future but I don't think that I could squeeze in the project at this time. I'm "on the road" until early April with back to back trips. [3]


  • Spyderco Mule Team Details, this Spyderco forum thread is likely the formal start of the Mule Team project, posted by forum moderator TazKristi.
  • Mule Study Methodology (Continued), a thread discussing various methods and approaches to testing the different steels in Mule Team knives, posted by forum member Bolster.
  • Making a Kydex Sheath (step-by-step), a forum discussion and tutorial on how to create a kydex sheath for a Mule Team knife, posted by forum member Xplorer.
  • Show your Mule, a photo gallery of Mule Team knives, made by members of the Spyderco online discussion forum, posted by forum member Brad S..
  • On 21 January 2021, the Spyderco Mule Team Discussion Forum was created to be the central hub for sharing feedback, discussing projects and sharing photos of Mule Team knives.[4]

Information from the Spyderco website

Mule Team Project

In the knife industry a “mule” is a sample knife used for performance testing. Spyderco’s Mule Team series takes this concept a step further by offering the same fixed-blade knife pattern in many different steel variations. This ongoing project allows steel-obsessed knife enthusiasts a unique opportunity to test and evaluate different steels using the same identical design platform.

Mule Team blades are purposely sold without handles or sheaths to make them as affordable as possible and to give our customers the freedom to finish them to suit their personal preferences. The easiest way to do this is with the pre-made handle scales and sheaths sold here and at Spyderco’s Factory Outlet store. Our scale kit can be installed in a matter of minutes with two T-8 Torx wrenches. Once the scales are in place, the finished knife fits perfectly into the custom-molded Boltaron® or beautifully crafted leather sheaths we also offer.[5]


Variations

SKU Edge Steel Rc hardness Release date MSRP Note Number made Grind Collectors club
MT01P PE 52100 62 [6] Nov. 2007 $39.95 23 pieces are factory stonewashed. Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~600 Full Flat grind Main
MT2ND PE 52100 62 Nov. 2007 $36.00 Factory Seconds. Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel. N/A Full Flat grind /
MT02P PE CPM-M4 62.5 [7] Sep. 2008 $69.95 Suffered from minor blade warping. Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel (followed by the Bradley folder about a year later). ~600[8] Full Flat grind Variant
MT2ND PE CPM-M4 62.5 Sep. 2008 $64.95 Factory Seconds. Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel (followed by the Bradley folder about a year later). ~600[9] Full Flat grind Variant
MT03P PE CPM-S90V 59 [10] Feb. 2009 $69.95 Made in Golden, CO. Not the first appearance of this steel in a Spyderco knife (used in a Military sprint in 2008). ~600 Full Flat grind Variant
MT3ND PE CPM-S90V 59 Feb. 2009 $64.95 Factory Seconds. Made in Golden, CO. Not the first appearance of this steel in a Spyderco knife (used in a Military sprint in 2008). ~700[11] Full Flat grind Variant
MT04P PE ZDP-189 65-67 [12][13] Jul. 2009 $79.95 Recalled due to cracking[14]. Analysis of the ZDP-189 Mule discovered that it was not fixable with a re-temper[15]. Made in Seki-City, Japan. Not the first time this steel has been used in a Spyderco knife. ~500[16] Full Flat grind Variant
MT05P PE 9Cr18Mo 59[17] Oct. 2009 $20.00 Reports of blade warping. Made in China. First Spyderco offered in this steel (was used later in a Catbyrd Ti sprint). 1000 [18] Full Flat grind Variant
MT06P PE CPM-S35VN ~59 Jan. 2010 $64.95 Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel (would be used as the base steel in the Native 5 the following year). ~500[19] Full Flat grind Variant
MT07P PE D.P.S. 15 Damascus / VG-10 N/A Oct. 2010 $84.95 Made in Seki-City, Japan. First Spyderco offered in this steel (though would appear in subsequent Delica/Endura/Caly3 variations). ~600[20] Full Flat grind Variant
MT08P PE Aogami Super Blue ~62[21] Dec. 2010 $79.95 Made in Seki-City, Japan. First Spyderco offered in this steel (later offered in solid SB Caly 3/3.5 sprints, and clad sprints of the Ladybug/Manbug/Dragonfly 2/Delica/Endura/Stretch). ~600 [22] Full Flat grind Variant
MT09P PE Cobalt Special SUS420J2 N/A Mar. 2011 $84.95 The Cobalt steel is clad between two layers of 420J. This "san mai" (three-layer) construction provides great strength because the outer layers provide support for the hard core. Made in Japan. First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~600[23] Full Flat grind Variant
MT10P PE CTS-BD1 ~57[24] Jun. 2010 $69.95 Made in Golden, CO. The UK Penknife came out in this steel the same year, but I'm not sure if they were released before or after the Mule. ~500[25] Full Flat grind Variant
MT11P PE Böhler Uddeholm M390 ~59/61[26] Jun. 2011 $74.95 Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel (later offered in various sprint runs beginning with the Bento Box Shop PM2). ~600[27] Full Flat grind Variant
MT12P PE Cru-Wear ~62[28] Sept. 2011

Jan. 2012

$59.95 Recalled due to improper heat treat. Subsequent heat treat fixed problem. Of the initial run of 600, only ~450 were resold after the recall[29]. Re-treated Mules can be recognized by the underlined word Cruwear. This is the first Mule Team made out of a tool steel. Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel (a Military sprint followed two years later, and then a Manix 2 sprint after that). ~800[30] Full Flat grind Variant
MT13P PE Elmax ~58/60[31] Feb. 2012 $64.95 Made in Golden, CO. The LionSpy and this Mule were both released Feb 2012 and were the first Spyderco knives in this steel. ~500[32] Full Flat grind Variant
MT14P PE CTS-204P CANCELLED Was originally planned for production and announced in the Spyderbyte email, but never released. Initially 127 pieces were made, but due to quality problems the entire batch was trashed.[33] At least one purported knife made it out into the wild, possibly one of the "destroyed" knives that somebody smuggled out and sold. 0 Full Flat grind Variant
MT15P PE CTS-B75P 62.5[34] Sept. 2012 $74.95 Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~400[35] Full Flat grind Variant
MT16P PE CTS-XHP ~60.3[36] Dec. 2012 $59.95 Made in Golden, CO. XHP was used in a Manix 2 sprint almost two years prior, a Military a year and a half prior, as well as some other models. ~700[37] Full Flat grind Variant
MTXHP PE CTS-XHP ~60.3 Dec. 2012 $49.95 There are some MT16P Mules that have a blemish from grinding that will also be made available at a discounted price of $49.95 each. These will NOT be notched. Blemishes vary so please be advised that the SFO crew cannot hand pick or inspect individually prior to shipment of your order. The discounted CTS-XHP Mules will be under the model # MTXHP. Made in Golden, CO. XHP was used in a Manix 2 sprint almost two years prior, a Military a year and a half prior, as well as some other models. Full Flat grind /
MT17P PE K390 62/64[38][39] Jul. 2013 $69.95 Made in Golden, CO. First Spyderco offered in this steel just under 700[40] Full Flat grind Variant
MT18P PE CPM-S110V 60/61[41] Feb. 2014 $89.95 Made in Taichung, Taiwan. The 2013 Spyderco Forum Native first used S110V about six months before this Mule. ~800 [42] Full Flat grind Variant
MT19P PE PSF27 N/A Aug. 2014 $79.95 Made in Taichung, Taiwan. First Spyderco offered in this steel (would be used as the standard steel on the Bradley Bowie about 8 months later). ~800 [43] Full Flat grind Variant
MT20P PE CTS-B70P N/A Mar. 2015 $79.95 Made in Taichung, Taiwan. First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~800 [44] Full Flat grind Variant
MT21P PE CPM-4V N/A Oct. 2015 $69.95 Made in Taichung, Taiwan. First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~700 [45] Full Flat grind Variant
MT22P PE RWL34 61-62 Apr. 2016 $69.95 Made in Taichung, Taiwan. First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~800 [46] Full Flat grind Variant
MT23P PE CPM-20CV N/A Dec. 2016 $69.95 First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~700 [47] Full Flat grind Variant
MT24P PE Maxamet 67-68[48] Aug. 2016 $109.95 First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~700 [49] Full Flat grind Variant
MT25P PE LC200N Apr. 2017 $69.95 ~800 [50] Full Flat grind Variant
MT26P PE PMA11 (Micro-Melt A11) 63[51] Aug. 2017 $69.95 First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~700 [52] Full Flat grind Variant
MT27P PE Micro-Melt PD1 Oct. 2017 $69.95 First Spyderco offered in this steel. ~800 [53] Full Flat grind Variant
MT28P PE CPM SPY27 2020 $50.00 Uses new steel designed specifically for Spyderco. ~500 [54] Full Flat grind Variant
MT29 PE Z-Max PM Not yet released $50.00 Z-Max PM is an ultra-high-performance powder metallurgy tool steel enriched with vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum, cobalt, and two percent carbon. Capable of being heat treated to extreme hardness, it offers exceptional wear resistance and edge holding properties. Limited Full Flat grind Variant
MT30P PE Z-WEAR PM Not yet released $50.00 (2021) Z-WEAR PM it offers wear resistance superior to A2 and D2 tool steels while providing increased

toughness and resistance to chipping.

Limited Full Flat grind Variant
MT31 PE CPM S45VN 2021 $50.00 (2021) Crucible® Industries created CPM S35VN™ for the cutlery industry, and formulated it to provide increased toughness over CPM S30V while maintaining the same level of edge retention. CPM S45VN takes that development a step further, adding Niobium and Nitrogen in place of some Vanadium and Carbon to provide a more finely tuned balance of edge retention, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. ~500 [55] Full Flat grind Variant

Most collectible variation

Either one of the MT01P factory stonewashed or the MT01P with Collectors club markings is believed to be the most collectible.


Questions regarding collecting the Mule Team

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 our new knife release: 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?

Spyderco’s Mule Team officially launches with a single-piece fixed blade pattern. The blade is leaf-shaped with a sharpened and finished PlainEdge blade but with an unfinished handle 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. All Mule Team Pieces are sold without handle scales or a carry sheath focusing the project on the blade steel and opening the door for the owner to create his/her own handle scale and carry options.


How many and how often will they be released?

Our 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. Prices will be announced prior to the release of the upcoming model.


How can I buy them?

All purchases are handled through Spyderco Factory Outlet (SFO). When a new Mule Team knife is offered, it can be ordered via the Spyderco website."


How are the Mule team knives offered to members of Collectors club?

If you are a Collector, the Mule Team is included as a new model and the first offering (MT01 in 52100) will be sent to the Dealer that you normally purchase your Collector knives through. Your Dealer will receive a letter explaining the program, its purpose and how we envision it moving forward. We have asked our Dealers to honor the spirit of the program and if they are unable to, we've asked that they return the knife to us so you will be able to purchase your numbered knife through SFO.

If you are a Collector who receives all variants, you will be given the option to sign up for all or none of the future Mule Team variants when you receive the first model (MT01). If you choose to sign up for all variations of the Mule Team, all future models of the Mule Team will be handled directly through SFO. This is to not place a burden on our Dealers and maintain our vision of this program.

If you are not a Collector and would like to purchase a Mule Team knife, you will be able to do so through our site. As originally stated, there will only be a Net Price. This will guarantee that you are able to acquire the models in this program at the most affordable price. We will offer these through our normal distribution chain of Distributors and Dealers in lots of 2 each at the same price. Pricing will vary from one variation to another and will primarily be dependent on the steel used.

If you are not a Collector who chooses to receive all variants of the Mule Team, purchases will be one model at a time with no commitment to future models. You purchase only those that interest you.

Sales are on a first come first served basis. Once the quantity made is sold out, that variation will be gone. We will initially set a maximum allowed of 2 pieces per person/address, but we do reserve the right to change this limit at any time. If you are a collector these 2 pieces are in addition to your collector numbered piece.[56]


Technical information

Typically measurements (mm and grams) of the Mule Team:

Length overall Hole Ø Blade length Cutting edge Blade thickness Weight
194 mm 8.5 mm 84 mm 84 mm 3 mm ~76 g

Typically measurements (inches and ounces) of the Mule Team:

Length overall Hole Ø Blade length Cutting edge Blade thickness Weight
7 5/8" 21/64" 3 5/16" 3 5/16" 1/8" ~2.7 oz.


Pictures

The MT31 Spyderco Mule Team knife in CPM-S45VN Steel.
The MTGBK Mule Team Black G-10 Handle set.
The MTLSH Mule Team Leather Sheath.
The MTSH Mule Team Boltaron Sheath.

References

  1. Sal Glesser's original comment can be found on Spyderco-Forums [1]
  2. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Sal Glesser refers to the C36 Military as a Mule to test new steels
  3. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Spyderco Forum discussion: Sal Glesser discusses his first idea about a future Mule Team project
  4. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Welcome to the Mule Team Sub-Forum!
  5. The Mule Team Project page on Spyderco's website
  6. MT01 Rc on product description page [2]
  7. MT02 Rc test [3]
  8. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  9. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  10. MT03 Rc test [4]
  11. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  12. MT04 Rc goal mentioned by Sal here.
  13. MT04 Rc test [5]
  14. MT04 ZDP-189 recall [6]
  15. MT04 ZDP-189 recall follow-up [7]
  16. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  17. MT05 Rc test [8]
  18. MT05 production quantity here.
  19. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  20. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  21. MT08 Hc test [9].
  22. MT08 production quantity here.
  23. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  24. MT10 Rc test [10]
  25. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  26. MT11 Rc test [11]
  27. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  28. MT12 Rc test [12].
  29. MT12 production quantity here.
  30. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  31. MT13 Rc test [13].
  32. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  33. Details in Sal Glessers post.[14]
  34. MT15 Rc test [15].
  35. MT15 production quantity [16].
  36. MT16 Rc test [17].
  37. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  38. MT17 Rc test [18].
  39. MT17 Rc test [19].
  40. MT17 production quantity [20].
  41. MT18 Rc test [21].
  42. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  43. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  44. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  45. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  46. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  47. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  48. MT24 Rc hardness [22]
  49. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  50. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  51. MT26 Rc hardness [23]
  52. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  53. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  54. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  55. Spyderco Forum discussion thread: Past Mule Teams.
  56. The entire thread containing the whole comment can be found here.


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