Custom knifemakers seem to introduce most knife innovations, which are then emulated by factory knife companies. Not so with custom pocket clips. BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member Sal Glesser popularized knives with pocket clips in his Spyderco production line, and custom knifemakers took their cue from him. As a result, today’s custom pocket clips might well be called “Sal’s Pals.”
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Spyderco offered its first knife with a pocket clip—and also the company’s trademarked blade opening hole—in 1981 when it introduced the Worker model. Spyderco also popularized serrations on sporting folding knives.
The fact that custom knifemakers adopted the pocket clip, as did factory knife companies everywhere, should come as no surprise. For one thing, the clip’s abilities to attach a closed folding knife to the lip of your pocket rather than having the knife bang around in the bottom of it with car keys, coins, etc., and to make it much easier to retrieve are eminently practical. In addition, Spyderco has offered many factory/custom collaborations—knives designed by custom knifemakers and then reproduced by a company, in this case Spyderco. The first of these was in the early 1990s—the C15 designed by Bob Terzuola, which, of course, also had the blade hole and a pocket clip.
Today’s custom versions of the pocket clip run the gamut, including long ones, short ones, tall ones, round, anodized ones, rose gold ones and more.
For instance, Michael Zieba won Best New Maker at the 2016 BLADE Show for his S2 standard and mini models with serpentine titanium pocket clips finished in rose gold.
On the other end of the scale is Lucas Burnley’s Asian-style folder with a very short skeletonized clip, while Butch Ball offers trailing-point damascus clips on his pearl-handle folders. Craig Camerer presents a long, curved clip in mokuti on his damascus folding knife, while Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame member Ken Onion opts for a short, cross-hatched clip on one style of his folders.
These are but a few of today’s custom knifemakers who took their cue from Sal Glesser and his utilitarian pocket clip. Hey, if you’re going to emulate someone, emulate the best.
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