Friday, March 30, 2012

The Fold Over Sweet Spot

Being that I create low rider or fold over style pocket clips for folding knives a lot of people ask me repeated questions. Most of these I try to cover in my info thread on this subject on my forums but one key part about creating the proper fit with fold over style pocket clips is knowing where to fold the clip for the 180 degree bend. More importantly, knowing what the customer expects. Most expect me to bury that knife for them. I try to do that when I can but often things prevent that in the way the particular knife you have is built. Sometimes due to locks for securing the blade such as with the Kershaw Leek in tip up carry, or the lanyard hole or fob on someone's folder that is in the way of where that fold over will be.invading into. These things come up. With Emerson knives in particular there are numerous places I have spoken of my warning to those thinking they want a low rider on their Waved folder. Many don't listen and jump but they don't get it, they don't understand the shift in hand position that will come from this new clip. My clip no only sits differently but the stem is higher, so its covering areas of the knife not covered before by any mounted piece of metal. Some like this shift in position my clips cause and feel its an improvement. Others complain. No one is stuck with my work ever but I tell folks plainly if you miss this its your fault. I have said it time and time again. The low rider causes the knife to sit differently in your pocket so when you go to extract your folder it will mean you are not grasping the knife the same unless you dig deeper to get there. As a result the shift in position once out and particularly with the Waved models, it affects opening in use.

You can't just just pick a spot and guess where to fold a clip. I have to examine it, test it on my own and before they are sold they are given to users to get feedback. I sell what I've been told works. Some of my clips are special. They have special features. You either get it or you don't. Again, for example, my Emerson clips are kinder to pockets, bury the knife, match the blade finish, are built in most all cases so the screws cannot fall out if they losen but must be manually removed so you don't lose them in combat or in the field and some actually complain about all of that when they get them because they get none of it! So as you can see it can sometimes be thankless but I get by as this will cause problems with the fit and being able to use the knife for those actually you know, using the knives not just carrying pocket jewelry! So, I don't just spit out a something clip for no reason. Its been used, feedback has been gained from several people and I judge the success by that.

Sometimes people don't want to mail me the folder they have or they guess at the model. This can be disaster as it can also be if they tell me tip up and it was actually tip down. Don't guess as it either will be such as to be creating a situation where your clip overhangs off the end a great deal or it falls short of even being anywhere near flush when you get it. Now granted each knife is different. Some folks when they order are very specific however I've limited the amount of custom work I will do so only some adjustments are made once a pattern is adopted and feedback says its a go.  Lets look at two common examples in the Griptilian. As many know the full size Grip and Mini Grip as well as the Ritter twins called the RSK (Ritter Survival Knife) are great designs. Wilkin's is a maker who enhanced this model with some pop on replacement scales. Those scales change things a little for both the design of the handle shape at the tail end of the knife and for the proximity of the screws to the end of the handle. For most full size Griptilian models I do the fold over right around 10mm plus or minus. The Wilkins grip is slightly longer at 12mm plus or minus. Most mini Grip models are folded over around 9mm which seems to universally fit a lot of other folders also. To find out the fold over spot what I do is measure as shown and gauge where the optimum spot should be for where to make the bend in my blank.

You can do this yourself and if you are reading here it is likely I've referred you to this link just so you can see the following pictures showing how to measure from the mid line of each of the east and west screws. Although the middle screw is measured here it is not necessary and can be ignored for my needs to do a fold over style clip to work for you. My clips only use two screws. Once I know where to make the fold I can set up the rest with no further help from you. As many know though it will vary as I do use hand tools to do these clips and there is a plus or minus of about a mm either way really. I strive to keep that to a half mm if I can but its very difficult with some models particularly if the fold over is pretty quick and near the mounting plate. Some of the fold overs are nearly on top of the screws and its just dang tough to get my tools in that tight.

Anyway, thought I'd share this since people ask. Thanks

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MicroTech Socom Elite 20CV Manual Action w/ STR Low Rider Clip

Here is a final shot of the clip as it was after final tweaking to thin it down just a bit more getting the edge of the clip a little further away from the spine area. This looked pretty good there sitting with my stuff so I snapped a pic before wrapping it up to send it home. 

Shown above is the Socom Elite manual action with leaf lock and emergency window breaking tool in the form of the carbide protrusion off the end. Click any picture to enlarge.. The liner lock style of this lock is quite unique in that the lock itself is activated by a coil spring or lever spring of some kind I'm not sure without taking it apart and  since this isn't mine I can't very well do that.  The lock is on a pivoting pin secured both through the handle slab and the lock itself as opposed to being a long milled cut and a quick short cut to make a leaf set up with a bend in it to put spring tension in the lock that way. The leaf lock is quite strong from what I can tell but as to how strong only testing could pan that out. I assume it would take quite a bit to shear that pin even in the small number two size which is what it appears to be.  

This customer wanted the folder to be buried. That was quite challenging due to the fact  that the thumb stud is also the stop pin in this design by MicroTech.  I managed to bury the folder all the way in the pocket but the tolerances are quite tight to allow it to stay clear of that thumb stud as the blade rotates opened and closed.  It may be that the stud would clear so long as the clip is not bent in too far but I have seen situations where so many knives have had running changes made to the models that I've found it is best to be sure the clips clear any potential obstacle.  I like this but may be doing some trimming after hearing back from the owner of this knife. 

This shot shows just how close the stud comes. On something like the Kershaw Leek this is also an issue. The last thing you want is the thumb stud banging the clip when you open the blade.  This clip overhangs just enough to bury the folder yet stay down low enough to not get in the way of even the left hand opening the blade. . 

This is the only shot that allows you a view down to see the pin holding the lock in place.
The lock can also be seen in the picture of the clip side with the blade open. Note the shiny silver  piece of metal  just above and to the tail of the pocket clip. The pin runs through that and holds the lock in place in front of a spring also nested snug in the milled out portion of the inside of the handle. When the leaf spring lock closes it works just like a conventional liner or frame lock but it nests inside the milled area on a different spring which makes it completely unique. It would be an interesting side by side test to see which was stronger. A same thickness standard liner lock or this set up here. This one may surprise! This knife was surprisingly dull when it got here today. I've got it biting sharp now though! :-) 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hogue 3.5" EX-01 Folding Knife Riding Low

Seen here is the Hogue 3.5 EX-01 showing the factory clip the owner of this knife wants replaced with a fold over clip using the same hole pattern. .
Click any picture to bring it out to full size and use mouse to  move from one to the next pic.

People have been writing me asking about this knife wanting to know if I could do a clip for one. I could tell looking at pics that it was possible. No one wanted to do without the folder though so I never made one until today when someone finally parted with their folder long enough to allow me to play with one of these for the first time. The clip hole pattern is set up quite well to adapt to a fold over as you can see. I experimented some and yes, I kept the pattern so I should not need the knife again after today. Tip down is a very very tight fold over for this model. I'm not sure I could even fold it to be flush being that the hole proxmity to the edge is so close on that position but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it I guess.

I made two clips here. The first I did was a little thinner at the fold and I made it such that it would really bury the knife in the pocket. The second clip does not quite bury the folder all the way but it is still pretty nicely snug down in the pocket. Both are very comfortable in the hand. Anyway I hope this answers the questions for some wanting to know if this is possible. As you can see I took time to walk you through the process from start to finish. I learned a few things with this folder besides the hole proximity to the end of the handle by having this folder here. I also discovered that the heads of the factory screws stand up way tall to work for a low rider so I replaced those with a couple button head T6 2-56 size Torx screws to let the clip slide over the pocket rim a lot easier. Those and the original clip will go back in a baggy with the folder.

The folder shown here is nice. I like the feel of it. I feel better about this button lock than others I've seen. It has a lock for the lock which is a very good thing with button locks. Its lighter than it looks in my opinion and it has a tip heavy feel in the hand due to the lighter weight of the handle and build.The clip secures by brass inserts that are threaded. It is worth mention that those can cross thread pretty easily if one is not careful so it is advised to be alert when starting a screw to put your clip back on.

First thing I did was of course lay out the original clip on my sheet of titanium. Once I traced that I had a pattern to play with some and this allows me to stay with the same feel of the original by using the original as a design template so to speak to create a new clip design in the form of a low rider. Of course one could do any number of things with this much width to work with so if one wanted it would be just as easy to thin it down for width to where it almost looked like a Para 2 clip but I thought it best for simplicity sake to try to stick with the feel of what Allen originally created with his own custom clip for the model. Besides the hole pattern is spaced such that you can make the clip a little wider so why not?

Well, thanks for stopping by guys. Enjoy and if you are interested in speaking with me about one of my custom made clips see here

 or email me at

This is a profile shot of the factory clip shown bottom and top on the  Hogue

Hogue presentation side. 

Here we have my titanium and traced pattern of the factory clip

Here I've redesigned the mount and will take into account for the fold over so we have to make it a little longer

I could add more than this but my goal is for a final size of around a 2" to 2.125" long clip overall

Shown above here is the factory clip right with my two slightly longer blanks for this first set of clips for the Hogue EX-01

Looks like the distance from the mid point of both screw holes to the end of the handle is 9mm for tip up carry for the Hogue EX-01 3.5. For tip down carry the distance is 5 mm and it is very difficult for me to fold over closer than 6 mm usually drifting them more toward 7 mm due to my tools and the size of the jaws.  

Still hot from the torch after the fold over for the 180

Now we clean it up some. 

Just about 2" on the dot for this clip shown here before bead blasting.

Now we have to cut some new custom length screws. This is a quick and easy way to zip it off quick using a thin kerf cut off disc, and a sheet of thin brass picked up at Hobby Lobby and drilled with number 48 holes which were then threaded by me to allow me to hold screws just for this reason. 

Here we see the new black screws after cutting off the excess. Now we flatten those off some and remove any burr

Now bad for taking this myself hoping to hit it good enough to work huh? 

One more shot for the first attempt before bead blasting

Here we have clip number one completed and installed on the folder after bead blasting it all over
  Clip number two went along quite well after getting warmed up. Of the two I tend to like the ones with less overhang but it seems 90% of my customers would zero in the one that buries the knife so its personal pref as to which you prefer. These type handle designs with the slant or gentle curve such as that seen on the Delica 4 make it difficult to allow the clip to rise up far enough before doing the 180 degree fold over to actually bury the folder in the pocket. Hope that makes sense.

Now we're off to the races to do it all again. I may thin this one a bit more before I'm done with it. 

Skipping all the other parts I show what we have here for the two completed clips. 

Shown here is clip number two mounted on the folder. 

Side profile of a low rider is always a bit taller but surprisingly  they are comfortable in most grips. 

Another shot looking down on the spine 

And the finished product in clip number two shown here after some refinement to better flush the fold over to the handle and clean up the mount plate. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Para Military 2 by Spyderco Knives

My number one request for pocket clips is the Para Military 2. The Para Military original model and the Military have always been very popular for me but this model here since it arrived on the market has literally taken over a lot of pockets if the amount of requests I get for clips is any indication. While I love the fact that the two models of this knife that I own have basically paid for themselves allowing me to fashion clips for users the fact is I'd have bought this knife even if this was not the case. My feelings about this particular folder by Spyderco are that it is the most complete and well thought out folder Spyderco has ever produced. I'll be perfectly honest with you about this lock. I don't like the compression lock all that much. I have no reason for this other than just personal preference but you cannot argue that it has many advantages for strength and reliability over the liner lock many trust. Over the time I've owned this model I have actually grown quite used to the compression lock and do find it to be very much something that can be adapted to if one is patient. I doubt it will ever rank with frame locks or the Triad lock for me but I am comfortable giving it third place with the original Dodo style ball lock coming in at number 4 for me. This is just my own personal pref as I find I rate all these locks above the button lock, the liner lock, the axis lock and most others being offered for myself. 

As you can see looking at this knife I do unique clips with no two ever the same. This is something I ask of my customers in that I like having artistic license to let my creativity flow. I will however work with folks if they see a pic and want that. This Para Military 2 model with the beefier hardware and screws, the refined bushing action of the pivot, the cleaner well thought out design and placement of everything including the pocket clip and lanyard as well as the overall design of the larger handle for bigger hands all come together in such a way here that anyone that handles one has to say WOW that feels great! The hand loves a Spyderco and above all else the hand trumps the eyes when it comes to use. I mean lets be serious you can't expect to make any long term commitment with a new partner in life if that partner is one that doesn't pass the 'hug test' now can you? 
Everything from the screws and hardware used to the position of the pocket clip has been well thought out here. The pocket clip is such that in the hand it all but disappears perhaps better than any other model I can think of in recent years. 

In the hand is where Spyderco really shines and in this case the Para Military 2 model may actually raise the bar a tad higher. In fact if you ask users and fans of Spyderco knives you hear time and again about how some users didn't even care for the way the knife they bought looked at all. The term 'fugly ugly' has been used to describe Spyderco by some for many years but you often times cannot really even appreciate the Spyderco experience until you pick up one of the Spyderco knives and wrap your hand around it. For most this is the deal maker right there! You cannot deny it fits the hand and this seems to be the case with one knife after another produced by this company. Add that to a fine warranty, the best forums available from any manufacture so you can actually talk to the people within the company if you like and sometimes even the man behind it all himself and you have a very good reason to look seriously at the Spyderco product line. They get a fair amount of my knife money each year I can tell you that.  Combine all this with a company that knows the definition of sharpness, the proper use and application of blade geometry geared toward the best steels and optimum heat treatment available and you understand why guys like myself often times pick Spyderco for what goes in our own pockets. 

The Spyderco Para Military 2 refines precision high performance cutting excellence in such a way here with this model that one cannot help but say it has to be among the best knives to consider for  those trying to decide which knives to purchase. If made in the USA is something you are looking for this would certainly be in my top three suggestions for anyone at this writing. 

You have here a model available in a host of the latest and greatest blade steels, handle materials, and color options. All this comes together in such a way that it is hard once you look at this model to find one configuration you could not live with quite happily. Spyderco goes above and beyond for blade grind and optimization of cutting and edge performance. In my experience Spyderco has always set the standard for 'sharp' in this industry which is why many looking to buy a knife on the forums use terms such as 'Spydie edge' or ask questions when looking to buy a used knife like, 'is it Spyderco sharp?'  To most knife nuts we relate to that instantly because it would be a rare occurrence indeed to purchase a Spyderco that did not come biting sharp! I've bought some from other companies that were shipped to me with no bevel at all! Oh yeah! You'd be shocked who too trust me!

Anyway, I'm way late entering this on my blogger. You guys kept me hopping last year with clips and pry bars. Thanks to you and guys like you that are interested in my craft and my increasing exposure I have manged to keep my head above water for the first time in 2011 where I actually made some money. It has been nice being able to develop this niche I've created for myself in the market. The fact that I was able to do it and play with something I've always been passionate about, knives, makes it that much greater for me and that much more the reason that I love you guys showing interest in what I produce. Please know that I thank each and every one of you for your part in allowing me to do what I love doing out of my own home shop. For 2012, for you my customers,  it is my goal to continue to try to enhance your folding knives with my custom fit ti pocket clips made to order and to provide a useful pocket or key ring tool to those needing or wanting one. These two items are all I focus on now and things have grown such that this is now possible for me to do that. 

So, with that said, I hope to continue to learn and grow working to make my customers happy in a manner consistent with maintaining my reputation for good communication, prompt courteous service with as fast a ship out of your completed orders for your EDC folders as is humanly possible. I pray that our economy and our current turmoil in the world will begin to wind down so we all can continue our relationships this way . Love and light to all of you. Thanks so much for a record 2011. I look forward to helping you feel better about your folders in 2012 and beyond.  Should any of you need me you can email me at with your questions.