Spyderco byte July 2024 - EDGE-U-CATION - Changing the Position of Your Pocket Clip

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Spyderco byte July 2024 - EDGE-U-CATION​

Changing the Position of Your Pocket Clip​

When Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser first put a pocket clip on a folding knife in 1981, he changed the world. He quite literally defined the form of the modern clip-carry, one-hand-opening pocketknife that so many take for granted today. But he and Spyderco didn’t stop there.

While early Spyderco knives only offered a single carry position, as our designs evolved, so did our clips. Today, most Spyderco folding knives have adjustable clips that allow you to configure them for different carry positions and preferences. Some provide a choice of two carry positions—usually left or right-side tip-up carry—while our four-position clips provide a choice of tip-up or tip-down carry on both the left and right sides. In fact, if you look closely at our designs and compare them to our competitors, you’ll find we offer more models featuring more clip-mounting options than any other brand.

To take full advantage of these options, you not only need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the various carry positions, but you also need to know the proper methods of removing and remounting your clip. Regular readers of the byte may recall we covered the former topic a few months ago, in our April 2024 issue. This article builds on that knowledge to teach you the preferred techniques of switching your knife’s clip to suit your personal carry preferences.


Tool Up​

Before you attempt to change the position of your knife’s clip, make sure you have the proper tools for the job. The exact tools you will need depend upon your specific model of knife and, in some cases, when it was made, as clip styles and screw types have evolved over time. A magnifying glass or loupe will help you examine the heads of your knife’s clip screws to determine the correct tool for the job.

Most Spyderco clips can be serviced with a standard T-6 or T-8 Torx®, or “star-shaped” driver. Older models with Phillips-head clip screws require a small Phillips screwdriver like #1 Phillips. For older Value Folder designs like early production of the Tenacious®, you’ll need a 1.5mm metric hex-head or “Allen” wrench. Finally, if you have a knife with a slotted “barrel bolt” fastener, you’ll need one or two small coins, like a U.S. penny or nickel. A word to the wise: It pays to invest in good quality tools for servicing your knives. Budget-priced drivers are often poorly heat treated and are prone to twisting or bending at the tip. Even with quality drivers, it’s important to check the tips of your tools before you go to work. Using worn or incorrect tools can easily strip the heads of your clip screws and turn an easy job into a frustrating experience.


Flat Metal Clips​

To change the position of a clip attached with Torx standard or Phillips head screws, place a folded towel or computer mouse pad on a firm, flat surface to protect your knife and keep it from rotating as you work. For extra insurance, place the pad or towel in a kitchen cookie sheet that has a lip all the way around it. That way, if a screw happens to go flying, it’s likely to be caught in the cookie sheet before it hits the floor, where it’s much harder to find.

Place your closed knife on the pad, hold it firmly with one hand, and insert the tip of the tool into the first screw head. Make sure the tool tip is fully seated and apply firm downward pressure as you turn counterclockwise to loosen the screw. Make sure that you maintain consistent downward pressure to avoid stripping the screw head. Repeat this process with the other screws until they are all loose, but leave them in the clip holes. Holding the screws in place with your fingertip, lift the clip and screws together to avoid dropping them.


Apply a small drop of temporary thread-locking compound, like Loc-Tite®, to the threads of each screw and then align the clip and screws with the handle holes for your preferred mounting position. With the knife again supported by the towel or mouse pad, turn the middle screw until it engages. This will align the clip and make the other screws easier to install. Turn all screws down until snug, then finish tightening them while applying firm downward pressure on the tool to avoid stripping the screw heads.


Wire Clips​

Spyderco’s wire clips are attached with hardware that includes either a single Torx screw or a Torx screw and a female body with a Torx head. If your knife’s clip hardware has a single Torx screw, place your closed knife on a pad with the screw facing up. Using the proper sized standard Torx driver—typically a T-8—loosen the screw while maintaining firm downward pressure. The female side of the fastener has a D-shaped body that will prevent it from turning in its mounting hole.


If the clip hardware on your knife has Torx heads on both sides, use two Torx drivers—one on each side—to loosen the screw. Maintain firm opposing pressure on both to avoid stripping the screw heads.

Once the screw for the mounting hardware has been loosened a few turns, lift the wire clip up and remove it from the grooves in the handle. Push the screw head on that side of the handle down and turn the knife over. Insert the ends of the wire clip under the head of the fastener on the other side and tighten the screw to hold the clip in place. For maximum security, remove the screw completely and apply temporary thread-locking compound to the threads before completing the installation.


Barrel-Bolt-Style Clips​

The clips of some Spyderco knives are attached with “barrel bolt” fasteners. To change the position of these clips, hold the closed knife over a towel or pad on a table and place your index finger over the head of the barrel bolt. Insert a coin into the slot on the other side of the barrel bolt and, while maintaining firm pressure, turn counterclockwise to loosen it. Remove the bolt assembly and washer completely to move the clip to the opposite side. Place the head of the clip into the recess in the handle and insert the body of the barrel bolt—the larger piece with the internal threads—through the clip hole into the handle. Apply a drop of thread locker to the threads of the screw side of the fastener, place the washer in the handle recess, and thread the screw into the barrel bolt body. Tighten the screw with the coin to complete the job.

Aftermarket Clips​

In recent years, the popularity of Spyderco knives has spawned an entire industry of aftermarket parts, including pocket clips. Although we certainly understand the appeal of these parts, Spyderco’s management has purposely chosen not to delve into this market and respects the free world’s capitalist ideals and the right of these other companies to fulfill this need. With that said, we also caution our customers to pay attention to detail when adding aftermarket clips or other parts to their Spyderco knives. Small differences in tolerances, clip thicknesses, screw lengths, and part design can have profound impact on the proper carry and function of your knife.

Sal Glesser’s pocket clip revolutionized the form and function of the modern pocketknife. With the proper tools and the knowledge gained from this article, you can take full advantage of his groundbreaking innovation and easily configure your Spyderco knife to best meet your needs, preferences, and tactics. To see these methods in action, we encourage you to watch this companion video on Spyderco’s YouTube channel.


Spyderco, Inc.
820 Spyderco Way
Golden, CO 80403

800-525-7770 (T - Toll-Free)
303-279-8383 (T)
303-278-2229 (F)

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