Spyderco byte March 2024- EDGE-U-CATION®: Getting a Grip

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Spyderco byte March 2024- EDGE-U-CATION®: Getting a Grip​

Getting a Grip​


Using a sharp cutting tool safely and efficiently requires a secure grip. Over the years, Spyderco has enabled our customers to achieve that grip by incorporating a variety of handle designs, shapes, materials, and textures. Some of these have focused primarily on the aesthetic qualities of the handle material. Others have emphasized function over form to provide the most secure purchase possible. Still others have balanced these two goals with a unique synergy of style and grip security.

To better understand your options for achieving a positive grip on your knife, let’s take a closer look at the history of Spyderco’s handle designs and the options still available today.



Spyderco’s earliest knives featured smooth, satin-finished stainless steel handles. This style of handle construction offers heft and a classic look but relies primarily on the handle’s shape to ensure a secure grip. Smooth-finished scales also offer a clean, traditional look and are often used to highlight unique handle materials, like our Chaparral models with Birdseye Maple and Raffir® Noble scales.

Peel-Ply Texture:​


Peel-ply texture is found on laminated handle materials like G-10, carbon fiber, and carbon fiber/G-10 composites. All these materials are made by stacking multiple layers of fiberglass or carbon fiber cloth, impregnating them with epoxy, and then curing them under high pressure and heat. Peel-ply laminates add a pre-textured plastic layer to the top of the stack. After the material is cured—and typically after the scale is machined to shape—this layer is peeled off, leaving its impression as a texture molded into the surface of the material.

The aggressiveness of peel-ply-textures varies and is determined by the texture pattern of the top “peel-off” layer. On carbon fiber scales, like those of the Canis™, it can be relatively subtle, while still enhancing the scale’s traction and highlighting the depth of the material’s layered construction. On G-10, it can range from fine to coarse. Most G-10-handled Spyderco knives, including the Para Military® 2 and Para® 3, use medium-textured G-10. Some, like the YoJumbo™, offer the extreme grip security of coarse-textured G-10.

Machined Texture​


Another way of adding texture to G-10, carbon fiber, Micarta®, aluminum, titanium, and similar materials is to machine a texture pattern into it. The sophisticated tool paths and precise tolerances possible with CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining allow everything from simple grooves, like on the Caribbean™ Salts and the upcoming Para Military 2 Salt, to more intricate geometric patterns like the fluted pattern on the carbon-fiber-handled Native®5 and the checkered texture of the Waterway™ fixed blade.

Machined textures definitely enhance the traction of a scale’s surface, but they can also be used to create stunning visual effects. One shining example of this approach was the Blue Stepped Titanium version of the Chaparral. Its solid titanium scales were meticulously CNC-machined to produce a breathtaking “stepped” pattern. Partway through the machining process, the scales were color anodized a brilliant blue and machined again. The result was a spectacular contrast of alternating blue and silver steps that accentuated the exacting detail of the design.

Similarly, the aluminum-handled Para Military 2 Exclusives we produced for Smoky Mountain Knife Works featured an intricate “Cosmic Arc™” pattern that greatly enhanced both the texture and the aesthetics of the scales.

Pebbled Texture:​


Spyderco has long been an industry leader in the use of injection-molded handle materials like fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN). Since the texture of the handle’s surface is directly determined by the cavity of the mold, FRN handles offer a broad range of texture possibilities. The most subtle of these is a pebbled texture, like that used on our Z-Cut™ kitchen knives and the Centofante folder. Like fine sandpaper, this texture adds just enough coarseness to the handle’s surface to keep it from slipping in the hand.

Volcano Grip™:​


One of our earliest injection-molded textures was Volcano Grip. This waffle-like texture consists of a repeating series of squares with a round “volcano” dimple in the center of each. On our early injection-molded handles, like the original Endura® and Delica®, it was used only on one side of the handle, as the opposite side had an integral pocket clip. When reversible “barrel bolt” clips were introduced in 1998, the Volcano Grip pattern was added to both sides of the handle. This pattern can still be seen today on select models like the Atlantic Salt®, Saver Salt®, and Rescue 79mm™.

Bi-Directional Texturing™:​


Arguably Spyderco’s most secure grip texture—and a signature feature of the majority of our injection-molded handles—is our Bi-Directional Texture™ pattern. This texture consists of a series of angled steps radiating out from a central point. The high end of each ramped step faces toward the center, providing traction in both directions for an extremely positive, non-slip grip.

Spyderco uses the Bi-Directional Texture pattern on many of our fixed-blade and folding knives, including those in our byrd® brand. Although the concept and basic execution remain consistent, if you look closely, you’ll notice that our US factory and each of our manufacturing partners uses a slightly different Bi-Directional pattern.

Other Molded Textures:​


Over the years, Spyderco has also used other molded texture patterns, like the “spiderweb” texture of the early Native® models and the checkered texture of the Michael Walker Lightweight.

Rubber Inlays:​


As a grip material, rubber is unique in that it can be molded to intricate shapes, offers good “traction” for a non-slip grip, and can provide a degree of compressibility that harder materials do not. Although it is possible to mold entire fixed-blade handles from rubber, Spyderco’s use of this material has focused primarily on Kraton® rubber inlays. Molded in a Volcano Grip texture, these inlays were initially glued into machined recesses in stainless steel and aluminum handles or molded cavities in FRN handles. Often, the pocket clips of these knives also sported rubber panels as well. Historical examples of this style of grip panel include the classic ProGrip™, early aluminum-handled Civilian™ models, and the Snap-It™.

Today, Kraton inserts are only used on a few of our classic fixed-blade models, including both the Moran Upswept and Drop Point fixed blades and the Fred Perrin Street Bowie™. These designs feature injection-molded FRN handles with cavities that house smooth Kraton inlay panels. The FRN provides structure and strength, while the Kraton panels—which flow seamlessly with the handle’s contours—offer a slightly tacky, non-slip surface

Jigged Bone:​


One of the traditional materials used on pocketknife scales is jigged bone. This classic material starts as natural bone from cattle or other animals that is dried, color dyed, and processed into scale-sized slabs. The scales are then carved to create a semi-random pattern of grooves that highlight the organic quality of the material and provide an enhanced grip texture. Spyderco has only used this classic material on a few special knives, including limited-edition Damascus-bladed versions of the Delica and Endura, the Kopa™, Kiwi™, and Micro Dyad™.

Cord Wrap:​


Although the previous paragraphs provide a pretty comprehensive list of the various types of handle textures Spyderco has used over the years, for the sake of historical completeness, we’ll include one more—cord wrap. Like classic Samurai swords, a twisted cloth wrap can be applied to a knife’s handle to create a very functional textured grip. Traditionally, the handle would first be covered with ray skin, which has its own natural non-slip texture. It would then be painstakingly wrapped with flat cord, which is twisted to create a repeating diamond pattern and adorned with a menuki (decorative ornament). To date, only one Spyderco knife has ever received this unique handle treatment—the R.J. Martin-designed Kumo™ fixed blade.

Whether you prefer classic, old-school textures like jigged bone and satin-finished stainless steel or the extreme traction of a Bi-Directional Texture pattern, we have made—and still make—knives to suit your personal preference. No matter how you choose to “get a grip,” Spyderco has you covered.

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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