company_name = Spyderco Knives, Inc.
company_type = Proprietorship
foundation = Golden, Colorado (1978)
location = Golden, Colorado
key_people = Sal Glesser, Founder & President
industry = Manufacturing
products = Knives
revenue = US$10 million
num_employees = 25–50
homepage = [http://www.spyderco.com/ www.spyderco.com]

Spyderco is a company, founded in 1978 by Sal Glesser and based in Golden, Colorado, U.S.A., that produces knives and knife sharpeners.


Spyderco began by producing knife sharpeners in 1978, and produced their first folding knife, the C01 Worker, in 1981. [cite web | url = http://spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/index.php?item=9 | title = Spyderco History Page | accessdate = 2006-11-05] [Sb "Sharpmaker - Brief Article - Evaluation". Whole Earth. Winter 2000. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GER/is_2000_Winter/ai_68617298] This knife was the first to feature a round hole in the blade designed for fast, one-handed opening, which is now the company's trademark [cite web | url = http://spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/index.php?item=7 | title = Spyderco 'Round Hole' explanation | accessdate = 2006-11-05] . Additionally, the company claims that this was the first knife to feature a clothing clip on the right side of the handle. [cite web | url = http://spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/index.php?item=8 | title = Spyderco 'Clipit' explanation | accessdate = 2006-11-05] Shackleford, Steve. Top Knife Innovations of the Past 50 Years, "Blade Magazine", August 2006] Shackleford, Steve."The Most Comfortable Carry Knife of All","Blade Magazine", May 1997] [Roy Huntington "Tactical Knives". Guns Magazine. Jan 2001. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_1_47/ai_67717290]

Most knives produced by Spyderco are folding knives, of various designs, blade steels, handle materials, and locking mechanisms (including two patented proprietary locks); however, they have also produced fixed-blade knives for various purposes. [Russ Thurman "Spyderco - Knives". Shooting Industry. Dec 2001. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3197/is_12_46/ai_81305658] [Charles E. Petty "Spyderco Vagabond and stretch knives". American Handgunner. July-August 2005. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_176_29/ai_n13785474]

Spyderco's knives are made with a plain edge, a partially serrated edge, or a fully serrated "Spyder Edge" configuration.Massad Ayoob "To The Rescue". American Handgunner. May 2001. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_152_25/ai_72293240] Their most common handle material is FRN (Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon), although they make knives with steel handles as well as some limited editions with various other handles.

Most of Spyderco knives production is outsourced to foreign contractors such as Japan, Italy, China, and Germany. Knives made with CPM S30V steel models are made in Golden, Colorado, USA.

Spyderco knives are respected for their simplicity, reliability, good ergonomics and lack of preoccupation with aesthetics. They are popular with many markets including law enforcement officers, fire and rescue personnel, and private citizens.

For his many influences in tactical knife design (most notably the clothing clip, serrations, and thumbhole) and many collaborations with custom knife makers, Spyderco's President, Sal Glesser was inducted into the Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame at the 2000 Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.cite news |title = Bob Loveless| work = Blade Magazine| date = 7/01/2000 | accessdate = 7/30/2008 ]

Blade Steels

Spyderco is well known for experimenting with new blade steels [cite web | url = http://spyderco.com/edge-u-cation/steel.php | title = Spyderco steel information | accessdate = 2006-11-05]

52100, ball bearing steel used in the first run of the Mule project. The only significant alloying elements are ~1% C and ~1.5% Cr, corrosion resistance is relatively poor. It was hardened to RC62 for the mule, and was planned to be used in the scandi ground Spyderco bushcraft knife, as well as a flat ground S90V version. Sal Glesser stated it was comparatively difficult to heat treat this steel, as it requires oil. Spyderco, like most cutlery production companies, use air hardening steels almost exclusively.

8Cr13MoV, a Chinese stainless steel with a high performance-to-cost ratio, often compared to AUS-8 (somewhat like 440B or 440C) but also to AUS-6 (somewhat like 440A). Tempered around the Rc 60s range, see discussion below. Featured in the Tenacious and Byrd line of knives.

440C, a “classic” stainless steel, known for toughness, corrosion resistance, economy, and ease of sharpening. Reports exist that 440C is tougher and more stain resistant, although with less edge retention, than ATS-34. (Other info indicates ATS-34 is equivalently corrosion resistant to 440C, while being superior in wear resistance and toughness). While 440C isn't as corrosion resistant as 440A, 440C is considered by most as the superior choice for a cutlery steel between the two. 440C is usually hardened mid to upper 50s Rc range. It's a high carbide steel. Sal Glesser has commented: "...the larger carbides tended to cause the edge to 'break out'...steels like 440C...exhibited these characteristics..." These days, manufacturers are moving away from 440C toward H-1 for superior corrosion resistance. Currently used by Spyderco in its unsharpened trainer knives, and also in 2008's "S."

ATS-55, the offspring of its parent steel, ATS-34, which was the popular high-carbide Hitachi-made stainless steel of the 1990s (which followed the very similar American steel, 154CM). To create ATS-55, the molybdenum from ATS-34 was removed, making it a non-high speed steel (certainly not needed in a knife blade), with the side benefit of being more economical to produce. ATS-55 is reported to have better edge holding and toughness than its parent, ATS-34. In Spyderco knives, ATS-55 was replaced by VG-10. Rumored to be a difficult steel to heat treat properly. Found in Spyderco's recently discontinued Cricket and Goddard.



AUS-10, the highest grade of the AUS Japanese stainless steel series made by Aichi: AUS-4, AUS-6, AUS-8, AUS-10. Has roughly the same carbon content as 440C but with slightly less chromium.

BG-42, a high performance stainless steel formulated for ball bearings, often compared to ATS-34, which has similar properties.

D2, a high performance tool steel that has 1 percent less chromium than required to classify as stainless steel. Spyderco uses CPM's version of D2, which is a particle metallurgy ("powdered") version, not wrought. CPM-D2 is found in a sprint run version of the Military model.

G2, aka GIN-1. A Hitachi-made low cost stainless steel comparable to, butsofter than, AUS-8. Generally hardened in the mid to high Rc 50s. A tough, corrosion-resistant steel.


H-1, a rust-proof steel, ideal for marine applications, because it substitutes nitrogen for carbon. Sharpens easily, scratches easily, has good edge retention and toughness is one of the tougher stainless steels available.

MBS-26: A Japanese [stainless] steel, very fine grained with high corrosion resistance used in the Catcherman and in most kitchen knives by Spyderco.

N690CO, an Austrian stainless steel, often mentioned as the equivalent of, or better than 440C. High value and performance with excellent corrosion resistance. Reportedly hardened to the high Rc50 range. Currently found in Spyderco's Hossom knives and the recently disco'd Italian-made Volpe.

CPM S30V steel a premium and controversial American powder-metallurgy, high-carbide super steel developed specifically for the cutlery market (which is rare, since most steels used for cutlery have been co-opted from other applications). A long-time Spyderco standard for its American-made knives. In 2008, featured in the Chinook III, Military, Native, P'Kal, Para, TMag, UKPK. Recently disco'd models with S30V included: Chinook II, ATR, Dodo, Gunting, Lil Temp, Manix, Spyker, WTC, and Yojimbo.

S60V, (aka 440V, aka CPMT440V) A modern American super-steel, extremely wear resistant (even compared to S30V) and thus difficult to sharpen. Extremely corrosion resistant. A relatively rare steel to be found in today's knife blades. Crucible has discontinued production of this steel.

S90V (aka 420V), similar to Crucible's S60V but designed to be more wear resistant with a very high carbide volume and high vanadium content. S90V was featured in a sprint run of Spyderco's Military in 2008.

VG-10 ["Spyderco Kiwi - 2003 New Products Gallery". Shooting Industry. April 2003. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3197/is_4_48/ai_100606779] , a premium Japanese super-steel developed for the horticulture industry by Takefu. Considered a good balance of corrosion resistance, edge retention, and toughness, but is not a "high carbide" steel [confirmation needed] . According to Sal Glesser: "Continuous edge testing on a CATRA consistently shows VG-10 to be superior in sharpness and abrasion resistance to ATS-34 and ATS-55." Often hardened around the Rc60 range. Reported to have better corrosion resistance but less edge retention than S30V. Considered easy to sharpen for a super steel. Overpowered edges tend to bend rather than chip, which is preferred by many. Widely regarded as a well-balanced steel, with high marks for edge-holding, toughness, and corrosion resistance. Currently found in many more Spyderco knife models than any other steel.

ZDP-189, a premium Japanese powdered super-steel made by Hitachi, hardened into the mid & upper Rc 60s, with very high carbide volume, superior edge retention, and the ability to maintain steep edge angles (at some cost to toughness and corrosion resistance, but “not as much of a compromise as you might expect,” say many.) Comparable to S90V. Complaints of staining (despite its high levels of chromium) and difficulty sharpening. Sometimes laminated between tougher, more corrosion resistant steels such as 420. Cost is about 20x higher than VG-10. Difficult to obtain a super edge, but holds it much longer once obtained. Has 3% carbon! (That’s a whole lot o' carbon!) In the 2008 lineup, it's found in the Stretch II, special versions of the Delica and Endura, and clad with 420J in the Caly III CF and the disco'd Caly Jr.

*In 1994, Spyderco was the first company to use Crucible's S60V tool steel in a production knife.
*In 1995, Japanese VG-10 stainless steel was used on their Bill Moran collaboration model.Delavigne (2004) p.112]
*From 2005, Spyderco has produced several limited edition models and a production model using new ZDP-189 steel provided by Hitachi.
*Spyderco was the first knife company to use H-1 steel in a folder. H-1 is a nitrogen precipitation-hardened steel touted as impervious to rust.


Through the years, Spyderco has collaborated with numerous custom knife makers in the design of various models.Pacella, Gerard (2002), 100 Legendary Knives, Iola, USA, Krause Publications, 145. ISBN 0873494172]

List of Collaborators

*Alexandru Diaconescu
*Bill MoranDelavigne (2004) p.42]
*Bob LumDelavigne (2004) p.149]
*Bob TerzuolaDelavigne (2004) p.36]
*Bram Frank
*Chad Los Banos
*D'Alton HolderDelavigne (2004) p.150]
*Ed Scott ["Field knife - New Products". Shooting Industry. Oct 2002. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3197/is_10_47/ai_93915994]
*Ed SchemppHarvard reference |Title=Spyderco's Torture Tested Jungle Rock! | Journal=Tactical Knives Magazine | Volume=14 | Issue=3 | Year=2008 | Page=40 ]
*Eduard Bradichansky
*Ernest EmersonDelavigne (2004) p.163]
*Fred Perrin [Winter, Butch (2003), "Custom Collaborations", Sporting Knives 2003: 160, ISBN 0-87349-430-X]
*Frank CentofanteDelavigne (2004) p.131]
*Howard VieleDelavigne (2004) p.141]
*James A. KeatingDelavigne (2004) p.88]
*JD SmithDelavigne (2004) p.172]
*Jess Horn
*Jot Singh KhalsaDelavigne (2004) p.145]
*Ken Onion
*Laci SzaboCitation | last = Rhea | first = David | title = Butterfly Knives: Flippin' and Flyin' | journal = Blade Magazine | volume = 32 | issue = 9 | pages = 66-71 | date = September 2005 | year = 2005]
*Peter Herbst
*Massad Ayoob [cite web| last = Ayoob| first = Dorothy| url =http://www.ayoob.com/AboutUs.html | title = Armor of New Hampshire | year = 1999| accessdate = 2008-02-08]
*Michael JanichHarvard reference | Title=Slick factory Snodys | Journal=American Handgunner Magazine | Volume=20 | Issue=4 | Year=2004 | url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_170_28/ai_n6040329 ]
*Michael WalkerDelavigne (2004) p.125]
*Mike Snody
*R.J. Martin
*Tim Wegner
*Tim ZowadaDelavigne (2004) p.215]
*Wayne Goddard
*Warren Thomas [N. Morris "Knife with Taurus 24/7". Guns Magazine. Jan 2005. FindArticles.com. 07 Feb. 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_1_51/ai_n7581238]

Sprint Runs

Spyderco often produces limited edition models, referred to as sprint runs. These limited runs are generally versions of discontinued models with different blade and handle materials, though some are completely new models, such as the Kopa; a "dress knife" with several variants, each with a different handle material such as micarta, evrina, and tiger coral.

Byrd Brand

Spyderco design and produce knives under the Byrd brand. These knives use slightly lower quality materials than the "Spyderco" branded knives and are manufactured in China, allowing much lower prices while retaining most of Spyderco's quality.Mroz, Ralph, "Soaring Byrds". Tactical Knives Magazine. November 2008. Volume 15,(6)p.80] , To differentiate the brands, Byrd knives have a "comet" shaped opening hole in the blade, rather than the trademark round hole found on Spyderco models.

To date, Byrd knives have featured 8Cr13MoV as their blade steel. Early Byrd knives were marked 440C, but tests found that the steel was something entirely different from American 440C. This steel was closer to AUS-8 than American 440C, and also went by the name 8Cr13MoV.

The first Byrd models, the Cara Cara, Meadowlark, Flight, Pelican, and Crossbill, initially featured stainless steel handles. This is likely because company owner Sal Glesser believes that "'basic stainless' is ... the best way to test a 'pattern design'. Function and ergonomics are easily determined without the 'influence' of material." Newer Byrds have featured aluminum and G10 handles.


*Harvard reference | Surname=Dick | Given=Steven| Title=The Working Folding Knife | Year=1997| publisher= Stoeger Publishing Company |ISBN= 9780883172100|pages=280

External links

* [http://spyderco.com/ Spyderco's official website]

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