- Jul 9, 2000
Spyderco Clipit 15
Robert Terzuola Design
* First Spyderco "Custom Collaboration"
* First "USA Made" Spyderco
* First production linerlock knife with ball detent
* First production knife using ATS-34 blade steel
* First production knife to use G10 handle scales
Robert "Bob T" Terzuola is a custom knifemaker that literally wrote the book on custom tactical folders (<u>The Tactical Folding Knife</u>), and reportedly is the man who innovated the use of G10 scales for folding kives.
Sal Glesser is the founder and President of Spyderco, and the inventor of the Clipit type of folding knife.
Lester de Asis is the founder and President of Benchmade Knives.
"When Sal Glesser of Spyderco first approached me for a Clipit design in 1989, we had been friends for several years. We knew each others standards of quality and willingness to truly collaborate and produce a product we both could be proud of. I was up front with him about my requirements for using ATS-34 (never before used in a factory folder), and having the knives made in the USA, not Japan (resulting in the eventual creation of Spyderco Manufacturing in Golden Co.).
"The resulting C-15 became somewhat of a milestone in American made pocket knives, being the first factory knife made in the USA (or anywhere else) using ATS-34 steel, the liner lock and G-10 for its handles. (Few people know that even Benchmade got its start from this knife since Les D'Asis was the original manufaturer, even before Benchmade existed)."
-- Robert Terzuola
"Hi Carlos. Heavy question. What Bob said is true. Lester had just moved his new factory to the Portand area. He was producing bali-songs along with a few models of Browning origin.
"Spyderco had no US mfg facilty at the time and Bob T insisted that it be US made. Lester and I had been friends for many years. I agreed to have Lester make the C15 design for Spyderco. Lester and I went down to Bob's shop in Sante Fe and Bob taught the both of us how to make linerlocks using the ball bearing detent developed by Michael Walker.
"Lester went on to produce the first several runs of C15's for us. Then Spyderco set up our own mfg facility in Golden and took over production.
"It was good for both Lester and I in many respects."
-- Sal Glesser
The knife has a sabre-ground modified drop-point 3 7/16" blade of satin-finished ATS-34, and a plain cutting edge. The blade hole measures approximately 12mm which allows for quick and easy opening of the knife. The back of the "hump" is grooved for thumb placement, and both sides of the blade are laser engraved -- one side with the Spyderco "bug" logo and the the other with the Terzuola dragon logo.
The knife features nylon bushings at the blade pivot, a single steel liner, and a nylon backspacer. The handle scales are 6061-T6 aluminum that have been bead-blasted and anodized matte black. The 4 5/16" handle is drilled to allow user placement of the polished steel clip for either tip-up or tip-down carry. The knife is assembled with high-torque hex screws which allows for user disassembly.
Approximately 3,500 aluminum-handled C15's were made between 1990 and 1994, when they were replaced by the more well known G10 version. Two or three C15 prototypes with blue anodized aluminum handles were also made, but were never put into production.
I was so impressed after purchasing a Spyderco C48 Wegner that I went looking for other Clipits in the same 3.5" blade class, with G10 scales and tip-up carry. To my dismay, I found that the only such model, the C15G, had long been out of production. I set out to find one despite this, and when I had nearly given up the search I happened upon a new-old-stock C15P -- the early version with aluminum handle. I decided that I was willing to try a knife with aluminum scales, and so purchased the knife.
While it seems smallish compared to my C48, the soft geometric shape of the handle fits itself neatly into my hand. The blade is subtly contoured in a way that suprised me -- it doesn't show in the photos. The omission of a large choil maximizes the cutting edge length. The manufacturing quality throughout is quite fine other than for the steel liner which was left a bit rough. The aluminum scales are nicely shaped and they give the knife a very refined appearance, and with the addition of its polished clip it looks almost "dressy."
A folding knife for the "tactical" gentleman.
In use the steeply dropped point is very useful for making very precise cuts -- like Wharncliffe and sheepsfoot blades, but retains enough belly for efficient slicing. The blade shape is reminiscent of this Terzuola custom TTF-3A (below), and is an exceedingly excellent general purpose design.
My only complaint against this knife is that it is out of production, and thus irreplaceable.