An Appreciation of Spyderco Knives

by | Mar 22, 2015

I’m fond of knives. I’m half Welsh and half Filipino, which according to some of my witty friends makes me a maudlin drunken poet who sings beautifully in the shower and is given to violence, on occasion, with edgy/pointy things. Maudlin, yes; drunken, no; poet, on occasion; sings beautifully? I wish..; given to violence? Hardly. I abhor violence.

My Filipino blood sings with steel, though. Maybe it’s because the first living thing I killed was with a knife, at the ripe age of 3, when my grandfather Eustachio (according to village legend, a man-killer times 14 with his knife) held my hand on the grip of his knife as he finished a big boar for our neighborhood pig roast. Or the many chickens I helped my grandma kill for supper. We were never romantic or idealistic about the knife; it was and is a tool — for utility or for killing.

Here’s an excellent link to a Filipino knifer and the real-world non-martial arts view of the knife as daily tool for work or killing, courtesy of Greg Ellifritz’s excellent blog at :

But I digress. Today is all about Spyderco and my friends Sal Glesser and the astonishing Joyce Laituri. A good friend and training colleague from the Israeli Naval Commandos sent me this picture today; it’s the Philippine Ambassador to Israel, Neal Imperial. He’s a knife practitioner, and at my request, Sal and Joyce sent a beautiful Szabo folder as a gift to the Ambassador to carry and use in his training.


My relationship with the Spyderco family goes way back. I think the first Spyderco product I ever purchased was the one I still use the most: a Spyderco SharpMaker. It is simply the finest, easiest to use sharpening set-up there is. I have dozens of expensive whetstones, files, hones, sharpening rigs, sander set ups, and there is NOTHING I’ve used in over 50 years of carrying a knife that is easier to use and keep a hair-popping edge with than a Spyderco SharpMaker.


Shown here with the Michael Janich designed Yojimbo, an excellent Wharcliffe utility/fighter. I can’t wait to get the fixed blade version, the Ronin.

In the 80s and the 90s, being a young gun-slinger on an erratic income, I shopped hard for the best quality for the best price in all things. One of my partners from those days opined: “Marcus, all you got in the world are fancy knives, fancy guns, fancy women, and a duffel bag of books.” Well, I’m not too fancy in anything these days, especially fancy women, but I always was fond of Spyderco for the combination of extraordinary quality coupled with a very reasonable price point…and the best customer service ever.

In the 90s, when I wrote regularly for mags like COMBAT HANDGUNS, SWAT, POLICE, POLICE MARKSMAN, GUNS AND WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, BACKPACKER, OUTSIDE, and other magazines, I was a go-to reviewer for knives, clothing, and outdoor gear. My long-standing relationships with various military, police and specialized security operations meant that I could (still can, on occasion) get good gear directly into the hands of people who would buy them in quantity to equip those who go in harm’s way. A recurrent feature at that time was the latest from Spyderco. Sal and Joyce, especially Joyce, the Goddess of Spyderco Steel, always made sure I got blades to review, and blades to put into the hands of those who went in harm’s way. Spyderco was always part of my load-out when I rolled to work, as you’ll see here:


I was young and foolish then, here with my brother-in-arms Dennis Martin of CQB Services, on the job in sunny Africa:


One thing Spyderco has ALWAYS done on their own, as well as when I requested, is support our serving military, especially our operators, as well as those friendly foreign operators, by sending knives to those who go in harm’s way. They did an amazing job of putting this logo on the knives below for some very good people:



These Scandinavian special operators appreciated the Spyderco blades Joyce and Sal sent with me on a training job:


In some Scandanavian Naval Special Warfare operators’ hands:



And being used in the real-world while rendering first aid:


A lot of my American readers/friends roll with Spyderco; this Naval operator sports an Ed Schempp Rock Salt quite well during deployments. Provided to him by Spyderco:


So what do I roll with personally?


Rescue knife:


Many thanks to Sal Glesser, for making great knives and supporting those who go in harm’s way, and to the amazing Joyce Laituri, who does the best job in the industry of getting those knives out where they need to be. Thanks, you two!