Ever notice how often you see articles about knives in gun magazines? I don’t think it’s coincidence…and I don’t think it’s a “weapons obsession” thing, either. Having been a police instructor since 1972 (and noticing the whole time that cops appreciate nice knives), and having been a trainer of armed citizens since 1981 and seeing the same syndrome in that sector, I have to say that it’s more an “appreciation of stuff that really WORKS kind of thing.

There are lots of great knives that are readily available at good prices. Why have a knife custom made? Sometimes, for some people, it’s simply about pride of ownership. My dad was a watchmaker, who sold and repaired Rolexes and even Patek Phillippes, but generally wore a simple Bulova on his wrist. I learned at his feet. I wear a Pulsar because my daughter gave it to me for my birthday years ago. My Hamilton is in the safe somewhere behind my collector Colts and Smith & Wessons.

Sometimes, for some other people (like me) a custom knife means that the thing was built exactly for the needs that you perceived. I’ve designed only two knives over all these years: the now-discontinued C-60 folder from Spyderco, and the fixed-blade “personal knife” I designed back in the day for the Masters of Defense project that was sold as the Razorback and, since MoD was acquired by Blackhawk, has morphed into the current Trocar model.

In the current (May/June 2009) issue of Backwoods Home magazine, I wrote a story on Jason Clark, a custom knifemaker in Florida. Unfortunately, that particular article isn’t on-line. You can find his website at http://clarkcustomknives.com. I’ve known Jason for more than a decade now, and I’ve watched his hobby grow into a business that makes some really nice products…and will make them for YOU, and YOUR particular needs.

When my chief of police bagged it last year after 35 years behind the badge, I asked Jason to make a custom knife for him as a retirement gift. The recipient loves it. Jason does impressive work.

My latest Jason Clark Custom Knife is a fixed-blade working tool. Slim and flat, it’s an homage to the Green River Patch Knife, with a tip that rises from the cutting edge to the spine like the prow of a Teddy Roosevelt-era battleship. There are double finger-grooves that allow the grasping hand to “choke up” for close, precise cutting, or just “grab and go” and get the necessary slicing done reflexively at high speed, depending on user need. Jason made an exquisitely fitted Kydex sheath for it with twin loops that snap over a belt for inside the waistband carry. It’s for cutting, not stabbing, but that serves my daily needs quite well, and if anything needs to be directly punctured and I don’t have remote control instrumentation handy for that, there’s always a folding knife in the right front pocket that’s shaped for such a task.

Best of all, Jason can custom-build a “knife like he built for Mas” for only a hundred bucks, plus shipping. When you sign your name, it’s a little cooler to do it with a Mont Blanc than with a Bic pen. When you check the time, it’s cooler to glance at a Movado wristwatch than at the LED readout on your cell phone. And when you have to “separate matter,” as Spyderco founder and CEO Sal Glesser so eloquently put it, it’s pretty damn cool to do it with a knife that was custom made to your particular specifications.

Which explains why so many of us get off on custom made knives. Touch bases with Jason before the Outside World discovers him, at which time you’ll have to wait a few years and pay a fortune to have him build your dream knife for you.


  1. Mas,

    I too enjoy a nice blade.

    I use store bought stuff for most things, but have a knife made for me by a friend that is known for making great knives with some serious folks. He made me a Bowie for my SASS Rig that I love.

    It was made the old time way with Damascus steel, an anvil and a forge, and time with a hammer. For the handle he used a deer antler I gave him. It’s shaped and designed for the right hand. It’s mate is for the left hand, but he sold that one. I got the rightie for a song and the leftie paid for most of the rightie.

    I understand liking a good knife and wish I could have more than one of his works. Maybe I will have to order another one from him next year. He tends to make “period correct” type knives from the late 1700’s to the late 1800’s. They are made the same way they were made back then too.

    I take a lot of pride in this knife and know that no other knife will be exactly like it. It’s part of my SASS “rig” but I’ll probably look for an excuse to use/carry it this Hunting Season too.

    Take care and stay safe,


  2. First I would like you to understand this is in no way a criticism of any LEO’s past or present.
    In several forums I have read about LEO’s carrying a knife for a backup in case of a gun grab; you have stated that a gun grab is to be considered an act of attempted murder. Consequently I carry a small dagger type knife on my belt in case of a gun grab or whatever. All of this just seems like good common sense.

    Yet I have never read about an LEO having to resort to the use of this backup knife in an attempted gun grab or other life threatening situation. Why is this? Surely it must happen occasionally. Is this due to controlling what could be looked upon as bad PR? The use of a knife as a backup would be extremely messy I am sure; so keeping the forced use of one quiet is understandable. It just seems strange that I have never read about an LEO being forced to use one, where most of the liberal media seems to be so anti-LEO you would think that they would delight in reporting on this topic.
    Stay safe.

  3. Mr. Weaver,

    Look at this article regarding LEO using knife:
    Also at:

    To summarize, a few months ago a Pittsburgh, PA police officer was working a uniformed off-duty gig. He took a shoplifter into custody and the criminal attacked the officer. As the battle raged, the criminal went for the officer’s handgun. The officer used a knife to stop the criminal.

    I believe there was also a published incident in California within the past year.

  4. i use a SOG trident for my everyday carry knife. inexpensive dependable and quite frankly a good looking knife in my eye’s.
    not to mention the lifetime warranty.
    the thing that holds me back from getting a custom is that after spending the BIG bucks will i be willing to actually use the thing.
    will it end up just sitting in the gun safe for the next 25 years?

    what’s been you guys experience using customs in the field?
    are you folks even willing to take these out on that fishing or hunting trip?

  5. “are you folks even willing to take these out on that fishing or hunting trip?”

    See my post above about looking for an excuse to take this knife on a hunting trip.


  6. BikerRN, I too have a damascus custom. When I bought it the maker told me if i use it and get blood on the blade to get it cleaned off right away or the blade will turn black and need to be reetched to bring out the pattern. Check with your smith.

  7. I have a couple of ‘special’ knives, a set of two from germany from my grandfather. Also a ‘homemade’ knive by him as well. A big ole’ bowie that I got as a gift and the K-Bar I got in trade for a bayonet for a AR. A couple of different size Gerba Para’s …..

    Dang I got more knives than I thought around here…. LOL

    Guess Guns and Knives go together

  8. Hope everything goes well with you.
    This is Paul Lam from China. I am a handmade knife maker. I’m pleased to get to know your interest on handmade knife products. If you were interested in these knives, please feel free to contact with me for more information. Hope hearing from you soon.

  9. Glad to see this. About two years ago, I found a W.J. McDonald custom knife at a reasonable price and bought it. While Mr. McDonald calls it a “Bird and Trout,” I used it to field dress a big muley buck the first time I took it into the field, and I think I derived almost as much satisfaction from using a highly functional piece of art as I did from killing the buck. You are correct that there is something special about a high-quality custom tool, whether it’s a knife, gun or hammer. (I have some of those, too, of which I am quite proud!) Jason is making some nice looking blades. Might have to give him a call one day.

  10. Very true, getting a custom knife can be made specifically to the users needs is a great idea. Not just the run of the mill Swiss army knife. I think that getting a custom made gift is a real nice touch it shows that someone was thinking specifically of me and my needs.