Introduction: Grip Tape for Folding Knives

Picture of Grip Tape for Folding Knives

Folding knives are great, but depending on the style and quality of the pocket clip, they can be hard to remove from your pocket. So, to solve the problem of getting your knife out, I have turned to skateboard grip tape.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

1. A knife. (For this project I'll be doing my brand new Emerson CQC-8 BT Emerson Knives Inc. makes some of the best folding knives on the market. Their web site here.

2. Grip tape. I got a piece 3'x1' at my local skate shop for around $5.

3. Scissors, trauma shears work best, but any will do (warning, cutting the grip tape can scratch them)

4. Some kind of craft knife. (yellow thing in the picture)

5. Not necessary, but makes it a lot easier. Screwdrivers to dismantle the knife. If your doing an Emerson you'll need a small/mid sized flat head screw driver and a #0 Phillips head screwdriver.
If you decide to partially dismantle the knife keep in mind that most manufactures say that taking the knife apart voids the warranty (Emerson dose not) so keep that in mind.

6. Not in picture, fine point sharpie or ball point pen.

Step 2: De-scale the Knife

Picture of De-scale the Knife

Take the scale (outer part of handle) off the knife. Remove the scale that dosen't have the pocket clip on it. This is the side that will in your pocket.

Once the scale is off, set the screws and the rest of the knife aside till your done.

Step 3: Tracing Is Fun

Picture of Tracing Is Fun

1. With your scissors, cut a piece of grip tape a bit larger than the area you want to cover. (pic 1)

2. Flip the scale upside down and lay it on the back of the grip tape (pic 2)

3. When you have the tape about where you are gonna want it trace the out line of the scale in the back of the tape (pic 3)

4. if you want the front part of the tape to have rounded look, then find a round object of the right size and trace the round (pic 4&5) The bottle I used is Militec-1, the best lube i have found yet for folders.

Step 4: Cut and Attach the Tape

Picture of Cut and Attach the Tape

1. cut out the round part (pic 1)

2. cut around the lines you traced out. The lines are just there to show you about how big the picec will be. (pic 2)

3. Take the backing off and stick it to the scale (pic 3&4)

Step 5: Shave the Tape

Picture of Shave the Tape

1. push the edges of the tape down around the edges of the scale (pic 1)

2. shave off the extra tape with the craft knife. (pic 2&3) This could be considered the hard part. Make sure the knife is sharp and go slowly around using a sawing motion. be careful of where your fingers are and try not to scape up the scales (the G-10 of the Emerson is quite forgiving) Take your time with this part.

3. Done (pic 4)

Step 6: Opening Up the Screw Holes.

Picture of Opening Up the Screw Holes.

The holes for the screws and lanyard are now covered by grip tape, something must be done about this.

1. punch your screwdriver through one of the holes for the screws as show in pic 1

2. flip the screw driver around and punch down through the opposite way like in pic 2

3. take your utility knife and put it point down in the hole for the screw like in pic 3

4. spin the U-knife around in the hole a bit to ream out the tape, it doesn't take much. A turn or two is all. Be careful not to remove any of the actual scale, just the tape. Try droping in the screw in, if it sinks in (like in pic 4), your good, if not ream a bit more. Now do the other screw hole

Step 7: Opening Up the Lanyard Hole.

Picture of Opening Up the Lanyard Hole.

1. find a screw driver, or other pointy thing, the same diameter as the lanyard hole (if the knife in question has a lanyard hole) You want the screwdriver to fit tight in the hole. Punch it through from the back like you did with the other holes. (pic 1)

2. when you punch the SD throught the hole it will push the tape up around it, smooth it back down with a finger nail or the blade of another screwdiver, but keep the screwdriver in the hole.

3. use the u-blade to cut off the excess tape. lay the blade of the u-kinfe against the grip tape on the scale and work the knife around the SD slicing off the extra tape as you go. (pic 2)

4. done with the cutting. (pic 3)

5. remove the SD, flip it around and insert it from the other side to squish down the extra bit of grip tape(pic 4)

6. re-attach the scale.

Step 8: Tape on the Clip

Picture of Tape on the Clip

1. cut two small piece of grip tape for the pocket clip. the larger one is about 28mmx7mm, and the small one is about 18mmx7mm (pic 1)

2. stick the larger piece on the "land" of the clip and the smaller in the valley of the clip (pic 2)

Step 9: Optional GT

Picture of Optional GT

if you like you can out a piece of GT on the back spine of the knife, I had mine like this for awhile, but I took it off, didn't like it to much (pics, 1 &2)

Step 10: Finished Product and Other Ideas

Picture of Finished Product and Other Ideas

Pics 1 &2 show the finished product. Not bad if I do say so myself.

Pic 3 shows the clip on my Emerson CQC-7BW SFS which I out full grip tape on, I'm seeing how I like it this way

Pic 4 shows GT on the finger release of my Blackhawk SERPA holster for my Spreinfield XD, helps a lot.

Hope you like your newly grip taped knife. Carry safe, carry smart.


punkhead58 (author)2011-12-23

Grip tape on G10? Overkill, much? Personally, I just add small paracord lanyards to all of my waved knives for easy retrieval. But this is definitely an interesting idea.

black hole (author)2011-10-10

I'm saving up for an Emerson, which I've wanted for ages. I'm trying to decide between a CQC-7, a Mini Commander, or a CQC-15 Tant-com. What would you suggest?

punkhead58 (author)black hole2011-12-23

When I was picking out my first Emie, I chose the CQC15 because I couldn't choose between the CQC7 and the Commander. And I don't regret it; it is such a fantastic knife. It is a tad difficult to sharpen, just because of that tanto tip, but a Lansky hone makes quick work of it.

By the way, if you collect knives, you should definitely get a good sharpening setup, like a Lansky system.

Hodge-Podge (author)black hole2011-10-10

I have 2 CQC7's and a Mini Commander, and I love all of them. I like the 7's blade and the secure grip on the Commander. I've never gotten the chance to handle a CQC15, but it looks like a great knife to me.

black hole (author)Hodge-Podge2011-10-11

Thanks for the quick reply! I'm thinking of going with the Commander. I really like the blade style.

LoneWolf (author)2010-06-09

Why are you worried about gettting it out of your pocket fast?

because it's a close quarters combat knife, and in a fight you need to have fast weapons at your disposal.

Yes, but how fast can you get it open?

cupojoe999 (author)LoneWolf2011-04-02

that hook looking thing on the knife shown in this instructable lets the blade open as soon as its out of the pocket. it catches the inside of your pocket, and as you pull it out your pocket does all the work.

Atlas22 (author)2009-11-27

imthe only one with a crapy knife D:

moGuyver (author)2008-01-29

Another fast-opening alternative to the Kershaw torsion bar and the Emerson wave concept is simply looping a black zip tie through the thumb hole on a Spyderco knife or any similar blade with a thumb hole instead of a stud. Cinch it down completely and cut off the excess zip tie, leaving the tie's locking portion as a protrusion along the spine of the blade. The blade will open as you draw the knife just like a wave-equipped knife.

cheerio (author)moGuyver2009-08-09

Nice suggestion. Well played sir.

Hodge-Podge (author)moGuyver2008-03-31

That is such a great idea, thanks!!

Hodge-Podge (author)moGuyver2008-03-05

Oh my god! This is fraking genius! I just converted all my Spyderco's and Benchmade's with thumb holes to this "zip-tied" style. Truly amazing

Yerboogieman (author)2009-06-22

I don't understand why this isn't Featured.

Oryctolagus habilis (author)2009-03-31

Its funny what makes a knife illegal in some jurisdictions. Where I am, that Emerson is illegal because it has the notch for draw opening, but spring assist is not, unless fully auto. Speaking of Kershaw, they actually make one with a grip-tape insert: the Storm II (1475.) Very good cheap knife with a thumb stud opener. It seems at least one manufacturer finally figured out the usefulness of adding G-10 to an existing slippery-scaled model. CRKT makes their common workhorse M-16 series in every size & shape, with one thing in common: surprisingly slippery handles, whether in aluminum, titanium or zytel versions. Finally -- after years -- they started offering it in textured G-10. Now, if they could get the grip texture just right, like Kershaw does in their "linen" G-10 (see the Junkyard Dog,1725CB)!

glycerinate (author)2008-09-07

I have a kershaw folding knife, and I LOVE it. wonderful to carry anytime, anywhere, the spring assist is AMAZINGLY helpful, because where I live, button-opening switchblades are I-LEE-GAL

kibbler (author)glycerinate2009-03-13

Where do you live? I was wondering.

inventageek (author)2008-04-21

in regards to our emmerson or kershaw knife question, i myself find spyderco's finger assisted flip knives verry nice for when i am out and about and need to open my knife with one hand. also the blade quality is astounding:verry tough material and has a verry long life expectancy

deke95 (author)2008-03-21

All clever suggestions,...seems like I'm always trying to improve the handles on certain knives myself,........but,....IT SHOULD'NT BE NECESSARY. Why can't these production knife designers figure these things out? For example,..why won't Kershaw make a stainless framelock Leek with some kind of partial G-10 insert or other material on the front handle? All those smooth, slippery handles on Leeks are stupid. Guess I'll rip off the plastic Velcro,... and try the skateboard stuff..... =:O

DIY Dave (author)2007-03-11

Hodge Podge-

You may want to pick up a Kershaw. It seems the same quality as the Emerson's, but the clip is mounted to the pivot end of the blade. No need for the tape because you grab the knife out by the thumb flip and your thumb is already there to flip the knife open. Plus they are spring assist, best thing ever.

Also, why not install an allen cap head screw into the clip so your thumb catches that?

Tell me if the material quality is on par:

If a person compares an Emerson with a Kershaw this means that he has no idea about folders.This comment made me laugh.Also it does not and can not seem same quality.Perfect choice and a good job Hodge-Podge.

Hodge-Podge (author)DIY Dave2007-03-12

I have a Kershaw Leeks (sliver finish w/ deep serrations, the 1660ST ) and it is not on par with Emerson.

When the clip is mounted around the pivot pin it is called "tip down" carry, I personally find this to be unsafe. The reason is, when the knife is in your pocket the blade can open because the spine of the blade is not resting against the rear hem of your pocket. I have cut my self a time or two on knives like this. It is even worse on the Kershaws, b/c of the assisted opening, if activated while in the pocket it can (given the right, albeit rare circumstances) flip open and stab you. "Tip Up" carry is much safer for autos/assisted knives. I have tried opening my Benchmade 9100SBK Auto-Strkyer in my pocket and b/c of the tip-up carry even with the strong spring on the blade, it can not open far enough for the tip to be exposed.

The Emerson are vastly superior to the Kershaws.

Kershaw is a good knife for the price, but the Emerson has much better blade steel (154CM).
The Kershaw has the assisted opening (which is a great feature) but it has it's draw backs. Because the blade is being pushed by a spring, when it hits the blade stop bar at the end of the opening cycle it has some "recoil" caused by the inertia of the blade. If your hands or the knife is wet ( or if your grip is other wise compromised) the knife can buck out of your hand, this has happened to me.
The Emerson's do not have any kind of assisted opening. But the are much faster than the kershaws, much faster than any folding knife (auto or not) for the matter, they have the "Wave" feature. In the pics you can see a small hook on top of the blade, that hook is the wave. When you pull the knife out of your pocket, the hook catches the hem of your pocket and pulls the blade open. What this means is that the knife opens as you remove it from your pocket. This makes it a good deal faster than assisted/auto knifes, b/c to be carreid safely /assisted to have the safety engaged. So when you go to open an auto/assisted you have to 1. remove it from your pocket. 2. deactivate the safety. 3. press the opener. The wave can be a bit hard to describe, so here is a (sadly) low quality video if the Wave in action
Emerson's are by far the best knifes i have ever some across, however due to their high cost ($175+) some find them to be a bit to pricey.

DonFenix (author)Hodge-Podge2007-07-02

If you are carrying it "Tip Down" there is a very simple method for preventing the blade from opening. Cary it in the OTHER pocket! That way you pocket itself prevents the blade from coming open. It is easy to get used to the difference in position.

DIY Dave (author)Hodge-Podge2007-03-13

Oh wow, I learned alot from you on this one. Your right, the blades don't seem any better than any other pocket knife, easy to knick. The video really does show how great this 'wave' idea is, much faster than the Kershaw. I'll make one of these my next knife and follow your grip instructions. In the Kershaws' defense, for the past 5 years I've carried, I have had no slipping issues or accidental openings with any clothing. But the smooth aluminum knife you have is another story then. Plus if an observer is not paying close attention, they think its a switch blade with the opening speed [cool factor when I was younger]. Thanks!

masterochicken (author)2007-11-28

This gave me an idea! Next time I re-grip my board I'm going to use some of the leftover scrap and put it on the blade. That way I don't have the nail catch.

VetteVert (author)2007-03-06

It would help if some of those replying knew anything about the knife. It is a WAVE'd knife. The 'Grip it & Rip it' deployment method simply comes with the territory on this knife. You don't want your hand to slip during extraction in a self-defense scenario. Nice write up.

Visitor (author)2007-03-04

The grip tape will chafe a hole to your pocket in less than an hour. Especially if you have a tight pocket.

Hodge-Podge (author)Visitor2007-03-04

I beg to differ, I have been useing folders grip taped this way for about 4 months now and my pockets do show wear, but none have holes in them. The pants I wear are either 50%Nylon/50%Cotton(Mil spec ACU's and 3 Desert BDU's) or 65%Poly/35%cotton rip stop (5.11 TDU Pants)
I can't say how jeans hold up, I don't have any.

Visitor (author)Hodge-Podge2007-03-05

Fair enough. My experiences are with jeans cloth and light jackets. But still, like regular sand paper, grip tape is designed to be abrasive and eventually it will consume softer materials that are brushed against it. Another solution for the grip problem could be drilling a thumb sized hole to the knife skin to give your thumb and edge from which to hold when removing the knife. But I understand if you are reluctant to try this with expensive knife.

Andrew546 (author)Visitor2007-03-04

I think this is intended for when the belt clip on the knife is used as intended. In other words, when the knife is clipped to your belt or the outside of the pocket, and the side with the grip tape isn't rubbing against anything.

Hodge-Podge (author)Andrew5462007-03-04

I added to new pics on the last page to show where I usually carry it, but i'm sure it would help if carried on the belt or out side of the pocket

theRIAA (author)2007-03-04

how do the knifes open and lock/unlock?

xboxteen01 (author)2007-03-04

other then the comment below,amazing idea and knives

About This Instructable




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