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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.



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    34 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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

    7 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    3 replies
    punkhead58black hole

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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-Podgeblack hole

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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 holeHodge-Podge

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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

    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)!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    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


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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