Spyderco serration history

Discuss Spyderco's products and history.
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sal
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Spyderco serration history

Postby sal » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:36 am

I thought that since some of my friends like Mike Blue and Ugaarguy brought up the question, I thought to try to provide some explanation and history.

Some of you know that Gail and I were "Pitchmen". Standing on a box, microphone next to our mouth, demonstrating products at Shows and Fairs to a group of people being entertained and educated about a product. Eric says he was raised under a "Pitch Joint", his education on knives began when he was in diapers. We demo'd knives like the "Ginsu" and our K04SBL "Utility" as well as Sharpeners. For a couple of months we demo'd and sold "Scrape-amatic" Sharpeners. We weren't pleased with the sharpeners so we decided to develop our own. That's how the Sharpmaker came to be.

At the time, we were homeless, living on the road, first in a converted "Bread Delivery Truck" and eventually in a 31' Air conditioned trailer. It wasn't an expensive trailer, but for us, it was heaven. We developed, patented and built our Sharpmaker in the living room of this trailer.

We knew that there were some advantages to serrations, so we really studied "teeth" when developing our sharpener. The multiple sized serration we traced back to Germany in the '40's. Another "Pitchman" named Ronny Popeil ( Ronco - a great inventor, pitchman and producer) developed a kitchen knife based on that concept called the "Feather touch" knife. It was a really effective Kitchen cutting tool, though inexpensively made. Most of the knife Pitchmen bought and sold his knife. It had one large serration and one small serration.

Then another Pitchmen named John Spyker (another really good Pitchman) designed a larger knife with one large serration and two small serrations called the "Sharpcut carving and serving knife". Made in Ohio, John had "broken the Ex" (exclusive) of Popeil's knife, sold them for less money and the Pitchmen eventually gravitated to the new "Pitch Knife".

Then another company designed and created a similar and larger model promoted on Television called the "Ginsu" knife. All based on the multiple sized serrated edge. Gail and I with microscopes studied serrations to determine why they worked better and how to sharpen them. This was in the late 70's. Once we felt we had it nailed down, we produced the "201 Sharpmaker". We then produced our own kitchen knife, which we still make today. It is our serrated "Utility" knife and general kitchen performance is exceptional. In 1981, we produced the first "Clipit" folding pocket knife and in 1982, we produce ed the "Mariner" serrated pocket knife. Early models were thicker at the edge and it took us a while to get our maker to make the edge thinner and thinner.

We continue to study serrations and we're still refining them. In my opinion, a serrated Spyderco, sharpened a few times with a Sharpmaker is the best performing serrated edge on the market. This was and is a 40 year study and I'm sure I left out some history. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

sal

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Sharp Guy » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:24 pm

^ This is a neat post.

At one time I kept a Popeil's Pocket Fisherman in the glove box of my car haha
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Holland » Wed Apr 01, 2020 12:32 pm

Very cool post! thanks for sharing Sal
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Airlsee » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:29 pm

Thanks Sal, I look forward to the discussions generated by this post!
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby RustyIron » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:39 pm

sal wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:36 am
In my opinion, a serrated Spyderco, sharpened a few times with a Sharpmaker is the best performing serrated edge on the market.
Dude. You're killing me. I have serrated knives. I don't like serrated knives. I don't want another serrated knife. But oddly, I'm strangely intrigued. I'm gonna have to think on this.

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Mike Blue » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:40 pm

This kind of stuff needs to be in the wiki for posterity.

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby VooDooChild » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:12 pm

The other thread answered one of my biggest questions. That serrations on the "show" side direct the edge away from your other hand and body when cutting through something.

I guess I will ask, with all the other serration patterns out there, what are your thoughts on them? Is there another type of pattern you might give a shot at, or does the spyderege still outperform these other patterns?

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby kennethsime » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:27 pm

Thanks Sal, this is a great story. I appreciate both the Sharpmaker and your serrated knives that cut like razors from the factory.
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby quattro98 » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:42 pm

Very cool. When I want to carry a Native 5 LW, I usually go with the S110V in plain edge, but got a serrated for the LC200N model.

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sal
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby sal » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:52 pm

RustyIron wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:39 pm
sal wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:36 am
In my opinion, a serrated Spyderco, sharpened a few times with a Sharpmaker is the best performing serrated edge on the market.
Dude. You're killing me. I have serrated knives. I don't like serrated knives. I don't want another serrated knife. But oddly, I'm strangely intrigued. I'm gonna have to think on this.
Hi RustyIron,

What serrated knives do you own?

sal

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Wartstein » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:55 pm

RustyIron wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:39 pm
sal wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:36 am
In my opinion, a serrated Spyderco, sharpened a few times with a Sharpmaker is the best performing serrated edge on the market.
Dude. You're killing me. I have serrated knives. I don't like serrated knives. I don't want another serrated knife. But oddly, I'm strangely intrigued. I'm gonna have to think on this.

I know, I repeat myself, but it's worth it:
Try an Endela SE: Ffg, rather thin stock, not too aggressive serrations: I am sure you'll love it!
Top three going by pocket-time: Endura 4 in VG 10/Micarta-scales; Stretch 1 in VG 10; Endura 4 in HAP 40

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sal
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby sal » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:28 pm

VooDooChild wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:12 pm
The other thread answered one of my biggest questions. That serrations on the "show" side direct the edge away from your other hand and body when cutting through something.

I guess I will ask, with all the other serration patterns out there, what are your thoughts on them? Is there another type of pattern you might give a shot at, or does the spyderege still outperform these other patterns?
Hi VooDooChild,

We use a single size serration on our bread knife because testing in Japan by our kitchen knife maker indicated that on hot fresh bread, it worked better. We haven't tested this ourselves. Of all of the other serrations we've tested, we found that angles were very important, edge geometry was also important and the height and width ratio was important, as was the "pointiness" of the tooth. With those considerations, I would still opt for the set-up we are using. If something comes along that we think would perform better, we would switch.

I also maintain that sharpening those serrations with a sharpmaker for 10 -20 strokes on the corners of the white stone improves the performance considerably by softening the sharp teeth.

sal

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby clovisc » Wed Apr 01, 2020 3:49 pm

Coming out of lurker mode to express thanks for this awesome bit of history and insight into Spyderco's early years of innovation!

My favorite Spyderco serrations are the ultra aggressive SE H1 serrations... especially on the Pacific and Atlantic platforms. SE Atlantic has been an EDC the last several weeks.

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Evil D » Wed Apr 01, 2020 4:40 pm

RustyIron wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:39 pm
sal wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:36 am
In my opinion, a serrated Spyderco, sharpened a few times with a Sharpmaker is the best performing serrated edge on the market.
Dude. You're killing me. I have serrated knives. I don't like serrated knives. I don't want another serrated knife. But oddly, I'm strangely intrigued. I'm gonna have to think on this.

I've spent the last 2.5 years carrying nothing but serrated knives. Everyone is different, but I can say without a doubt there is a performance advantage to SE. I wouldn't have changed my daily carry choices after roughly 33 years of carrying nothing but plain edge just to get on the internet and tell people what they should like.

Give this a read viewtopic.php?f=2&t=85045#p1366199

And this viewtopic.php?t=84985#p1364190

And this viewtopic.php?t=84544#p1349519
SHARPEN IT LIKE YOU LOVE IT, USE IT LIKE YOU HATE IT
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby bearrowland » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:35 pm

After using the Autonomy, I wish all my knives were serrated. Thanks Sal!
Barry
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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby RustyIron » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:58 pm

sal wrote:
Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:52 pm

What serrated knives do you own?
The ones I care about:

1. A left handed Ernest Emerson designed CQC7 in ATS34 made by Benchmade, half serrated. After Rogue Warrior came out, it just made sense to have one. I carried this for a lot of years and it's a good knife.

2. A Mike Snoddy designed auto in 154CM made by Benchmade, half serrated. Autos are cool, had to have it. This one also spent a lot of years in my pocket, as well. As you might guess, I was mostly a Benchmade fan before I jumped on the Spyder Express.

3. A 1980's vintage Henckels bread knife from Germany, unknown flavor of stainless.

These are all good knives, but the challenge has always been sharpening. It's only been in recent years that I really upped my sharpening game, and the best I could do with these is with a few cylindrically shaped diamond rods. The results are satisfactory, but not beautiful.

One thought I had was getting some of your triangular diamond Sharpmaker rods, and setting them up on my Edgepro. The benefit of acute corner of your rods is obvious for varying sized serrations. Also interesting are claims I've read of how rounded-off serrations cut better than the pointy ones that come from the factory.

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby bearrowland » Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:07 pm

The thing I've always liked about serrated edge is that they don't seem to require sharpening as much as plain edge, at least for me.
Barry
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For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have! Theodore Roosevelt

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Surfingringo » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:27 am

Thanks so much Sal for taking the time to leave little pieces of your story on here. I always enjoy reading them. I enjoy them because you have a great story and it inspires me. It inspires me to apply myself towards living my best life. I know that if I want to be able to tell a story of my life that is worth listening to, I need to live that life. Having a worthy story at the end is less about having others listen than it is about knowing that I honored the gift that was given me. Your stories are always great reminders...thank you.

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Michael Janich » Thu Apr 02, 2020 6:56 am

Hey, Sal:

Thank you very much for the history lesson, for all you've done, and all you continue to do for the knife community. I'm very fortunate to have the privilege to work with you and Spyderco. History like this makes me very proud of our roots as a company.

Stay safe,

Mike

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Re: Spyderco serration history

Postby Jazz » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:36 am

Thanks, Sal. Where would we be without Gail and you? I enjoyed the history.
- best wishes, Jazz.


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