We’re in the age of mods (or modifications for you older folk). Whether we’re talking about modding video games to defy gravity or modding cars with chrome, people want to put a stamp on what they own.
This sentiment also extends to knives.
If you’re interested in adding a personal touch to your knife via some easy modification, we’re here to help.
These five knife modifications are projects most people can do. Just be aware that things can go wrong and these mods may void your warranties. But in the end, you’ll have a knife that’s not only unique but reflects you in a personal way.
Zip Tie “Emerson Wave” Knife Mod
Ernest Emerson is one of the most influential knife makers ever. Known for helping popularize tactical folders, Emerson has made some darn good knives. One of his many innovations is known as the Emerson Wave Feature. This is a little protrusion at the base of the spine that facilitates a fast and seamless opening of the blade when it’s pulled from the pocket. Check it out on the Kershaw Emerson CQC-6K or the Endura 4 with Emerson Wave.
You can add a makeshift “wave-shaped feature” to any Spyderco (or knife with a thumb hole) with a plastic zip tie. It’s not essential but it makes life a lot easier to also have a tip-up clip on the knife.
To create a zip-tie wave, simply attach a zip tie to the thumb hole and cut off any excess material. You can experiment with the size and position of the zip tie to get it exactly the way you want it.
Check out this classic YouTube video from WilliamCutting08. It’s a bit old so the quality is poor:
If you take a gander through the threads over at BladeForums, some people absolutely hate this mod because of how it looks but others love the way it works. The fact that you can remove it when you don’t want it is also a major plus.
Don’t have a Spyderco? You can also Wave a knife with a thumb stud via muddieddesire’s use of terminal lugs.
Advanced: Craft a wave into your blade with a Dremel. It won’t look as funky but it’s permanent and requires some steady work.
Nail Nick to Thumb Stud Mod
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is one of the best-selling knives of all time and remains one of the most mimicked designs. The knife is perfect but nearly impossible to open with just one hand. If only it had a thumb stud…
Good news! You can add thumb studs to any nail nick blade.
For those who want a quick fix, there’s a kit called the Kwik Thumb Stud. With this, you basically attach a stud to the side of the blade with an included hex wrench. There’s no detailed work or filing involved.
Sure it looks a bit wonky (even those who said they love it agree with that sentiment), but the simple mod is more than worth it.
Advanced: You can make an actual thumb stud by using a Dremel to make a hole in the blade and buying real thumb studs from a supply store.
Forced Patina Mod
A patina is a film on the surface of a carbon blade caused by oxidation. It develops over time and can lead to beautiful coloring and patterns. With regular care, a patina is a good thing because it provides extra rust prevention.
Forcing a patina on your blade can give a unique and colorful pattern on your blade that truly stands out without having to wait.
Everybody has their own method for what they use to force a patina. You can use some acidic materials found around the household like vinegar, mustard, fruits, and more. Leave the substance on your knife for as short or long as you like (the longer the more effective, obviously).
Here’s a video of a quick example of forcing a patina from TheSmokinApe:
You can get really creative by adding patterns and decorations. Some knives even end up looking like Damascus steel. You may have to experiment to get the look you really want. And don’t worry, a patina can also be removed.
SAK Pocket Clip Mod
There are tons of modifications you can do to Swiss Army knives (SAK for short). I’ll probably do a whole post devoted to SAK mods in the future.
I love Swiss Army knives except for the fact that they don’t often come with pocket clips. So why not add your own?
You can go about this a few ways.
1) Buy a pocket clip specifically designed for the Victorinox. This one from Swissbianco fits all 111mm Victorinox knives. It includes an anchor to put on the inside of the scale (you’ll have to pop it off) so it stays securely attached. This is a look at that:
2) Take a pocket clip from an old knife. Drill holes in your SAK (this only works for Cellidor scales, not Alox), pop off the scales, and put some adhesive on the inside, such as Loctite to keep things securely attached.
3) Nite Ize is a company that makes durable clips you can attach to different surfaces. I think the original idea was for phones, but it works well on SAKs. The Nite Ize eCLIPse device or the HipClip device comes with adhesive to stay on.
Glow in the Dark Mod
When you’re outside at night or in a building that lost power, nothing is worse than not being able to find your knife. You can remedy that with a pretty cool glow in the dark (GITD) mod.
This has the potential to look really amateurish or really awesome, so you should consider your plan carefully.
Like most of the previous mods, you can go about it a few ways. The easiest is to get some GITD powder (like the powder from Glow Inc) and mix it with clear nail polish. This will allow you to do some cool accents to your knife. Don’t go overboard to start.
This is an example of what can be done with glow in the dark material.
Advanced: You can also make glow in the dark scales out of moonglow. Moonglow slabs are available at knife-making supply stores.
If you think we missed any easy knife mods, let us know in the comments.