• Based on a SpydercoMcBee C236TI
  • Personalized by the owner
  • Self taught customizer

Much like firearms, knives are works of art that are oftentimes modified by their owners to reflect their aesthetic sensibilities or practical needs. Knives come in a diverse assortment of shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are custom crafted while others are churned out en mass. For a knife enthusiast like Dylan P., whose collection of knives spans mass-produced models to truly one-of-a-kind masterpieces, the idea of customizing his knives came to him in a vision… a vision that he glimpsed on his laptop’s screen, that is. 

Dylan has been a knife collector for about a decade now but has only been customizing his knives for the last couple of years. “There’s a lot you can learn on YouTube, from how to fix a leaky faucet to anodizing metal,” he informs us. “A few years back I got hooked on watching how-to videos on metalworking. It was then that I got bit by the bug to start customizing my store-bought, off-the-shelf knives.”

He continues: “I’ve always liked the way customized knives stood apart from other run-of-the-mill knives. I appreciate the unique look that handmade knives have. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m only a garage tinkerer, and in no way am I qualified to actually make my own knife from scratch. But I did wonder if I could achieve unique styles with my purchased knives though what I learned online.”

It was sometime during the fall of 2016 that Dylan decided to try his hand at customizing knives. He says that he learned a lot from the first knife he worked on, but it eventually became a practice knife for many of the things he wanted to try. For him, the learning curve was steep. (At least he was practicing on $10 to $20 knives.) “Over time,” he says, “I got the hang of things and now it’s a fun hobby I like to delve into when time permits.”

When talking about the knife featured here, Dylan told us that he came across it after he noticed that smaller, compact knives were trending lately. He started to pay attention to the many small knives being produced, and after browsing around for a bit, Dylan decided to purchase Spyderco’s McBee, which is the company’s iteration of Jonathan McNees’ (of McNees Custom Knives) Killer B.  

If you’re unfamiliar with McNees’ style, his creations usually feature plenty of textures and color contrasts. The Spyderco rendition of McNees’ knife is a fair bit more plain, so Dylan felt that its plain-Jane scales needed some work. Wanting to keep the knife’s signature stippling on the pivot and lock bar recesses, he carefully masked the scales off and then stone-washed them. To add some color contrast to the McBee’s hardware, they were brass-washed.

The new texture and color contrast improved the look, but Dylan felt it needed something more. He decided to use copper and brass mosaic pins to add some style. The pins were installed into the factory countersunk holes, and the main flats of the scales were then satin-finished. Mosaic pins are decorative rods that come in a variety of patterns. The pins he used for this knife were purchased at a knife show, but he said that there are many sellers that offer them online as well. 

The knife’s polished stainless-steel pocket clip was left stock to match the bright stone-washed blade, but Dylan is already thinking that the next step might be to machine a brass pocket clip and brass-wash the blade to add even more texture and color contrasts. That will require some more YouTube tutorials, no doubt. For the time being, he’s happy with the low-key modifications. Currently, Dylan is using this as his daily carry knife. “It’s small enough to almost forget that it’s there,” he says, “but useful enough that it comes in handy almost daily.”

If you have a knife that you customized yourself that you’d like to see featured in UN12, tag us on Instagram @un12mag

Owner: Dylan P.

Custom Knife Based On:

Make: Spyderco

Model: McBee C236TI

URL: spyderco.com 

Text by Danny Chang / Images by Chris Lee

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