I own this knife for 10 years now, and lo and behold; high-quality slipjoints are back in style these days. Lionsteel is making them, Chris Reeve Knives is making one and according to my Instagram feed, the genre is also doing very well for custom makers. Especially for designs that echo the patterns of yesteryear when a lock on a folding knife didn’t even exist. Why has this design become cool again?
Spyderco developed the UK Penknife in 2004, simply to accommodate their UK customers who were facing new knifelaws limiting the carry of locking folding knives. What made this development process especially cool, was that UK forumites helped design this knife. In return, they were offered a special engraved UK Penknife that said ‘UK Penknife design team’.
In 2008, the design was slightly refined (opening/closing was smoother) and offered in two blade-types (droppoint and leaf shape), and multiple colors G10 (foliage green and orange). That is when I stepped onto the UKPK train, so to speak. I was pleasantly surprised that this slipit was just as useful as my locking knives. And ever since, I add a Spyderco Slipit to my pocket when I’m traveling to countries with stricter knifelaws, such as on this woodswalk in the forest near Bastogne, Belgium, during last year’s vacation trip.
Spyderco has been making slipits in some form since the introduction of the UK Penknife. This year, the slipit design has become en vogue with other brands. Why? Sure, knifelaws haven’t gotten much more relaxed in the world since 2004, but I think it’s something else. I think more and more knifeknuts are discovering that they rarely ‘need’ a lock. To me, it is a special (small) kind of joy to just open, cut and close your knife without having to unlock it. Try a slipit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.