Perfect Pocket Knife: The Gripper from Civilware

Perfect Pocket Knife: The Gripper from Civilware


Using flat metal files to make knives is practically the stuff of legend in the knife commuinty. This is a real Americana approach to knife making, with the end result relying heavily on the type of steel that the file was originally made from, and how it was processed. When all of the elements come together properly, there’s really no question that a pocket knife made from a flat file is as cool as Marlon Brando in the 1953 classic film The Wild One.

Whether the folks over at Civilware thought using a file to make a knife was cool or not remains a bit of a mystery, but the four versions of their 4.5” long Gripper Knife are out of stock and have been for a couple of weeks. That’s a testament to just how popular this knife has become, and how cool others think that it is.

gripper tease

So what’s so great about using a file to make a knife? Well, for starters it uses readily available materials that are generally pretty resilient to wear and corrosion. You also know that those same materials are as tough as nails because in their previous life they were used to shave down other metals. On top of that, it is an affordable approach to knife making since the files can be easily recycled, and are often in prime shape to be ground into a knife blade.

In the case of Civilware’s Gripper knife, they’ve chosen files made from 1095 carbon steel, which can be hardened to a scale of between 53 and 65 HRC. Most generally fall in the 61-63 HRC range, which leaves you with incredibly strong steel that is highly resistant to wear, while still managing to hold a decent edge too. This of course makes it the perfect material for a traditional pocket knife.


The Gripper Knife is made in America and priced nicely at $70. It comes in your choice of four different colored kydex sheaths, which helps them to stand out just a bit more. At this size and price, the Gripper makes a great key-chain knife or a life-long concealable companion for every day carry. You just need to patiently wait for it to come back into stock. I promise it will be worth it.