Also known as a “wave-shaped feature” or “Emerson Opener,” this novel device was invented and patented by noted knifemaker Ernest Emerson. Through a licensing arrangement with Emerson, Spyderco is allowed to incorporate it into a number of our designs.
The Emerson Opener consists of a small hook on the spine of the blade of a folding knife. When the knife is drawn from the pocket, this hook snags on the mouth of the pocket and rotates the blade into the open position. Unlike conventional one-hand-opening folding knives or even automatic knives, which allow the blade to be opened after the knife is drawn, the Emerson Opener deploys the blade as it clears the pocket.
Because the Emerson Opener hooks onto the pocket is opening, it works best with pants made from sturdy fabric. Dress pants and other pants made from light fabrics are not suitable for use with this opening method.
To prevent property damage or injury to others, always ensure that the area around you is clear of people and obstructions before attempting to open your knife.
To draw and open your knife in a standard grip (with the blade extending from the thumb side of the hand), first ensure that it is configured for tip-up carry by mounting the clip to the butt end of the handle. Clip the closed knife to your pocket with the body of the knife inside the pocket and knife positioned all the way to the back of the pocket. The spine of the blade should face to the rear.
Reach your thumb into the pocket as deeply as possible and index it firmly against the side of the knife’s handle. At the same time, curl your fingers and place your index and middle fingers against the base of the clip. Apply a pinching pressure between your thumb and fingers to establish a secure grip on the knife. As you lift the knife upward, apply slight rearward pressure to keep the spine of the blade against the rear of your pocket. As the Emerson Opener hooks on the pocket mouth, continue your draw so the blade safely clears your body and locks in the fully opened position.
Practice these movements slowly and carefully until you are thoroughly comfortable with them. Then, gradually increase your speed while maintaining your focus on safety.
Spyderco knives with Emerson Openers can also be configured so they can be drawn into a reverse grip (with the blade extending from the little-finger side of the hand). To configure your knife for this type of draw, mount the clip to the butt end of the handle so the spine of the closed blade faces forward when the knife is clipped in your pocket.
To draw from this position, reach your thumb deep into your pocket and index it against the handle of the knife. As you do, ensure that the web of your thumb is to the rear of the butt of the handle. Place the fingertips of your index and middle fingers on base of the clip and apply a pinching pressure between them and your thumb. Maintain a firm grip on the handle and lift the knife out of your pocket. As you do, apply forward pressure to slide the spine of the closed blade against the front portion of your pocket. As the knife clears the pocket, the Emerson Opener will snag the pocket edge to pivot the blade into the open position.
Again, practice these movements slowly and carefully and become thoroughly comfortable with them before you increase your speed.
Drawing Without Opening
It is also possible to draw your Emerson Opener-equipped knife without automatically opening the blade. To do this, use the same grip and mechanics described previously, but draw the knife through the middle of the pocket without allowing the hook to snag the pocket mouth. You may also use your fingers to hold the blade closed as the knife is drawn.
The Emerson Opener is a truly unique feature that significantly enhances the ease of deployment of our knives. We hope this information helps you understand and master its safe operation and that your Spyderco knife serves you well.