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Every once in a while, a blade concept comes along that is so unique and functional, if forever leaves its mark on knife culture. One such blade is the ShivWorks Clinch Pick. Unlike the many small utilitarian fixed blades on the market, the Clinch Pick was designed with one purpose in mind—self-preservation. Designed by Craig Douglas (aka SouthNarc and the man behind ShivWorks), this extremely lethal and highly concealable knife is intended for extreme close-quarters application against a deadly threat.
The Clinch Pick has an interesting history, as blades designed by end-users rather than knife manufacturers often do. The original design went into production with a custom knifemaker nearly 15 years ago. Years later, when finding a Clinch Pick for sale was like trying to find a Sasquatch in the wild, Douglas introduced an economical version through Triple Aught Design. For some of us, though, there is no substitute for a custom-made knife built right here in the USA. Enter the Ban Tang Knives Custom Clinch Pick!
Ban Tang is the founder and lead craftsman of Ban Tang Knives. Tang is a self-taught knifemaker that began leisurely making knives around 1998. In 2007, he began a more serious affair with knife-work, doing custom modifications on existing knives, and eventually began making his own designs. Tang has since become widely known for his beautiful craftsmanship and incredibly sharp blades. His Custom Clinch Pick is no exception.
Tang’s affinity for reverse edge knives is obvious when you look at his own line-up, so it is no surprise that Craig Douglas, who is well-known for his use of a reverse-edge knife methodology, would ask Ban Tang, about five years ago, to begin producing custom Clinch Picks. What has emerged is an unparalleled combination of quality, aesthetics, form, and function.
The Ban Tang Custom Clinch Pick is 5 ¾”-long with a 2.5” blade. It is “chisel-ground” (ground on only one side) to achieve very acute edge geometry and eliminate the weakening of the blade that can occur with flat grinding thinner steal. The deep, pronounced grind lines that result from the single-sided hollow grind also add a sense of elegance and beauty. This would not be possible with a double-sided flat or hollow grind. A highly-polished convex cutting edge (secondary bevel), coupled with the overall blade geometry, make this knife “stupid sharp!”
The Custom Clinch Pick can be ordered with a cord wrapped handle or Micarta scales with either a large or medium size “bulb.” The knife Tang sent to me was beautifully cord wrapped black over red. The chisel grind and cord wrap were reminiscent of a Japanese-style Tanto, which only added to the aesthetic quality of this beautiful piece.
What kind of steel, you ask? Well, the one you see here is S35VN, but as with many custom knives, the steel may vary upon request or the maker’s preference. From what I have seen of Ban Tang, I would not expect anything less than high-quality, high-carbon steel. S35VN seems to be a favorite of his, so if you manage to pick one up as he makes them available, then that’s likely what you’ll get. Either way, Ban Tang always specifies the steel used for each knife he makes, so you’ll know before you buy.
If you are at all familiar with the ShivWorks Reverse-Edge Methods, you will know that much of the system is actually designed around the Clinch Pick. While other knives are compatible with the system (i.e. the ShivWorks Disciple, the Spyderco P’kal, and the Spyderco Reverse—all knives that were designed with direct input from Craig Douglas), the Clinch Pick is unique in that it is intended to be used in a forward grip/edge inverted (FGEI) configuration, as opposed to the reverse grip/edge inverted (RGEI) configuration that is the standard for the other knives mentioned.
The Clinch Pick is designed to be worn forward of the hips on the support-side at a downward 45-degree angle. This allows the user to access the Clinch Pick—you guessed it—in a clinch, where hand and arm mobility are limited. With a single snap loop (not included) installed on center of the sheath, the sheath mounts perfectly on a belt, placing it at the correct downward angle. The extremely compact size of the Clinch Pick allows it to disappear under even a fitted t-shirt. I find it very difficult to leave home without it.
You can learn more about Ban Tang knives on the website. Don’t stop there, though. If you don’t follow Ban Tang Knives on Instagram, then you are missing out. The beauty of his creations are a thing to behold. Plus, you don’t want to miss out on all the one-up knives that don’t show up on his website. Be sure to pay a visit on Facebook as well.
Photo Credits: Chad McBroom