Spyderco Knives and Accessories, a ground-breaking company and leader in the cutlery industry, has introduced a project called the Mule Team knives. In a nutshell, as many of you know, the Mule Team Project is a knife, made to the exact same specifications every time, but with the steel differing with each issuance. This allows a person to experience the steel of that issue, and compare it against other steels, without any other variations clouding your comparison. But more than that, the Mule Team is a useful knife. See Spyderco's latest Mule Team, the MT05 in the Chinese steel 9Cr18Mo for more details.
But, the Mule Team knives do not come with handles or sheaths. And this necessitates that the user, supply a handle, and if the knife is to be carried, a sheath.
So, as I began to acquire the Mule Team knives, I began to look for what options had become available on the after-market.
One of the first options I discovered was a company out of Germany, called Cuscadi (http://blog.cuscadi.de/)
I had originally seen their custom handle scales for folders. I contacted them and asked if they had ever done a set of handle scales for a Mule Team. And soon I received a reply from Luke, saying that they were at that very time, planning on making a set of scales for a Mule.
I came to learn that, Cuscadi manufactures after-market handle scales for quite a few different knives. What they do is a sort of outgrowth of the "Pimp Your Knife" sub-culture, owners, knife makers, and modifiers that take a knife, and re-tool it with non-standard materials and embellishments. Cuscadi works within this corner of the market, crafting custom handle scales and back spacers out of your choice of suitable materials, with very fine machined surface effects.
In speaking with Luke,, he informed me that he was interested in classic materials, like wood, for their nobility.
I informed him that I was interested in an 'Anso' style scale, which he told me would be no problem.
Luke, in our discussions, kept highlighting the custom nature of the service he provides. He made it clear, that if a material exists, and you can adequately describe what it is you want, he can most likely create a set of handle scales that will match your idea. This custom aspect also allows them to build scales for the first Mule, which had different hole sizes, or for the subsequent Mules.
As time came and went, he began to create a set of 'Anso' style scales for me, working from a prototype, into a finished product.
The handle scales offered by Cuscadi are bolt-on and removable. The first benefit is that you will not have to send your scales off to have them attached, Cuscadi can simply make yours and send them to you. The second benefit is that you can switch the handle scales from one Mule to another, if you so choose. With the high hardness of the 4th Mule Team knife, made of ZDP-189, the bolt-on handles of Cuscadi offer another advantage, they can be installed with very little stress applied to the blade.
Earlier, I mentioned that they offer a number of different materials and textures, but words do not convey the beauty of what Cuscadi creates.
From noble woods, to the most high-tech of materials, like cera-glass and carbon fiber, Cuscadi can mate a precious material with the surface effect of your choice to create a set of handle scales for your Mule, that is uniquely yours.
Check them out, and see if they have the goods to help you get a handle on your Mule. http://blog.cuscadi.de/?p=1127
The set of scales that Luke made for me, are on their way, and I should receive them soon, and I await their arrival with great interest.
But, I will leave you with a couple more images, to whet your appetite...
I received my Cuscadi of Germany custom handle scales for the Spyderco Mule Team knife.
A package from Germany...
The handle scales, all fastened together, so that nothing is lost.
Getting everything ready for the assembly.
It was really quite exciting getting my new handle scales from Cuscadi of Germany. I was able to fasten them to the knife with no difficulty.
This knife, with it's new handle scales, has been in my pocket for about a month, and I quite like them. Great to look at, reasonably comfortable to use. So far, I feel like the Cuscadi of Germany custom handle scales represent a good value.