Sal Glesser

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(Louis) Sal Glesser is married to Gail Glesser, they have a daughter called Christina and a son named Eric Glesser. Sal is the founder and owner of Spyderco inc. in Golden, Colorado, U.S.A., Earth. Sal Glesser is mostly known for his contributions to the knife industry and holds numerous design patents, such as the round hole opener and the pocket clip.

Design philosophy

Sal Glesser shared his design philosophy, and mindset when creating new knife designs, on the Spyderco Discussion Forum on 20 October 2019. It followed from a question from a Spyderco enthusiast David (username Evil D) wanting to know more about a comment Sal made on the design of the C229 Shaman in a different online discussion about the C07GP4 Police 4 (abbreviated as P4)[1]. To prevent derailing the original discussion, Sal posted his thoughts on knife design, along with his views on the design mindsets of a few notable fellow knife designers, in a new discussion topic called 'Evil's question'.

Hi David, I say odd because in my mind, my designs are based more on an intangible than the eye or function, but more in the "spirit" of what I'm trying to achieve. Much like Plato's theory of Pure Forms.

Let's take some great designers; Bob Lum, the extraordinary artist had an eye few could match. Every curve, line, grind, was there in the finished product. Truly a piece of art. The influence he created still lives today in the creations of many knife makers. I'm, working with Mike H and Craig to see if we can pull these together.

Gayle Bradley designs a knife with his hands all over the piece. forming with his hands to perform the function of the design. Little by little, the design takes form and when he feels it will perform the proper function, that his hands tell him, then he puts his eye to the piece. This makes it very attractive and being a master of materials, he selects what will work best for the design.

Murray Carter, the master of detail uses the teachings of his masters for initial form and then he sharpens and cuts, sharpens and cuts, 10,000 times. details like weight, balance, straightness are massaged into their final form. I use Murray's knives in my kitchen and the shear pleasure of cutting with them comes through in the cut......from the material, through my hand, arm. eye and the finished slice. Makes you just want to make another slice just to duplicate the experience.

"I can do anything", Ed Schempp, will push the envelope, often just to see if he can. I did a "hammer" in at Ed's house. Just a bunch of knife afi's with great skill working on a globe. But no hammers. Ed designed and built a series of miniature rolling mills so we can produce mosaic Damascus pieces, each with an assignment. Ed's my "go to" guy for Ethnic series knives. Take a design hundreds, or even thousands of year old, capture the purpose and function and re-create that in a modern folder. He studies the design, the history, function and purpose before beginning. Those of you that have studied and used Ed's designs know what I'm talking about. True original classics, each and every one.

My designs begin with an "idea", hard to put into words. The final design says it better than words can. I also refine that design (idea) over time to make it closer to the pure form originally envisioned. The P4 is in it's 4th refinement and in my opinion, closer to my original "idea" than ever. While the P4 is very different from the Shaman, they both embody the "spirit" of what I was thinking of for their purpose. I'll start with pencil and paper, CAD it, make plastic models with Peter from CAD drawings, often for months until I get as close as I can at the time to my "idea". Like carving an elephant; take a piece of material and cut away everything that isn't elephant. Once the design is close to it's "pure form", I'll refine the materials based on the original idea and run with it. I don't have the "eye" of a Lum, so appearance plays little in the fished outcome.

I've discussed this method of creating with other knife designers and their usual comment is "that's odd", though some have called me crazy.

I hope that answers your question?

sal [2]

Designer mark

Since around 2000, knives designed solely by Sal have had a signature mark engraved on the blade near the round hole opener. The signature spells out SAL:


Related articles


  1. [1] Spyderco General Discussion, Topic: Let's take a look inside my Police 4 - page 5]
  2. [2] Spyderco General Discussion, Topic: Evil's question