Coye Knives Selected by Boker
Coye Knives, a one-man custom knife shop located in Tulsa, OK, has recently been asked by German knife manufacturer Boker to provide the Coye Ridgeback fixed blade knife design to the Boker line-up. They will be a part of the Boker Plus line and are now up for pre-order in Europe. Six months or so should see them here in the US as part of Boker USA.
A typical Ridgeback (typical being a somewhat careless term) is 6.25″ OAL with a 3″ blade, 5/32″ 154CM Stainless with a grip of either carbon fiber (from Lockheed Martin; the same as is used in fighter aircraft), G10 or Micarta. Every knife is made one at a time and each one is completely unique; the only thing constant to the knives’ personality is the water jet cut metal he begins with. Each knife comes with a fitted Kydex sheath fitted to that specific knife because, Bill says, “The final shape and texturing will be different from knife to knife. The difference may be subtle, but they’re there. My Ridgeback won’t fit in another Ridgeback’s sheath.”
Though the Ridgeback is obviously capable of performing as a weapon, it is definitely a utilitarian design. “It’s a good utility knife,” Bill says. “I get lots of pictures in the Fall, after hunting season…[and] you can see the abuse I give the ones I carry to my full time job.”
The full time job he speaks of is his own company, Apex BioClean. He contracts with local law enforcement and governmental agencies across several states to bring crews in and clean up crime scenes and dismantle methamphetamine manufacturing labs, a profession which provides ample opportunity to rigorously T&E his designs (if the use they’re put to by numerous LEOs, Paramedics, Firemen and deployed military personnel is inadequate).
The pictured knife, on the right is a titanium frames, S35VN stainless blade A10 folder – at the time, one of only two prototypes being tested “in the field” tearing down methamphetamine labs and cleaning up crime scenes.
Though the Ridgeback was named simply for the contours along the spine and sides of the grip, all other Coye design names have a story behind them. For instance, the Alpha Echo was named after a conversation with a Seabee Bill had known for years. They were talking about fixed blades and the Seabee, deployed to Afghanistan at the time, mentioned that he and his friends were looking for a knife to carry in austere environment – hence AE, austere environments, Alpha Echo. The GK1 is named for the alpha-numeric designator for FOB Eggers, where he worked as a medic for the civilian population. Area 10 is named for a former section of Kabul’s Green Zone. He designed it after the embassy bombing of September 13 2011, which occurred just a short distance from where Coye was working.
“We were locked down for a while subsequent to the attack,” Coye advises. “I started sketching out the Area 10 over several meals of stale Triskets from the PX.”
In addition to many military buyers, Coye Knives have a strong following amongst first responders the Oklahoma-Missouri-Arkansas area (this region is widening). There are first responders carrying Ridgebacks screwed down to the outside riser of their ‘off-hand’ boot to keep it concealed beneath a pant leg and officers and deputies carrying one behind their magazine pouches. Coye will now actually set up the Kydex sheath and thin the handle down for this sort of LEO carry (often the ‘Blackout Ridgeback LE edition), or help the officers rig it themselves.
A Ridgeback typically retails for approximately $250. There is no Coye Knives on line store right now. Most of his business is done by word of mouth, at knife shows (like the one coming up next month) or via Facebook. That is actually your best method of obtaining one. If he builds a knife that isn’t yet spoken for, he generally posts a picture and a price on his Facebook page with a “first come, first served” notification. Now is a perfect time to start watching it. This week he has received some N690 Bholer stainless steel and will be spending the weekend in his shop.