Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Welcome to MuleProjects

Thank you for visiting Mule Projects. I hope that this blog will become a resource for those seeking information about the Mule Team knives by Spyderco Knives and Accessories of Golden Colorado.

Further, here you will see the natural outgrowth of that project, the aftermarket products offered by various knife makers, sheath and accessory makers, made available so that you can more fully enjoy your Spyderco Mule Team knife.

Read further for more information about the products and services that have been made available so far. Note: You can look to the right of this text for a menu, if you want to scan for a particular service or product.


All of my articles, link lists, and reviews are posted at another blog... Eye on Cutlery.

Also, while I have been making Concealex sheaths for about a year, I just recently created a page to feature my work... Marion Carry.

Friday, November 13, 2009

MuleProjects Updates.... Handles, Sheaths, Friends...

In an effort to keep you informed about the news and developments in the world of the Spyderco Mule Team Knives, I am posting an update of my blog, MuleProjects.

1. A Forums member, [B]Hector Castro[/B], has began to make handles for the Mules. He is working with both wood and synthetic materials like micarta and G-10. I have a set of his scales, and I will do a write up, but until then, here are a couple threads from the Spyderco Forums, that will give you some background information.

His first post, demonstrating his process, and showing some of the different woods that he works with....

Then, he showed how to install handles made in that way, here...

Starting on page 12 of this ongoing thread, he posted some examples of his work, to go to the further pages to see all his work...

2. Halpern Titanium is currently manufacturing grips for the Spyderco Mule Team Knives...

I have received my grips, and have completed my article, with images, you can see it at...

To those who have read it, you may want to glance at it again, I added an image, and I have included a link to close-up images of the hardware and such.

As well, I have added a section about oiling your scales for the best color.

And, I now have all three colors, and have put photos of them up

Note - Halpern Titanium machined a limited number of handle scales, but I understand that they still have a few left. Most likely, they will sell out pretty quickly once the new Mule arrives, so best not to wait until then, or you may have to wait until they find time to make more.

3. Another Forum member [B]JLS[/B], is offering some good looking leather sheaths, if you are in the market, you may want to check them out.

And, it looks like I will be reviewing one of them, so keep on the look out for my review.

4. [B]Blind Horse Knives[/B] has, in the past, made handle scales for the Spyderco Mule Team Knives.

I have ordered a pair of these handle scales, and should have them within the next month. At which time, I will do an initial review.

You can see their previous work here...

5. Phillip Dobson, a wood-worker and knife maker from the great state of Montana, has handled a Mule, and you can see his work here...

And, you can see his other work here...

6. Tomorrow is the release of the new Mule, MT06 in CPM-S35VN. Here is the link to the release post at the Forums....

7. I am always making additions and corrections to the [B]MuleProjects[/B], so feel free to stop by and check it out...

8. Finally, let me mention... If there are any Mule Team Knives resources that I have missed, including one you might have created, please let me know, and I will add you to my site.

Enjoy your Mules!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Handle Scales for Spyderco Mule Team Knives.


This is where I will include links to reviews and information about the various companies and custom makers who are offering handle scales for the Mule Team Knives....

I posted the beginning of a new article, about the Precision Grips from Halpern Titanium... Check it out.

I have written an article about the Cuscadi of Germany Custom Mule Scales...

And here is an image from that blog...


Tom Krein's Spyderco Mule Team Handles


I have not had Tom Krein put a handle on one of my Spyderco Mule Team Knives, but I sincerely hope that I will be able to arrange that in the future....

As of yet, I have only admired them from afar, but oh, are they to be admired....

And, Wire Edge, a frequent poster to USN, graciously allowed me to include his images of his Krein'd Spyderco Mule Team knife. Oh yeah, and Tom Krein did the Kydex too...

Well, I hope you enjoy these images as much as I have.

Cord Wraps and Concealex Sheaths for Mules.

I am offering two services for the Spyderco Mule Team knives.

First, I will cord wrap your Mule, with my improved 3-layer Strider Wrap in Para-Cord. As well, I can cord wrap your Mule with a simple wrap, in a variety of cord, of different colors and sizes, $25 shipped.

Or, if you like the feel of para-cord, but want something a bit different, I have my new 3-layer, Double Strand Twist Wrap... Only $25 shipped.

As well, at the same time, I can make a Custom Boltaron/Concealex sheath, for your Mule, ordered together, $45 Shipped.

Or for those Mules that just need a Boltaron/Concealex sheath, I will make one for you, $25 shipped.

And now, I am making a Concealex Sheath for your Mule Skeleton... Still just $25 shipped.

If you would like to see more examples of my work, check out...

Please contact me for more details,, of course, I will combine shipping for multiple services purchased.


Spyderco, and their Mule Team Project.

Obviously, you can check out the world of Spyderco, just by heading over to

But, in the vein of making this site about the Mule Team knives, I will provide a few links to specific parts of the site.

The last, but no longer avaialable Mule Team offering in 9Cr18Mo:

Previously, the Mule Team knives were made out of 52100, CPM M4, CPM S90V, and Hitachi ZDP-189.

Spyderco hosts their own Forum, or Discussion Boards.

The General Discussion Board is a good place to find information about the Mules.

But, if you find searching page after page a bit monotonous, you can search the Board via Google quite quickly. Just enter the following into the Google Search Engine.... " mule"

Also, there are almost always a couple of thread with Mule Team images in them, going on in the Spyderco Picture Gallery


Gallery of Mule Team knives Images

I recently built a gallery of images of the Mule Team knives.

The gallery is at

Here is a fresh one, just added....

Spyderco Mule #5, Mexican Ebony, tapered, fastened with brass pins by Gull Wing

And I am looking for your images.

So, if you would like to add your images, let me know.

To submit an image, email me at marion.poff at, include your image or images, the name or handle you want it credited to, and any information you would like to be included with it.

Also, there are couple threads at the Forum that are particularly juicy with good images....

A "Show Your Mule" thread

And a "Show your Mule scales"

Thank you,

Thermo-Form Sheaths for the Spyderco Mule Team Knives

There are a number of different makers of Thermo-Form (Kydex and Concealex) sheaths for the Mule Team knives.

Mike Sastre of River City Sheaths

You can see images of the work Mike does, in the article by Mr Blonde from the Spyderco Forums, on his site

And there is also a thread that Mike started at the Forums that shows images of his sheath....

Scott Gere of Scott Sheaths

There are a number of different threads that show Scott's Mule Sheaths.....

The first three images in this post, are of sheath made by Scott...

And all the sheath images in this thread, are of Scott's work...

And both the sheath and scales of this knife were made by Scott...

Marion David Poff, I also makes Boltaron/Concealex Sheaths for the Mule Team knives. Marion Carry

Thank you,

Leather Sheaths for The Mule Team Knives

Due to the custom nature of what ever handles you might have made for you mule, there are not many production leather offerings for the Mule Team Knives...

But, there is one 'off the shelf' solution which has found some popularity with Mule Team knife owners... It has been said, that this sheath will fit the Mules even without handle scales, though the fit is loose. But, with a standard sort of handle scales, this sheath has been reported to fit pretty well.

Sharpshooter Sheaths makes what they call the Clovis Pouch for,


News of New and Upcoming Mules, and Products and Services...

The ZDP-189 Mule, in it's full hardness state is available for a limited time, through the 14th of December, after which time, the remaining knives will be sent back to be re-heat-treated for a lower hardness. Source

From my email conversations with Marianne Halpern of Halpern Titanium, I have gathered the following information regarding their offering for the Spyderco Mule Team Knives.

Manufacturing of these scales is going on right now.

The product they will offer, at this time, will take the form of two different options....

Option 1 - Ready to Use...

Black G-10 handle scales are being made, drilled and counter-bored for hardware, with a 'comfort' bevel on the perimeter, making these handle scales Ready to Use.

The cost for these handle scales sets is $20, plus $5 for Hardware, plus shipping. Note - The first 20 people who signed up on this list ( ) will receive their hardware complimentarily.

In addition, a small number of Coast Guard Orange and Strider Ranger Green scales have been made, no Earth Brown at this time. Contact Melanie of Halpern Titanium ( 413-283-8627 ) directly to order.

Option 1 - Ready to Use, Black, Pictured Installed on a Mule...

Option 2 - Do It Yourself...

A DIY G-10 handle scale is being made available, drilled and counter-bored for hardware, with square perimeters, making these handle scales perfect for the Do It Yourselfer, so Pimp Away.

The cost for these handle scales sets is $20, plus $5 for Hardware, plus shipping.

Mainly in Black G-10, a small number of Coast Guard Orange and Strider Ranger Green scales have been made, no Earth Brown at this time. Contact Melanie of Halpern Titanium ( 413-283-8627 ) directly to order.

Note- The Spyderco Mule Team Knives were hand finished, and so there will be variance from one Mule to another. To create the best fit, Halpern Titanium chose to size the scales just slightly smaller than the Mule, similar to what is seen on the Benchmade Nimravus or the Chris Reeve Full Tang knives, though at a much smaller level.

I should be receiving my handle scales sometime next week, at which time I will photograph them, and do an initial review.

In a recent meeting with Spyderco in Golden Colorado, Halpern Titanium ( of Three Rivers Massachusetts decided to begin making handles scales for the Spyderco Mule Team knives. Halpern Titanium brings a 12 years of expertise with high tech materials in a precision environment for the knife industry to the project. Halpern Titanium's business is knifemaking supplies and precision machining and cutting services for the knife industry. Their first product for the Mule Team knives will be 0.25 inch thick black G-10 scales. They have an idea that they may offer the same scales in other colors and possibly with different textures, depending on customer response.

And for the Do It Yourselfer, they will be selling the necessary hardware to mount your own scales. Drivers will be available separately.

More details about the Halpern Titanium Mule handle scales have become available. According to a post at USN, "The first batch of 20 sets should be ready in about 3 weeks. I'll keep a list of who gets first dibs! They will sell for $20.00/set and the first 20 sets will include free hardware."

And speaking of price, for those looking for hardware so that they can mount their own handle scales, Halpern Titanium will make 3 pivots and 6 torx screws available for $5.00.

First reported at the Forums here, has secured an exclusive version of the Spyderco Mule Team Project, designated the FB-27P. While not the same shape as the standard Mule, this knife provides yet another opportunity for DIYer's to enjoy the quality and value that has come to be the hallmark of Spyderco products.

For those who do not get the catalog, and for those who may not be able to use their online catalog function, I have an image of the item here...

One correction, the knife is made of CPM S30V, not CPM S90V.

To those who are familiar with the Spyderco offerings, you will doubtless see that this new knife from Spyderco and most resembles a fixed blade Native.

And, a larger image is available online now...


The Steel of the Mule Team Project...

As general reference for steel, and it's properties, and the composition of certain alloys, there are a couple of good references online.

Spyderco has a great part of their site, called Edge-U-Cation, in which you can find a page about the different alloys that comprise cutlery steel. Steel Element Information They also have a chart with different alloys listed. Steel Chart

A G Russell also has a Steel Chart. You can click on the words of the different elements to read more about them.

And recently, a long time presence on the internet added a Interactive Knife Steel Chart, that is pretty close to exhaustive.

As a number of the steels offered so far are Crucible products, I thought I would offer a link to their website, where you can find data sheets for some of their offerings.... Crucible

Also, I found an image of a past Tactical Knives article, that I thought you might enjoy.

This article introduces readers to the Spyderco Mule Team Project, as well as covering the steel, 52100, briefly.

Click on the image, for a larger image that you should be able to read.


Rumours of Future Mules and Mule Products or Services...

Halpern Titanium may be making handle scales for the Mule Team knives. source

Spyderco has not officially announced the steel for the next Mule, but CPM-S35VN seems like a very likely candidate, and sometime after that, we will probably see a Mule made of a Carpenter steel. source

More information on the potential Carpenter steel Mule. source


Tutorials related to the Spyderco Mule Team Knives....

Have a router? Then in this tutorial, you will be shown have with it, you can make a template to make it easier to make Mule handle scales...

And a little birdie told me that if you want, Hector Castro the guy that wrote the router tutorial above, will make you a set of book-matched wood scales for a really reasonable price, though you will need to epoxy them on, and finish them to your liking, but that is really pretty easy. And just made easier, by Hector himself, who posted another Tutorial on how to finish the scales....

Quickbeam did a Tutorial on installing a set of permanent handle scales. You can see it here...., which is duplicated at the Forums...
It might be worth your time to read both, as the comments after each differ.

richroemer offered some advice on mounting your Mule scales, and some good discussion followed, with some images...

Here are some videos showing how to make simple leather handles for the Mule Team knives.,,

Here is a tutorial by erix, and his Mule Handles have a unique car inspired shape...

And the finished piece...

Ian Atkinson of Britain, has a fine little tutorial on how to make sheath for a Mule Team knife...

Here is a tutorial on how to make your own leather sheath, not Mule related, but quite good....


The first Mule in 52100, Hole Sizes, Hardware and Such....

For those of you who have the first Spyderco Mule Team Knife in 52100...

The first Mule was in many ways an experiment, the first time that Spyderco had made this model. And one of the first things that became evident was that the smallest hole size, and the one most likely to be use by folks to bolt on handles, was of a size that was not especially common. And so, the feedback poured in about how hard it was to find hardware.

To which Spyderco responded by changing the hole size to a more common and available size.

But, if you have the first one, none of the currently available handle choices fit, because the hardware is a different size.

So, maybe a company will be convinced to scales for the first Mule, with the proper hardware, or maybe you can have your Mule custom handled by someone, and there are a number of someone's to do it.

But, until one or the other, that is where we stand.

What are the hole sizes?

If you look at a Mule, without handles....

You will see that there appear to be two sizes of hole, but a closer look will show that there are three sizes of hole.

There are the large holes, which are the same size for all the Mules. Then there is one hole, right north of the last large hole, and it is the same size for all the Mules, it is often referred to as a lanyard hole. The holes that changed size from the first Mule to the second Mule are the small ones...

On the first Mule, the holes are the following sizes...

Small Holes - 5\32
Lanyard Hole - 1\4
Large Holes - 3\8

On the second Mule, the holes are the following sizes...

Small Holes - 3\16
Lanyard Hole - 1\4
Large Holes - 3\8

Now, there is one other issue to consider...

The Mules, as manufactured, may demonstrate some excess material in the holes that you want to use to attach scales. You may have to file, grind, or sand a burr, slag or excess material out of the holes so that your hardware will fit.

In the case of my ZDP-189 Mule, I placed my Mule on a firm surface, with a hole in the work surface, just under the hole in the Mule, that I was putting the hardware into. Then with light taps, I drove the hardware through the hole. But, this is a brute method, and should be undertaken with caution. As a consequence of fitting the hardware this way, the hardware will have to be driven out to be removed.

I hope this helps...


Temporary Handles for the Spyderco Mule Team Knives...

You may want a temporary and removable handle, so that use you can use your Mule, while you decide on a permanent solution.

I offer a service, where I can place a number of different types of cord wraps on your Mule, as well I can make a Concealex sheath for it, also inexpensively. If you are interested, check out Marion Carry, otherwise, keep reading.

If you are more of the DIY type of person, there are a number of different options.

One gentleman did it with racquet tape....
I believe the same gentleman, made his handles out of a material known as overwrap....

medical wrap

I have also seen someone who used a bicycly inner tube....

And, just because I wanted to see how it was done, I used shrink tube one time...

Finally, with just a little more work, you could have a very functional handle. This is a little article I wrote, where you can make a handle out of para-cord and bat tape. Not pretty, but functional.


Reviews of the Spyderco Mule Team Knives....

I am going to link to various reviews with Images that I think you might like to see.

First we have a poster on the British Blades Forums, by the handle Ru Titley, with his review of his M4 Mule with G-10 scales...


History of the Spyderco Mule Team Project...

Some really good information about the Mule Team Knives can be found at the SpydieWiki, where they have a very informative article...

Steel 52100
Release Date 01/11/2008
List price $39.95
Hardness 62 HRC. Independent reports of 63.
Seconds Yes

Steel CPM M4
Release Date 10/22/2008
List price $69.95
Hardness 62 - 63 HRC. Independent reports of 62.5.
Seconds Yes

Steel CPM S90V
Release Date 02/02/2009
List price $69.95
Hardness Independent reports of 59.
Seconds Yes

Steel ZDP-189
Release Date 07/10/2009
List price $79.95
Hardness 65 - 66 HRC. Independent reports of 66.4.
Link Not available
Seconds No

Steel 9Cr18Mo
Release Date 10/14/2009
List price $20
Hardness 58 - 62 HRC

If you can think of anything else that properly belongs on this table, please feel free to let me know.