“SOG started some 25 years ago in my apartment with a simple mission: To create innovative products that stand apart from the pack. While SOG has grown, our commitment to that original mission has remained the same. Today, it’s one of my greatest satisfactions to receive letters from SOG enthusiasts the world over, expressing the fact that our products have lived up to their highest standards. It inspires us to continue to build superior products that last… knives and tools that help you meet the challenges of a demanding world.”
Born in 1955, Spencer Frazer was a creative kid with a great curiosity for how things worked. As he grew older, while in the Boy Scouts, he gained an affinity for knives and axes. But it wasn’t until much later that this interest would be channeled into actually creating knives and tools.
After graduating from UCLA as a math and science major, Spencer started his own company in the professional audio industry, designing a whole new style of speaker system.
“I learned to work with many different materials as I built models and prototypes,” he says.
Then Spencer went on to work in the aerospace defense industry – in the Top Secret Black Projects Division – as an R&D tool/die and model maker. He recalls, “I saw things there I still can’t talk about.”
At about that same time, while becoming involved in the modern art movement and meeting with top artists, Spencer learned a lot about scale and color. He went on to work in product development, creating toys and consumer products. All these life experiences converged the moment Spencer saw his first Vietnam SOG Bowie: “The knife was magical in how it looked and felt. You could see the history as well as the functional aspects of the knife.” That single knife spawned the birth of SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, Inc. His one goal: to reproduce the mystical knife… the SOG Bowie.
“We started our company by having to sell a one-knife line at the very high price of $200 retail!” Today, SOG is a true innovator in the knife industry. Having won many industry awards, SOG was one of the first companies to be synonymous with a high-tech modern image. “SOG was the first company,” says Spencer, “to produce a sculptural faceted folding knife. We called it the Tomcat. With the Paratool, SOG became the second company ever to produce a folding multi-tool. And we remain the only company that uses compound leverage in our multi-tools; the only company to have adjustable lock-on clips on our folding knives; the only company to employ one of the strongest locks in the industry with the Arc-Lock; the only company to use exotic BG-42 steel cost effectively in the production of our knives; and the first company in the world to offer an automatic opening multi-tool.”
But those are just a few of the landmarks Spencer Frazer has helped SOG achieve. “I design each one of our products,” he says, “to be functional and comfortable to use, as well as aesthetically pleasing. If I personally don’t like them or wouldn’t use them, they don’t make it into production.”
Today, SOG is distributed and sold throughout the world. Law enforcement specialists, military, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, industrial professionals, and everyday carry knife enthusiasts have come to rely on SOG in the most extreme conditions. “We don’t settle for ordinary,” says Spencer. “We never did, and we never will.”
Today we will be discussing the SOG Contractor 1 knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of 6Cr13MoV steel. This is a line of steel that originates from China. This is a budget formula of steel. This means that it is going to be a softer steel. So while you will be able to get a very sharp edge on it, it will need to be sharpened more often than a harder steel. 6Cr13MoV is a stainless steel, but it is a lower end stainless steel. It will be able to resist rust well, but you will need to keep up on the maintenance behind it. Basically, this steel is definitely going to get the job done, but it will not do anything after getting the job done. When compared to a newer steel or a super steel, it pales in comparison. However, this steel is not all awful—remember, it keeps the cost of the knife down and it does work.
The blade has been finished with a satin finish. The satin finish is the most popular blade finish that is in the market today. This is because it does offer a very traditional blade look that is not going to go out of style any time soon. Not only does it give the knife a very sleek look, it is also not expensive, and does offer some other advantages. Some of these advantages include how it cuts down on glares, reflections, and even increases the corrosion resistance levels that the steel was going to provide. This finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive, which is normally a sandpaper. The finer the sandpaper that is used and the more even the lines, the cleaner that the finish is going to look. This finish is really used to showcase the fine lines of the steel while also showcasing the bevels of the blade.
The blade on this knife is a modified sheepsfoot blade. While a regular sheepsfoot blade really can’t be said to have a point, because the spine curves down to meet with the straight edge. They can be safely used as a rescue knife or in situations that don’t require a point. However, this is a modified sheepsfoot blade. It does have a very small point that you will be able to pierce a little bit with. That being said, it is a very small point that may break or chip when used on harder targets. However, you do still get a little bit of the false point, which is an advantage when you are using this knife as a contractor and don’t want to accidentally pierce through anything. Also, while the typical sheepsfoot blade does not have a belly, this modified version of it does sport a very small belly. This is not a big enough belly to get any major jobs done, but you will be able to use it to slice through some smaller things—perfect as a handyman.
The blade does have a plain edge, which is perfect for a knife that is supposed to be working throughout the house. The plain edge is going to allow you to take on a wider variety of tasks because it does give you cleaner cuts while also allowing you to slice, skin, and shave with it. The plain edge is definitely going to be easier to sharpen, which is a good thing because of how often this knife is going to need to be sharpened.
The handle on this knife is made out of anodized aluminum. Aluminum is a low density metal that is often used in knife making. Because it is a softer metal, it is mostly used for just the handles, not the blade. A fun fact about aluminum is that it is the most abundant metal that can be found in earth’s crust. This material is used for its hardness and durability. Although it is a low density metal, it does give a nice, hefty feel to the knife without actually weighing the knife down. This is a major benefit because you will have the heft that makes you confident in taking on your tasks, but you won’t feel like the knife is a brick. Of course, since this is such a large knife, it is going to have some significant weight to it. However, it would be considerably heavier if it were made out of something denser than aluminum.
When an aluminum handle is textured correctly, it is going to give you a secure grip that is not only secure, but also comfortable enough to use for long periods of time. The overall pros to an aluminum handle is that it is strong, light, durable, and is resistant to corrosion.
Unfortunately, like most materials, aluminum does have its drawbacks. For starters, it has very high conductive properties. This means that if you were planning on using this knife in colder environments or months, it can become painfully cold to hold. Aluminum can also be slippery, and it is susceptible to scratches and dings.
The knife has been anodized, which is a protective oxide layer which is applied in an electrolytic process in which the metal forms the anode. This process makes the knife tougher, more durable, and less prone to scratches. The handle has been anodized black.
The handle on this knife is not as simple as the blade is. The spine does have an indent right in the middle. This is to give you a better grip and add comfort to the knife. The Belly of the handle has a very small finger indent—your finger is not going to fit inside of this, but it will add a little bit of texture. There have been three holes cut out of the middle of the handle, each one getting progressively smaller. This adds a little bit of texture while also keeping the overall weight of the knife down. The holes are also there to assist you in stripping wire. There are very thin grooves going down the length of the handle which add enough texture that you will have a comfortable grip on this knife through most basic tasks and environments. Of course, since aluminum is not the most grippy material, if the environment begins to get a little more extreme, you might not have as solid of a grip on it.
This is a manual folding knife that has been equipped with a thumb stud. The locking mechanism of this knife is a lock back mechanism. This locking mechanism is essentially made of a spine on a spring. When the knife is opened, the spine locks into a notch on the back of the blade. To close the knife, push down on the exposed part of the spine to pop up the part of the spine in contact with the blade. This disengages the lock, allowing you to swing the blade to a closed position. The benefits of a lock back include reliable strength and safety. The unlock “button” is out of the way of your grip when using the knife, meaning you’re unlikely to accidentally disengage the lock and have it close on you. It also keeps your hands clear of the blade’s path when closing, minimizing the risk of cutting yourself. One disadvantage is that while using both hands to close a lock back is safer, it can be inconvenient when you need to keep one hand on whatever you’re cutting. Although it’s possible to close a lock back with one hand, it isn’t easy. You’d likely need to switch grips and take extra care when closing the blade.
The blade on this knife measures in at 2.625 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.1 inches. The overall length of this knife when it is opened measures in at 6.25 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.3 ounces. The Contractor 1 does originate from China.
The SOG Contractor 1 knife understands that a craftsman is only as good as his tools. The Contractor one is built tough enough to handle the demands of a contractor or a DIY handyman. This knife features a lifetime guarantee. The Contractor series is designed specifically for tradesmen, including electricians, handymen, and for those who take pride in a job well done. Modernizing traditional patterns, this knife features: lock back design, patent pending holes/notches for stripping wire, aggressive Aluminum grips, one hand opening, and razor sharp blades. While this knife has been discontinued through SOG, you can still pick one up at BladeOps. You better run though, because this is not going to be in stock for long.