In 2004, Spyderco introduced the popular byrd line of knives as a budget-friendly alternative to their premium Spyderco products. In designing them, they drew inspiration directly from their best-selling Spyderco models. For example, the Endura inspired the Cara Cara, the Delica was the basis of the Meadowlark, and the Dragonfly was the inspiration for the Robin. On rare occasions, however, the design inspiration flows the opposite direction. A case in point is the Spyderco UpTern.
As its name subtly suggests, the UpTern is an upgraded version of the Tern—a byrd model first introduced in 2012. Designed by Spyderco co-founder Sal Glesser, the Tern was the first and, to date, only non-locking byrd model. It followed in the spirit of Spyderco’s groundbreaking UK Penknife, which was created to comply with the restrictive knife laws enacted in the United Kingdom that prohibited the carry of one-hand-opening knives with locking blades. The UK Penknife took the genre-defining CLIPIT concept—a one-hand-opening, clip carried, lock-blade folding knife—and combined it with the legal and social friendliness of a non-locking blade. The result was the SLIPIT—a new breed of pocketknife that showcased a notched-joint mechanism that did not mechanically lock the blade, but held it open more securely than a traditional slipjoint. It also offered the ease of carry of a pocket clip and the convenient one-handed opening of Spyderco’s signature Trademark Round Hole.
The Tern translated the SLIPIT concept to the byrd line, offering a compact, easy-to-carry, pocketknife with a full-flat-ground 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade, peel-ply-textured G-10 scales, and a reversible deep-pocket wire clip configured for tip-up carry. Although it traded Spyderco’s Trademark Round Hole for byrd’s Comet-Shaped Hole, it still offered swift, ambidextrous, one-handed opening. Best of all, it did all that—and continues to do it—at an extremely affordable price.
Although the Tern is not byrd’s most popular folder, it quickly attracted a very devoted customer following. When Spyderco dug deeper into the reasons for its popularity, they found its fans appreciated its convenient size and unmistakably classic Spyderco design lines. Reflecting on those qualities, our customers’ devotion to the design, and the fact that it came from the mind of Sal Glesser, an “upgraded” version of the Tern soon made a lot of sense. The result is the Spyderco UpTern.
The UpTern faithfully maintains the same stylish lines and finely tuned synergy of convenience, cutting performance, and style as its progenitor. Even better, as a proud member of spyderco’s Value Folder family, it does all that at a budget-friendly price. Although its profile remains the same, it trades the Tern’s G-10 handle scales for stout, all-stainless-steel construction. Reminiscent of Spyderco’s earliest classic designs, the stainless handle features riveted construction, a beautifully sanded spine, and a handsome satin finish. It also adds a sturdy back lock mechanism that locks the blade securely open during use and a fully configurable four-position hourglass clip that supports left or right-side, tip-up or tip-down carry.
Like most members of our Value Folder family, the UpTern’s blade is crafted from time-tested 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. Full-flat ground for exceptional edge geometry, it proudly showcases a fully accessible Trademark Round Hole for positive, ambidextrous, one-handed opening. It also includes a 50/50 index-finger choil and thumb ramp with matching jimping (textured grooves) to allow a “choked-up” grip for enhanced dexterity and control.
Available in a choice of PlainEdge (this model) or partially serrated CombinationEdge blade configurations, the UpTern elevates Sal Glesser’s original Tern design to a lock-blade, Round-Hole design in classic, old-school Spyderco style.
- Blade Length: 2.84″ (72 mm)
- Cutting Edge: 2.28″ (58 mm)
- Closed Length: 3.80″ (97 mm)
- Overall Length: 6.58″ (167 mm)
- Blade Thickness: 0.104″ (2.6 mm)
- Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel
- Blade Style: Drop Point
- Blade Grind: Full Flat
- Blade Finish: Satin
- Blade Edge: Plain
- Handle Material: Stainless Steel
- Handle Color: Silver
- Locking Mechanism: Lockback
- Pocket Clip: Tip-Up/Down, Left/Right Carry
- Model Number: C261P
- Model Name: UpTern
- Weight: 3.70 oz. (105 g)