XL Espada Mod Turns Bold Design into One-of-a-Kind

What type of knife does a knife maker carry? For fixed blade fabricator Morgan Koens, one of the answers is a customized Cold Steel XL Espada.

“Any production knife I carry I modify so it’s one-of-a-kind,” Koens says. He tells us it’s a great way to carry something out of the ordinary without dropping top dollar on a custom knife. In the case of his XL Espada, Koens recognized that the large bolsters would be like a blank canvass for a gifted artisan. “When I got the Espada the bolsters just looked empty so I thought it needed something special.”

Koens turned to Grant Chambers, a custom maker with a background in goldsmithing and engraving. “It was the biggest bolster I’ve ever worked on,” Chambers tells us. “Pictures don’t do it any justice.” It took Chambers four nights to get the acanthus leaf pattern cut into the super hard aluminum bolsters. To add a sense of depth, Chambers let a coat of black enamel set into the engraving. “All in all it was a fun project, especially when it’s for a fellow knife crazy guy,” Chambers says.

Morgan Koens' XL Espada

Although the knife does have a clip, Koens enlisted Marek Wilczyński to produce a one of a kind leather sheath for the 13 oz. knife. “I wear it on the horizontal and my t-shirt covers the knife very well,” Koens says. With its 7.5-inch blade, it isn’t the knife he EDCs during the workday. Instead, Koens’ XL Espada rides along on nights out on the town – just in case he needs to make an impression. “I picture some poor guy pulling a blade on me and in return I pull this beast out. It’s just nasty looking and very well made.”

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The engraved Espada caught the eye of Cold Steel President Lynn C. Thompson. “This looks awesome. I’m always a fan of quality engraving,” he tells us. “I have a lot of engraving on my personal collection of knives and pistols.” Thompson says the Navaja-inspired XL Espada is a fan favorite because of just how huge it is.

Thompson initially tried designing a modern folding Navaja in the 80s, but something that big just wasn’t feasible until knife lock technology caught up with his vision. “It wasn’t until we had the security and strength of the Tri-Ad lock on our side that we succeeded with designing the Espada,” Thompson explains. “It’s truly the biggest, baddest, boldest folder out there.”

Knife featured in image: Cold Steel XL Espada