Leo Espinoza Hand Grinds Frog Market Special for TOPS Custom Shop


Although we weren’t able to cover it at the time, one of 2022’s notable knife events was the establishment of the TOPS Custom Shop. This project sees the Idaho fixed blade company turning out special editions of their knives, sometimes even dropping a one of a kind knife for auction. Their latest project is a custom Frog Market Special, sporting a stainless steel blade for the very first time.

The Frog Market Special was designed by Steven Dick, who doesn’t just make knives, but also writes about them; he was the editor of Tactical Knives magazine, and has a published book under his belt called The Working Folding Knife. Dick took inspiration from Vietnamese butcher knives that he saw while traveling in the country; their sweeping, almost trailing point-esque profiles were a pattern were completely new to him, and made an impression. Dick brought out a tribute to these knives with TOPS, first with the original Frog Market Special and then with the FMS XL, a bigger variant. Both models are still active in the TOPS lineup, offering users culinary knives that look unique and work hard

Resin scales are also a feature not available on the standard FMS knives

This Custom Shop FMS’s blade is hand ground by none other than TOPS CEO Leo Espinoza. He chose 440C stainless for the steel, a simple stainless to be sure, but one that is particularly apt for culinary work thanks to its high rust resistance. Espinoza also made the handle scales himself, which have a smoky maple hue and are secured with mosaic pins. TOPS says that this FMS will ship to the lucky winner with a wooden Saya blade cover.

As a one-off and not a limited batch knife, the Custom Shop FMS is being sold through silent auction. That means the results are not posted until after the auction closes, and the current high bid is not disclosed to any bidder. If you’re interested in getting in on the action, the Custom Shop FMS auction is running through January 9th, 2023, so you have until next year to take your shot.

Knife in Featured Image: TOPS Custom Shop One-of-a-Kind Frog Market Special


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