Way back in 1995 – and how far “way back” is depends on how old you are – David Yellowhorse did some amazing custom work to the SOG Paratool. Designed by Blackie Collins, the Paratool was a favorite among some multi-tool enthusiasts. Back then this was a brand new design and SOG teamed up with Yellowhorse to liven up this innovative multi-tool.
The custom version SOG S31YH Paratool by Yellowhorse had an original retail price tag of $395-495, or so we have heard. But, it was not as popular back then as you might think. Decorated knives were understandable, but a decorated pair of pliers? “Give me a break!” Might as well decorate a hammer or even a nail. Today, however, they are quite scarce, and although it still passes a “ugly” to many, most people seem to agree that its collectability gives it strong appeal.
According to the blade etch, they only produced 250 of these (but there is evidence that more were made, but how many more remains a mystery). Why a Paratool? Well, why not? Of course, Yellowhorse made thousands of custom Buck knives and his son Brian does his own fantastic work on knives as well. They also do customizations on Kershaw, Case XX and other brands. This SOG stands out as unique among these other custom projects.
Here, compare the standard version with the Yellowhorse custom. The original was stonewashed and the exterior finish is the main thing you notice right away. Some people were dismayed at the loss of the measures on the one side. The deep etching/tooling on the Yellowhorse definitely gives a grippier feel to it, but who is going to actually use their custom Yellowhorse for work? Ok, we saw one picture out there on the web where someone was using it, but I bet most people aren’t going to do that. The comparison is great to see side by side.
The tools came in the then standard design Yellowhorse display case, made of Walnut wood with a plaque and velvet interior. Buck customs by Yellowhorse were sold with the same style of box. The tools were elegantly customized in the true Yellowhorse style. He finished the exterior with a mirror polish after giving the grips a total makeover with hand tooling giving a rough texture. On the outer edges, the handles have rounded Ironwood with inlays of turquoise, sterling silver, coral, black jet, and sugilite. The folding blades Yellowhorse left stock.
The tool functions like the regular ones. The pliers fold around to the open or closed positions. The main perk to this Collins design was the ability to use the pliers at irrecular angles to get into tight places.
Altogether, he created a rare masterpiece, but like many stunning works of art, it has come to be appreciated with the passage of time. Today this is one of the most sought after Yellowhorse customs from the 1990s.