Butter-knife money-clip

Last night at dinner in San Francisco (I'm in town to give a Long Now talk tonight), our waiter noticed that I was wearing a ring made from an ornate spoon handle and produced his home-made money-clip, which he'd fashioned from an antique butter-knife he found at a pawn shop. He said he'd used a hand clamp to hold the handle, wrapped the blade in a cloth dishtowel, and used careful hammer-taps to bend it around. He also said that he flew with it routinely without any problems from the TSA. It was a really nice piece -- he wrapped his bills around his credit-cards and ID to create the necessary thickness.

Butter Knife Money Clip


  1. You know he’ll be able to fly 99 times in a row without problems and then the 100th time, he’ll be forced to throw it out at security or miss his flight by some TSA super genius.

  2. I’ve done this several times with old silverware.  For a fork money clip, I heat and bend the tines into curls (still flat, but curled out like a peacock’s tail I guess).  If you have enough strength in your hands, and the utensil is thin enough, you don’t even need tools to make a decent money clip.

  3. I use an enormous 4″ long paper clip in the same way.  It was a joke item from a novelty shop.  Never fails to bring comments, and it works perfectly.  The advantage to using a clip rather than a wallet is it discourages hoarding stuff in your pockets and forces you to sort out your accumulated paper litter regularly.

  4. I just don’t trust money clips not to lose things.  Plus if you pull some bills out you need hold on to all the other bills and cards.  I prefer the security of a wallet.

    1. I agree. So I found a better solution.

      My phone is slightly smaller than an iPhone. In Bangkok I found a nice leather pouch designed to fit an iPhone – for $3 – and my phone came with a form-fitting neoprene pouch, which fits inside the iPhone pouch. 

      So the phone goes in the neoprene pouch, which goes into the leather pouch. Outside the neoprene pouch there is room for several cards, but I typically just carry my driver’s license and a credit card. Easily accommodates things like NYC metrocards and the like. I typically carry some cash too, but I just put that in my pocket without a clip, works fine. Cash would fit inside the pouch too actually.

      You can find similar things with card slots on the outside… I like my solution better, but I’m sure there’s a better design out there that I haven’t seen yet.

    1.  First time I’ve heard this called a “Carny roll”, I’ve always known the term as a “chicago bankroll”, defined as:

      A bankroll consisting of a large number of singles rolled over with one 20, which one might chuck in one direction when about to be mugged, while simultaneously running in the other direction.

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