Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kershaw Blur SG2 Frame Lock (#2)

This one just up. It is the second SG2 Blur model I've rebuilt the lock side on. This one received one of my signiture low rider pocket clips anodized to match the folder. Turned out quite nice I think. I love the blade on these models. That SG2 is not a bad steel at all in this thickness. The kitchen knives in this steel are taken down much thinner but the edge seems more stable to me left a bit thick and while this knife does not have a super obtuse edge geometry the added beef it does have at the apex of the cutting edge seems to make the edge stronger to me which means it holds a good bite for longer. As is usually the case when I do this kind of thing for folks, no permanent modifications were made to the folder. The assisted opening still works as it did and it can also be put back together as the liner lock it came shipped as from the factory or you could remove it altogether no matter how you assembled it and just use it manually.. Most people end up never using the old parts again and and some even sell the knives later to people not including the parts that would still work if ever one decided to do it. So always ask when buying something I did because many of the Emerson and other folders I built lock sides for are not modified at all. I just built a lock side to pop on it. Also, please note, I enjoy the fact that so many come here and view my old jobs. It pleases me to get comments and I like that people want them but I quit doing this type of work as of  Jan 1, 2010. All I focus on now are my custom made titanium low rider and standard style pocket clips and my mini ti pry bars which keep me so busy I just don't have time for other jobs.

Click any pic to enlarge full size. The second picture is a bit blurry but not too bad to show how I tried to match the color of the aluminum factory side to the new titanium lock and clip side. Close but not quite there but fortunately they still blend together quite well I think. Thanks for looking.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Emerson CQC7A Frame Lock Conversion By STR

I just finished this one up. Its a real winner thats all I can say and in my opinion the best Emerson Conversion one could ask for. Its how I wish they came from the factory. This one has a slab of .140" thick 6AL-4V titanium for the new lock side. As usual, the folder can be put back together just as it came from the factory. It did gain a bit of weight with this conversion. I took it from the 4.8 ounces it weighed new to 5.1 ounces as seen here. Not a bad trade off at all for the lock wear, strength and extreme reliability improvment compared to the factory liner lock.
Thanks for looking


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is my medium "BushCraft" Survival Folder

Sometimes when you are working outside a lot in hot weather or even in cool weather you just want a good general purpose beater that is highly resistant to rusting, still keeps a good edge and is light weight with enough size to still do some big jobs and enough strength, toughness and reliability to work bigger than it's footprint would indicate at first glance. It helps if its comfortable in all grip types likely to be needed in the field, fairly balanced and has ample handle for good leverage. This folder fits the bill for me. Its a nice frame lock folder with a great blade I made in 440C hardened to 59 Rockwell with teflon washers in the 3/16" pivot for maintenance free use. I'm late getting this one posted actually because its been around a while.  I have actually cleaned this one off in puddles with no worries. I clean it under the facet now and then too. Its a care free user compared to my hawkbill with the carbon steel blade. Much as I love the nostalgia of the old carbon blades I do like a care free user. This Ouparator is a bit lighter than my Hawkbill and weighs in at 3.3 ounces. It is 4.25 inches closed and has a 2 and 7/8" blade length. It has a textured G10 overscale for some added grip on the non lock side that adds some warmth to the handle as well as a better thumb purchase to extract it from the pocket.

I also put one of my standard titanium pocket clips on this one that is virtually invisible in the hand due to the way it sits low on the handle. Since this one was done for me I cut the lock short on it, and the lock cuts are left pretty thick where I bend the lock to give it the spring tension it needs to secure the blade when opened. As a result the lock is a bit stout for some folks. Its not so stout that it off centers the blade when closed but its a bit harder to move to close the blade than most folders of this size thanks to the beefy spring tension I incorporated into it when I built it. I like it and wanted it extra stout for my extra stout thumb. Most folks think I tighten the pivot too tight for their tastes. I feel most modern liner and frame lock knives are too close to gravity knives personally and I don't want one opening by accident in my pocket or if I fall down while I'm out cutting down fire wood or something like that. I just made myself get used to a little more umph to open the blades on my own knives. Over time I've just gotten used to that feel and tend to like it best now. Anyone else can adjust the tension to their own liking but for me, I like em stout. This folder works bigger than it is and has taken some pretty extreme tests and went right through them. I'm fairly happy with it overall. It had already seen a good bit of use before these pics so there are already some tell tale signs of that in these pictures. Still I wanted to take some and get them up. 

After using this one for about a year I decided to give it to my brother as a gift. Thanks for looking.

By the way, just as a short reminder, you can see and read more about my Ouparator folder in the Sept. posts to the right and above.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hawkbill He Man"RIL" Wharncliffe Handmade Folder in 1095 blade steel

I really like this one!. I have named this one my RIL model. RIL stands for Reeve Integral Lock and is in honor and respect of Chris Reeve who invented the slab style frame lock folder you see me making a lot of. He took the idea of the frame lock to the next level and as a result the tactical folding knife was never the same again. You can see it here showing the lock up contact, the open build, and the slabs of titanium to get an idea of the thickness. These are .110 thickness which is my favorite all around thickness for a nice beefy yet thin folder in the pocket. This folder has a final completed weight of 3.9 ounces, has a 4 and 3/8" closed length and a 2 and 7/8" blade length. I've always liked curved hawkbill style blades for looks but if they are too aggresively curved they can be problematic for sharpening and versatility. I made this one so its not quite so dramatic but enough to see thats what it is. I have always loved 1095 carbon steel which is basically the steel I grew up with. Its one of the most versatile old time user steels around and anything worthy of being used in cutlery for coming up on 200 years holds a lot of weight with me. I most often gun blue the blades in this steel. I may still do that with this one but for now I am leaning towards letting it grow that patina that comes with age. Nothing like a folder that ages with its owner as they get to know each other. This one is in my pocket to stay. It will be my own show piece for my work when anyone asks me. For added grippiness I added a first to this one. Its got an overscale of .060 thickness black textured G10 on the non lock side to give the thumb just a bit better purchase to pull the folder out to use it. I really like it and feel it will for sure be added to future work in various textured man made materials. I may even do one or more in some checkered wood if I can talk a friend of mine that does gun stocks into doing a knife scale for me.

Thanks for looking.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

STR's Large "BushCraft" Survival folder in ATS34 blade steel

Here we see some various shots of all angles showing the traction grooves, titanium slab thickness, blade shape, open build of the folder, my signiture low rider pocket clip, and the lock up as it sits new fresh out of the milling machine after bead blasting the surface of everything including the Bos heat treated ATS34 blade.

This folder is a Sherman tank with lots of handle for leverage and lots of strength in the lock with extra thick .140 thickness ti slabs. I like these folders because the handle is comfortable in all grips, and is straight forward by design with no funky space age gadgets or odd trendy bells and whitles. Just your basic bare bones get after it heavy duty survival folder that epitimizes the keep it simple philosophy. As mentioned I added some location specific traction grooves cut in the handles for a hint of added grip for the thumb and fingers during use combined with a nice blade shape that still offers plenty of straight edge with enough up sweep to make it capable of some food prep or field dressing chores in the outback also. It all came together to really make for a nice tight package in the end and it sure is a lot of knife! Lock cuts to spring the lock at the bend are extra stout at .074" thickness each plus or minus and the final weight of this one with the low rider clip I made for it installed is 5 ounces even up making it the heaviest Ouparator style folder I've made to date. (see past posts in Sept. for more on the Ouparator)  Its also the longest with a 5" closed length for the handle and an 8 and 3/8" overall length open.
I really like this folder. Its one I'd actually buy back myself if the customer ever had to get rid of it for whatever reason. 

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kershaw SG2 Blade Blur Frame Lock Conversion

Seen here in these three shots is a brown SG2 blade Blur from Kershaw. Click any of the three pictures to see full size. This folder was sent to me to evaluate for Kershaw by Thomas Welk. I ran it through the paces and wrote a review on this one that was quite lengthy that can be found in the knife review section of blade forums. To be perfectly honest this blade was the best edge keeping blade I have ever tested on various materials. I used this blade on everything from hemp rope slicing it until my hand and fingers hurt. Then moved to cardboard, old carpet remnants, plant stock from weeds and milkweed plants in the yard, and I forget now what else. It was an amazing blade steel that has me really missing it since I sold it a few months later after finishing the testing for Kershaw. Its one of those you once owned that you wish you could get back. It was a great knife. I liked everything about it but the lock that came with it from the factory which is a very thin liner lock inlayed into the brown aluminum side. I beefed that up to my satisfaction shown here in .140" thickness titanium anodized as close to the same warm brown color that the factory scale on the non lock side is. It was built like others so that it can always be put back together as a liner lock just as it came from the factory. I don't know why anyone would do that but nevertheless, I did it so it can be reassembled. It is still quite nice as an assisted opener also but I did finally eliminate that original factory thumb stud to open the blade because it was a skin peeler on my thumb and I hated it! So, I put an aftermarket store bought fancy stud on the blade in its place. Then I recut grooves in the handle for traction marks matching the opposite side and made it brown. It is seen here as it was right after cleaning it all up for these shots. SG2 is a fantastic steel. If you happen to get one of these its a wonderful knife to snag since they were only made in limited numbers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

BenchMade Dejavoo frame lock conversions

Seen here are three different models of the BenchMade Dejavoo model folder, one full size model and two mini Dejavoo models. All of these come from the factory as a liner lock. As you can see from the pics I've beefed them up to heavy duty levels with thick titanium frame lock sides. All three folders were done without permanent modification; as the folders can be put right back together just as they came from the factory. I try to do all that I can without making permanent modification but of course its not always possible. You can click the pictures with your mouse and view these full size.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lava and Navigator in Burgundy Micarta

Here you see top left, a Spyderco Navigator, Spyderco Calypso Jr. ZDP189 folder, middle still factory fresh, and far right is a Lava. This Lava and the Navigator have both been rebuilt by me in Burgundy Micarta. They each were equipped with one of my signiture custom made titanium pocket clips also. The Navigator is another fine little all stainless folder from Spyderco offering a whole lot in such a small package. Either of these folders, the Lava or the Navigator are fine 50 state legal carry knives and I really like them a lot as they come from the factory but they are a bit heavier than what is shown here and also the slick stainless is at times harder to keep hold of or get a good purchase on to remove from the pocket. I've also noticed on several occasions that in cold weather these little stainless folders get darn cold so for that reason I feel its a better folder in a man made synthetic. Everyone should have one of these little Spyderco Lava folders. They are little giants of a knife that work a lot harder than the small size indicates by just looking at the measurements. Once you get one in your hand you know you have a real work horse in your hand that offers a lot of leverage and control for a short blade folder like this.

Black G10 Lava with lanyard fob by STR

The Lava is one of my favorite little giant knives. As I mentioned before this is by anyone's definition a small folder. But I know police and FBI both that carry these and train with them and it was in fact designed by a police officer. The handle and the ergonomics really add a lot of grip and leverage that is not normally possible on a knife with such a small blade as this. I've seen the insides of many lockback folders over the years and for a small knife this folder stacks up compared to many larger folders I've handled and repaired. The lock contact is quite stout compared to other folders with the same overall foot print. This does not mean its a heavy duty folder like the Manix from Spyderco but for what you get here its more than capable of medium to medium heavy chores when the need arises. This folder here lost a good deal of weight in this conversion but it gained added texture and grip, along with some width which I think is a fair trade off. I have only done one Lava with titanium liners but that one was all I needed to do to realize its just added weight that isn't needed in a folder this small. The G10 material is quite rigid even in larger knives like the Dodo so in something this small it more than meets most any challenge. For myself this is what I'd carry right here.
Thanks for looking.

Lava WIP pics

Here are a few more work in progress pics of the Lava as it looks from the inside once you get it apart. Managed to tweak a screw driver during the break down of this one.
Of course getting it apart is only half the battle. Once apart all the parts including the blade have to have new 1/8" holes precisely machined out in them. If you are off a micron it can change the lock up so its very important to map everything out precisely. Once done then you can custom fit your new barrel and screw construction to the folder after custom sizing those parts to fit. In the end you have an all screw/stainless barrel construction. Although I do not advocate taking the folder apart even after this screw construction is completed it is possible. Most of them are quite easy to get apart. Its getting them back together that often times messes with the novice, particularly when washers are involved and that is the case with the Lava. Lockback folders with washers in the pivot can be very tricky for someone unfamilar with how to finesse things in place. The pivot for the blade has a washer set up so you have a washer on each side of the blade that smoothes out the action. Lose one you'll notice so only take one apart when time allows.

Spyderco Lava progress pictures

Here is what the Lava looks like from the factory by Spyderco. These are great little all stainless folders. Some have been begging for a lighter weight less slick folder to carry though and I aim to please. This is but one of many Lavas I have rebuilt for folks. I've done these in Micarta, Micarta with ti liners, and G10 of both the textured and smooth type.. All of them come out quite well and its one of my faves to handle. Once you handle one of these its hard to put one down. They really do fit the hand. I know it looks a bit odd but as the old saying goes. There are two kinds of beauty in the world. The kind you see with your eyes that are often times liars, and then there is the time you feel with your hands, which hardly ever lie. If you have ever heard of the hug test you know what I am talking about. So, hug a Lava today! :-) STR

Spyderco Jess Horn ZDP189 Limited

Seen here is a Jess Horn designed folder by Spyderco. Lignum vitae wood really added some quality feel and a touch of class to this one. You can note the untouched factory example just to the right and below the new version of this folder. When I rebuild these I have to create a custom spring holder/stand off for the rear of the folder as well as new liners and scales or just thicker scales that stand alone without metal liners depending on how the owner of the knife wants it. The original spring encasement that keeps the lockbar secured on the blade is designed into the nylon AKA FRN molded material the factory handle is made out of. There are many names for this material. Some refer to it as Zytel, others as Nylon, some call it plastic reinforced. Spyderco calls theirs "FRN" which is short for fiberglass reinforced nylon. These days the wood requests are not as frequent as they used to be but its no wonder with all the great man made materials available. Man made materials don't warp, crack or change with the outside ambient temp. of the air much if at all and most are immune to oils, and staining, absorbing moisture and so on so there is a lot to like about them. Before going on about the wood and handles lets talk about the steel for the blade on this one though.

This limited edition folder like others Spyderco produced is using a new steel designed by Hitachi. ZDP189 is a laminated steel where the inner core of the blade is much harder than the outer shell surrounding the harder steel. This is very similar to the Japanese swords and combines both strength and extreme edge keeping due to the hardness of the cutting edge. Unfortunately it can be challenging for some to sharpen a blade when its 64 or 65 Rockwell hardness. As a result there are many that don't care for the steel since trying to sharpen it back up to snuff gives them so much grief. If you have the right tool for the job though this steel is probably about as good as man has created for edge keeping.

Lignum is one of my favorite woods. I often times grab a piece of scrap in my shop just to sand it for a few seconds because I love the smell of this wood when you work it. Lignum has a long history of being used for knife and utensil handles. Its still used in the marine industry for boat engine drive shafts, and for sheaves and other parts in the building of sailboats, and even sees a lot of use for judges gavels to this day. Its the heaviest, densest, strongest wood on planet earth according to what I've read. Unfortunately though its hard to determine when you have actually been sold Lignum and when you were sold Vera wood, a close relative. This is quite common. I have some of both woods myself. Both work and even smell very close to the same and in fact there is a lot of evidence that Lignum Vitae is not really just referring to one species of tree but refers to a family of them. True lignum for the tools mentioned above though is denser and heavier than these others and sinks like a rock in water and once you see and handle both you can tell which is which. Still though I've used both and like them fine.

Spyderco Jess Horn ZDP189 Limited Edition folder

Good shot looking straight down at the liners right next to the FRN handle on the factory model.