Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Custom "Ouparator" Folder with 440C stainless blade

These next ten photos are various shots of six different versions I've built of my custom made from scratch "Ouparator" frame lock folder. Oupa is a very good friend of mine that drew up an original design for me to make him one of these years ago which I did and traded to him for another folder I really wanted. I did his and liked it. Then we kind of came up with this name for it as a play on words combining Operator and his screen name from the knife forums and with his blessings I now make one every now and again as seen here in either 440C stainless steel, ATS34 stainless, 1095 gun blued blades or hand forged damascus blades and all titanium frames or with G10, or Carbon Fiber handle scales and titanium frames.

That first one for my friend Oupa (Dirk Potgieter is his real name) was a liner lock. I've never much cared for liner locks though and when I started making more for myself I beefed them up to what you see here. No two are ever exactly alike. Being ambidexterous I have even done a couple true left handed folders that I gave to some friends of mine. These are true handmade folders through and through. Also sporting custom made titanium pocket clips made by me in either standard style or my signiture low rider style clips also referred to as 'fold over' clips for low profile carry. Some of these in 1095 blade steel are thinner blade models and done that way on purpose. My favorite carry knives growing up in the hills of West Virginia was always some kind of a Case pocket knife with one of the CV blades in it. During that time I got used to the versatility of a thinner easier slicing blade than some of these thick monster blades you see in frame locks today so my idea was to tie in that original thinner blade of the old slip joints I carried as a youth with some more modern lock type titanium folders. The one hand easy opening and pocket clip further brought them up to date but the blades allowed just enough flavor of yesteryear that I thought the two combined together quite well.

Most of these folders will look similar so you can tell they are the same model. However, one may sport a 2 and 3/4" blade while another may be up to 3 and 1/4" depending on how it comes out or what I have in mind when building one. Closed lengths run from 4" to 4.5" and I use anywhere from .100" to .110" *(my favorite) to .140" thick beef cake titanium slabs for the lock sides depending on what I can find. On others I'll use .050" thick titanium with Micarta or G10 over scales or stand alone sides on the non lock side of equal thickness to the lock side in G10, or Carbon Fiber materials to build them without a liner on the non lock side. I've even done quite a few in .070 thickness titanium which makes for a thin medium duty folder easy to carry and quite light in weight. Click any picture to enlarge to full size. This is the only folder model I make from scratch anymore. I've found that it allows me to have a custom folder from scratch to still claim to 'make knives' without hindering my other interests in knives which is the other stuff you see here in the way of rebuilding or redesigning production folders more to my own personal liking. Feel free to ask any questions regarding this folder model. I'll sell a limited number a year only because being a hobbyist I don't want to get into a situation where I change my tax braket.

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