Wednesday, July 8, 2009

South Paw Frame Lock Conversion Emerson Mini A100

Update. Be sure to click on refresh once the page loads to be sure you are viewing the current postings. It sometimes does not show you the new posts or at least it has done this to me. I guess for most coming to visit here it goes without saying but for those that don't know, these Emersons most always come with the lock set up for a right handed person. Many lefties carry Emersons of course and just flip the clip or buy one of the factory lefties set up that way, and quite a few don't even change it at all but just use it as is. Being left handed myself for so many things in life I learned at an early age that I just had to put up with certain things in a right handed world. One of those things of course has been in folding knives and how they come from manufacturers. Some manufacturers offer a true lefty set up for a premium or by a special order and many south paws out there chose lockback style folders just for the ambidextrous nature of the lock. The owner of this right handed Mini A100 decided to go a different route and contacted me about changing his to a true south paw.

What I've done here is take the folder apart first to take some close measurements. Then I reground a new 8 degree contact on the blade where the lock comes out to meet it only this time the contact is angled for a true lefty. After this is done its not just a matter of simply rebuilding everything in a mirror image to put it all back together. As a result of the blade regrind on the contact I had to custom make the lock side washer so it would work with the new lock, which also had to be cut longer than a stock lock from the factory since the contact for the blade is now further away with me grinding some of it away and getting into the washer space, at least on the one side closest to the lock. Things got a bit tight there near that washer/pivot area but on the outside of the folder with the 3/8" recess that has to be engineered into the design for the pivot barrel but I pulled it off flawlessly. Its actually not as tight inside with plenty of titanium between the lock and body cut but for that recessed part of the pivot it sure got tight. You can see just how close it is and how the set up has to be to be spot on and still work in the picture coming up next as you scroll down. Its the one showing the folder closed on the pocket clip side. Just click the picture and once it zooms to full size look to the left of the non screw side of the black pivot barrel. Thats some tight tolerance there to get this one right. I must admit I thought for a bit there that I was going to run into a problem in that spot. Fortunately it worked out.

Also requested by the owner of this folder was a titanium back spacer with some jimping, and a glass breaker/flat head screwdriver combo built into it. I was a bit nervous on this part too since I had never done anything like this before. I've incorporated that best I could and feel it will certainly do the job. The screwdriver will work quite well in all his other Emerson pivots also. So that should be good for all but this one anyway. I wish I could have refined that a bit more to make it better looking but I must admit I was shooting from the hip with that particular part. Anyway, its all done now.

Final weight on this folder shown here in a bead blasted finish on .110 slab side construction for the lock side and non lock side of 6Al-4V titanium is 3.2 ounces. Also done is my replacement stop pin using a screw type hardened barrel construction. It all went together quite well. You may also notice no thinned down lock cut to spring the lock. I've always called my locks a 'he man's lock' because they are made to be tough, strong and reliable. Most of you that know me know I have always hated the way so many otherwise massive and impressive frame locks in the industry are wimped out terribly in this one spot to bend the lock. Those really thin ones just always bugged the crap out of me, almost as much as folder makers going to so much work and trouble to design and built a flawless artistictally done folder from scratch spending countless hours on it only to slap a generic $3 pocket clip on it in the end almost as an after thought really and one that usually takes away from the whole and doesn't even look like it goes there or all that good sometimes! Arrrgh! Don't get me started.

Back to topic. :-) This one has a lock cut but I didn't bring it all the way down to the bottom or go in all that deep really. Its does go in to about .095 total thickness for 3/4 of the width of the lock and then I left it solid across the bottom so I didn't even have to interfere with the jimping for some better grip. As a result I feel this maximizes the potential of this little giant .110 ti slab side folder shown here. Oh, and if you are thinking something like, 'yeah but I bet the lock is super hard to work', well think again. I believe you'd be surprised just how easy it is to manage. Go over to my forum and ask one of the guys carrying one done like this and see if you hear a complaint. I still contend that there is no reason for a maker to take the lock cuts so thin. My other contention is that most folks that chose a 'hard use folder' for their carry knife should expect a hard use lock and so what if its a bit stiffer but the truth is my lock is the result of several years of experimentation and testing getting it to where it is now. I think I've found something that is working and working quite well. My own EDC (the orange RIL folder shown in older posts below) is one done in .095 thickness slabs and it has no lock cut whatsoever. Well, enough rambling on that.

You can see the baggy full of the original parts in some of these pictures although none of those will ever work for this folder again now that I've permanently modified the blade. Perhaps the owner can donate these or sell them to someone wanting extra parts for their mini or keep them for himself in the event he gets another one down the road. I did something on this folder I've only done a couple of times and that is I told the owner that should he ever decide to sell this or trade it off that I would like first refusal on it. Its one that turned out quite well and surprised me for the way I took to it. Its kind of funny really, because at first when this little folder arrived I thought it was fugly ugly! :-) Its one of those that just grows on you though.

Thanks for stopping by. Comments welcome.

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