Thursday, September 2, 2010

Kiridashi Frame lock

Take a Japan Woodworkers Kiridashi folder, a little scrap titanium, some left over Micarta and a little hardware along with some time and you just never know what you can come up with to update a good hammer forged blade into a better more modern user friendly handle format. The first one turned out so nice I ended up getting requests for more. The 64 Rockwell hardness Japanese White steel blades are quite sharp, lethal really but taping them off helped to keep them from biting me while working them down to fit the new bodies.

In the end they turned out so well that one can't help but be drawn to them. There is something about the primitive and the modern coming together I think. These are old jobs but its high time I stuck them up here for old time's sake if nothing else. Of the two different knives shown here, one has a stainless steel insert inlayed on the inside of the lock to make the contact for the blade. I did this as an experiment to see if it would work and I guess it did as that knife was built back in 2006. Today I own a Military M4 folder by Spyderco done like this with the insert installed in the lock. I passed this idea on to Sal years back for his compression lock trying to talk him into making more compression frame locks from titanium using inserts of hardened stainless for the lock contact. This would make lock adjustment repairs a snap by simply replacing a part.  I never heard back from him that I recall on this suggestion and I don't know that he listened to me or that I had anything to do with the M4 but when I saw it I did grab one because I recognized the idea immediately from when I presented this idea when I did it. The idea works and the lock becomes the best of both worlds after the insert. You get the wear and impact resistance of steel and the outer shell durability of the titanium and lighter weight to boot than if the whole knife was stainless steel. Anyway, the old posts from when I made this folder were recorded on my old forum on Knife Forums from start to finish and are probably still up over there if one wanted to do a search in the backyard mechanic section of their forums.

To get an idea of just what I've done here just look at the two knives in the very bottom picture. You can follow the progress via the pictures seeing it step by step by scrolling up from the bottom. The one on the left in that last picture is the Kiridashi folder as it ships from Japan Wood Worker. These two blades shown are right hand grind models. You can buy left hand grind blades too from Japan Woodworker. Either way the knife is exceptionally large for the blade length and uncomfortable in the hand also with the lock lever sticking into your palm. To be honest I didn't trust the lock that much either after using it a bit.

These knives as they come from Japan Woodworker give the impression that they lock up very solidly. But you learn right quick that the first time you really lean into one to cut that it develops up and down play in no time and it just gets worse with use. Eventually, even with continued 'normal' uses, nothing extreme, the blade develops side to side play as well as up and down play. Before converting this first one the blade wobbled in the handle with lots of side to side play by the time I got to cutting the blade out and started making it into a modern frame lock. The knife shown in that bottom picture with the factory version as shipped from JWW is the first of my conversions equipped with a modern titanium bank vault frame lock in .125 thickness and one of my custom made low rider clips screwed down to the handmade ti slab lock side and .125 thick teal canvas Micarta for the non lock side.

Eventually I took that other original knife shown as it came from the catalog and turned that one into the one with the stainless insert in the lock. You can see the hammer forge marks on the blades and use the patterns to tell the two blades apart to discern the two models but you can also see the screw that secured the insert into the lock on the inside. There is also a second screw not seen that comes in from the inside on that one. The idea here was to have a pop in lock contact replacement to make adjustments easier in the future. I'm not sure it was really necessary looking back on it though. Also, after carrying one and using it a while the teal micarta darkens from being in the sun and from your finger oils during use. You can see that darkening starting in the very top picture on the teal micarta. Eventually that top one that is lighter in the picture when it was taken, ended up darkening to look just like the first one below it. Thanks for looking.



wishbone said...

Love it Steve! Nice piece. Make another one. ;-)

_______________________________ said...

That's great!

An interesting blend of traditional and modern. Bet it's a heck of a knife now!

Steve A/K/A STR said...

Thanks for the comments. Much appreciated. I thought this one was one of the neater more unique projects I've done. I probably should have kept one of them but as luck would have it bills were calling and as is usually the case when Mr. Master starts calling for his vig I sell something and pay up! :-)