My regular readers, those who have been reading for a while now, will remember my progression of preferences on pocket knives. And my search, in futility, for one with such features.
Those features being; traditional in look and materials, slip joint in function, 3.5″ to 3.75″ in length closed, two blades opening from opposite ends, one a full frame length clip blade, the other a 1/3 to 1/2 frame length sheepsfoot. USA made preferably.
Unfortunately something that hasn’t ever been made in spades, and not at all, in approx. the last 40 years, if not longer. Except one special limited factory order, the 2015 Blade forums traditional forum knife of the year…
Expensive at the time, and (unfortunately predating my preferences by 3 or 4 months) like getting adamantium hens teeth now.. (Canal Street Cutlery, the maker has since gone out of business, making a limited rare knife even more collectible).
A long time ago, October-ish in 2015, I decided to just get as close as possible, and re-grind one blade to a sheep’s foot.
That means picking the right sized knife, with a modifiable blade. Not as easy as it sounds!
At that time I got a Case humpback half whittler, 3.625″, clip and long spear blade. Perfect.
Problem is, I really got to like that long spear blade, and after a few days couldn’t bring myself to grind the end off!
For several months that knife was almost all I used.
But I still miss the straight edged sheepsfoot at times.
This set of specs came about a lot from the knife I carried for most of 2015, a 3.25″ Queen stockman, the EDCForums special forum knife. The sheepsfoot and clip blades were great, the spey blade rarely being used. And the handle being just a bit too short at times. Thus the specs. (Wanting blade pivots at oposite ends is mainly for asthetics, simply how I like a multi blade knife built. Also it seems that of knives with that arrangement, a lot seem to have the blades set lower in the frame-more comfortable to grip in use).
That led me back to carrying and using a few different stockmans for a while in mid to late 2016. A 47 frame Case at 3.875″, great to grip, a touch big in the pocket.
Then I found that the Case Muskrat- two identical clip blades at opposite ends- is made on the 47 frame. And the clip blades being arranges perfectly to convert eithet to a sheepsfoot (long straight edge, and the nail notch back far enough to not be removed with the tip). Even better than the humpbacks spear blade was.
I decided the extra 1/8″ to 1/4″ in the pocket wasn’t that big of a deal, since the 47 stockman all but disappeared in carry.
So, in November of 2016, I got a nice Navy blue bone stainless bladed Muskrat.
And yet again, like the humpback before it, found I like it in stock form. Heh.
Although, not as much; This one I only carried about a month. While not what I wanted to carry a lot, I liked it enough to not want to grind into it.
And around we go again. Back to stockmans.
A Schrade 8OT, 1/8″ shorter than the 47 frame, almost perfect.
But still, as with the Case before, one more un-needed blade, the spey.
I did find a production knife that almost fits the bill about a month ago. Some Buck brand improved Muskrats(the model 372) have a half frame length sheep’s foot in them as a second blade. Almost Perfect at 3.875″.
(Side note; An “Improved”, or sometimes called “Hawbaker” Muskrat is a the same frame, a serpentine rounded bolster stockman frame, with one clip blade and a full length wharncliffe blade instead of a series on clip blade.)
And not all of the 372s are what I’d want… seems a few snuck through with a mid length sheepsfoot or short wharncliffe blade. Most of them have a full frame wharncliffe in them.
The catch? (You knew there was one, right?) They’re made in China imports.
Now, I do have a lot of modern locking knives that are made in China, and it never bothers me.
Heck, some of the best built traditional folders I’ve had are Rough Riders, a Chinese import brand.
I’m far from being a patriot in a lot of ways, and generally don’t give a damn where anything is made… In fact, in a lot of things I refuse to pay for things made in the USA, because all you get is 3 times the cost for 1/2 the quality of the import, and USA stamped on it. No thanks.
But lately I’ve had a hesitation when it comes to imports in traditional folders. No idea why, just a feeling. I’ve even had a reservation about European imports lately. Again, no idea why.
Im sure ill end up eith one eventually, but for now, the Buck is out.
I also re-discovred the Case mini Muskrat, the same as the regular, but on a 3.625″ frame.
And discontinued, hard to find, and a bit spendy.
[(I should add in here what some will mention; the Victorinox Swiss Army knife, the Apprentice model in Alox(aluminum ) scales. It’s a slim sturdy 3.5″ frame, a short sheep’s foot blade pivoted opposite a London spear point blade. The nicest imported knives yoy will ever get, and quite possibly the best production steel in use… I actually have an Apprentice, along with several others from the Alox line.
Two minus points; the spear blade, although it’s probably close enough, only losing a touch of fine tip from my preferred clip blades. But mainly the Alox scales. They work great, and look great. But they’re still not jigger bone and bolsters, my preference. )]
And around we go again. Back to the stockman. Again. Recently, a Schrade 34OT, a bit short at 3.375″, but serviceable.
But still, as with the Case, the 8OT, and back to the Queen before them, one more un-needed, usually un-used blade, the spey.
ALL of this brings us to this week, where I was looking at getting a Case medium stockman, or another 34OT, basically a medium stock knife, and taking it apart, rearranging the blades, removing one, and reassembling it.
A LOT of work, to get what I want.
Then I realized I’ve not carried the Muskrat for a couple months.
Less work, and I’d know for sure how I like the blade setup, even if the frame is longer than I(think I) want. And I don’t have to spend a dang thing (funds being short right now).
So, it spent about 5 minutes in the shop with me. Notched the edge and spine deep on the sander, scored the faces with a deep line both sides, and snapped it off in the vice.
Ground spine to profile at the sander, smoothed it at the steel wire wheel, and hit it with the buffer. Simple.
Now we shall see how much I really do(or don’t) like the arrangement I’ve wanted for so long.
How it compares to the 47 stockman blade;
I ended with a finer tip than intended, more a wharncliffe than a sheepsfoot. I’ll see how it works, might blunted it up later.