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Thread: FAKE OR REAL STONE QUESTIONS? - Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum

  1. #1
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    FAKE OR REAL STONE QUESTIONS? - Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum


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    Most "stone" used by other makers on knives is not really even stone but rather rock dust reconstituted with plastics and dyed to look like stone such as Turquoise. Fake stone is being used by, Case, Frost, Schrade and Rough Riders and even the Yellowhorse brothers.

    If you have any question about a seller or a specific knife this is the thread to ask about my opinion of the material being used.

    I only use real stone and the only thing I will do is improve the polish some stone pieces will take by filling in natural occurring structures such as pits, druzy, and lines with a UV stable polymer (usually museum grade Hxtal). Turquoise I use is the only fully treated stone which is called stabilized Turquoise. Stabilized Turquoise is naturally occurring Turquoise that is too soft (chalky) to use without addition of probably about 15% by weight of a UV stable polymer under high pressure. This is done by just a couple of commercial companies and the basic structure of the stabilized turquoise is not changed in the process. It is simply impossible to buy untreated SOLID Turquoise in pieces large enough to use as knife scales.

    This Lapidary linked site has hundreds of postings I have made and tutorials I have written to help others attain the best possible polish on their stone, adhesion of stone to metal, and even on how to do custom knife scales.


    Lapidary / Gemstone Community Forum

    http://gemstone.smfforfree4.com/
    Last edited by Redrummd; 03-16-2013 at 10:24 PM. Reason: added Case knives to Fake stone users

  2. #2
    Hi Mike, I've always admired your picture of PCS#476 Congo Malachite Seahorse Whittler. Is Malachite a softer material for stone handled knives or can it be stabilized to make it harder. I guess I am asking your opinion about Malachite as a beautiful stone for knife making. Also do you have a preference of material (favorites) used on knives with brass bolsters and liners that really make them pop. You know I'm a Nickel Silver guy, but certain stone probably looks better on brass. Thought I would ask the first question on this thread. I really Like all of my "Real Stone" knife collection from an amazing Artist, Thanks
    Later Gene

  3. #3
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    Malachite is plenty hard enough for use on knives. The biggest issue is it is really heat sensitive so with my tight fits I have had a couple get stress fractures along the bolsters when I was polishing the metal. The secondary issue is in material such as the Vulture Mountain mixes it is softer than the Quartz and will undercut (dips in the scale). The fern or feather sprays are also not totally solid so they show a lot of texture in the finish but too solid to allow Hxtal to soak into them. Malachite is a very challenging stone to use and I seldom find any that is solid enough or big enough for use as knife scales and I won't use the plastic reconstituted dyed rock dust used by others.

    I actually have enough to do two knives of a really rare version but just have not gotten up enough nerve to actually use it!

  4. #4
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    I made a specific point of mentioning several brands and knives as using fake stone on knives with retail pricing approaching $350. a knife. I do believe in backing up what I claim so I actually bought the knives to "test to destruction". Yes, I spent several hundred dollars at wholesale pricing to share this.

    I have completed the testing and will be posting a lot more later tonight about the test results. Here is the list of knives I have tested to destruction:

    MSRP: $347.95
    Brian Yellowhorse Custom Swing Guard Lockback. 4 1/2" closed. 3 3/8" mirror polished stainless clip blade. Back of blade features Brian Yellowhorse signature. Blue turquoise handles with channel inlay of white turquoise, black jett and leopard skin jasper. Sculpted nickel silver bolsters and road runner inlay shield. Fileworked stainless folding guard. Limited edition of 50. Serialized. Walnut display box.
    Weight: 0.65lbs
    Country of Origin: USA

    Item Number: RR916
    MSRP: $13.95
    Rough Rider Stoneworx Small Toothpick. 3" closed. Stainless long clip blade. Custom handles of turquoise, mother of pearl and other stones. Handles are individually fitted with the finest natural stone materials. Each piece is hand-cut and hand-inlaid. Sculpted nickel silver bolsters. No two pieces are exactly alike.
    Weight: 0.1lbs
    Country of Origin: China

    Brand: Case
    Item Number: CA07262
    MSRP: $303.95

    Case Exotic Veined Medium Stockman. EX3090SS pattern. 3 3/8" closed. Stainless clip, spey and sheepsfoot blades. Exotic veined turquoise handles with nickel silver bolsters. Velvet gift box.
    Weight: 0.3lbs
    Country of Origin: USA

  5. #5
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    Here are photos of each knife before I destroyed them.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    The first thing I did can easily be duplicated by anyone. Go get a drill and a drill bit and go try and drill a hole into a rock. I can tell you what you will discover - You cannot take a regular drill and drill bit and drill a hole into any of the rocks these knives claim to be made from! I had absolutely no problems drilling holes into the scales on each of these knives. Any hard polymer such as Plexiglas drills about the same as these "stones" did!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Redrummd; 02-27-2013 at 01:42 AM.

  7. #7
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    The holes were clean with no chips, exactly what you would see if you drill a hole into a plastic.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Here are the holes with the shavings dumped out of them.
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    Now it gets really fun. I took a mini torch and lit the knives on fire! Try to do that with stone! I must admit this alone made the hundreds spent on the test worth the cost!
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    After I put out the fires I took pictures of the burnt remains. I then took some of the "stone" and totally burnt it. I never saw anything even remotely looking like stone so I crushed the pieces and ended up with a pile of what looks like ash. I sure cannot say what it is but I can say it sure is not stone!
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Of course I wanted to see what the back of the scales looked like so I took out a razor blade and in just seconds with very little effort sections of the Brian Yellowhorse and the Rough Rider just popped off. The Case knife's scale would not come off with prying and I think they probably are using the same Loctite adhesives I use based on how the scale had to be broken off in pieces.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Although this last photo has nothing to do with the stone testing I was surprised to find how poorly the Brian Yellowhorse knife was finished. There were high spots where the scales met the bolsters and a few chips in the "stone" where it met the spine. The biggest surprise was the poor finish on the blade.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Wow. Proof of what you and I have known for a long time & another example of the shameless deception and misleading advertisements in marketing today. Really interesting thread!
    -Lance
    BCCI Lifetime member #2128

  14. #14
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    Great tests Michael, have you managed to find any evidence of real stone being used at all, even if it is just stone dust.

    Pretty disturbing that these knives are sold as having real stone scales, pure fallacy.

    David

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    Southerly,

    The "ash" could be anything but I could not identify anything as specifically being real stone.

  16. #16
    They didn't look like real stone to me from the start, love the testing though.

  17. #17
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    Michael...thank you very much for your testing. You have proven what I thought for a long time. A non-destructive test is to heat a pin to red and then 'pin' the suspect sample. If you see a whiff of white smoke (and you have to really watch for it) the material is plastic in one form or another. During the 'turquoise' boom of the 70's it was a common test for synthetic turquoise. That test is nowhere near as accurate as yours It works only as a 'field' test. Thanks again...

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    mike! i dont post here often but i am going to get more involved here!..im like BF a lot !!.. anyway this is eaxcatly what i was saying when GEC and others were coming out with their LVS-ABALONE.. now i like GEC knives.. i have no issues with them.. they are a very nice production knife. i own plenty.

    BUT- i just new from collecting the small vintgae knives i could with real abalone on them that the second i saw anything in front of the ABALONE-such as LVS i knew something of course was up. they advertsised it for what it was.they didnt hide anything. if you look they will tell you that it is sheets of basically i forget off the top of my head.

    basically its crushed bits of abalone pounded into dust and formed into thin sheets with some kind of plastic and then cut to fit the handles.. the worse part of all IS YOU CAN SEE THE CUTS!!!!.. that and the price.. normal knife with bone 125 with LVS ABALOE over 300$..same knife.. and you have to know what i mean MIKE,...and others im sure when i say you can actually see the cut lines of where they didnt cut the peices to fit..so you will have a larger knife with 3-4 diffrent setions of this stuff.. and you can see where they fit the pieces together..

    MIKE THANK YOU FOR ALL THE TESTING.. I WILL USE THIS PAGE TO SHOW FOLKS FROM NOW ON EXATLY WHAT I MEAN when i say FAKE STONE.

    im sure this is a stupid question..but do you agree with the LVS abalone MIKE AND OTHERS??..if you have not seen it which im sure you have plz take the time to look it up!-peter
    Last edited by peterforce; 02-28-2014 at 02:16 AM. Reason: spell check

  19. #19
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    SMITHY- i have used the same test on many materials myself.like you said - in the field type test..but it works.

  20. #20
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    The Abalone I have seen is paper thin pieces of the brightly colored abalone shell bonded into plastic sheets and it is usually many pieces with fit lines showing on a knife.

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