Bob Dozier's "Workhorse" Folder

Oct 11, 1998
While Bob Dozier is famous for his D2 utility fixed blades, it is a lesser known fact that he also makes outstanding titanium handled folders with – of course – D2 blades. I became aware of this when his "Workhorse" folder was on the cover of “Blade” magazine in February 1999. The article in this issue was about the quality of folders and several people - including Bob - made comments on what they thought would be essential for a good handmade folder. One interesting point caught my attention: Bob uses what he calls the “Dozier-Lock” on his folders. This eliminates the stop pin by relying on a giant locking bar (similar to a double liner lock) which - when engaged - supports the end of the blade over its entire width. Since I liked the design of this particular folder from the moment I saw it on the cover and since I found this type of lock interesting, I couldn’t resist the temptation and ordered the knife in April 1999. Well, time went by and I almost thought I was forgotten until I got a call last week from one of Bob’s employees saying the knife is ready for shipping.

While I knew the size of this folder from the article, I wasn’t quite prepared for the monster when I took it out of the included Cordura sheath. This knife is the even bigger than the Buck Strider! Absolutely amazing when you keep in mind that Bob’s fixed blades are usually relatively small. The overall size is 9 6/16”, the handle 5 3/16” and the blade 4 3/16” long. The blade is 1 5/8” wide and with almost 7/32” even thicker than the one of the Strider! The weight is 8 oz., the Buck knife a “mere” 7.5 oz.

Here the right side of the “Workhorse”

And from the left in comparison to the Strider and a (large) Sebenza

The overall form of the “Workhorse” is very functional. The handle of course fits even XXL sized hands (like mine) and the small guard and the ridges prevent the fingers from sliding up to the blade. And this blade is amazing! As mentioned, the spine is 7 /32” but it turns into a very thin and razor sharp edge thanks to the very high and shallow hollow grind. This blade is made for cutting and for cutting only. Bob’s grinding abilities are excellent and it shows. There is not the slightest flaw in grind lines or finish. The blade can be opened by using the thumb stud or by pushing on the lower guard which protrudes from the back of the handle when closed. A nice feature when wearing gloves.

Workhorse closed

The handle seems to be CNC machined. Besides the grooves on the outside which provide a better grip, the handle slabs are milled out on the inside to make the knife lighter and give it the desired balance. The center of gravity for this knife is there were the cutout in the handle for the thumb stud is.

The right handle slab is milled out on the inside in a T-pattern and houses the giant titanium locking bar. This bar is 2/32” thick (same as on the Strider. It looks different in the picture, but I measured it.) and – as mentioned - supports the entire back of the blade. The head of the T-bar is with 1 5/8” a little bit wider than the handle and its stem is approx. 5/4” wide and 3” long. It fits exactly into the milled handle slot and is secured on the bottom with the screw you can see at the end of the middle groove in the first picture. At first I had concerns if a monster folder of this size can be safe enough without the stopping pin. After handling it for a while I can confidently state that it is! When you open the blade the locking bar snaps in with such authority that you can year it across the room. To test the lock, I pushed the blade through several pages of a catalogue by holding the end of the handle with my left hand and pressing on the back of the handle (not the spine of the blade!) with my left. This way I could penetrate several pages easily but the lock didn’t move or even made a sound to indicate that it would set itself. Needless to say I got the same safe impression when I whacked the blade on the spine. The result is not too surprising if you keep in mind how wide the locking bar is and that it gets its support not from being screwed onto but nestled into the handle slot.

Here the picture from the top

and the bottom

Overall this knife is quite a monster due to it’s size. No clip is provided but a belt pouch, since you’d never be tempted to clip this knife in the usual manner to your pocket. Sharpness and slicing ability are excellent and the clip point shape of the blade make this folder quite useful. There is no way to use this blade in any kind of prying without breaking of the fine tip.

If you’ll ever come in a self defense situation and you have this folder with you, there will most likely never be the reason to actually use it. Everybody who’ll see you open this knife will be intimidated just by the look of it

The craftsmanship on this knife is flawless and I can highly recommend it to anybody who’s looking into a big folder with a unique lock and an excellent blade steel.
[Nice photos. I purchased a titanium handled Dozier folder at the Blade Show. My knife (blade is 3") has the Dozier lock, but with a difference- instead of having opposing liner locks on the blade, Dozier has made the handles themselves the locks (a.k.a. the integral locks on the Reeves). I love the knife and find it comparable in strength and quality to my sebenza. I would think that your model with the integral locks would be even harder to close accidentaly.
Great Report Ralf! Excellent use of Pics.

I love Bob's fixed blades and I never knew he made anything like that Workhorse. Since I have so many of his Fixed I think it's time I got one of his Folders as well.

Thanks for sharing such a great tool with us.

Marine Sniper Motto:
There's no use Running, you'll only Die Tired!
Great review.I checked out Dozier's folders at the last 2 N.Y.shows.All of them were very well made and smooth opening.The last show I saw his double intregal,a very interesting design.
I have one of Bobs' dual intregal 3 inch folders. It is rock solid, a real workhorse.
Nice looking knife and great photos. I am just not a fan of the linerlock, especially the thin kind. Otherwise a very nice and apparently well build folder.
Thanks for the nice words.

Nimrod, the lock is not quite a liner, but an insert into the handle slab. And regarding "small":
Take a ruler and measure the locking bar on the Sebenza where the scalloped cutout under the clip on the inside of the bar is. At this point the bar is less than 2/32" thick. Surprising isnt' it? Thinner than the liner lock of the Strider and the Dozier. And the width of the Sebenza bar is about half what the Dozier bar at it's T-stem section is. You can probably imagine what that means in terms of toughness for the "Workhorse".

thelu, that depends on what your priorities are. Both knife are made under very different objectives. The Strider is a folding prybar, the Dozier a monster slicer. You can clip the Strider to a bigger pocket (where the rough G10 will eat the fabric in no time
) while the Dozier has to be carried in it's pouch. Price is another factor, you can get the Strider for $130 while the Dozier is $595. Which knife would you rather beat up or loose
Ralf: I note well your commend regarding the thinnest section of the Sebenza operationsal slab. Think of the material that the slab is made of and the location of the thinned out section in relation to the incidence of stress and moment, if any, imparted on the operation slab due to an external force.

The mass of the operational slab is substantial, not just in width, but in length as well. Stress imparted on the slab does not have a linear effect upon the part.

Besides the engineering and physics arguments, I have a more practical argument against linerlocks. They gunk up and do not function properly compared to an integral lock. Before all the war stories come out and post about being knee deep in mud for six weeks while ducking enemy fire and chopping off the heads of poisonous snakes to survive, let me just say this. Take a Sebenza and a good liner lock, throw them in a bucket of mud and such, mix then around and what do you get? A dirty Sebenza that works, especially after being rinsed off and a liner locker that needs a shower, cut, blow dry and massage to fuction adequately.

I own a bunch of liner lockers, but short of a fixed blade, I 'll take the integral lock when the chips get messy.
Nimrod, I understand your concern, but I've never felt the need to throw my knives in a bucket of mud and such and mix them around. Have you actually done it or made it up to illustrate your point? If that was really a test you did, please post your findings, I would be highly interested in them.

Otherwise I would say that if the (theoretical) conditions are so bad that a liner lock won't work anymore, almost all locking mechanisms (esp. the as tough considered Axis and rolling locks with their springs) were in trouble and you definitely had picket the wrong tool. A fixed blade would have been the one of choice.
Just been reading the reviews on the Dozier folder. I just received a Buckhunter which is a bit smaller than the workhorse profiled here. The Buckhunter has a 3.75 inch blade and has a thickness of 5/32. This is a HEAVY DUTY knife! The blade is a clip point with satin finish. Lockup is via the double liner lock and also snaps in with authority and just at the right spot. The handle slabs are the thickest pieces of titanium I have ever seen on a folder. I have a 'benza and this knife is equal to it in fit and finish, and that is saying something! My only complaint is the lack of a pocket clip. I don't think that it is too big for pocket carry.
This knife has a very slick opening. The bronze bushings help there. Closing the knife, it stops halfway when the blade contacts the ball detent; neat safety feature.
Guess you can tell that I am pleased with this knife! Well, I AM!!

Art Sigmon
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Php. 4:13

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword"
Heb. 4:12
Just ordered Bob's new folder that is in the current issue of Blade Magazine. I have never seen such thick liners on a folder! D2 blade of course and g10 handles, Bob is going to make his own clips and I will wait for one with a clip.