Bolsters...offer protection?

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by huntnfishin, Jan 1, 2021.

  1. huntnfishin

    huntnfishin Gold Member Gold Member

    442
    May 16, 2009
    So I did a search and came up with zilch...but I didn’t go all the way down the rabbit hole. I apologize if this has been beaten to death (and for the three cliche/idioms I just used) but I wonder how many of you have dropped a knife with bolsters and felt the scales have been saved by the bolster taking the brunt of the impact? Maybe a silly question but I gotta ask. I have dropped knives and have had a shield or two scramble across the floor as a result but do bolsters protect delicate covers - mammoth/bone etc?
     
  2. BDubbs

    BDubbs Gold Member Gold Member

    499
    May 25, 2020
    I think it all depends on how it lands. I saw a recent mammoth and jigged bone that were both damaged in drops. It didn’t seem like the bolsters helped in either case.
     
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  3. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    I’d say the bolsters’ main job is to provide rigidity and strength to the pivot and would obviously take the brunt of the impact if hitting first, but outside of that I don’t think the scales would be anymore protected from impact than if the knife was a shadow pattern.
     
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  4. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    If the bolsters and liner are integral one piece it could afford some protection if dropped on the end but if it lands on the side or exposed corners top and bottom, that wouldn’t do much good.
    I like the looks of stone, mammoth and exotic materials but for using/work knives I prefer stabilized materials that are less vulnerable to drops and hits and other rough stuff.
     
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  5. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I dropped my Amber jigged Texas Jack on the sidewalk a couple weeks ago and it hit bolster first just as I knew it would, it might have hit differently and damaged a scale were the bolsters not there so in this instance I'd say the bolster did protect it.
    This is a chunk of metal on the end of the frame, especially with knives like the Buck 110 that weight out there makes the knife more likely to land bolster first.
     
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  6. abcdef

    abcdef

    Oct 28, 2005
    I doubt they protect the scales. They just bolster the construction.
     
  7. mrknife

    mrknife Gold Member Gold Member

    May 9, 2010
    The end cap tho, that may be a different story
     
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  8. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    Of course they offer protection. A few months after I received my KHnutbuster I dropped it, pivot end, onto asphalt. Being a shadow pattern it's a light knife. That didn't spare it from suffering damage to the bone covers. After I recovered from my shock I took a few moments to examine my knife and found several chips in the covers.

    I've dropped several spring knives over the years. Most of them had bolsters, and if they did, they were none the worse for wear after I dropped them. Just a ding here and there that ends up being indistinguishable from the scratches and scars an oft-carried knife picks up over time. The KHnutbuster received the worst of it, and I attribute the damage to the lack of bolsters.
     
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  9. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    The more metal the knife has, the better protected it is from drops.
     
  10. huntnfishin

    huntnfishin Gold Member Gold Member

    442
    May 16, 2009
    This is great info. I am ordering a custom soon and am going to have double bolsters for sure as the handle material will be delicate in terms of dropping. Thanks bladeforums.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
  11. Chui

    Chui Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    Some custom makers will purposely make the scales proud of the bolsters. I know both the following makers so will contact and ask them if there's a specific reason.

    These two slipjoints from Geoff Hague, the scale material is just under 1mm proud on both.

    [​IMG]

    (middle one is fixed blade)

    [​IMG]

    Forgive me showing a liner-lock..........bit simply to illustrate this one too where the scale material is very proud (Des Horn)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. afishhunter

    afishhunter Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Question:
    Presuming a true zero bolster and cover gap, wouldn't the impact on the end of a bolster be transferred to the cover(s)?
     
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  13. huntnfishin

    huntnfishin Gold Member Gold Member

    442
    May 16, 2009
    That’s what I am thinking but maybe better than bareheaded.
     
  14. kamagong

    kamagong Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2001
    Some perhaps, but not the full force of the impact. If the bolster ends up with a ding, then you know that the bolster itself absorbed some of it.
     
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  15. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Hey Paul, they call that an “heirloom” fit. It allows the materials to naturally expand and contract without showing a gap, or being noticeably proud or shallow of the bolster like it would if they were made perfectly flush. It also gives those precious handle materials a little more meat to prevent cracking.
     
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  16. brownshoe

    brownshoe I support this site with my MIND

    Sep 6, 2002
    I dropped a Sunfish Forge trapper on its bolster-less end on concrete and it chipped and cracked. IVe done the same with an SM English Jack with a bolstered end and it got a scratch, but no chip or cracked bone. Bolsters on the end protect the covers...it's kind of obvious :)
     
  17. sXePhenomenal

    sXePhenomenal

    Mar 8, 2018
    I dropped my Case Bose Premium stockman and it did land on the bolster and beat it up pretty bad and slightly backed out the pivot pin. The cover took zero damage.
     
  18. huntnfishin

    huntnfishin Gold Member Gold Member

    442
    May 16, 2009
    sXe,
    What cover material was the stockman out of curiosity?
     
  19. JohnDF

    JohnDF Gold Member Gold Member

    May 14, 2018
    Bolsters and end caps offer more protection...
    But don't overlook the beauty of a barehead.
    To me, it would depend on the style of knife.
    I don't think a swayback looks good with end caps.
    But I think a serpentine looks weird without them.
     
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  20. sXePhenomenal

    sXePhenomenal

    Mar 8, 2018
    Brown bone
     
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