Brass or nickel silver bolsters

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Oct 18, 2003
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I have some old knives with brass bolsters, including a Buck 110 and some heavily used Gerbers. Brass is strong and holds up well.
How about the nickel silver bolsters that are offered on the 110 custom shop? How do they compare in strength and utility to the brass?
I am considering getting a custom shop knife, and that is why I ask.
 

Flatlander1963

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The NS bolsters hold up great over time. IMO, best choice.
If you like the asthetics of NS, go for it!
 
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Nickle silver has no actual silver in it, and because of that holds up wonderfully. It is much harder than Brass and doesn't tarnish as bad.
 

bertl

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Nickel silver is a copper alloy with nickel and zinc. It is considered a form of brass.
 
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bucks liner locks did not do so well in nickel silver .. they worked well in brass
brass is a better materal and i think will last longer then nickel silver
but that said i do like the look of nickel silver .... and have lots of it
it is all in what the buyer likes!!
 

tom19176

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I perfer Nickel Silver but I think they both hold up well as to strenght of the material. I do think NS is a bit stronger as having carried both, I have found the gold brass is much easier to get dings and marks in the bolsters when dropped or otherwise hit. The NS is not so quick to get dented....
 
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The only folding knives that I own with nickel-silver bolsters are Bucks, like the 501 I got from the custom shop. None have been used for anything harder than opening a box or envelope. That is why I asked. If I pick up another 110, I'd like to feel OK about using it for fishing, for example.
I don't plan on gutting any deer - a bass, maybe.
 
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From the research I've done, I've learned that, in cartrige cases, nickel silver plated cases are far less likely to corrode than brass when left stored in the loops of a leather cartrige belt, so I'd assume that the same would hold true for NS bolsters left in a leather sheath.

NS is also harder than brass, so it should be less likely to get scratched or dinged up.
 

David Martin

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The only folding knives that I own with nickel-silver bolsters are Bucks, like the 501 I got from the custom shop.
Arty, First off, the early 500 series knives were 1st made using a stainless steel frame, from 1975-85. So, not knowing how early your 501 was made...
Now, on the nickle silver frame: I have used both brass and nickle silver for guards and fittings and thought they were nearly the same material but have found the nickle to be a step harder to work. My wife does engraving and has worked on both these materials on Buck knives. She says the nickle silver is a much harder material to cut than brass. Just our experience. Still, it may come down to the 'look' you desire. DM
 
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Oct 18, 2003
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David - Mine is recent, so I know it is nickel silver. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.
 
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