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Buck 55 Folder Goes On Diet With Three Changes,.....Now She's Even Sweeter! :-)

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by joejeweler, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. joejeweler


    Jan 27, 2006
    Out of all my few few dozen knives (among several Randall's, Buck's, and Kershaw's),....the most used knife is my diminutive Buck 55 that I've carried daily with me for about 10 years. It opens many boxes on a weekly basis that come in the mail, and I use it to cut the packaging tape when I ship something. I even use it occasionally at Wendy's when they run out of plastic knives for my baked potato. ( I keep my baby clean and ready to go at all times :)

    But truth be told I've never much liked the clip point blade shape, and much prefer the drop point blade of the Squire. However, the 55 is a better built unit in my opinion, so I went with practically and got the blade shape I dislike with the build quality I like (the 55 also has what looks like rosewood or cocobolo scales rather than marcarta). Sort of like marriage,....you compromise a bit and it;s all supposed to work out fine. ( Right!!! :)

    Anyway, recently I acquired a few Randall Model #26 "Pathfinder" knives, as I've always loved the very sleek 4" drop point blade and useful, practical 4" fixed blade length. After looking them over once in hand, I finally decided that if Buck didn't make "just" want I wanted,.....I would work it up as close as possible from what they do offer!

    So that's how about a week ago I decided to try to get rid of that unsightly "bump" and false edge (to "me" anyway :) on my Buck 55, and initially that's ALL I had in mind. But the blade change worked out so well to appease my tastes, that I decided to add a single finger groove to have a bit more safety and control. It also brought the lower frame shape a bit closer to the bigger Buck 112 and 110 models, which do have a sort of finger guard built in.

    So that also pleased me very much, and I noticed right away the more secure and comfortable "feel" if the knife with the single index finger guard added. There is plenty of "meat" there to do the job and use the knife for it's intended uses,..."light duty cutting". (the most we all do anyway! lol)

    So OK,....I thing I'm done for awhile but nope, I was contemplating adding a short area of thumb notches,....but ended up doing the full top of that now sleek drop point blade in a sort of vine pattern "filework".

    To be honest, on my particular example my high grade jeweler's files wouldn't touch this stuff! The spine was harder than "s***!" (pardon my French :) So in spite of having been OUT of Jewelry repair/diamond setting for over 10 years (I did it for 30 years), I grit my teeth and went at it with a regular stone separating disc, a VERY fine stone separating disc for the fine accents, a medium grip rubber wheel to prep for polishing, and a 1" muslin polishing wheel using "Fabuluster" jeweler's polish. All were hand held using my Foredom flexable shaft machine and working SLOWLY!!!

    A fine point set of steel dividers allowed me to lightly mark off the spacing. I had to lightly fine sand brush the spine just to SEE the marks! lol I arrived at the spacing by marking off the edge of a US Nickel and doing a small trial run on the nickel, until it looked about right to be on such a fine blade as is on the Buck 55.

    I used 2 small strips of black electrical tape over the blades sharp edge to protect my fingers, and very carefully placed my starting points between each section of the vine. I never got anywhere near worrying about heat being an issue with the grinding, but did dip the knife into a bowl of water frequently to keep the grit from working into the pivots. (and at times the knife would have to be opened and closed so this was important in my mind)

    Next I enlarged and rounded the cuts as best possible, at a really S L O W speed the closer I got from repeated checking. All of this with a standard 1" stone cut off disc. A medium grit Cratex rubber wheel smoothed and rounded to shape, and only then did I move to a very fine stone cut off wheel to add the "thorns" to the vine. Last steps was a good polishing into the larger rounded out areas, and a final light brushing along the top to highlight the polished areas.

    Don't forget to do a thorough cleanup to get all the grit out. I used fine brushes and a plastic bowl with dish detergent in it, followed by a good rinse and a trip out to the garage to blow out all the water with about 80 pounds of air pressure from my compressor. Last step was to work some light oil into the pivots, work the opening-closing cycles a few times to get the oil where it needs to be, and them wipe out all the excess you can with folded over paper towel pieces. The excess oil will just attract dust and grit if you don't get rid of as much as you can.

    Some Pics :





    Index Finger Guard Recess Cut, but before "Filework" done: (er,...."Grinding work" :)



    Profile before Spine Vine Done.....


    In the next 3 pictures all three sizes of this style shown together.

    The Buck 110 with just the same blade shape change on top, Middle is unaltered Buck 112, Bottom is Buck 55 before the "filework".



    The Buck 55 in this photo (bottom of 3 knives) has had the blade spine re-profiled, but the index finger groove and spine vine had not been done yet.


    By the way, this is the look I was going after, .... on my Randall Model 26 Pathfinder 4" fixed blade below against the then unmodified Buck 110. I think I got as close as possible with minimal tip length loss on the Buck 110, and very little on the Buck 55.

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
  2. SpookStrickland


    Sep 27, 2012
    That is very sexy look. I like it.
  3. redcanoe

    redcanoe Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 12, 2012
    Joe that is beautiful work you've done there. You should be hanging out at the buck forum and showing your stuff there.I'm sure the folks on the Buck forum would like to see that.
  4. joejeweler


    Jan 27, 2006
    "Sexy" is a word I had it my original text, but took it out as I didn't want to appear strange :)

    But it IS kinda SEXY now,....certainly has some sweet curves. :)

    ........AND considering,....women can get a tummy tuck and other lipo (among other things :), so why not a knife?

    Yeah,....I will post it there also,......as likely to get noticed a bit more there. Thanks for the kudos,...at age 58 in a few weeks and being away from the bench for 10 years, I was a bit hesitant to try the spine vine.

    It's also my first attempt at vines on the knife spine, and I'm happy with the evenness and overall look, considering the files wouldn't touch it! I'm really happy it worked out so even. ( one slip and the "flow" is lost)

    ......a better top view:

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

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