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Buck Esquire 501 in Micarta and 440C

Discussion in 'STR's Backyard KnifeWorks' started by STR, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I tell ya. This model is one of my all time faves. I carried one of these for a good many years until losing it rock climbing in southern Illinois down near Carbondale. Never did find that jewel. Sure missed it when it was gone though.

    This one turned out really sweet. So much so I am on the prowl for one on ebay now for myself. Love these older 440C models.

    Nice action, completely up to date and modern now so its one hand opening and pocket clip equipped and I'm actually able to call this a one hand knife because I can close it that way but I know some would argue that.

    This this is one I'll do again I think. Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. :D If Buck offered this I think it would take off like a jet because of its slim line features, light weight at 2.4 ounces and the fact that its now offering what probably keeps many from even looking at it, that being a thumb stud for easy opening and a pocket clip of course.

    STR
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jacktrades_nbk

    jacktrades_nbk

    Feb 7, 2007
    very nice job
    the modern squire
     
  3. seaplane

    seaplane

    680
    Jun 25, 2000
    The micarta Esquire was my first Buck knife back in the mid 70's. I have bought a few off of the bay and one or 2 at antique shops. I just picked up one for $18 at a shop. I like your mods to these. I wish buck would at least offer a custom shop version with a better steel than the current 420 and the maroon micarta option. I'm not sure when they changed the three rivets to two, But I have both. The 440c was and is a good blade steel. Too bad buck thought common folks couldn't sharpen them and changed to 420.
     
  4. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Yeah, I know they changed the name from Esquire to Squire for legal reasons. Why they changed steel?? Not sure. May be related to easier blanking out of 420HC vs 440C. 420HC is sure better than the 425M they used there for a couple years. That was one I unfortunately bought after losing my first one and the edge keeping was terrible on it.

    I've had a couple of the 420 ones and they seemed to do fine but there is something special about the old 440C micarta models (Buckarta as they called it at Buck). This is probably still one of my all time favorite locking models of any folder by any name. Thanks for the comments.

    Oh, they did not make that model with the exposed lock bar pivot aka rocker arm pivot showing for very long I don't think. My first 440C model was bought right after that folder came out and it had the three pins. The second one was bought about a year later maybe a year and half and it was the same only it had two pins. My guess is they didn't produce them that way for two full years. But its just a guess. I still have a 440C 503 I think they call the Prince. Its the same age as the one Micarta one in 440C that I have left that is the 501. I never carried that one much and find it a bit small but its a good one too.

    STR
     
  5. Silverdagger

    Silverdagger

    632
    Dec 18, 2006
    STR, that is fine work on a legendary knife. I posted about it in the Buck forum about Slimline series and your suggestion. Thanks for the stories, and thank you for your ingenuity.
     
  6. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Thanks for the kind words. I actually found two of these today on ebay that I've been watching and managed to snag both for just a few bucks more than I originally paid for my very first one. Yep, I got me two fine 440C Buckarta Esquires (two pin) for about $50. One a nice candidate user sharpened down a mite but not bad and one I plan to do this mod to for carry and the other nearly new condition about like the one shown here in this thread but never sharpened just needing a place to store it and leave it alone.

    I'm very pleased. Didn't take as long as I thought it would to find me one for myself. I may never look back once I do this for myself because I already know how well this folder sits with me from having others like them before I started doing this kind of work on them. I'm telling ya, Buck is missing the light at the end of the tunnel with this one. Its perfect in everyway made up this way. Can't be beat IMO>

    STR
     
  7. ohen cepel

    ohen cepel Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Great idea and very nice work!
     
  8. DelrinFred

    DelrinFred

    171
    Jan 23, 2008
    Interesting discussion on 440C. Caught my attention so I went on to ebay to see what was around and managed to snag a Benchmade 555 Mel Pardue in 440C for $35. Don't know much about this knife; is this a quality knife at a good price?
     
  9. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Oh I don't know much about that one but I assume its a fine knife for what sounds like a good price. If its the axis lock I'm sure its a fine tactical user.

    Most folks don't realize that 440C is the backbone of all the so called super steels. Without it S30V, S60V or S90V would not even be here. They used 440C as the base steel as I understand it and to be honest its been the standard other stainless steels have been compared to for so long that it was the base for much of them because of all it brings to the table.

    I've always used it and like it a lot. Most of my favorite folders are ones with blades of that steel. The little Buck 501 in the 440C is a heck of a lot of folder and one great find if you snag one of those. You won't get rich to sell one but for the money its a darn fine user at an affordable cost.

    STR
     
  10. DelrinFred

    DelrinFred

    171
    Jan 23, 2008
    I have found some for sale, but can't tell whether it has the old 440C blade. Is there any way to distinguish between current production and old? I can't find any markings.
     
  11. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    If it has three pins in the handle and it looks like Micarta its one of the early ones but since they stopped making the 440C ones in 1980 you can't always tell if its from 1980 if it is for absolute certain that its a 440C model short of testing both and noting the edge keeping difference which is noticable. If 2 pins it came a little later and can still have that same man made looking material and 440C up until 1980 but even then the same 425 blade steel can be in some of those with Micarta. If 2 pins in the micarta it still was made with 440C so its true most of those are probably 440C but you can't be 100%. If two pins and wood that came a little later. Even still it is hard to tell. If you got one with three pins or an early two pin model it may be 440C for the blade steel which is certainly more desireable to me than the current 420HC they use although that is a very good one to snag compared to the 425 models in my opinion. When I say three pins one is the rocker arm/lockbar pin which shows in the oldest ones.

    I never carried a 503 much and I know you didn't ask and I do know more about the 501 because I probably had one of those in my pocket more years than any other knife I've ever owned but in many regards what goes for the 501 goes for that smaller one also. Lost that first three pin 501 I had and bought another and lost it too. One of these days I would love to find another like that first three pin one I had from the mid to late 70s but they are hard to find. It was a good little knife. Still is really. I recall they called the 501 the Esquire back then but changed it to the Squire for legal reasons. I understand they still make it and the 503. I think the 503 is called the Prince. Buck has a print out they can and have emailed to folks apparently that shows various differences in the tang stamps on those blades from year to year. If you ask them they may email that to you. They might post it. So far everytime I've posted there in the Buck forum they ignore me and don't answer my questions. Not sure why. Busy I guess.

    STR
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2008
  12. kbuzbee

    kbuzbee

    477
    Aug 5, 2006
    Same here. Lost mine somewhere in Indiana. Replaced it with a Gerber folding hunter (which I still own but no longer carry)

    Nice work, Steve! It is a great little knife.

    Ken
     
  13. schiesz

    schiesz

    288
    Dec 26, 2006
    Well they did make a Master Series version with green handles and a BG42 blade, but you don't see them around too much and they cost a mint when you do.

    Not sure why you'd get ignored in the buck forum, they are pretty friendly in there. Here is the date stamp codes. I know it applies to 110's and 112's, but I think it works for mostly all of them...
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  14. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    Not sure myself. I guess I time my questions when no one from Buck is around to answer them. I asked if they had anymore of those BG42 blades leftover a long time ago and never got so much as a peep. There are other posts there by me never responded to by any of the folks from Buck so I just gave up asking.

    STR
     
  15. schiesz

    schiesz

    288
    Dec 26, 2006
    Ok, there was some tense times when the BG42 blade swap was at the end. Everyone wanted more of them done and Buck wasn't giving out any info about it. Rumors were going around that the blade swap deal was done for good (apparently, it was) and people kept waiting to hear the official word... Right now its similar cause the buck custom shop prices soared, and all the steel choices went away shortly afterward.

    We are hoping that means they are bringing some new steel options in, but i'm afraid it might also mean that the BG42 choice is gone forever.
     
  16. ChapmanPreferred

    ChapmanPreferred

    Oct 7, 2006
    How much for a thumb stud and clip job like this one?
     
  17. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    $50 for both. $30 each separate.

    Thanks for asking

    STR
     
  18. cool_hand_luke

    cool_hand_luke

    503
    Jul 30, 2005
    I hope not. I was able to get my 25+ year old 112 swapped to the BG42 blade a few years ago. It was cheap to do; I don't remember exactly what buck charged but it was south of $50. Anyway, the bg42 112 is just incredible. I will never part with it. I think it would be great if buck would bring the bg42 choice back.

    STR, your work is great. I like how you have given this outdated buck new life. I have a soft spot for buck knives, as the 112 was one of the first knives I was given. I'm glad I held on to it all these years. I'd like to see buck do well.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  19. ChapmanPreferred

    ChapmanPreferred

    Oct 7, 2006
    I'm headed to your sticky threads to learn how to send in two knives. Thank you for the quick reply.
     
  20. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004

    Thanks guys.

    That 112 sounds sweet. I have two 112s of my own. One I bought here a few years ago and another I've owned since like 1972 as I recall. Neither of mine have nail nicks, open with the thumb stud I installed on each real easy and are tapped for a pocket clip.

    STR
     

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