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Case Copperlock

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by rprocter, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    I recall reading posts from some years back that were quite enthusiastic about the Case Copperlock. I thought i'd like to try one but it's only recently that i saw a 1998 Case Copperlock for sale on ebay so i bid and won.


    It's a "Field Test Run" issue:


    For some reason my books on Case knives dicuss the Copperhead but not Copperlock. Does Case contract out the Copperlock ?
    Anything of special note about this pattern, like years made, etc. that you can add please do so.
    And what is a "Field Test Run" ? I don't think 1998 was the first year for this pattern so exactly what is being tested and where is the field ?
    I will appreciate all help because i know next to zip about Case knives (even though i have about 100 or so of them).
  2. glocktenman

    glocktenman Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    I can't tell you about the years etc but I sure like the look of the orange smooth bone and the long nail nick. Nice one!
  3. defaultuser


    May 3, 2006
    From a dealer's website:

    In 1997, Case introduced an entirely new knife pattern that took the collector world by storm. Designed by Case Legend Tom Hart, the CopperLockĀ® (549) combined elements from classic Case knife patterns (Trapper & Copperhead) to make an entirely new lockback knife. With a fully locking blade, it has the cutting power of a lockback, with the look and feel of a traditional Case pocketknife. Throughout 2007, Case celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the CopperLock. In July of 2008, this pattern will be retired to the Case XX Vault for at least 3 years. Closed these knives measure 4 1/4 inches.

    I might add that I have a mini-copperlock myself and it's my favorite pattern among all the traditional slip joint I have. Yours is a nice specimen!
  4. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Very nice. The Dark Orange Smooth Bone covers are especially nice.

    NO !!! They do not contract it out. Here is an e-mail from Ms. Boser - the former Historian at Case. It oughta answer your questions.

    Case Copperlock History (Introduced in 1997)
    By Shirley Boser
    When we started working on the design of the CopperLock, our Sales manager at that time, Dick Kearney, had requested Tom Hart, our designer, to design a single bladed lock trapper. Dick had request the handles be made of old red color bone with Roger's jig. Tom liked the flat blades with the long nail mark and a cut swedge and they both decided where to put the lock mechanism.
    The first sample was great. Dick says "This was by far the nicest looking knife I had seen." He had more samples made, passing them around to get feedback. Since the back of the tang stuck up above the bolster about 3/8", it was suggested that it needed a larger bolster to prevent the knife from catching in the pocket. Hence, the Copperhead bolster was put on the pocket end of the next set of samples and was the design we went with.
    The pattern numbers, 549, was given to the CopperLock, by yours truly as it was a combination of the 54 pattern and the 49 pattern.
    The name CopperLock was determined when they went to the Copperhead bolster. Up to that point the knife had been referred to as the "Lockback Trapper".
    I hope this answers your question.
    Shirley @ Case
    W.R. Case Historian
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
  5. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Here is one of my Case Copperlocks

    Dark Amber Bone handles with a laser engraved barb wire pattern in the bone.


    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012
  6. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    All nice examples. It's probably my favorite pattern of pocket knife that I'm yet to own.
    Don't know why, but I've just never pulled the trigger.
  7. zippofan


    Nov 12, 2011
    A Mini-Copperlock was the first Case I bought with a BSA shield:

  8. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    Thanks all for this helpful information. I had thought it was simply a lockback version of the Copperhead.
    My Case knives book by Steve Pfeiffer (Sp. ?) is not with me right now but i did look and could not find this pattern. Do i need to look again because he does include it ?
    And what is a "Field Test Run" ? Mine is 1998, so second year of production. Surely any field testing would have been done prior to it's 1997 release ?
    This knife is still in the mail. Won't be able to go and get it for at least another week, but i am looking forward to getting it in hand. It does look like it could be a great knife to carry and use. Hope there is no blade play.
  9. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    I think Steve's book only covers knives made through 1989. The Copperlock is not covered in it.

    Look closely at your tag/label. It says #975 Sheath and it's limited to 500 pieces. Perhaps it was a test run to see how the knife would sell with a sheath. Who knows. It could be a SFO for a dealer. Who knows. Special shield. Who knows.

    If "who knows" is out there, speak up.
  10. Phil in Alabama

    Phil in Alabama

    Oct 31, 2005
    Has the copperlock or mini copperlock ever been built in stainless besides the TruSharp? An ATS 34 copperlock would be NICE.
  11. TLARbb


    Jan 24, 2010
    Copperlocks are nice. I have several having just picked up one from jdracing. He had a couple more, but knife money is in short supply right now, so I only bought the one.

    The latest:


    another I picked up from Jason Baker:


    This one from Wilgoy:


    These are my older ones:


    Ed J
  12. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    Ed, you have some nice knives. I didn't realize how many different handle treatments this pattern has. By "different" i mean from the more standard Case handle material. The Copperlock does look like it's one of the higher end folders in the Case line-up.
    I'm even more excited now about my under $60 ebay score for this never used or carried Dark Orange Smooth Bone Copperlock and sheath.
  13. Will Power

    Will Power

    Jan 18, 2007
    Ed, nice to see the Antique Bone is still well-liked :D

    Oddly enough, I've got that Pocket Worn Mini Copperlock myself, great bone on it, an early 98 model I believe?

    roland, that model you show has some fine bone on it, a grand catch.

    I feel a Copperlock giveaway coming on...think anybody would be game....:cool:

    Thanks, Will
  14. At least as regards the shield on the OP's knife, it looks like Case's standard 'oval' shield seen on '90s vintage knives. I have about 8 of the '90s Copperlocks, and a few other Case knives of that era, all with the same 'CASE-XX' shield.

    I'm also thinking the 'Field Test' might be more of a marketing experiment, maybe related to the inclusion of the sheath, or maybe the smooth bone scales, which do seem somewhat unique. Otherwise, the knife looks pretty standard to me (shield, tang stamp, etc.).
  15. rprocter

    rprocter Banned BANNED

    Jan 19, 2007
    Thanks David. I think your explanation of "Field Test Run" is likely right; i.e. selling the sheath and knife as a package deal.
    So really there was no field, no test and nobody was running. But for $57 i think i'm getting an attractive knife which is a neat pattern and it has a sheath. all unused. I only wanted 1 example of the Case Copperlock and i think this SFO looks to be a nice one to have.
    I do appreciate all the help received. Thank You.
  16. That is a good-looking one, for sure. :thumbup: I like the color of the bone scales on it (looks like honey, or maybe pumpkin), and the smooth bone should feel nice in the hand. I'm sitting here looking at one of mine, a pocket-worn in red from 1997. Very tight fit, no play, thin profile for pocket carry. I've kept mine stashed away for a long time (need to dig the rest of them out), and I'm always impressed with the look & feel of these knives, when I handle them. Guess I need to carry one of these a little more often. I can already foresee some real usefulness of this pattern around the kitchen... :)
  17. pertinux

    pertinux Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Interestingly, my Mini Copperlock the first Case knife I bought for myself, period, and (save for the $1.00 hardware store jackknife I bought when young) my first non-SAK traditional pocket knife.



    I love the simple elegance of its lines, as well as the tactile (and aural) feedback of the smooth pull and satisfying "click" upon opening it.

    I didn't realize the Copperlock was a relatively recent pattern, and appreciate learning the history of its development and naming.

    Thanks, all.

    ~ P.
  18. Modoc ED

    Modoc ED Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Dang it David!!!! You need to get out of the kitchen and hit the outdoors sometime. You know, take a rugged hike around the backyard, find a large bush, cut a large branch from it, and make a marshmallow stick out of it like I did.
  19. :D
    I'll get there. Most of my pocketknives get 'initiated' with food, for the most part. I tend to sharpen 'em up to slice things like tomatos, pickles & other fruits & veggies. That's usually 'Test #1', and if I like how it handles those tasks, I'll start testing it out on other things like cardboard, wood, plastic, etc. Eventually they all get around to playing outside (at least). With this particular knife (Copperlock), the first thing I think of, when I look at the blade, is "That really looks like it'd be a great steak knife." :)
  20. whetrock


    Nov 13, 2010
    While I'm not just a huge fan of traditional lock backs I do however like the Copperlock pattern as well as the Buck 055. IMO these two patterns are grand for the minimalist who wants a locking knife. The Copperlock can be had in the less expensive Workman series in Blue Delrin with the rougher finished blades which would IMO make an excellent user.

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