Case Caliber Lockback Knife Review

Case Caliber Lockback Knife

W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company is an American manufacturer of premium, hand-crafted knives that are passed down for generations. Based in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Case’s offerings cover a wide range of product categories, form traditional folding pocket knives and fie blade sporting knives to limited production commemoratives and collectables.

The company’s rich history began in 1889 when four brothers—William Russel (W.R), Jean, John, and Andrew Case—began fashioning knives and selling them along a wagon trail in upstate New York. W.R.’s son, John Russel Case, a former salesman for the Case Brothers brand, launched W.R. Case & Sons around the turn of the 20th century. Russel’s father acted as his son’s consultant, helping to stabilize the company’s early finances while building a reputations as a dependable supplier of high-quality cutlery.
Today Case is owned by Zippo Manufacturing Company, makers of the world famous Zippo windproof lighter, another family-owned business that is based in Bradford. The company’s original knife concepts and manufacturing methods have been recognized with awards and features form major print publications, international trade organizations and events, broadcast television shows, and major motion pictures.

A unique tang stamp dating system use since the very early days of its history has made the Case brand one of the world’s favorite collectable brands. The Case Collectors Club, with 19,000 active members, is the largest known knife collecting association in the world.

Case’s pioneering spirit is shown in several of its original knife patterns, like the CopperLock, Baby Butterbean, Cheetah, Cheetah Cub, Sod Buster, Tiny Trapper, and hobo. Case’s commitment to quality is evident in the many pairs of hands that it take to create just one knife. Case knives start with carefully shaped handles made from a wide range of genuine materials like cattle bone, stag antler, buffalo horn, mother of pearl, exotic woods, and stones. Brass, nickel, and silver components highlight each form, bringing together knives that are not just beautiful, but able to stand the tests of time and use.

The brand’s popularity is underscored by the knives it manufactures under licensing agreements with popular American icons like Harley-Davidson, Ford Motor Company, United States Marine Corps, United States Army, United States Navy, John Deere, Boy Scouts of America, Ducks Unlimited, John Wayne, and National Wild Turkey Federation.

Today we will be going over the Case Caliber Lockback Knife with a black Zytel handle.

 

The Blade:

The blade of this knife is made out of Case Tru-Sharp Stainless Steel, which is a special high-carbon steel that helps the blades hold an edge longer than conventional steel. It also offers extraordinary blade strength and corrosion resistance. Carbon is the hardest element and knife blades made form high carbon steel benefits form the strength and hardness of the carbon. Because of the strength and hardness, the blade is going to have great edge retention and you can get a very fine edge on the blade. The added level of sharpness allows you better precision in cutting and requires a lot less effort, which also makes the knife safer. High carbon steels are also more affordable than some of the powder or super steels. But, because it sis a stainless steel, the blade is also going to resist rust and corrosion a lot better than other steels.

The blade has bene finished with a satin finish. The stain finish is created by repeatedly sanding the blade in one direction with an increasing level of an abrasive, which is most commonly sandpaper. This finish is the most popular blade finish that you are going to come across in today’s cutlery market. It also offers you one of the most traditional looks that you are going to come across. The Caliber has been designed as a classic pocket knife, so the satin finish was the perfect option to complete that look. In terms of luster, the satin finish falls right in the middle of the spectrum. This style of finish also increases corrosion resistance slightly.

The blade on this Case knife has been carved into a clip point blade shape. This is one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today—you are going to see it everywhere if you start looking for it. The back of the edge, or the unsharpened edge, runs straight from the handle, but then about halfway down the spine, the edge starts to dip. After the dip, it carries on to the tip of the blade. This dipped is curved and is referred to as the clip, because it looks as if the portion of the blade has been clipped out. This is also where the blade shape style gets its name. The clip also creates a lowered point, which means that the tip is going to be very controllable. Because of this control, the clip point blade shape is a popular option on hunting knives. The controllable point will also allow you to perform fine detail work, such as carving. The blade is extremely versatile because of the large belly that it sports. The most common tasks that you are going to be performing involve slices and push cuts, both of which a belly will help you excel at. The point is fine, sharp, and thin, which makes it perfect for piercing. However, because of how fine and thin it is, the tip isn’t as strong as other shapes, making it prone to snapping. This is the opposite of the drop point blade shape that is strong in the tip, but not thin enough to pierce at all.

The clip point blade does sport a plain edge blade, which enables it to take on a wider variety of tasks—perfect for your EDC knife.

 

Case Caliber Lockback Knife
Case Caliber Lockback Knife

The Handle:

The handle on this Case knife is made out of black Zytel. Zytel is a trademark owned by DuPont and used for a number of different high strength, abrasion, and impact resistant thermoplastic polyamide formulations, or nylon, in laymen’s terms. This is a type of Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, or FRN. Zytel is crazy strong; resistant to bending and abrasion; cheap; and practically indestructible. This material is so strong and hard to break because the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout which results in it being strong in all directions. Zytel is a similar material to G-10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta—but those all suffer from being brittle because their nylon fibers are arranged in a single direction. This is an inexpensive material because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways in the production process. All of these characteristics lend well to high volume manufacturing and thus a low cost. On the flip side, many people did not warm up to Zytel because it felt cheap and somewhat hollow. And, even though it is very similar to G-10, G-10 does have the better grip between the two materials.

The handle is simple in a classic way. Like previously mentioned, it is all black. The portion of the handle that is closer to the blade has a crosshatch texture on it. This texture is going to give you a more secure grip than if there was no texture. It also adds a little bit of character to the knife. The ergonomics of the knife mold well to your hand, because there is a slight curve along the spine of the handle as well as the bottom of the handle. Near the butt of the handle, it does flare out slightly, which helps with your grip on this knife.


The Mechanism:

This is a manual folding knife that uses a nail nick to assist you in opening the Caliber. The locking mechanism on this knife is a lockback.

The nail nick is one of the oldest forms of knife opening system that was widely sued in production knives. This is also one of the simpler ways to open a knife—you just get traction of your thumb with the nail nick and push the knife open. It is possible to open man nail nick folders one-handed if there is enough blade to grip onto when it is closed. To do this, you hold the blade and flick the handle open form it, with the help of gravity. While the nail nick might be an older mechanism, it has lasted through the decades because of how quality it is. It is easy to use, easy to understand, it won’t get in the way, and the nail nick cannot break.

A lockback mechanism is what you see on many classic American folding knives. It is essentially made of a spine on a spring. When the knife is opened, the spine locks into a notch on the back of the blade. To close the knife, push down on the exposed part of the spine to pop up the part of the spine in contact with the blade. This disengages the lock, allowing you to swing the blade to a closed position. The benefits of a lockback include reliable strength and safety. The unlock “button” is out of the way of your grip when using the knife, meaning you’re unlikely to accidentally disengage the lock and have it close on you. It also keeps your hands clear of the blades path when closing, minimizing the risk of cutting yourself. One of the disadvantages is that while using both hands to close a lockback is safer, it can be inconvenient when you need to keep one hand on whatever you’re cutting. Although it’s possible to close a lockback with one hand, it isn’t easy. You are most likely going to need to switch grip and take extra care when closing the blade.


The Specs:

The overall length of this knife when it is opened measures in at 6.5 inches. The handle on this Case knife measures in at 3.75 inches, with a blade length of 2.75 inches long. This knife was made in the United States of America.

 

The Pros of the Case Caliber Lockback:

  • The Tru-Sharp steel holds an edge longer than other steels are made to.
  • The steel is hard and strong because of the high carbon content.
  • Because it is stainless steel, maintenance will be cut down because it will resist corrosion well.
  • The satin finish is going to give you a very classic look.
  • The satin finish is in the middle of the luster spectrum.
  • The stain finish does help with corrosion resistance slightly.
  • The clip point blade shape features a large belly.
  • The blade is going to excel at piercing.
  • The point is very sharp and controllable.
  • Zytel is inexpensive
  • Zytel is practically indestructible—you can take it in a variety of different extreme environments as well as it being capable of taking a beating.
  • The slight curve of the handle will fit comfortably in your hand.
  • Nail nick is super simple to use.
  • The lockback mechanism is very strong.
  • The lockback mechanism is very reliable and very safe.

 

The Cons of the Case Caliber Lockback:

  • The clip point doesn’t have as strong of a point as other blade shapes.
  • The Zytel handle does feel cheap and slightly like plastic.
  • The handle doesn’t have very much personality to it.

 

Conclusion:

This Case pocket knife features a Tru-Sharp stainless steel drop point blade and lightweight black Zytel handles. The Tru-Sharp stainless steel is a high-carbon steel, but still a stainless steel, so you get the carbon benefits as well as the stainless steel benefits. The Zytel handle is lightweight and extremely durable—it is going to be able to take a serious beating. With the strong blade and handle, you won’t have to worry too much about what it can’t take on, knowing that it is going to be capable of taking on a whole lot. Great for a lightweight, EDC knife that is light in your pocket and light on your pocketbook. Locks up tightly and securely. Pick up your new favorite EDC knife, the Case Caliber Lockback Knife, today at BladeOps.

 

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