Knife Test: Tom Ploppert Slip Joint

I was waiting for Tom Ploppert’s custom slip joint like a kid on Christmas morning. To my surprise, there were two knives in the package when it arrived. Tom had sent me a new knife for evaluation and another that had been used hard for a few years. Both still walk and talk like they are supposed to, but the older knife has a smoother action. Yes, the handle is beat up a little and the blade has been resharpened a few times, but I could tell it is a high-quality knife. This is a good sign of excellent workmanship—I have had slip joints get sloppy after a few uses. Tom used premium stag pinned on to make the knife scream, “Use me!”

EDGE TESTS

I started off with a sheet of copy paper. I held the slip joint between my thumb and index finger and let the weight of the folder do the cutting. I just kept turning the paper around to a fresh side and sliced along its entire length until I had cut all four sides. The knife has a very good feel to it and fits my hand very well.

    Next up: cardboard boxes. After 30 minutes of cutting I had slivers of cardboard all over the garage floor.

    I had to change out my Kydex® foam for some new stuff as I had run a large batch of sheaths and the old foam was getting too compressed. After gluing on the newly cut foam, I sliced up the older pieces by simply resting the blade edge on the foam and making a pulling cut. The slip joint sliced as fast as I could maneuver my fingers out of the way.

WOOD/ROPE/LEATHER CUTS

I had some pine 1x1s cut—they make perfect whittling sticks. Tom’s “slippy” is excellent at control and the big stag handle is very comfortable. It did not take long to produce a pile of curly-cues.

    Half-inch sisal rope was next on the agenda. The knife still felt sharp but I gave it a few strops on my leather pad for good luck. It crunched through the rope like a champ until I hit 60 cuts. My index finger rode up on the blade and I found the spine to be very sharp, and the inside of the liners also were sharp. A few strokes with a fine emery board dulled the sharpness and I settled back into cutting. I noticed the edge starting to slide at 120 cuts. Not bad at all and no more hot spots. I grabbed some leather and skived around the edges. The slip joint worked great and would still shave hair.

TIP TEST

I used the tip of the blade to cut and pry the dried skin from an old deer rack that needed cleaning. I was careful of the fine tip as I did not want to pop it off if it got stuck in the rack.

    I gave the tip another workout, stabbing it into a 2×4 and twisting the tip out. The tip handled a dozen stabs and twists without breaking or any loosening of the folder’s action. As long as I had the 2×4 handy, I gave it a few chops. The blade bit deeper than I thought it would and the knife was comfortable while doing it.

IF IT WERE MY KNIFE …

… I would soften every place that is sharp except the edge of the blade. I use knives hard and sharp edges where they should not be might result in a hot spot. Just a few minutes with fine sandpaper and it’s all good.

FINAL GRADE

Tom’s slip joint performed excellently. His fit and finish are very clean. This is one very well made, good-looking work knife. Great job!—By MSG Kim Breed, BLADE® field editor

For more information contact Tom Ploppert, Dept. BLADEMAG, 1407 2nd Ave. S.W., Cullman, AL 35055 256-962-4251 tomploppert3bellsouth.net.

PLOPPERT SLIPPY SPECS

Knife: One-blade slip joint

Maker: Tom Ploppert

Blade Steel: CPM-154 stainless

Blade Length: 3”

Handle: Sambar stag

Pins: Stainless steel

Liners: 416 stainless

Backspring: CPM-154

Closed Length: 4 1/16”

Maker’s List Price: $750

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