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!”
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.
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.
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.
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
Closed Length: 4 1/16”
Maker’s List Price: $750
For info on how to subscribe to BLADE®, click on http://www.shopblade.com/blade-magazine-one-year-subscription-us/?lid=blss090712
Knife Guide Issue features the newest knives and sharpeners, plus knife and axe reviews, knife sheaths, kit knives and a Knife Industry Directory.
Get your FREE digital PDF instant download of the annual Knife Guide. No, really! We will email it to you right now when you subscribe to the BLADE email newsletter.