Kershaw’s Whiskey Gap Lockback Folder has a nice look about it, with some of the old functionality of the Barlow popular in America’s early days but cleaned up a bit with subtle modern refinements. The single clip point 2-1/4-inch blade of AUS6A high carbon stainless steel lifts by the thumb notch and locks into place once fully open. Old Barlow knives were slip joint pocket knives, usually with two blades that stayed open by spring tension. The lockback feature is a welcome addition to a very practical pocket knife style.
Traditional barlows were made of rugged but plain materials. The generous bolster adds to the strength of this old design, which often sported roughly shaped bone or stag handles. Kershaw’s Whiskey Gap knife features a satin finished barlow style bolster and brass handle liners with handle slabs of rosewood. One of the most durable natural hardwoods for knife handles, rosewood is so thoroughly saturated with waxy resin that the wood doesn’t distort when exposed to moisture. The extremely hard rosewood polishes with heavy use instead of wearing away. A light rubbing of oil now and then will be all it needs to keep its luster.
Shallow finger notches in the grip of the handle help control the knife, but this small folder is intended for light work anyway — the sculpting helps the look more than the practicality. At about two ounces and just over three inches folded, the Whiskey Gap is a solidly built pocket folder in one of the most popular patterns of the American frontier.
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