The Jones Brothers Responder

 

Customs and Observations

I have owned a few custom folding knives over the past few years and many more custom fixed blades.

 

I opened the package that Barry shipped out to me and was quite surprised at the overall appearance of this knife. Over the years, I have learned that there are many degrees of “sharpness.” Well, I have also learned that there are many degrees of “smoothness” when it comes to the actually opening of a folding knife.

 

To be honest, I don’t like thumbstuds very much as an opening system for a one-handed knife. But this knife is quite different, as it is so smooth to open, it defies belief. I have never owned a folder, Custom or Production, that was this smooth and easy to open. I have owned those that were very good and better than the norm, but this one is the smoothest yet.

 

Yet, it has never opened in my pocket either. That is the balance every Maker of liner lock knives is trying to strike.

 

The reason I have always liked opening systems/devices like holes and discs is because most folders only open very “easily” if they have the additional leverage of those devices. This knife has thumbstuds and it does not make any difference! The knife is just smooth and sure on the opening. You give it a good bump with your thumb and it leaps open.

 

Understand that this is my opinion only, I know some people prefer thumbstuds to the other devices and that is fine too. (I have covered this in other articles as well…) I also know that some people prefer Cold Steel lockback folders with thumbstuds for opening devices and I find them to be horrid. They feel horrible to me and I have never warmed to them. If you can open one of those quickly with a flick of your thumb, a Jones Bros. Folder will be like greased lightning for you.

 

The Specs

Let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of this folder.

 

Responder - linerlock folder.

 

Modified wharnecliff blade with recurve.

 

Blade length - 3-5/8"

 

Open length - 8-5/16"

 

Steel - 1/8" D2

 

Dual .080" Titanium liners

 

Black textured G-10 scales

 

Dual thumb openers

 

Checkered thumb ramp

 

Stainless spacers

 

Stainless pocket clip – Tip down carry.

 

Available with serrations or without.

Truly Handmade

Does this make a difference anymore in a sea of folding knives that are marketed as “Customs” but the liners are cut out with lasers and such? If this makes a difference to you, this is the knife for you. Barry and his Brother, Phillip, are making true, Handmade knives. There are a lot of fine folding knives out there, some are Production, some are Semi-Custom…the number of truly Custom knives, Handmade, are apparently dwindling… But the terminology in the industry is lax because some people are making high-end Production knives but they are calling them “Customs.”

 

On this knife, the only thing that was not made by The Jones Brothers was the screws, thumbstuds, pocket clip and the material for the handle scales – although the handle scales are shaped and fitted by hand as well.

 

Like I said, if owning something truly Handmade means something to you, you will love The Jones Brothers, they do it right. They will take care of you if you have a special idea for a knife that can be made, they will do it. You won’t know if you do not ask – so, get in touch with them and ask!

The Knife

The Responder has rock solid lock up. Some will start moaning about liner locks not being this and not being that, this knife locks up very well. None of my fingers are missing, dire predictions of liner lock failure with heavy but intelligent use have once again been proven to be a dry hole.

 

And that lock issue sure is important because…

 

This knife is as sharp as a straight razor, just the way a knife should be, in my opinion. Dull knife = short club.

 

I have cut everything with this knife and it slices like a laser. I have prepared food with it, cut pesky vines and very large weeds out of the way when in the woods. It cuts effortlessly. Any pocketknife that you can use to snapcut the thick, “milky” types of vines is an extremely sharp one. (The tough, green and fibrous and ones.)

 

All you have to do is pick what area of whatever target you have and you can snapcut things in half with this knife (within reason). This also has a lot to do with the grip of the knife. It does not slip from your hand as many folding knives want to do…

 

I think part of that snapcut ability is because the blade is angled downwards slightly which adds considerable power to the front area of the blade – placing more edge into the cut before the rest of the blade “gets there.” So, you get a little bit of hawkbill action there but you still have a point you can thrust with. And it goes to point more naturally than the blade profile would suggest at a glance.

 

What I wanted was a folding knife that was handmade and hand finished. It’s just another tool, but it is a very good tool. I wanted to be able to defend myself with it if need be and yet have something I could clean fish or small game with. You get the idea.

 

 

Defensive

This Responder is comfortable in every grip, so it really does not matter if you prefer a hammer or saber grip with the edge oriented down or up. It also does not matter if you prefer reverse grip edge facing out or inwards. It is comfortable in all of these grips. The feel between all of them – the effect of the grip is generic – but it feels good in the hand no matter how you happen to be holding it.

 

I tend to like two types of knives, one type like the Responder that never tells me how I should be holding it and then others that tell me specifically that I can only hold it one way – like a push dagger.

 

This knife is fast in the hand and it is incredibly quiet when opening it, which might be something you need in some defensive situations.

 

At some point in time, you have to simply examine a knife: it has a needlepoint and a razor sharp edge, so how can I use that in the best possible way to defend myself? This knife has those attributes, a strong, hand-fitted liner lock and a sure grip. What more could you ask for?

 

Sometimes, we all have the weakness that we delve into things a little too much. I even find myself going back to the very beginning and saying: it has a point and a sharp edge, now what is the most efficient way to use that instead of getting too fancy with a lot of superfluous movements…

Closing

Overall, I treated this knife with a rather heavy hand and it has not failed. I did not baby this knife a bit. I sprung the clip twice and was able to remove it and re-bend / re-shape the clip and replace it with no problem whatsoever.

 

The only thing I have managed to do to it besides that is stain the blade a bit, which I managed to wash/scrub off. That milky sap in some of those weeds can be a bear to remove but the green stain left by the stalks is the worst...

 

This knife has been a constant companion for months now. I have carried it and it really has no wear marks except some of the black on the pocket clip. It is light, you forget you are carrying it, it rides well in a pants pocket or even an upper pocket of a vest, etc.

 

It holds an edge very well and is relatively easy to touch up with a ceramic sharpener too. Cutting meat and vegetable matter, a lot of it, basically did nothing to dull the blade – even going through light chicken bones while quartering a chicken. Just put one hand over the other and POP! Through the bone it went, no sweat, no dings on the edge – nothing.

 

Definitely one of the “best buys” in the Custom Knife Arena…

 

I apologize profusely for the pictures, I really tried to capture the simple, sturdy appearance of this knife and I don’t think the pictures do it justice. I am not a Photographer and try as I might; I could not get the lighting right to showcase this knife. Barry and Phillip Jones are much better Knifemakers than I am a photographer!

 


 

Don Rearic

 

copyright 2004 DonRearic.Com

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