Case Rough Black Trapper-Lock

By Steve Hanner 

History, What is in a name?

 Let’s start with this from the Case website:

“The story behind Case’s Rough Black pocket knives begins in the 1940’s with the advent of World War II, when many raw materials used to produce consumer goods were diverted to support the war effort. Materials traditionally used to make pocket knife handles were no exception. A race to market knives with new, never-before-seen materials ensued between competing knife manufacturers. In that search, Case product developers came upon a hard black synthetic material which demonstrated high durability, strength and overall appeal. A special jigging pattern was applied to the material surface to create the unique “Rough Black” knife handle slabs. The knives that resulted became known as “Gum Fuddy” knives at Case, a nickname quickly adopted by the consumer market as sales of Rough Black knives grew. Case phased out production of “Gum Fuddy” knives after the war, as traditional handle materials made their way back to market. The knives have since become highly sought after collection pieces.”

We know this knife now by the name Case Rough Black Trapper- Lock. In fact the Trapper- Lock comes in a variety of handle materials with a clip and without a clip. Rough Black was my choice for my farm work review. I figured with a name like Rough Black, toughness would be an inherent quality. For my fellow Case collectors out there, this is the 54L pattern and the complete identifier is 6154 LC SS

The Case Trapper-Lock comes with a thumb stud attached to the blade with a Torx screw.  If you look closely at the thumb stud there is small pattern on the very tip to enhance the knife as well as assist your thumb getting a secure grip. The thumb stud on this knife is firmly attached and does not move. It opens the blade quite easily and makes the knife a one hand opening knife. When using a knife, I do find a one hand opening knife is so much easier to use, is much quicker and helps shave a few seconds off my chore time, many times per day.

My Case Trapper-Lock comes with a locking blade, called a liner lock. When it’s time to close the knife, use your thumb to move the lock bar over and with your index finger close the knife. It all happens with one fluid motion making it a true one hand closing knife. You also may notice on closing that a half stop will keep the blade pointing upwards.  Very handy if you choose to get a picture of your knife open, just want to get your fingers out of the way as you close the blade or you may choose to ignore it all together and complete your close.

The bolsters on this knife are polished nickel. The front bolster is squared and pinched. The back bolster is rounded and fits exactly in the palm of your hand. Both bolsters are flush with the contours of the knife, matching perfectly with no seams or spaces.

The liners on the knife are brass and give the knife a quality feel. They too are flush with the handles of the knife. If you look at the underside of the knife it’s all sanded flush with no spaces or ridges.

This knife comes with a pocket clip attached to the bolster at the top of the knife, on the backside and is designed for tip down carry. It’s mounted quite high allowing for the knife to disappear in your pocket.  The very tip of the knife is above the pocket , giving you an easy way to retrieve. The pocket clip is also flared at the end so it can fit over the stitching on your pocket and easily slides down. There is just enough space allowed beneath the clip so it does not bunch up as it slides down. It’s also a long pocket clip and covers almost three quarters of the way down the knife.

The Work it did

The work we do on the farm varies slightly everyday, especially in the summertime when everything is blooming, the garden is growing and all matter of weeds are growing strong. One of the first jobs I did with the knife was to trim suckers off the bottom of our fruit trees. 

Here in the Midwest vines  love to travel up fences, trees, and utility poles. The vines have a fiberous stem and need to be cut to ensure they die back and don’t interfere with anything, including the electricity to run the farm. Our Case Trapper-Lock made each of these cuts with no problem.

Feed bags can be a challenge as the opening method provided often does not work and requires a cut to open the bag. Sometimes the bags are paper and sometimes a heavy woven plastic. But as hungry animals wait, you need to get them open and fast!

Of course the long blade of the trapper was used to dig my tomatoe seedinlings out of their small growth containers and to place them into the tilled soil. Our winter turnips had come in so I again used the knife to clip leaves for salad and later go back to get the turnip! This is also the time for lots of wild flowers and what better thing to do than cut a new boquet. 

How Our Knife Performed

The blades on our Case knife are Case Tru-Sharp™ Stainless Steel (SS) – where special high-carbon steel  helps the blades hold an edge longer than conventional steel. It also offers extraordinary blade strength and corrosion resistanc The single, sabre  ground  blade has no wiggle or play. It feels solid when cutting and remains firm throughout your cutting stroke. When closed the blade sits right in the middle, time after time.

The open and close of our Case Trapper-Lock is extremely smooth, thanks to a special bushing used by Case. The action  remained stable through over one hundred openings and closings. To carry this knife, the pocket clip works well or alternately the knife would easily fit in a belt pouch. Either way this Case Rough Black Trapper- Lock performed well and is indeed as tough as its name. 

Where to Buy

Your Favorite Case Dealer