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Seneschal
03-29-2014, 01:25 PM
I recently picked up a Doug Ritter Griptilian from a fellow forumite, the man with the horny bovine handle……

The Griptilian is an icon amongst modern folders, and the Doug Ritter version with the deep bellied S30V stonewash blade is especially nice. But just like the FRN scales on the budget line of Spyderco knives, the Griptilian’s ‘Noryl GTX’ scales have always felt cheap and hollow to me. So when I stumbled upon an alternative –the option of custom scales – I was all over it like a bad rash.

The consensus out there seems to be that if you are looking for a first class pimp job, Kevin Wilkins scales are the way to go. Although there are of course also other options, I chose Wilkins because he offers his scales in both Titanium and Aluminium, apart from G-10. I decided on Aluminium because the Titanium scales were out of stock when I placed my order, and the choice of Aluminium scales also implied a small cost saving. In my case, I ordered the scales in hunter’s green, with a black ribbed back spacer.

But be warned, even the Aluminium option is not cheap for us – there is the fact that we need to convert our pokey currency into Euro, plus shipping, and then our customs bureaucracy, bless their little cotton socks, saw fit to rush me another R750 import duty.

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Fitting the scales is fairly easy. I approached the project with the meticulousness of a brain-surgeon, so the process took longer than it probably should have (I cleaned all the screws, cleaned and finely oiled all the working parts, polished off any internal rough edges, etc. on the guts of the original Griptilian ).

The Wilkins scales, on the other hand were 100% perfect in every way, and merged with the Griptilian’s innards like warm butter. In fact, I would go so far as to say the Wilkin’s grips improved on the original Benchmade production, because the blade is now perfectly centred (it wasn’t in the original scales).

There was only one minor flaw in the set-up – the smaller ‘pectoral’ screws that sit on either side of the handle just behind the lock and pivot area were fractionally too long and protruded into the inside of the handle once I had fitted the Wilkins scales. Clearly at that point the Wilkins scales are slightly narrower than the original scales. I dealt this by finely filing the threads of the screws shorter and then polishing my file-work with a very fine/hard whetstone to ensure a perfect fit with the new scale dimensions.

After careful assembly, and a dab of blue Loctite on all screws to ensure consolidation and stasis in the assembly, my new folder is ready for unveiling to the world……………..

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Buffalohump
03-29-2014, 02:29 PM
Very nice boet, that's a great colour choice....

IMO you now have one of the coolest combos out there.... bar none!

JasonG
03-29-2014, 06:25 PM
That is awesome! Congrats. Must feel like quality in the hand.

Seneschal
03-29-2014, 07:20 PM
Thanks guys. The Wilkins option really does take a mid-range production folder and turn it into something much more classy. I have owned a 'Zaan and handled my fair share of comparable folders, and I would say my Alu-Griptilian ranks with the best of them. The old Noryl handles sat well enough in the hand, but these scales add both "beef" (thickness) and heft. The knife feels like it will stand up to a lot more than it did when it was dressed in plastic scales.

Based on my experience with this one, I would definitely be tempted to also consider the Wilkins Ti scale option. But fiscal prudence militates against such an extravagance at this point in time.

Kletsou
03-30-2014, 12:56 PM
Looks very nice! Congrats and well done

Seneschal
03-30-2014, 01:11 PM
Thanks guys! Appreciate the support.

If anyone is looking for a spare set of black Noryl scales for a large Benchmade Griptilian, let me know and I will pop them in the post for you. They are still in perfect nick, and it would be a pity to toss them. I sure don't need 'em anymore. :smug: