Thursday, February 13, 2020

Roper Trapper

One classic pocket knife pattern is the trapper.  This pattern seemed to have originated in northeastern U.S. in the early 20th Century.  Almost all manufacturers of slip joint knives have or are making a trapper-style knife.  Most have two blades, but a few rare ones have three.
Cowboy Trapper
Roper Trapper

Trappers traditionally have two blades hinged on the same side.  The blades, of almost equal length, are clip and spey pattern blades.  The blades were designed for specific needs. 

“…I want to comment on the trapper name. Whether the pattern was created for the purpose the name implies is unclear. Whatever the case, I can testify that the size and patterns of the blades make trappers well suited for dressing and skinning small animals.”  Gary Zinn

While most of us don’t need those functions on a daily basis, the trapper has a long following of fans and collectors.

Roper Knives is one of several brands owned by the American Buffalo Knife and Tool Company out of Sweetwater, TN.  My eye first caught the Laredo Stag Trapper in an A.G. Russell catalog.  The wood and stag handle just spoke to me as did the shield inserted in the stag. 

The clip and spey blades are 3.25 inches long and made from 1065 carbon steel.  While hardness isn’t mentioned, I suspect they have an RHc of around 56 to 58.  Don’t let that discourage you.  This is sufficient for almost all your cutting chores.  Just remember what noted knife guy Ernie Emerson says, if I can paraphrase him: softer blades are flexible compared to hard blades and a bent blade is still a knife but a broken blade is just junk.

I’ve read of people ‘patina-ing’ their blades with ketchup or stabbing the blade deep into an acid fruit to produce a lovely patina of gray, but I prefer the bright shiny blade myself. A little food safe oil and these blades will stay nice and shiny for years.

Knife from Roper for the cowboy in all of us.

While I find the two-blade pattern interesting, especially the spey blade, I only wish they were locking.  Yes, I know that would complicate the knife and increase the cost, but I have a fundamental distrust of slip-joint folders.

You can find your Roper Laredo Stag Trapper at  After all, there is a little cowboy in all of us!  Whoopee-Ti-Yi-Yo!


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