Timberline Knives, founded in the early 1980’s by the late Jim Hardenbrook and Vaughn Neeley, has a history of successful collaborations, whether the early ones with Bob Lum and Ernest Emerson (the Emerson-Neeley SPECWAR won Blade Show’s Best American Knife in 1995), or their later work with Chuck Ochs, Greg Lightfoot, and Butch Vallotton.
The Timberline Kickstart model 1243 folding knife above is a prototype designed by Mr. Vallotton. It carries an AUS-8 stainless steel blade, unlike Timberline’s similar ceramic bladed Kickstart model 8018. This is a very nice gentleman’s folder with a 3.25″ blade, left side carbon fiber handle scale, and framelock. Vallotton’s Kickstart assisted opening mechanism actuates the blade.
Though Timberlines’s Zirconium ceramic blades are wicked sharp and super light, some users prefer the overall durability of steel. Ceramic composites are a little on the brittle side and can chip or break when dropped. This is not a problem if the intended use for the knife is light duty, but for enthusiastic chores steel may be a better choice.
This prototype I was able to play with at the Timberline booth at Blade Show 2013 weighed a scoach more than the ceramic Timberline models. My hand registered it around 3 ounces. The AUS-8 blade gave the knife a bit of a heft-forward feel that was not unwelcome. The added blade weight also gave the Kickstart some extra “oomph” to get the sharp end locked into place.
Likely finishes will be Titanium Nitride in Black on the blade and in Black or Gray on the 420-J2 frame lock and stainless steel pocket clip. I hope the production knife will look just like the proto, because it is a stunner. The crew at the Timberline booth said the Kickstart model 1243 would be shipping mid-summer with an MSRP of around $90.00.