Rough Rider’s RR514 Tortoise Shell Work Knife
To my knowledge, the only company that has produced a sodbuster (like) liner-lock in tortoise shell is Rough Rider. Call it what you like, The knife is a spittin' image of the old discontinued liner-lock sodbuster* first made by W. R. Case & Sons. Case has said repeatedly that they have no plans to re-release the pattern.
Rough Rider has been making this pattern for some time and quite frankly, if you don't own one, you should. Anyone who collects Sodbusters or sodbuster like knives should jump on this pattern. The knife is razor sharp right out the box with a very positive, super strong liner lock, and just a beauty to cut with.
Fit & Finish
The finish is quite nice. The tortoise shell is pinned and glued to the brass liners. There is no residue and the brass pins, including the bird's eye rivet at the top of the knife are all flush with the scale. The scale itself is nicely polished and shows no signs of scratching or wear. I have carried and used the knife and it seems that the acrylic is hard enough to resist pocket wear. You will need to get used to the protrusion of the liner-lock when holding the knife.
Stay & Play
As mentioned the brass liner is lock is very strong. I'm sure over time it will cause the normal line to form on the 440 stainless steel blade. This is natural with liner locks. The lock itself is thick and comes over quite a bit. It does take some effort to push back when closing. There is no wobble in the blade when opened. I feel very confident that the liner lock will not fail.
Walk & Talk
The blade opens and closes smoothly. It is held in place with both the back spring and the liner lock. You will hear it snap in place when you open it. Don't assume that you have to fold it all the way into the handle when closing. The back spring will snap the blade closed. The closing snap is not as resounding as the opening click due to the liner lock..
The Tortoise Shell
The tortoise shell is imitation. In fact, with very few exceptions, the knife industry has been using imitation tortoise shell for almost 100 years. Originally the tortoise shell was made of celluloid which would shrink and/or gas out over time. Today's "celluloid" is normally a stabilized acrylic plastic which will not shrink, warp, or gas out. Tortoise shell is usually a translucent handle material dyed with an amber and dark brown colors. The pattern is sometime mottled but more often distinct. Some of the more expensive tortoise shell will try to mimic distinct patterns found on shell but more often than not the pattern is random, especially on smaller items such as knife handles.
Knives with actual tortoise shell handles in good condition usually sell for hundreds of dollars, simply because they are very old. Older imitation tortoise shell knives that haven't shrunk or cracked are also highly valued. Where the market goes with today's tortoise shell is anyone's guess. Certainly, the popularity of tortoise shell wax and wanes. Typically when companies are not making knives with tortoise shell handles everyone wants one. To my knowledge, no knife company (global or otherwise) continuously makes a tortoise shell knife. When companies are making them it is normally for just a short time or for a production year.. These sell quickly and the drought starts all over again.
RR 514 (Work Knife)
Probably the only downside for some will be the liner lock. It protrudes from the handle and some may find this annoying when holding the knife. However, the liner-lock itself is much less prone to failure than typical lock-backs. After using the knife for a bit, the liner-lock protrusion is not noticeable. I think the knife itself makes a handy little small game folding hunter. I think they should release in the White Smooth Bone, Stoneworx, and Moonshiner Series.
Other Rough Rider Sodbuster-like Work Knives (liner-lock unless otherwise specified) :
Recently Remington has released a "Shotbuster" version of the Case Locking Sodbuster. The knife is a Special Factory Order (SFO) produced by SMKW. It is made in the same factory as the Rough Rider factory. The knife is essentially a Remington branded Rough Rider.