Classic Blade: Uncle Kelly’s Case Copperhead 6249 2-Blade Folder

   11.23.20

Classic Blade: Uncle Kelly’s Case Copperhead 6249 2-Blade Folder

One of my few keepsakes of Uncle Kelly.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

More than 20 years ago, one of my uncles passed away. He was my father’s youngest brother and although he was only in his 50s, his time had come to leave this earth. He left a very few items behind when he passed, and one of them was a Case two-blade folding knife, which my father gave to me. All I’ve ever known about it was that it was Uncle Kelly’s knife — and that was enough. But I’ve lately begun to learn a little more about this fine old folder.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

It’s a 6249 Copperhead, and it has many miles on it. Pocket miles, that is. The bone scales are worn smooth and are even worn thinner than the bolsters, pins, and the Case medallion.

It’s also been sharpened so much that the smaller blade’s tip isn’t fully protected when closed. I know I could remove some metal from the tang to allow the pen blade to close farther, but I don’t wanna. This is one reason I haven’t carried it in a while.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The “6” in the number 6249 indicates that the bone handles were originally “jigged,” which means a series of small divots were milled into their surface to enhance the grip. These are entirely worn off of my Copperhead. The “2” is the number of blades, and the “49” is Case’s pattern number.

6249 is stamped on the clip blade. (Photo © Russ Chastain)
6249 is stamped on the clip blade.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Because my knife lacks any dots on the tang, it was made prior to 1970 (which is when they began using a dot system to date their knives). A visit to this Pattern Stamps page indicates a manufacture date of 1965-1969 for this style of tang stamp.

This stamp was used 1965-69. (Photo © Russ Chastain)
This stamp was used 1965-69.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

My knife weighs 2.75 ounces and has a closed length of 3-15/16″ with a 2-7/8″ clip blade and a 2″ pen blade.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I don’t see a Copperhead listed on Case’s website among current products; instead there’s a “Mini Copperhead” but it features a different blade style for the long blade, and the blades open from opposite ends of the knife. I definitely prefer mine.

Pen blade open. (Photo © Russ Chastain)
Pen blade open.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The pocket wear I mentioned before is difficult to show in photos, but you can definitely tell the red bone is worn lower than the metal bits.

Worn bone. (Photo © Russ Chastain)
Worn bone.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Pins, bolsters, and Case medallion are all “proud” of the bone, thanks to 30+ years of riding in my uncle’s pocket.

Lots of honest pocket wear on the old bone scales. (Photo © Russ Chastain)
Lots of honest pocket wear on the old bone scales.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

After I got this knife, I carried it every day in his memory. When I used it a few years later to dress out a buck deer I’d shot, I retired it from EDC except for special occasions.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The tip of the clip blade is bent; this is how the knife came to me and this is how it remains. I don’t wish to alter the knife from the way it was when Uncle Kelly carried it — and I most definitely do not wish to break off the tip, which could easily happen if I tried to straighten it.

Bent blade tip. (Photo © Russ Chastain)
Bent blade tip.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

This style of knife is collectible, and I see one of this same vintage listed on eBay for more than $200, but there’s no way I’d sell this one. It’s worth far more because it helps me fondly remember one of my favorite humans.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The springs are in excellent shape and this old folder operates nice and smoothly, and it’s still shaving-sharp.

(Photo © Russ Chastain)
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane with me and Uncle Kelly’s knife. Knowing me, I’ll probably start carrying it again now that I’ve got it freshly oiled and honed.

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