So here I was fondly perusing my Military horde (not-so-gratuitous pic, you'll see if you keep on reading)
and wondering which should go into rotation when I noticed I have 2 of them almost exactly alike (namely the orange S30V) and since I’m a bit keen on not having duplicates of the exact same model, the decision was made: one of them needs new clothing. Seemed somehow fitting that the one I’ve been using extensively should be pampered a bit, so I went out there and ordered a nice set of nice orange-and-black, Anso-style grooved (not to stray too far away from the original handle color but to also add a splash of new bling) scales from Cuscadi (they do fantastic work, by the way).
Some weeks later the scales arrived, as nice a thing as I’ve ever envisioned so without further ado I went to disassembly. Several epiphanies happened at once: with the parts in front of me, I realized that the handles are now thinner (as per the Anso bling that I specifically asked for) and that the regular countersunk screws, although fitting, are not necessarily good looking on a contoured scale any more. Worst of all, after removing the old presentation-side handle slab I’ve noticed not only that the lanyard pipe is slightly larger in diameter than the holes in my new scales and thus not quite fitting unless I enlarge a bit the G10 holes, but also that I’ll be having a hard time removing the pipe from the lock-side handle as it was clinging there for dear life.
Huh, not so easy a change, after all. First thought was to send an email to Spyderco and enquire about parts (I knew it was a long shot but needed to try it anyway). After a very polite email shot me down in flames (as I knew it would) I started to explore alternatives. And realized that having a horde of Millies comes with the extra perks of having some extra parts available.
I had some nice standoffs in my XHP Millie, but where did I put the original aluminum backspacer? Needed to search for it and reinstall. And I distinctly remembered having some round-head but even more important, shorter scale screws, from a fluted Titanium Millie. Good and good. Now on to the lanyard pipe. I knew removing it when it’s stuck fast could be a royal pita and I seemed to remember that earlier models of Military had a somewhat slightly narrower lanyard pipe. I went to check on my 2007 Millie and lo and behold, not only was a better fit but I could easily pry it out of both handle slabs at once.
The irony being not totally lost on me that I was now sitting with black scales and orange scales in my lap, it dawned on me that I could FrankenMillie another orange-and-black version. And so I did and I carried it throughout summer, even entered a pic in the calendar contest.
All the while slowly grinding down to length my lanyard pipe until I reached the desired dimension. Assembly went smoothly from then on, here it is in all its glory. No blade play, smooth action, early lockup, perfection.
The only thing that needs extra work is the lanyard pipe that's still somewhat loose, but I’m working my way to further flare it just the tinniest bit as to get a good grip in the G10 but to still be able to take it out if the need arises again.
Moral of the story: make the best with what you have available. And get a Military, if you don't have one