Author Topic: The Original Kephart Knife Examined  (Read 2006 times)

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Offline greyhound352

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The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« on: June 08, 2017, 06:34:34 PM »
Saw this article on facebook about a knife at the Blade Show in Atlanta this past weekend. The knife belongs to Ethan Becker and he wants everyone to be able to see the knife

http://www.thetruthaboutknives.com/2017/06/the-original-kephart-knife-examined/
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 07:09:05 PM »
Thanks for posting that greyhound, first time I have seen that knife although I have seen the ad for them before. 

It looks somewhat like a  Russell Green River Dadley to me.  I find it difficult to believe there are only two known.  There must be a lot of them in old barns, workshops, and private collections that just have not surfaced.
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Online PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 07:58:44 PM »
Neat! It is really nice to finally get some definitive "specs" on the design, other than a grainy picture from an old catalog.

Offline 1066vik

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 09:00:31 PM »
I got to handle it - some good design features and thought went into that puppy.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 09:44:11 PM »
How did the handle feel vik with that swell toward the front?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 09:50:51 PM »
VERY COOL.....the Holy Grail of woodsmen's knives! :hail:   Now, if someone like Ethan Becker would just take it upon themselves to manufacture an EXACT reproduction, they'd sell a million of them.  I know of one old coot that'd buy several! 8)
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Offline madmax

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 12:19:18 PM »
I ground down 2 blades (one an unknown another an Old Hickory) to mimic a Kephart.  They were great in the kitchen.  Which was where Kephart was best known for amongst his camping buddies.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2017, 06:00:21 AM »
well there it is the real deal.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2017, 06:53:37 PM »
VERY COOL.....the Holy Grail of woodsmen's knives! :hail:   Now, if someone like Ethan Becker would just take it upon themselves to manufacture an EXACT reproduction, they'd sell a million of them.  I know of one old coot that'd buy several! 8)

  Deer Creek Forge comes pretty close,  standard is 1/8" thick,  4-1/2" long blade of 1095 carbon steel, 4-1/2" handle of Cherry wood with 3 brass pins, leather sheath,  $139.00,  comes in Scandivex  or Full flat grind with convex edge.
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Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2017, 05:12:12 AM »
Is there anything about the Kephart blade that is clearly superior to the Green River Dadley blade?  They appear to be very similar.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2017, 09:07:53 AM »
VERY COOL.....the Holy Grail of woodsmen's knives! :hail:   Now, if someone like Ethan Becker would just take it upon themselves to manufacture an EXACT reproduction, they'd sell a million of them.  I know of one old coot that'd buy several! 8)

  Deer Creek Forge comes pretty close,  standard is 1/8" thick,  4-1/2" long blade of 1095 carbon steel, 4-1/2" handle of Cherry wood with 3 brass pins, leather sheath,  $139.00,  comes in Scandivex  or Full flat grind with convex edge.

Is there anything about the Kephart blade that is clearly superior to the Green River Dadley blade?  They appear to be very similar.

There are very subtle, but very important design differences in ALL of the present 'Kephart' representations in today's marketplace.  I want an ORIGINAL Kephart design and there's no good reason why SOMEONE can't step up to provide we OCD-inflicted knifeaholics with an EXACT copy! :shrug:

Come on Ethan, gimme a break and make me a knife I can use for a change.....that BK2 I tried sure wasn't it!  >:(
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Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2017, 06:07:14 PM »
As much like b.s. as I'm sure this sounds, I got to handle the knife in question yesterday. I still don't believe it either. Holy shizzle and OMG and WOW and a whole lot more exclamations! The article provides an accurate depiction. The most important detail to me is the blade cross section - I think it looks like a Sierra Matchking boat tail hollow point. Just like that shape reduces drag on a bullet, guess that similar shape reduces drag on the blade.

Also got to hear EB's thoughts on this knife, other knives and sheaths, etc. He didn't mention his plans for a new "Beck-hart" or anything. About as cool as it gets for a Kephart and a Becker fan.
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2017, 06:23:38 PM »
OK, NOW we're gettin' somewhere.....a knifemaker we all know and love has firsthand knowledge of what the original Kephart looks and feels like in the hand AND it's dimensions! :hail:    Now all we have to do is convince him to start turning them out 'en masse' for eager consumers!                                     
            :drool: :drool: :drool: :drool: :banana: :banana: :banana:
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Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2017, 06:30:17 PM »
LOL! Well, I mighta taken some notes and a few quick measurements....may be a sketch or two.
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2017, 06:52:25 PM »
Well if you are going to make a few copies I would sure has heck take one. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2017, 07:55:27 PM »
HEY......No cuttin' in line, Stan! >:(
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2017, 05:03:57 AM »

  LOL, go right ahead Stan, put your order in,  Craig is not going to let the moths out of his wallet to buy a knife much over the cost of a Rough Rider or Mora Clipper.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2017, 05:37:41 AM »
Is there anything about the Kephart blade that is clearly superior to the Green River Dadley blade?  They appear to be very similar.

  Some Knife gurus suggest that the Kephart knife was based on the Dadley design,  but there are subtle differences  between the two,  first is the blade geometry,  the Green River Dadley has a flat ground blade of about 5" long,  the original Kephart blade was about 4-1/4" inches long,  The Kephart blade is slightly thicker in the middle and tapers toward the cutting edge and towards the spine making it a better slicer,  the Green River Dadely has boxier shaped scales where as the scales on the Kephart are more rounded,  most users consider the handle on the Kephart to be more comfortable.
  I'm not sure,  but I think there's a difference in blade thickness also,  the original Kephart is said to have been 1/8" thick at the blade,  My Green River 7" Butcher is 3/32" at most,  the differences are small but in my opinion they are important.
  Is there anything that the Kephart can do that you can't do with the GR Dadley,  probably not, except maybe do them a bit better in more comfort ?

  Of all the different blade designs my favorite is the Kephart,  like Wolfy and Stan pointed out it's too bad that no one has copied the Kephart knife in it's original form and offered it for an affordable price,  I have a half dozen "Kephart" styled knives,  the one that comes closest to the original is my Condor Kephart,  but even that knife misses the mark with the steel used, the blade thickness is much too thin,  and the scales could be a little bigger,  it makes a good utility kitchen knife,  but it's not a true bushcraft general duty knife.
  The one that goes to the other extreme is my MLL Special K,  it's Mario's take on Kephart's design, but it's a brute of a camp and trail knife compared to the original Kephart.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 07:50:19 AM »
Wolfy if Sarge makes some I don't mind getting the 2nd one, it will have all the kinks worked out.   8)

Moe I don't think there is any great difference in performance between the Dadley and the Kephart but, like certain gun calibers, certain clothing manufacturers, and certain knife makers there is a mystique about the Kephart that cannot be easily captured.  Look at the market for Randall's; a knife that commands from $450 up on the secondary market and the older ones are in the low thousand dollar range. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2017, 09:06:46 AM »
Wolfy if Sarge makes some I don't mind getting the 2nd one, it will have all the kinks worked out.   8)

Moe I don't think there is any great difference in performance between the Dadley and the Kephart but, like certain gun calibers, certain clothing manufacturers, and certain knife makers there is a mystique about the Kephart that cannot be easily captured.  Look at the market for Randall's; a knife that commands from $450 up on the secondary market and the older ones are in the low thousand dollar range. 

  LOL, go right ahead Stan, put your order in,  Craig is not going to let the moths out of his wallet to buy a knife much over the cost of a Rough Rider or Mora Clipper.

As far as lettin' the moths out of my poke when it comes to buying knives.....it's true that I like good, but inexpensive knives like the OPINEL, SAKs, Mora Companion, Rough Riders in various old designs and the Russell Green River designs because of their simple carbon composition steel and historical aspect.  It is untrue that I will not spend money on a custom knife.....remember my Ruanas and Morseths?

I REALLY like Sarge's work.....and especially his designs in the simple DESIGN-elegance category.  These last few that he has brought to the table here at B&B really trip my trigger!   They are elegant in design, practicality, and attention to detail.  He uses good steels and they are tempered to the degree and hardness that I like best.....long lasting edges that are easily maintained on a smooth polishing-steel without having to resort to abrasives.

If and when serial #1 in the long list of Kepharts he will likely be requested to make comes out, rest assured that WOLFY will own it!  That statement shows you the confidence I have in Sarge to finally reproduce an exact reproduction of the distally-tapered and not-so-simple blade design that makes the REAL Kephart so mystical to all but the true connoisseur of a fine knife. 8)

The sheath, like the original, will not need nor have a retaining strap.  :lol:

EDIT: How could I have forgotten to add my beloved Opinels to that list? :doh:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 03:51:35 PM by wolfy »
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2017, 11:10:36 AM »
Well if you get No. 1 then I will, as has been the case most of my life, be No. 2.   :-X

I guess we better ask Sarge if he is up to making a run of these and send him some deposit money if he is. 
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Offline Unknown

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2017, 11:16:27 AM »
all my best knives have that rhombic profile. It wouldn't sound like much of a feature just telling about it. But sure seems to make a big difference in use. In part it turns a plain ol scandinavian style into a true, functional puukko.

dont forget the tapered tang.

or the distalization....al l things Mr. Unk has previously advocated for when discussing fine knife design.   Spear points, not so much.

Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2017, 12:34:06 PM »
Looks like I'm approaching that coveted "Wolfy Approved" status. LOL! Seriously, Wolfy, thank you.

I've done some sketching on paper but nothing on steel yet. I've never tried a convex grind but I'm going to start practicing. I don't want to promise anything beyond my capabilities now but I'll keep you guys informed on my progress. I might start a WIP thread to help keep me moving on it.

I still get giddy when I think about having held that knife in my hand.  8)
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 06:21:01 AM by Sarge »
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2017, 03:34:56 PM »
You secretly achieved the coveted "WOLFY APPROVED" status long ago, Sarge! ;)   I just didn't want to blurt it out right away. :-X   I kind of wanted to prevent you from getting 'the big head' so early in your knifemaking career.....some people can't handle the truth! :rofl:

When you made your version of the ironwood 'Nessmuk,' which doesn't look like a Nessmuk to me......(THANKFULLY) because most all of the interpretations of today exaggerate that god-awful 'hump,' I was immediately smitten!  Then the 'French Trade Knife' hit the forum pages and you set the hook! :drool:  :hail:

I look forward to consulting with you on a version that matches the original in design.....but perhaps with an embellishment or two. ;D    For instance, I know Horace's knife did not have burly ironwood scales, but if he'd have had the option, he might have! :shrug: :lol:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 03:53:42 PM by wolfy »
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Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2017, 06:20:39 AM »
Well if you get No. 1 then I will, as has been the case most of my life, be No. 2.   :-X

Well, wsdstan, I seem to get a lot of No. 2 in life also. Haha!

You secretly achieved the coveted "WOLFY APPROVED" status long ago, Sarge! ;)   I just didn't want to blurt it out right away. :-X   I kind of wanted to prevent you from getting 'the big head' so early in your knifemaking career.....some people can't handle the truth! :rofl:

When you made your version of the ironwood 'Nessmuk,' which doesn't look like a Nessmuk to me......(THANKFULLY) because most all of the interpretations of today exaggerate that god-awful 'hump,' I was immediately smitten!  Then the 'French Trade Knife' hit the forum pages and you set the hook! :drool:  :hail:

I look forward to consulting with you on a version that matches the original in design.....but perhaps with an embellishment or two. ;D    For instance, I know Horace's knife did not have burly ironwood scales, but if he'd have had the option, he might have! :shrug: :lol:
Easy, wolfy, I still have to fit my head into my small workshop. LOL!

We'll call yours a Wolfhart!
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2017, 07:51:51 AM »
"WOLFHART"....I like that! :thumbsup:     Has a certain ring to it doesn't it......and what model name could be more apropos for the zealotry that are as OCD about the original design as the proud new owner AND the talented new artist that created it? :shrug: :banana: :hail:
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2017, 08:36:49 AM »
I like the Fhart part of the name.   :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2017, 10:35:18 AM »
ONLY YOU! :rolleyes: :lol:



..........but, oh so appropriate! :doh:
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Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2017, 10:50:10 AM »
 :lol:
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline Unknown

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2017, 10:58:56 AM »
4 inch, or 5 inch, Wolphy? If you really wanted to be HK about it, I suppose you'd pick the 4 inch blade.

To me the detail around the finger guard hump of the newer condition knife is pretty interesting, compared to HK's which appears worn or modified. As well, the abrasive wear from sharpening on the HK museum piece.

Looks like he ground the belly off resharpening.

QC, to me, the advert shows how the basic  shape differs slightly from the Dadley most clearly. I looked on crazy crow to see if they listed the thickness, but only found GR on sale -15%. The Hunter is thicker stock than their butcher knives, I think the dadley is as well, but still not a full 1/8"

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2017, 11:03:44 AM »
My Dadley is about 3/32" Unk.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2017, 11:26:58 AM »
 :thumbsup:
Jantz has the blade thickness' listed for various GR.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 11:34:51 AM by Unknown »

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2017, 01:24:47 PM »
4 inch, or 5 inch, Wolphy? If you really wanted to be HK about it, I suppose you'd pick the 4 inch blade.
I remain in a quandary as to which way to go there myself, Unk.  :shrug:     Of course, ol' Horace chose the 4" model for his personal choice of carry, but I kind of like the idea of having the extra blade length for reaching the bottom of the peanut butter jar, too.   I will probably end up with both lengths just to be safe and cover all the bases.  8)

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Online PetrifiedWood

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2017, 11:10:05 PM »
As much like b.s. as I'm sure this sounds, I got to handle the knife in question yesterday. I still don't believe it either. Holy shizzle and OMG and WOW and a whole lot more exclamations! The article provides an accurate depiction. The most important detail to me is the blade cross section - I think it looks like a Sierra Matchking boat tail hollow point. Just like that shape reduces drag on a bullet, guess that similar shape reduces drag on the blade.

Also got to hear EB's thoughts on this knife, other knives and sheaths, etc. He didn't mention his plans for a new "Beck-hart" or anything. About as cool as it gets for a Kephart and a Becker fan.

How much of the blade cross-section shape do you estimate was original? In other words, what are the chances that the shape has come about through repeated sharpening versus being manufactured that way? It looks like a well worn example and from the pictures it is hard to tell whether we are seeing the factory grind or a previous owner's own ideas about how sharpening should take place. In the old advertisement pictured at the link above, it sure looks like a flat grind to me.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2017, 11:15:42 PM by PetrifiedWood »

Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2017, 10:47:56 AM »
As much like b.s. as I'm sure this sounds, I got to handle the knife in question yesterday. I still don't believe it either. Holy shizzle and OMG and WOW and a whole lot more exclamations! The article provides an accurate depiction. The most important detail to me is the blade cross section - I think it looks like a Sierra Matchking boat tail hollow point. Just like that shape reduces drag on a bullet, guess that similar shape reduces drag on the blade.

Also got to hear EB's thoughts on this knife, other knives and sheaths, etc. He didn't mention his plans for a new "Beck-hart" or anything. About as cool as it gets for a Kephart and a Becker fan.
How much of the blade cross-section shape do you estimate was original? In other words, what are the chances that the shape has come about through repeated sharpening versus being manufactured that way? It looks like a well worn example and from the pictures it is hard to tell whether we are seeing the factory grind or a previous owner's own ideas about how sharpening should take place. In the old advertisement pictured at the link above, it sure looks like a flat grind to me.
Good questions, PW, and the short answer is "I don't know" but here are my thoughts:

I believe the current profile and cross-section are quite close to the as-manufactured knife for a couple reasons. First, I don't think the drawing in the old ad is a 100% accurate, to-scale depiction of the knife. The ad shows a flatter butt end of the handle vs. the rounded butt end of the knife I handled. Maybe the flat grind in the drawing (and it sure looks flat to me too) is also a rather loose rendering. I don't know. I tried to digitally overlay one of the pics I took on the ad image and they just don't align. I know camera angle and perspective and all come into play but I couldn't make them align perfectly. I can get the blade profiles to align very close but then the handles are way out of scale and vice versa.

Regarding the cross section, I can see how a flat grind with a secondary bevel could be sharpened over and over until it reaches a more convex shape but there's a couple 'buts'... I think excessive sharpening/material removal would have more obviously narrowed the blade and altered the profile. Sharpening might explain the convex cutting edge but harder for me to understand how an originally flat ground blade also got "convexed" toward the spine. Again, maybe, but I don't know. I think if the original flat grind was altered to that extent via sharpening, the change in contours would be obvious.  To me, the transition from the flat tang beneath the scales to the rhombic blade appears seamless suggesting it was manufacture that way.

Looks to me like sharpening has slightly eroded the cutting edge near the hilt which makes the subtle belly a bit more pronounced.

There's my two cents ... or maybe 3 cents worth.  :shrug:


"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2017, 10:53:34 AM »
Here is a video of the knife PW.    It doesn't appear to be significantly  changed from sharpening.  I think Sarge is right in his assessment.

http://bladeforums.com/threads/original-kephart.1498540/
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Offline Sarge

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2017, 11:28:11 AM »
Thanks for the vid link, wsdstan! I had not seen it yet. Very cool.  8)

"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2017, 12:17:51 PM »
Here's what I think.....and take it for what it's worth:  Because of all the reading and research I've done on this knife over the years, I believe the blade has a full, but very faint convex grind....almost exactly like the grind on the far-from-common everyday OPINEL!  :coffee:     It doesn't take much convexing to reduce drag significantly when cutting into animal flesh or vegetable matter....and that is the secret to the Opinel's popularity in those fields of endeavor.  Most people call the grind on the Opinel 'flat,' but it ain't.....not by a long shot!  The Kephart has just enough 'belly' in the forward section to call it almost 'wasp-waisted'......an extreme example of the blade-shape I'm trying to describe would be that of the old Puma White Hunter.  Whether the Kephart's convex edge-grind is fanatically maintained through diligent use of a stropping technique or rejected by the end user for a simple micro-bevel would be of little consequence in the end, due to the not-so-thick original blade design & profile.

More opinionated drivel later..... :rolleyes:
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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2017, 01:00:49 PM »
Here is an image of the Puma White Hunter.....



The Kephart is much less extreme in its shape, but a gentle hint of it remains as a CRUCIAL element  in the original design! :popcorn:
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2017, 02:54:28 PM »
While the Opinel has a very slight convex shape to it I think the Kephart is different.  It tapers from the spine to wider at the middle ,which the Opinel doesn't, and then is a slight convex to the cutting edge.  Sarge described it perfectly when he said it looked like a Sierra Matchking boat tail bullet.  Sarge has held this knife and seen it from angles we have not.  Just my opinion of course, yours may vary.  :)

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2017, 04:15:43 PM »
You're absolutely right on target, Stan. :cheers:    What I was trying to convey was the fact that it is a very slight, almost unnoticeable convexing of the sides of the blade.  It doesn't take much to make a BIG difference in performance.  In the case of the Kephart, the peak of convexing is more more toward the center of the blade, while on the Opinel the peak is at the spine and it is squared off....from the description, it sounds like the Kephart's spine is 'beveled,' so ol' Horace must not have owned or depended on a ferro rod to start his campfires. :lol:
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Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline wsdstan

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2017, 06:42:55 PM »
Until you mentioned that the Opinel was a slight convex I never noticed it Craig.  A straight edge shows a very slight curve starting close to the spine.   

I don't know what Kepharts preferred method of starting fires was.  He may have been a friction guy as opposed to a flint and steel sparker.  He makes a comment about how to light matches in the wind but there isn't anything in my memory about his preferred fire starting method.

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Offline wolfy

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #42 on: June 14, 2017, 08:51:32 PM »
Here's another thing about the grind on the Kephart:  If you look closely, that beveled spine that we've talked about a little starts at, or near, the top of the blade/handle juncture.....very slight at first and then at around the last 1/4 or 1/3 of the blade's point & widening belly, the bevel increases and widens into what's become known today as a 'false edge.'  That feature would help immensely when trying push the point into any material.....flesh, cheese, tomatoes, a loaf of bread or even a watermelon!  ;)    A squared-off spine in that section would resist that effort to a certain degree and tend to push the point down and off target.  Even drilling a divot in a fireboard would be much easier and more accurate & effective with that false-edge in place.....and since the greatest part of the convexing is near the center of the blade, loss of blade-strength would be minimal.  :popcorn:
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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #43 on: June 14, 2017, 11:15:40 PM »
As much like b.s. as I'm sure this sounds, I got to handle the knife in question yesterday. I still don't believe it either. Holy shizzle and OMG and WOW and a whole lot more exclamations! The article provides an accurate depiction. The most important detail to me is the blade cross section - I think it looks like a Sierra Matchking boat tail hollow point. Just like that shape reduces drag on a bullet, guess that similar shape reduces drag on the blade.

Also got to hear EB's thoughts on this knife, other knives and sheaths, etc. He didn't mention his plans for a new "Beck-hart" or anything. About as cool as it gets for a Kephart and a Becker fan.
How much of the blade cross-section shape do you estimate was original? In other words, what are the chances that the shape has come about through repeated sharpening versus being manufactured that way? It looks like a well worn example and from the pictures it is hard to tell whether we are seeing the factory grind or a previous owner's own ideas about how sharpening should take place. In the old advertisement pictured at the link above, it sure looks like a flat grind to me.
Good questions, PW, and the short answer is "I don't know" but here are my thoughts:

I believe the current profile and cross-section are quite close to the as-manufactured knife for a couple reasons. First, I don't think the drawing in the old ad is a 100% accurate, to-scale depiction of the knife. The ad shows a flatter butt end of the handle vs. the rounded butt end of the knife I handled. Maybe the flat grind in the drawing (and it sure looks flat to me too) is also a rather loose rendering. I don't know. I tried to digitally overlay one of the pics I took on the ad image and they just don't align. I know camera angle and perspective and all come into play but I couldn't make them align perfectly. I can get the blade profiles to align very close but then the handles are way out of scale and vice versa.

Regarding the cross section, I can see how a flat grind with a secondary bevel could be sharpened over and over until it reaches a more convex shape but there's a couple 'buts'... I think excessive sharpening/material removal would have more obviously narrowed the blade and altered the profile. Sharpening might explain the convex cutting edge but harder for me to understand how an originally flat ground blade also got "convexed" toward the spine. Again, maybe, but I don't know. I think if the original flat grind was altered to that extent via sharpening, the change in contours would be obvious.  To me, the transition from the flat tang beneath the scales to the rhombic blade appears seamless suggesting it was manufacture that way.

Looks to me like sharpening has slightly eroded the cutting edge near the hilt which makes the subtle belly a bit more pronounced.

There's my two cents ... or maybe 3 cents worth.  :shrug:

Thanks for the description and assessment, Sarge! Those of use who haven't handled it in person really benefit from it.

I suppose the next step is to try to determine how it was manufactured. Was it ground on a slack belt, a belt over a platen, an abrasive wheel, etc. Knowing what tools were used to shape the steel, and the scales can give us more to consider. Was the convex shape a design characteristic, or was it chosen for the sake of manufacturing expedience. The drawing in the advertisement that appears to depict a flat grind raises more questions. Was this just the artist's vision? Was it an accurate rendering of a pre-production prototype that had a flat grind? We will probably never know the answers to these questions, but they sure are fun to ponder.

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2017, 12:33:09 PM »
More good questions, PW, and I agree they are fun to ponder. The pins and scales have faint file/rasp marks but I couldn't see anything apparent on the blade to indicate hammer, stone, file, belt, etc. Some marks on the cutting edge are a result of sharpening, I'd guess.


More thoughts and info directly from EB here:
http://www.bladeforums.com/threads/the-knife-that-horace-kephart-created.1496191/

Sadly, he posted "If you get a chance to compare the Sweet Sixteen to the Kephart you will find them quite similar in the hand....... it is so close that talking the powers that be into a Becker styled Kephart ain't bloody likely....... To do it justice would require a ton of hand work..... Maybe a very limited edition down the pike..... Very, super, very unlikely...... I repeat....UNLIKELY. ..... Fun to think about tho...."

Oh and Ka-Bar Days at Smoky Mountain Knifeworks this weekend. For anyone in the area, EB says he'll have "the knife" with him.
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2017, 01:17:51 PM »
Nice link of pics Sarge.

 it's true, I enjoy looking at the knife. There is nothing clunky about it, probably why I like it.


Wonder if this appearance will have any influence on non-kephart hilts.

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Re: The Original Kephart Knife Examined
« Reply #46 on: June 16, 2017, 04:14:04 PM »

More thoughts and info directly from EB here:
http://www.bladeforums.com/threads/the-knife-that-horace-kephart-created.1496191/

Sadly, he posted "If you get a chance to compare the Sweet Sixteen to the Kephart you will find them quite similar in the hand....... it is so close that talking the powers that be into a Becker styled Kephart ain't bloody likely....... To do it justice would require a ton of hand work..... Maybe a very limited edition down the pike..... Very, super, very unlikely...... I repeat....UNLIKELY. ..... Fun to think about tho...."

Thanks for those VERY GOOD photos, Sarge......they show exactly what I was feebly trying to convey in my description. :thumbsup:    As far as a close-as-possible copy goes......ain't that why we employ the services of CUSTOM knifemakers? :shrug:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrae.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX