Author Topic: Big knives revisited  (Read 6554 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Big knives revisited
« on: December 10, 2017, 02:28:14 PM »
 I was just surfing some of the old threads in the custom and production knife sections,  two that caught my eye were one by Hayshaker and another by LumberJack,  Hayshaker was discussing the then new Tops Tex Creek series of knives, and LumberJack was talking about his new custom Tracker styled knife.
 Up until a short while ago I had no use for big knives in my style of woods bumming, I had tried a few when I transitioned from period trekking to Bushcraft,  namely a couple of Becker BK series knives, an Ontario RAT-5, and a HB Forge 9" bladed camp knife,  and about three years ago I traded into a Turley MO. River,  all were heavy, not well balanced, and sucked at general camp tasks, none were good slicers,  and weren't all that great at chopping,  a good hatchet was as good and many times better at most HD chores.
 The last one got traded off about a year ago,  one of my bushcraft buddies, a young man half my age and twice as skilled at bushcraft as I'll ever be has been impressing me with his woods wisdom and know how for a couple of years ever since he joined our small group, he's a retired Marine having served a few hitches in Iraq as a combat squad leader, but I'm rambling again.
 Back about a year ago he bought a Tops Tracker and proceeded to learn how to use it, he liked it enough to sell it and buy a custom Gossman WSK, Scott Gossman's version of what's been called the TB Tracker,  six months later won a challenge contest on another bushcraft forum, the prize was a new Dave Beck WSK Tracker, Dave Beck was actually the inventor of the Tracker design and had it trade marked years before the Hunted movie and before Tom Brown claimed the design,  Beck had retired from knife making and after five years of no longer being in business his trade mark became voided and Tops took over the production and marketing under Tom Browns name.
  I've been watching my bud do amazing work with his Trackers for quite a while, and having vowed that I'd never own that style knife I didn't give it much thought until a few weeks ago,  I had traded a couple of customs in my collection that I wasn't using for a new Frost River Isle Royal Mini bushcraft pack that someone was gifted and wasn't using,  when I mentioned it to my friend he offered to trade me his Gossman WSK for the Frost River Pack if I found that it didn't suit me.
 I really like the Isle Royal Mini, but I have a comparable pack that I've been using for about five years, I really don't need another one of the same size and style, so I made the swap,  I've been doing the learning curve thing and having fun doing it,  the only down side to it is my having to eat crow to more than a few people who know my feelings about big knives.

 More on this later,  sorry for the length of my OP,  but really, does anyone that knows me expect less ?
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Offline madmax

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 02:41:30 PM »
I thought the Tracker design was a gimmick until I saw Red wield it like boss.  He found uses for all the curves. 

Funny,  hayshaker and I talked for a long time today and one of the things we touched on was the massive power of a big blade handled by a big Samoan.  I like big blades in FL.
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Offline lgm

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 02:56:08 PM »
I like big blades also, don't have much need of them but like em. I take one out to play sometimes.
I also agree on the tracker, not my thing but in the right hands a useful tool.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 10:37:52 PM »
Always good to hear a story that brings a change of mind. I think of these designs as radicalized Puma GWH.  :shrug:

What I would like to see is a best choice video of how to use the knife. Since that seems to be a prominent accusation against the nay-sayer: you don't like because you don't know how to use.

I believe I know how to use a knife well enough, for a good number of tasks. so watching a " how to use "might influence my present opinion. Thanks.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 08:18:36 AM »
  There are a few video tutorials on U-tube that come close,  but I haven't seen any that are really in depth teaching pieces,  but just understanding the blade design goes a long way in learning what the tool is capable of.
  First impressions can be misleading,  this I know from experience,  if you like knives one of the first things you notice is that a Tracker is radical in design and ugly in looks,  it's big and not very nimble,  and it's awkward and heavy,  to a person who is used to conventional knives those negatives can be a real turn off.
  A little history on the knife might help,  first of all, forget all the Tom Brown Jr. hype, Tom Brown may be a knowledgeable outdoorsman and a hell of a tracker, but what he does best is promote himself, and sometimes that includes stretching the truth to it's limits and beyond, he did not invent the Tracker knife,  nor did he modify the knife or rework the design,  he just took casted off design and appropriated it and built a little story around it suggesting that it was his very own design.
  The Tracker was born in the early '80's when the "Survival" craze came into it hay day,  several Survival magazines spread the word,  unrest in different parts of the world,  the cold war,  and the loss of many manufacturing jobs all fueled peoples imaginations much the same as todays "Prepper" movement.
  Along about the same time "Rambo" the movie was making a name for Sly Stallone as a box office attraction and birthing a radicalized new knife with a long blade, saw teeth on it's spine, a hollow handle for storing a small personalized survival kit, it had a built in compass and an improvised grappling hook set up on the cross guard along with a flat blade screw driver on one end and a slotted one on the other,  the Rambo knife took off and scores of "Rambo" knives flooded the market,  from really expensive serviceable knives down to cheap $6.00 knock offs that fell apart as soon as they left the imitation leather sheath they came in.
  Companies like Buck and Gerber came out with their versions and custom makers like Bo Randal and Jimmy Lyle were making their own custom models,  one custom maker by the name of David Beck saw the interest, but took his idea of a survival knife in a different direction and the Tracker Survival knife was born.
  Beck had the design trade marked and when the survival knife craze subsided Beck retired from knife making to pursue other interests and with Beck no longer in the business in time his trade mark ran out, Tom Brown took notice and claimed the design as his own, the movie "The Hunted" came along,  the knife was the actual star of the movie and a hit with the knife crowd, and Tom Brown found fame with "His" Tom Brown Tracker,  Brown got a couple of makers to build the tracker then partnered with Tops to make and market the knives.
  With it's new found following a few more custom makers began producing their versions of the tracker, the two most notable custom makers were Dave Beck who reopened his shop and Scott Gossman,  Tops as far as I know has suspended production for now, Scott Gossman is no longer offering his Tracker because of the cost of materials and labor being too high,  Dave Beck is still offering his original designed Tracker starting at $1000.00 and up, but his order book is closed until he is able to get caught up on his orders,  Tops TB Trackers are still selling in the $200.00 range,  and Scott Grossman's WSK's are in the $750.00 and up range on the used market.           
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 10:32:38 AM »
All that and no video link.  :'( just a few u tube tutorials that come close will be appreciated. An in depth teaching process is not necessary.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 10:38:38 AM »
  The Tracker styled Knife, or WSK (Wilderness Survival Knife) as it's being called today is a radical design that many say borders on the ugly side,  but then again it wasn't designed to be attractive, it is designed to be a work horse tool that is good at doing a multitude of survival tasks, but none of them perfectly, it's not a tool made for the  novice, it's intended to be used by skilled and experienced woodsmen,  and it does take practice to learn how to use it properly to get the most benefit from it.
  It's also not designed to replace conventional cutting tools such as job specific knives, axes, saws, or other wood working tools,  it's more suited to a person who is traveling in wilderness areas who doesn't want to carry an assortment of tools that when combined add up to a lot of weight and bulk,  my WSK for example weighs in at about two pounds, that includes the WSK itself, it's leather sheath which includes a  4-1/2" OAL 2-1/2" bladed companion knife, and a hardened sharpening steel about 4-1/2" long, 3/4" wide, and 3/16th. thick, with a sharpened end that can be used as a pry bar or chisel. 
  That's a heavy package, but a knife, axe, saw, and a few various other small tools would weigh at least twice that much and not come in such a compact package,  carrying mine on my belt was not uncomfortable, but it does have a tendency to drag your pants down,  in my opinion a Baldrick strap over the shoulder is a much better way to carry it, I have a Baldrick rig to carry my GB Small Forest axe and my 26" handled boys axe that works well for carrying my WSK.
  So lets take a look at mine,  the knife alone weighs about 22 ounces and is made of D-2 steel, the OA length is 12-1/2" and it's 3/16" thick,  the blade from tip to handle is 6-1/2",  the handle is 6" long,  the blade at it's widest part is 2-1/4" high,  it has a 4" cutting edge that is flat ground with a convex edge, has a continuous belly ending in a sharp point, this is the section of the blade meant for chopping and slicing, closest to the handle is a 2" inch straight section of blade that is recessed,  also flat ground and convex,  it's designed for doing fine work such as notching and limited carving, and to work well as a draw knife, between the cutting edge and the straight edge is a transition step referred to as the quarter round, this works exceptionally well for making feather sticks and curls as well as other carving tasks.
  The top of the knife or spine is divided into two sections, from the tip to the center of the spine is a double row tooth wood saw that cuts on the push and pull stroke, it is made on the tooth style of the SAK saw, it is very aggressive and works well for making notches, but you aren't going to be cut down trees with it as the knife blade is too thick to make it a through cut saw, but it does a great job of collecting and shredding cedar and other like bark for making a birds nest and tinder.     
  The rearward half of the spine is rounded inward a bit, it's ground flat and strikes a ferro rod quite well,  does a good job of shredding bark, peeling bark off of sticks,  fleshing animal hides and is made to be used to baton, the forward part of the blade is used to baton with,  so you strike the rearward part of the spine instead of the tip of the blade.
  On to the handle, mine is scaled in green diamond wood patterned micarta, it's hand filling and very comfortable, it has three hand positions, one finger groove for choking up on the blade for fine work, a center hold for removing material on what ever wood project you happen to be working on such as a hearth board or spindle,  and the pommel end which has a gentle hook at the end for hold it way back when chopping with the knife.
  The handle has two brass lashing tubes and one brass lanyard tube at the pommel end and has two large stainless steel corby bolts holding the scales on,  so, while being radical in shape, ugly to look at, and heavy to carry,  overall, in design and functionality for it's intended purpose of being a well thought out Survival tool I have to give it an A+,  and as a bonus, it's a lot of fun to play with and get to figure out how many different things this knife can do.

  On a side note;  if anyone following this thread is interested enough to think about buying a Tracker styed knife,  there's a lot of junk knock offs on the market, stay away from untested and unbranded ones,  Dave Beck and Scott Gossman WSK's are hard to come by and way too costly to invest in just to quench your curiosity, my suggestion would be to look for a new or used Tops Tom Brown Tracker,  they aren't perfect from the factory,  but they don't take too much modifying to make them very good users,  mainly just thinning out the edge grind and a good sharpening will reward you with a great handling Tracker.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2017, 10:40:39 AM »
Interesting opening post, Moe, but I think you may be mixing features of the old discontinued Buck survival-type knife that had the removable grapple points on the guard with the original Jimmy Lile 'First Blood' Rambo knife.  I believe PutrifiedWood owns one of those Bucks if I remember correctly.

Here's kind of an interesting article on its design and history......
http://rambo.wikia.com/wiki/First_Blood_Survival_Knife
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2017, 10:59:46 AM »
Interesting opening post, Moe, but I think you may be mixing features of the old discontinued Buck survival-type knife that had the removable grapple points on the guard with the original Jimmy Lile 'First Blood' Rambo knife.  I believe PutrifiedWood owns one of those Bucks if I remember correctly.

Here's kind of an interesting article on its design and history......
http://rambo.wikia.com/wiki/First_Blood_Survival_Knife

  I also had one of the original Buck survival knives when they first came out,  I paid just a little under a hundred bucks for it and after playing with it for a short while sold it for what I had in it,  in retrospect I should have kept it, I think it's worth about eight times that much to collectors today.
  But you're right, the buck knife had the grappling hooks on the guard, the Rambo First Blood knife just had slotted and phillips head screw drivers on either end of the guard,  the buck also had a ring that fastened between the handle and the pommel cap that acted as an anchor for the rope if used that way,  while the Buck was a nice piece of engineering and machining,  it wasn't a great survival tool, or a good practical knife,  but it was durable for sure. 
 When I bought my Buck Survival knife unlike Jimmy Lyle's First Blood knife it didn't have a compass in the pommel cap,  it came with a clear based plastic Sylva compass that fit into one of the pockets that attached to the sheath, another pocket held the two studs that made up the other part of the grappling device.
 I think the Rambo knife has a Brass Pommel cap that didn't affect the function of the button compass, where as the steel cap on the Buck knife did.
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2017, 12:47:09 PM »
Sorry, I didn't know you were doing such a big write up. I can go back and edit my posts out if you want a bit more seamless thread.

Your description of the controversy prompted me to desire a look at the "Medicine Blade". I tried a couple different wordings, image search on google and could not find an image depicting TB's original, neither knife, nor drawing. Bummer. I did see Beck's knife pictured with an indexed description of the blade grinds, proposed uses, and tempering scheme. I don't think what Beck did with the C version is actually ugly, and can see how such could grow on a feller-at least partially.

It's not fair to say, that an axe, saw, and knife would weigh twice as much. If you were in an environment that really needed a boys axe, then a Tracker is an unlikely replacement(imho). I think a trio at near 2lbs is quite doable. TBHT, the addition in my head is nearer 2lb.3oz. The companion knives I've seen have looked really nice. If that's in the mix making weight will be easy.

But you are correct with something always on my mind when packing. Net Bulk. Which is as important as weight in many a scenario. It's hard to be sneaky when bulky. Carry on.
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2017, 05:37:37 PM »
i've got a few hayshaker trackers 8)

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2017, 06:58:07 PM »
i've got a few hayshaker trackers 8)

  Bring 'em on. 
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Offline lgm

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2017, 08:30:43 PM »
If the tracker is your thing,fine enjoy. I prefer the Becker BK4.
I find it a very good one tool option.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2017, 10:45:54 PM »
My present pipe dream is a decent custom representation of the Hudson Bay Camp Knife.  It will compliment and go very nicely with my new custom Wolfhart.  8)




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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2017, 11:05:14 AM »
If the tracker is your thing,fine enjoy. I prefer the Becker BK4.
I find it a very good one tool option.

  Actually, big knives and tactical type knives are not my thing,  Kukri's were and still are powerful fighting knives, but are really not well suited to wood working or camp tasks,  while they can be adapted to do most any cutting chore like any other edged tool,  they don't do them easily or well.
  It's a well accepted fact in the bushcraft and camping community that a "One Tool Option" is a myth,  like the Unicorn, many have searched for it, but as of yet no one has successfully found one.
  As far as my interest in the Tracker, it's not in any way my choice for a general bushcraft/camping knife, and it is not a working substitute for a general utility fixed blade knife, axe/hatchet, or wood saw,  It's main function is as a Wilderness Survival knife,  it's designed to help the experienced woodsman make other types of tools out of what nature provides.
  A Tracker styled knife will not chop down six inch dia. trees with the ease of a sharp axe,  but with a little time and a baton it will get it done,  can it split a log like an axe or maul, no, but it will easily make a mallet and wedges that will split log rails pretty quickly, of course a Kukri has the same ability, but it doesn't have a saw back spine, a fleshing/scraping tool, doesn't have a drawknife, nor does it have a stepped blade that's great at making curls and feather sticks for fire making, and in a pinch works fine for processing fish and game.
 My intent with this thread is not to put down anyone else's choice of knife, or to suggest that anyone run right out and buy a tracker/Wilderness Survival knife,  it is merely sharing my newly found interest in a knife/survival tool design that I had previously shunned and bad mouthed simply because I didn't view it with an open mind, it wasn't traditional, so I wasn't buying into the concept,  now that I've had a chance to play with it that opinion has changed and I'm sharing the experience here with my friends.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2017, 11:46:17 AM »
I am still patiently waiting for information on my Kephart from Sarge. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 06:20:47 PM by wsdstan »
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2017, 12:31:39 PM »
I'm trying to take it (either the Tracker, or more generally- a 1 tool option) in with a fresher view since Moe has brought the subject in. OTO is a myth because...(?) I think you're saying so because one tool can not replicate the efficiency of tools with a bit more specialization. One must decide what compromises can be lived with considering the risks and environment- I guess. I don't have much risk where I am/ what I tend to do.
   Like many I don't mind playing what if
It looks like the Tracker will present some unique challenges to sharpening.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2017, 01:25:01 PM »
I'm trying to take it (either the Tracker, or more generally- a 1 tool option) in with a fresher view since Moe has brought the subject in. OTO is a myth because...(?) I think you're saying so because one tool can not replicate the efficiency of tools with a bit more specialization. One must decide what compromises can be lived with considering the risks and environment- I guess. I don't have much risk where I am/ what I tend to do.
   Like many I don't mind playing what if
It looks like the Tracker will present some unique challenges to sharpening.

  I also thought that the Tracker styled blade would pose a challenge where sharpening is concerned,  mine wasn't as much so as I expected.
  That said, I believe I mentioned this before, not all Tracker knives are created equal (the same),  most are a full 1/4" thick,  that requires steep shoulders and a flat saber grind that transitions into a convex edge on the forward half of the blade,  the rearward section where the straight drawknife part of the blade on Top's and most other makes are a full flat grind, this part and the "quarter round" step are no harder to sharpen than any other good knife, a stone or sand paper works very well, the problem is in the forward chopping part of the blade.
  I've found that if you want to get to the truth about any product you have to listen more attentively to the complaints than to the compliments that a product receives, the Tracker is no different, most of the complaints about the knives is that they don't chop all that well and they don't bite deep enough into the wood being chopped, the most comments made about modifying are about re profiling the edge or "thinning the Lips",  what they are saying is to get the blade to bite deeper and cut better the blade has to be thinned and the edge re ground, it's not a hard mod to make if you can handle a file or you have a variable speed belt grinder.
 I don't have that problem with mine, my Gossman is a thinner blade to begin with at 3/16' thick,  there are no steep shoulders or saber grind, mine is a continuous flat ground blade, the forward part of the blade tappers down to a nice convex edge,  the straight drawknife section is a full flat grind and the stepped quarter round is more of less a combination of both, kind of like a thin convex, which give it a strong edge that's also very sharp.
 When I received the knife it was used, the edge needed to be sharpened to my liking, I was able to do this easily with wet/dry sand paper and a rubber pad, for the quarter round step I used a round diamond hone,  I finished the whole job off on a strop, it took me about twenty minutes start to finish,  since then I've only had to strop it to bring back the edge,  my knife is made from D-2 steel so it is a bit tougher than 01 and a bit more rust resistant.     
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2017, 01:56:10 PM »
I'm trying to take it (either the Tracker, or more generally- a 1 tool option) in with a fresher view since Moe has brought the subject in. OTO is a myth because...(?) I think you're saying so because one tool can not replicate the efficiency of tools with a bit more specialization. One must decide what compromises can be lived with considering.

  I guess the term "One Tool Option" can be subjective,  but to most people who recreate in the wilds and to seasoned woodsman a one tool that does it all just doesn't exist,  generally speaking there isn't a knife made that will chop or process wood like a medium or full sized axe,  most large knives will not make good carving knives or do food prep very well, and in many situations a saw will cut more wood faster and with less work than an axe, and in a lot of projects done using natural materials with hand tools a combination of those tools makes for a better job when completed.
  That said, when I get out in the woods I usually have a minimum of tools,  in my area of the country there's plenty of water and standing dead wood for cooking/campfires, unless I'm building some project my axe and bucksaw stay home,  I can get by quite nicely with a Bacho folding saw and a 4" fixed blade knife, other times I'll pack a hawk or hatchet with me depending on the area I'm going to be wandering in.
  I suppose one could look at a Trapper or other like knife and see it as a one tool option,  but in reality to do so would mean one would have to accept trade offs such as less work, better end product, and more comfortable ergonomics for more ease of carrying and less weight or bulk.
   
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2017, 03:01:43 PM »
So, in other words, you are saying that this 'thing' is a less than satisfactory 'one-tool-option' that takes an entire range of different sharpening tools to resharpen.  Why didn't you just employ the Ken Onion Worksharp belt grinder that you recently purchased and recommended?  If might not be an option for use in the field, however.....unless you are also toting along a small Chinese gasoline powered $89 Harbor Freight generator in your pack of sharpening tools, too. :shrug: :lol: :cheers:
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Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2017, 04:33:33 PM »
Your Tracker Moe, and LGM's BK I can imagine are better choppers than my leuku. Not chopping "good enough" has been my problem with all big knives. (Speaking to the criticism given to Trackers). I think I can do all the same things with ia Leuku as with all the specialized areas on the Tracker. There should be a definite performance gap on my end- why I asked for the vid. I can find my own, but maybe the hosts I see, happen to not offer the best demonstration.

I'm trying to find a track to follow to get the thinking going. If I think of accidentally getting into a survival situation without being hurt, it would probably need to be in a fairly decent chunk of wilderness; otherwise I should be able to walk to a road. Now if I was to go bushwacking way into the boonies I've never had the confidence or desire to rely on any sort of single survival knife. Which is not to say I haven't gone trekking in the style of 20th c. Backpacker using only a sak Pioneer.

If I just want to go camping or hunting for a few days I could do it with only a knife. Except I like it to be easier and just so. The GB mini is not axe enough and I need to make a new roselli haft to know for sure how much over weight the trio is v. One big knife.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #21 on: December 12, 2017, 05:40:37 PM »
So, in other words, you are saying that this 'thing' is a less than satisfactory 'one-tool-option' that takes an entire range of different sharpening tools to resharpen.  Why didn't you just employ the Ken Onion Worksharp belt grinder that you recently purchased and recommended?  If might not be an option for use in the field, however.....unless you are also toting along a small Chinese gasoline powered $89 Harbor Freight generator in your pack of sharpening tools, too. :shrug: :lol: :cheers:

  I didn't say anything approaching that Pard,  have you been into the corn squeezings again ?
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2017, 06:33:24 PM »
No 'corn squeezings' for this dude.....it dulls the senses!  :P     I was merely counting up all of the different sharpening devices you listed in post #17 that were necessary to sharpen all the convex, flat and sabre grinds, specialized notches, saw teeth, etc. present on these 'one-tool-fits-none' abominations that many of the copycat makers put out there for our amusement. 8)     If you enjoy yours, I am happy!  :banana: :rofl:
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2017, 06:34:58 PM »
Your Tracker Moe, and LGM's BK I can imagine are better choppers than my leuku. Not chopping "good enough" has been my problem with all big knives. (Speaking to the criticism given to Trackers). I think I can do all the same things with ia Leuku as with all the specialized areas on the Tracker. There should be a definite performance gap on my end- why I asked for the vid. I can find my own, but maybe the hosts I see, happen to not offer the best demonstration.

I'm trying to find a track to follow to get the thinking going. If I think of accidentally getting into a survival situation without being hurt, it would probably need to be in a fairly decent chunk of wilderness; otherwise I should be able to walk to a road. Now if I was to go bushwacking way into the boonies I've never had the confidence or desire to rely on any sort of single survival knife. Which is not to say I haven't gone trekking in the style of 20th c. Backpacker using only a sak Pioneer.

If I just want to go camping or hunting for a few days I could do it with only a knife. Except I like it to be easier and just so. The GB mini is not axe enough and I need to make a new roselli haft to know for sure how much over weight the trio is v. One big knife.

  I had a GB Mini and came to the same conclusion,  I sold it and picked up a GB wildlife hatchet, it's a much more versatile tool,  one of my buds has the new BG Outdoor hatchet, the head is right in between the Mini and the Wildlife hatchet size and weight wise but with a slightly longer handle than the wildlife hatchet,  it also lighter than the wildlife hatchet at just a few ounces over a pound, It works way above it's weight class.
  My regular tool load out is usually a fixed blade with a 4"~ 4-1/2" blade, a Bacho styled folding saw, a small hatchet or hawk, a slip joint pocket knife,  and there's a SAK Farmer in the first aid kits in both my ready to go packs.
  If I'm going to be doing any shelter work or camp project I take my Small Forest axe or boy's axe and buck saw.   

  As far as carrying a large knife with the idea of using it as a chopper,  I'm not a fan,  which is why I'm not generally into big knives,  the thing that makes the Tracker an exception is it's ability to do a variety of other tasks and do them handley,  it's a good chopper for wrist size pieces or smaller, I haven't tried it on larger dia. sized limbs but imagine it would be more work than it's worth.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2017, 07:11:21 PM »
No 'corn squeezings' for this dude.....it dulls the senses!  :P     I was merely counting up all of the different sharpening devices you listed in post #17 that were necessary to sharpen all the convex, flat and sabre grinds, specialized notches, saw teeth, etc. present on these 'one-tool-fits-none' abominations that many of the copycat makers put out there for our amusement. 8)     If you enjoy yours, I am happy!  :banana: :rofl:

  I counted two,  sand paper for the blades edge and a diamond hone for the quarter round step,  the Work Sharp sharpener would work ok with the tool sharpening device,  but the sandpaper/mouse pad and hone are simple, quick, and do a good job.
 
  If you were counting the steps to thin the profile on the Tom Brown Tracker then yes there's more work that needs to be done initially to get it from good to great, but once done it's as simple as any other knife to sharpen,  A Tops TB Tracker sells for $200.00,  a couple of hours invested into it turns it into a great survival knife,  or you can order a Dave Beck Tracker for upwards of a thousand dollars and get one with the custom work already done, Scott Gosman's Trackers are few and far between, the last one I saw for sale was on the blade forum about a year ago and sold for $700.00 used.
 Personally the customs are way too rich for my blood, had this one not come about in a trade I'd never be inclined to spend that kind of money on one,  but knowing what I know now I might be tempted to buy a Tops Tracker and modify it,  I might still do it if one comes my way for short money,  it would be a neat winter project. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2017, 07:53:25 PM »
"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."  8)


-attributed to H.L. Mencken
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Offline imnukensc

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2017, 08:57:52 PM »
Since this seems to have turned into a TBT thread instead of a big knife thread, I just thought I'd throw out that Bark River also makes a Tracker or Trakker as they call it.  Both Knives Ship Free and DLT Trading have them.  About $325. 
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 09:36:52 PM by imnukensc »
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2017, 06:41:47 AM »
Since this seems to have turned into a TBT thread instead of a big knife thread, I just thought I'd throw out that Bark River also makes a Tracker or Trakker as they call it.  Both Knives Ship Free and DLT Trading have them.  About $325.

  There's a couple of good video reviews on the Bark River version, if I run across them again I'll post a link,  this thread was intended to be about the Tracker styled "big knife", but wasn't meant to exclude other styles of large knives.
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Offline 1066vik

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2017, 06:36:48 PM »
big knife with a tracker flair?
TM Hunt M-18.


and Wolfy - if you want to mess with a custom Hudson Bay type blade, shoot me a PM with your address and I can loan you my JK HBXL.
 

Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2017, 08:51:03 PM »
VERY generous of you, 1066, but I would never do something like that.....what if I screwed it up?  I'd feel like crap if I couldn't replace it. :'(   I think I?m actually going to get one of my very own to mess with, IF my personal blade-smith comes through with a nice copy......and I'm almost certain he will if I keep goading him along for a few more months. ;D
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2017, 10:19:03 AM »
One of the fun things with this hobby is learning new techniques, even if they are not adopted.
I only have one large knife and don't really know how to use it well.
It was a British MOD 4 survival knife.
I hated the handle and I found that the steep single bevel didn't chop well. It actually did care somewhat well for a knife that size.
Anyway, I removed the slabs, cut off the protrusion at the bottom of the handle and installed pretty nice rosewood slabs with 1/8" brass pins.
I was inspired by the Tracker's dual grind so I then proceeded to thin and convex the forward 4" of the blade. I kept about 2" near the handle with the original scandi grind.
I did all that and used it a few times to prove that the convex edge chopped better and then I lost interest and put it away.
Perhaps I should did it out again and do some learning.
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline 1066vik

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2017, 07:34:42 PM »
VERY generous of you, 1066, but I would never do something like that.....what if I screwed it up?  I'd feel like crap if I couldn't replace it. :'(   I think I?m actually going to get one of my very own to mess with, IF my personal blade-smith comes through with a nice copy......and I'm almost certain he will if I keep goading him along for a few more months. ;D

no worries - it's pretty hefty, and the maker waranty's his work.  let me know if you change your mind.
OTOH, the condor HB isn't a bad copy.
otOoh, I could hammer one of of a mower blade.

Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2017, 11:15:42 PM »
I have one of the Condor HBKs and you're right, it isn't a bad copy, but it ain't close enough for someone as obsessive/compulsive as I am. ;D
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2017, 06:33:03 AM »
VERY generous of you, 1066, but I would never do something like that.....what if I screwed it up?  I'd feel like crap if I couldn't replace it. :'(   I think I?m actually going to get one of my very own to mess with, IF my personal blade-smith comes through with a nice copy......and I'm almost certain he will if I keep goading him along for a few more months. ;D

 8)
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2017, 06:42:13 AM »
I am still patiently waiting for information on my Kephart from Sarge.

I hear you guys...you too, wolfy. I haven't been around the campfire much lately. I've been finishing up some prior commitments so I can resume Operation Kephart (and maybe then HBK).
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2017, 08:36:34 AM »
Thanks Sarge, always great to hear from you about what it going one with the project.  Merry Christmas.
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2017, 08:53:34 AM »
Thanks, wsdstan. Merry Christmas to you, too.

I've enjoyed this thread but haven't chimed in yet. I've never tried a Tracker style knife but I've thought about giving this Dave McIntyre machete mod a try. It's sorta Tracker-ish and big knife related but not custom knife related.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsZb_1XfFHo
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #37 on: December 16, 2017, 05:39:38 PM »
hey moe, as for the trackers i posted them some time ago in the
self made knife section.under some of my new knives i believe.

Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2017, 10:29:29 PM »
One of the fun things with this hobby is learning new techniques, even if they are not adopted.
I only have one large knife and don't really know how to use it well.
It was a British MOD 4 survival knife.
I hated the handle and I found that the steep single bevel didn't chop well. It actually did care somewhat well for a knife that size.
Anyway, I removed the slabs, cut off the protrusion at the bottom of the handle and installed pretty nice rosewood slabs with 1/8" brass pins.
I was inspired by the Tracker's dual grind so I then proceeded to thin and convex the forward 4" of the blade. I kept about 2" near the handle with the original scandi grind.
I did all that and used it a few times to prove that the convex edge chopped better and then I lost interest and put it away.
Perhaps I should did it out again and do some learning.

Those sound like good mods for the MOD4. I've seen pictures of old ones and the handle looks more friendly than what new ones appear to come with- chamfered and a bit blocky. We're the old models user modified I don't know. Protrusion? Do you mean at the pommel end? Did you remove it completely? 
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Offline Sarge

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2017, 06:17:47 AM »
That Mod 4 mod project sounds interesting, Yeoman.
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Offline 1066vik

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2017, 08:45:23 AM »
The first Becker Campanion knife was a heavily modded MOD4 -- Ethan was certain there was a way to make that knife comfortable to use -- and eventually, he proved it!

Offline Sarge

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2017, 01:51:20 PM »
That's good stuff, vik! I can see the resemblance now.
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2017, 04:06:03 PM »
That Mod 4 mod project sounds interesting, Yeoman.
I'll post some pics when I can find them.
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Offline Yeoman

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2017, 04:12:44 PM »
One of the fun things with this hobby is learning new techniques, even if they are not adopted.
I only have one large knife and don't really know how to use it well.
It was a British MOD 4 survival knife.
I hated the handle and I found that the steep single bevel didn't chop well. It actually did care somewhat well for a knife that size.
Anyway, I removed the slabs, cut off the protrusion at the bottom of the handle and installed pretty nice rosewood slabs with 1/8" brass pins.
I was inspired by the Tracker's dual grind so I then proceeded to thin and convex the forward 4" of the blade. I kept about 2" near the handle with the original scandi grind.
I did all that and used it a few times to prove that the convex edge chopped better and then I lost interest and put it away.
Perhaps I should did it out again and do some learning.
Yes, the lump on the pommel end similar to that on many machetes to prevent grip slippage and allow choking down for chopping. I used a few cut off wheels on a Dremel and then rounded it back on a belt sander. What a mistake. If I could do it all over again. I simply would have removed 1/3-1/2 of it. I wanted the handle to resemble my preferred bushcraft knife handle style, but didn't realize what I was giving up in security and technique.

Those sound like good mods for the MOD4. I've seen pictures of old ones and the handle looks more friendly than what new ones appear to come with- chamfered and a bit blocky. We're the old models user modified I don't know. Protrusion? Do you mean at the pommel end? Did you remove it completely?
"Learning: a continuation of the failure process"

Offline Unknown

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2017, 09:59:40 AM »
I showed my first attempt with my Leuku handle to some friends and that was the feeling they had. Not enough security at the pommel. There's probably several things you could do if you ever get in the mood. Maybe as simple as a lanyard hole.
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2018, 04:08:58 AM »
without bothering to read all of this thread,  I'll just toss in a picture of what is, in my ever so humble opinion, the best 'big chopper' out there.  Built by Tim Olt, 11 inches of  .28 thick A2 steel.  Micarta scales.  It works.

Offline madmax

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #46 on: January 27, 2018, 04:47:34 AM »
That is one fine big knife.  Might just be perfect for FL.  Feels good in hand.
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Offline 1066vik

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #47 on: January 27, 2018, 09:05:20 AM »
nice looking knife!

Offline wolfy

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #48 on: January 27, 2018, 09:14:52 AM »
What does something like that sell for these days?
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: Big knives revisited
« Reply #49 on: January 27, 2018, 03:57:12 PM »
if someone could talk Tim into making another, it would probably be in the $400 range.  He says it takes many hours of grinding, and the A2 eats belts.  I bought this in 2011.  It has chopped, batoned, cut, sliced and whacked a truck load of wood since then.  There is not a mark on it.  No rust, no corrosion, no wear.  It's a beast.  Weighs 1.7 pounds.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 04:06:31 PM by Mannlicher »