Friday, 3 April 2009

Blogs & Blades

'You Cant Always Get What you Want. You can't always get what you want. And if you try sometime you find You get what you need''

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my hotel room, surfing away, looking at the output of customer knife makers. As yer do.
Trying to resist exposing you dear reader to further outbursts of my avaricious 'I Want One - a not so occasional series' posts, and fighting the urge to bankrupt myself when,it was as though the the kit collecting god smiled upon me. 
 I received an email from Black Rabbit who writes the Obsidian Rabbit blog

....... I'd like to ask you to review one of my knives. In return for your time, I'll happily make you the knife to your specifications and send it to you before you write the review - this way you'll be able to play/work with it first, get a feel for it, and be able to form your own honest opinion. Now don't get me wrong - this knife would not be payment for a favourable review - you can say write whatever you want about it, as long as it's fair (but I wouldn't expect anything else) - and after you've posted, the knife remains with you, for keeps.

Well YE HARRRR!!!! I waited all of .00000001 of a second before biting his hand off - right up to the elbow!!!!

So we've been bouncing a few emails back and forth, chewing a few ideas over and the project is coming along nicely. Very nicely.

We looked at three wildly differant ideas:
The Hunter - my favorite interpretation is the fallkniven TK5 and TK6
The BIG Leuku - The Sammi design that's sort of half way point beteen a camp chopper and a machete
The Bushtool - a relatively new design pioneered by Rod Garcia which he calls the skookum bushtool

I've never been remotely interested in the 'woodlore' style bushcraft knife developed by Ray Mears, I'm sure they're great but they just don't speak to me. The bushtool on the other hand looks like something really genuinely different and i've been keen since the first review i saw.

Here's a few of the reviews I've seen over the last couple of years
Bushcraftuk with a field test in the jungle
Britishblades with a moan about the ordering process
Dirt Times review with a bit of background on how Rod Garcia developed the design
karamat (the bushcraft school that hosts Mors Kochanski's training's which inspired the design)
Old Jimbo now hosting the outdoors magazine review

I've only ever seen one traded 'pre loved' and even that was out of my price range. A maker called Mick Spain does his interpretation of the design and it too is both a stunner and unaffordable at this time.

So I was delighted to seize the chance to get my chubby little hands round one. The best thing about having a knife made for you is that all those little details that no one ever seems to get quite right are suddenly solve-able.

Some thoughts:
Not too thick - a thinner blade offers you a little more finesse 

Not wood - handsome rare woods are certainly amazing to gaze at, but a real 'user' will be subjected to the blood and guts of field butchery and may need to be sterilized many times during it's life. Micarta or G10 are the best options for the small scale maker. Micarta is layers of cloth or paper set in resin, G10 is the same idea with fiberglass.

ORANGE - BoB (Brother of Bushwacker) is more of an outdoorsman than any of the armchair warriors posting on the internet even wish they were and he reckons outdoor kit comes in two colors 'where did i put that green? and So that's where it is ORANGE!' 

Deep Choi - the Scandinavian esthetic (popularized by Mors Kochanski) has it that a finger guard only gets in the way. While i agree that it does limit the options for sheath design it also serves the valuable purpose of limiting the potential for a cut finger. Call me a wuss if you like, but I've seen some nasty accidents and had a few not so nasty ones myself. Limiting the potential for disaster is part of the design brief. So a deep 'cut out' that secures the users grip is essential - this one's coming on an Elk hunt and will cut many sandwiches between here and there.

Innovation - Sorry to say this chaps but most knives are just so [yawn] same-old-same-old, the Skookum is different, Raidops aint to everyones taste but his work is different, fallkniven has super cool laminated steel, Wild Steer knives are literally the ugliest thing I've seen since ex-Mrs SBW's sister in law, but at least WSK are trying to do something clever and innovative.  So I was delighted when BlackRabbit tentatively suggested insetting a southern cross into the handle. The Southern Cross is a constellation only visible in the southern hemisphere and a potent symbol of Australia. Different AND it nicely ties the makers work to his locale. 

More news of the project as it comes in
PS get Black Rabbits side of the story here


Hubert Hubert said...

Thanks for the link to Obsidian Rabbit. It's got me thinking about getting my (fake) Dremmel out and machining a gut hook somehow...

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Dremmel's are wonderful toys/tools but MAKE SURE YOU WEAR EYE PROTECTION

last week i disintegrated two wheels and a grinding head and i wasn't even playing rough with it.


Pyzahn said...

I have never seen so much research packed into one blog post. I can appreciate the quest.