View Full Version : What do you think of guards

Alex Cole
02-06-2003, 03:12 PM
Hello to all!

With the knives I have made to date I havn't put a guard on any of them. I was just wondering what your thoughts were on guards and what roles they play in a knife. I can understand they protect your hand from sliding up onto the blade but then again unless it's a hunting knife or for military where a stabbing motion might be needed. But for the common use knife is there an important role or is it just part of knife making tradition. I like my knives without the guard and I try to shape the handle to fit the hand comfortably enough that even with some forward thrust your had shouldn't slide up the blade. But I want to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know what you think!

Brett Bennett
02-06-2003, 03:22 PM
I make all of my knives with some sort of finger protection, however, that doesn't always necessitate a guard. You can incorporate a drop in the design for protection and still use slab handles.

Jamey Saunders
02-06-2003, 03:27 PM
It's all very subjective. However, there are some accepted standards. If you're going to make a bowie or camp knife, a guard is expected (except for California Bowies, where not naving a guard is accepted). Tactical knives usually don't have a guard. As for hunting knives, it can go either way. In this class, I think the most important thing is, does it look nice? I've seen hunting knives that look great both with and without guards. You may also want to consider bolsters. I think of bolsters to be half-way between having a guard and not having one.

Like so many parts of knifemaking, the choice on this is between you and your customer.

02-07-2003, 06:32 PM
guards on fighters (bowie or tactical) are usually doubled for protection of the user's hand from the oponent's blade sliding down the blade, in addition to protection from one's own blade in a thrust.
as mentioned, guards on most other knives are for protection of the user's hand when thrusting.
this protection can be provided either by the profile of the blank or by a separate piece of metal.
knives that are designed/made/used strictly for cutting in a pulling motion (slicing) would not require such hand protection.
all this is dogma.
in the end, as jamey suggests, it is between you and the customer whether any of this applies :p

Sandy Morrissey
02-07-2003, 07:04 PM
I put guards in the same category as steel toed shoes, darn nice to have when they are needed! Sandy

02-07-2003, 09:12 PM
Alex,it is basically up to you as has been said.I too struggle with this even after many years.I sometimes spend hours looking at a design to figure out what is appropriate, and in the end it is what makes you feel good.
On another note, my dear friend Sandy must be slipping for not mentioning how hard some guards are to fit to sheaths.As his humble student I would be wacked across the knuckles for not saying something.Try to make your guards narrow and rounded as possible to fit the sheath better.Sharp corners and ultra-wide guards give sheathmakers gray hair.The worse thing is that I give most of them to myself because I make my own knives and have to sheath them.Hope this helps another Cole. Dave Cole :D

Jason Cutter
02-12-2003, 10:45 PM
Remember that guards whether on full tangs or hidden tangs add weight to the knife, especially those made of any metal. I took to making guards from canvas or linen Micarta or G-10 on a lot of my "fighters" and lightweight hunters for that reason. Its not a new idea. I got the idea from Mad Dog Knives and Geno Denning (Caveman Engineering). A brass guard takes twice as long to fit and weighs 3-4times as much as my canvas Micarta guards. Micarta is amazingly strong, easily worked and corrosion resistant. Its also an unusual look.

As already mentioned, the guard, its shape and size, double or single, depends heavily on the way the user holds and uses the knife. To a lesser degree, it depends on the experience of the user, the type of handle material, and as stated, how you plan for the sheath.