View Full Version : Why a Sub-hilt?

07-06-2006, 11:42 PM
This has been on my mind for a while. What is the deal with Sub-hilt fighters? They are tough to make, tough to hold in any position but the fencing grasp, tough to justify as a true fighter - because of the above-menitoned handling characteristics, tough to keep in stock, or on the table at a show, because they are so danged popular! It's a puzzle in many ways, I love 'em but am not sure why!

Thad Buchanan
07-07-2006, 12:17 AM
I suspect the popularity has to do with the unique appearance and the complexity of the knife. It also seems like big fighters have a mystique about them that appeals to people. But wait a minute, aren't all your knives hard to keep on the table?

07-07-2006, 04:57 AM
I agree, the alure of a LARGE knife always grabs my eye.

SECOND, who wouldn't want one of your knives Steve ?, the problem is talking "Momma" into spending the money.:D

07-07-2006, 11:03 AM
I agree, they sell because of their looks rather than any practicle use, just like :doubleenf bowie knives. How many of those slab sided pig stickers would you want to take out camping or some where you might get envolved in a close encounter of the worst kind? Just another symbol of machoism.

Doug Lester

Thad Buchanan
07-07-2006, 01:37 PM
Right, if I have to carry something that heavy, I prefer it be in .45 cal. But for appearances, you just can't get past the pure beauty of that long double ground blade and that sub-hilt extending down behing the guard. It's just too classic to ever go out of style.

07-07-2006, 02:59 PM
Hey, they do well in removing an arrow from a tree! But they are pretty heavy and most only get carried one time, I'm guessing.......

Thad Buchanan
07-08-2006, 12:20 AM
An arrow in a tree, is there a story to be told?

07-08-2006, 01:37 AM
No sotry. Just the fact that on one of my first bow hunts I carried my big Draper Jungle Bowie, just in case I had to chop an arrow out of a tree. Probably cut down a tree, or two, can't remember, but it was so heavy that I only carried it that first time.

Speaking of Sub-hilts: Just got off the phone tonight with Bob L. and they are currently working on six Big Bears! Already working, also, on next year's AKI knives. Wish I could get ahead a little! He said that they both are doing well and he can't complain for his age. It was great to talk with him and catch up on things.

Thad Buchanan
07-08-2006, 08:11 AM
I was fortunate enough to spend a day in Loveless' shop back in 1987. I'd only been making knives for a year at that point and it was a great experience to see how the big boys did it.

I'm sure you've been on the receiving end of many Loveless pranks so you might appreciate this: Bob had walked out of the room and left me standing there to ponder over the knives he had on the bench. When he came back in he decided it would be fun to fire a round from his .45 into the bullet trap at the other end of the shop, without warning me of course. I'd been a cop for about ten years by then. When that round went off all I could think of was duck and cover. He thought it was great of course. That was the first time I ever met the man. I can only imagine how he treats his friends. It's also the only time I've been in a knife shop that doubled as an indoor range. It's good to know he and Jim are doing well.

07-09-2006, 03:52 AM
Thad, Come on out to Texas. I've got the bullet trap all set up. Steve, The only thing I can think of, is that Sub-Hilts are just Drop Dead georgeous. Mike

07-09-2006, 07:31 AM
All 'Fighters' by their nature are a weapon rather than a tool. Singular purpose meant to sever and defend or to stab and offend. Isn't the subhilt portion an extra grip enhancement that also gives the user a better purchase to extract a knife from the victim? :eek:

There is nothing subtle about a subilt. It is as singular and openly sinister as is a Dodge Viper is as a sports car. It is at the extreme end of overall usefulness, but perfectly suited to it's intended task.

I think the adrenaline factor and it's sinister aspect have a LOT to do with the appeal. Even though 99.99% of the time they are not going to be utilized for its purpose.

That's why.

As I write, I have one of Mike's subhilts ready to photograph. Just incredible!


07-10-2006, 12:04 PM
Coop. That's all true, but in a combat situation, you'd want a pretty versatile blade, I'd think. One that is comfortable/useable in any position. As I said though, Love them sub-hilts!
Speaking of same: If possible, could you post some of your photos of that amazing folding Sub-hilt that you put on the USN?

07-10-2006, 12:35 PM
I have scads. Here is a special one from an unknown maker from China, Ce Sun. Just arrived...

Simply I N C R E D I B L E . . . . ! :eek:

I'll have one from Mike Lovett in the next day or so....


07-10-2006, 03:08 PM

07-10-2006, 07:24 PM
That officially takes brain twist to a whole new level.
Now, how many others sat here for 5 minutes trying to figure out the mechanics of the thing, come on, fess up.

07-10-2006, 07:25 PM
Is the craftmanship as good as it looks? Does the maker sell these pieces? Is there a way of contacting him?

07-10-2006, 08:51 PM
Steve V, Yes, yes, and yes. Read all about it here (


Charles Vestal
07-11-2006, 06:35 AM
I think it might have taken me longer than five minutes, and still not sure if I have it figured out.

That is a truly amazing knife.
Thanks for posting it Coop.


cliff fendley
07-16-2006, 12:38 PM
That officially takes brain twist to a whole new level.
Now, how many others sat here for 5 minutes trying to figure out the mechanics of the thing, come on, fess up.

Roger Keagle
02-06-2007, 10:37 PM
Magic idea, just when I thought I had seen it all...several projects, all of which boggle the mind could be applyed to this... the lock could be like Worm's style of years ago. I really like how the engraving brings this work together.
I have built a few subhilts, and it is hard to NOT copy Bob L when you do one, he SO put his stamp on this style !
Last one I did, was very thin, used buffalo horn and Damuscus, my customer called it "Stealth" (He keeps it under his pillow at night !)
Newby, just had to throw in my two cents...sure nice to be sitting in outback Oz, and do this, been alone at the forge for so many years here...

02-07-2007, 09:07 AM
Thanks Roger. Stay well out there in the outback, OK? Isn't it great to be able to see what's going on, almost anywhere in the world with the technology that's available?
Got any pictures of your work?

Gary Mulkey
02-07-2007, 10:08 AM
I will admit that I am one who not only spent the initial time figuring out the engineering but went back for more. The blade is obviously a lock-back but I'm not sure on the sub-hilt section. I'm assuming that it works like a slip joint. Outstanding knife! Notice how the attaching screw for the main guard seems to dissappear when open.



02-07-2007, 05:33 PM
That knife is really amazing, isn't it Gary.

Wish I could help on photo posting, Roger. I'm sure that the FAQ section will be of help. Or someone can chime and and advise you. Hope to see some photos soon!