MEMBER ITEMS FOR SALE
Custom Knives | Other Knives | General Items
-------------------------------------------
New Posts | New PhotosAll Photos



Go Back   The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions > Custom Knife Discussion Boards > The Outpost

The Outpost This forum is dedicated to all who share a love for, and a desire to make good knives, and have fun doing it. We represent a diverse group of smiths and knifemakers who bring numerous methods to their craft.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-28-2002, 03:48 PM
Dana Acker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Let's Talk Philosophy---Knife Philosophy, That Is


What elements do you think go into making a good knife?

Now wait and think a moment before you answer. Obvious things, like good and appropriate steel selection, craftsmanship, proper heat treatment--hard edge, springy back, aesthetics, balance, etc. are all givens, and do not count for this discussion since they are beyond obvious. For without all of the above what do you really have?

No, I'd like to know what features you think should be built in to a knive or type of knife that make it that good type of knife--or a functional knife, or whatever, and most importantly, why? What features do you build into a working knife to make it a good working knife in your opinion? Or a combat knife? A tactical knife? A hunting knife? Art knife?

Here's an example from my own knife philosophy. I make a lot of working knives of all sizes and descriptions. Two things I feel that are needed on a knife a person might be using every day, are some form of guard (whether it be an added guard of brass, copper, SS steel, wrought iron etc., or an integral finger stop, either forged or cut into the blade) to keep the hand from sliding forward on the blade. Also I like a longer ricasso area, and either cut grooves or file work on the spine of the blade as a thumb grip, for working forward of the guard area--ie., for choking up on the knife for better control when doing precise work.

Remember, this is a "make you think" exercise, and not intended to be a debate. There's really no right or wrong answer--it's strictly personal, and a matter of the maker's taste. But hopefully there will be things posted that will make us think and perhaps be able to incorporate into our knifemaking, which could make us better at what we do, and help us to make a better product. That's what this is all about. Sharp and pointy are good, but there's more.

So what's your philosophy? Make sure you list along with your ideas, what type of knife to which they apply.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-28-2002, 04:25 PM
prizzim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

This is an excellent post, the kind I really like. I want to come up with a good answer, though, so give me a while to think about it. Good on 'ya, Dana, for asking though.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-28-2002, 07:58 PM
foxcreek
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Design philosophy


I like to make knives that are not unnecessarily complicated just for the sake of complexity. I do like well thought out design details like Spanish notches and swages, that might not be really function but are traditional design features that allow a knife to rise above the purely plain. You know, add a little aesthetic dimension. You see so many "art" knives now that are dripping rubies and emeralds, but some how seem to lack any realized underlying form. Its all surface. More and more I find that the blade etching I do is an important part of the finishing process, and not just "making it look old." Right now I am finishing up a series of what I call Sheffield style knives, and doing some drawings. I am fascinated by the stylistic quirks of the 19th century Sheffield knives and have fun trying to capture something of the same flavor in my work.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-28-2002, 08:01 PM
foxcreek
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
philosophy


Excellent topic I meant to say too! In art school you have to talk about your work a lot. It is mainly an exercise in forcing self examination and evaluation. It really helps to clarify ones ideas to put them into words.
And when you do, you see the validity of your work in a new way.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-28-2002, 09:06 PM
prizzim
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: philosophy


Ok, here goes.

For myself, I think consistancy is key. I see many makers on this forum bounce from one type of knife to another, always experimenting, myself included. What I'd like to be able to do is crank out 20 well-designed and executed knives of the same type, nearly indistinguishable from each other, unless I differentiate them on purpose. I put this in the category of essential elements, because without the ability to repeat your success, everything you do right on one knife might be a fluke. It is similar to the principle held in the scientific method, that your results should be repeatable in a consistant manner. Otherwise you're relying on luck to carry you through. I don't claim to be a great knifemaker, but I'm getting better. I'll go ahead and apologize for the lack of pictures of my work, but film's expensive and I'm expecting a third daughter in the next couple weeks.

Anyway, to cut the rant short, I think that one should be able to make a knife, and then make another just like it for your friend. That's the level of thought I want to see in my own work, at least. I'll let you know when I get there.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-28-2002, 10:50 PM
MaxTheKnife
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: philosophy


Ok, here's what I try to get into most all of my knives. My style has evolved over a period of time because I like to experiment. But, once I come up with what I think is the best combination of features that make a knife truly functional and beautiful in it's own way, I stick with it. All future knives will have some of the influence of my earlier work.

First, I like a combo or dual purpose blade point or tip. I like to be able to use a knife for more than one thing. So, I generally use a combination drop/clip point style on my knives. The point is dropped but the edge still has the clip style for a nice, round edge. That's all of them besides the obvious Wharncliffe.

Next, I like to have a nice gradual downward curve to the blade. And along with that, a recurve style edge that follows the curve of the spine. That, for me, keeps the whole thing symmetrical and well balanced. The recurve style edge compliments both the Drop point and the clip point. The recurve edge is the most multi-purpose edge I've found. Oh sure, it doesn't work on all knives. The kitchen chef knife for example. Not good. But, on the same hand, you can use a good camp knife with a recurve edge as a chef knife if you need to. It's all in the need at the time. So, the recurve edge gives your knife utility and function. It cuts equally as well on the push as well as the pull stroke. It's all in the geometry of the blade shape.

I like some type of guard on all my knives. Like Dana mentioned earlier, at least a finger groove right behind the edge or ricasso. You'll see that on all of my neck knives. (along with a recurve)

The handle needs to have some curve to it as well. It needs to fit your hand. I don't care what kind of knife it is it, the handle should be forged to fit your hand. Your hand should never have to learn to fit a handle. It doesn't have to be alot of curve. But it needs to be there.

Those are the basics for me. The rest is all gravy. But I'd like to add onto the reasoning behind my choices. Think about cleaning that deer with only one knife. If you use a knife with a completely straight profile like so many drop point hunters, it will be a chore. You actually have to push your hand into the gut of the deer to get it lined up right for gutting. With a slight curve in the blade, the point naturally will be lower than the centerline of the knife profile. That makes it easy to lay the knife down on it's spine and slide it along the belly hide without hooking the gut sack and making a big mess. Who needs a gut hook if your blade is curved in a way that makes it natural to use? That's just my thoughts on the deal. I've seen it work and it caused me to change the way I forge my blades.

Now, when you begin to skin the same deer, that recurve edge with the combo tip really makes it easy. There's no needle sharp point to tear the hide so what you have is a nice, curved edge where it counts most. Hard to put into words. You just have to try it for yourself.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-29-2002, 01:16 AM
genechapman
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: philosophy


From my neo-tribal/primitive point of view, so,do it cut well and do it stay sharp and do it look good???
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-29-2002, 03:04 AM
Tim Wagendorp
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: philosophy


Good question Dana (you sound like a psychiatrist wanting to cure all these crazy knifemaking fools ).

Once I was explaining a potential customer how a knife is build and what i try to achieve while building it. I concluded with 1 sentence: "I try to make beautiful cutting tools".

You all know what it takes to make a the "cutting tool " (forging, heat treatment, grinding, polishing,...). It is my personal aim to allways improve the skills needed to achieve this goal. This pure functional aspect is an important one, but is in my eyes completed by an esthetic component.

What makes the cutting tool "beautiful"? OK, i admit that's personal. During my 5 years of knifemaking, I developped a personal style. An interesting discussion with Jean Tanazacq (a French professional knifemaker that invited me to work in his shop for a few days) helped me a lot with esthaetics. He thought me the difference between intrensic (beauty from within, caused by the overall shape and harmony between materials) and extrensic beauty (external embellishment). Maybe the freaks among us will need a simple example to understand this difference: some girls don't need makeup and have some kind of natural beauty, others cover themselves with makeup and jewels but will never have the charisma of the first girl...
How i translate this into my knives? Well, i try to combine good quality materials (hardwood, horn, antler,...) with elegance while making my knives (mostly scandinavian influenced utility knives (ie puukko's). In my eyes a guard is not crucial: these scandinavians have been using guardless knives for ages. Maybe they are genetically adapted (kevlar skin), or they adapted their cutting habits (pulling a knife in stead of pushing, using the pommel while piercing something, ...). Anyway, for me it's very important that the overall shape of the knife is one flowing gracious curve, where blade and handle form an elegant unity...
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-29-2002, 06:42 AM
nifeman
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: philosophy


Like the Harley riders say " If I gotta explain it, you wouldn't understand it"...


Long live Neo-tribalism
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-29-2002, 10:49 AM
TLM
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: philosophy


On the point wheather scandinavians have tougher skins, the answer is no. The fact just is that puukko is used in a different way from the anglo-saxon tradition. During these forty years I have used a puukko, I have only once slipped to the blade, even then with little damage, the reason was a blody "design" puukko with a smooth polyamide handle.

From a different tradition
TLM
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-29-2002, 10:56 AM
The Flaming Blade
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Survival knives!



All my knives are survival knives ... if I sell them, I get to survive.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-29-2002, 12:35 PM
Dana Acker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Survival knives!


I once got to work with a Captain in the Green Berets who was interested in designing into a knife what he thought to be the most essential characteristics needed for a good field/combat knife. He was a person for whom a knife was not a luxury. It was a constant companion/tool/weapon. We talked for better than a month before we decided on a prototype. I built the prototype which he used and evaluated, then sent the knife to his knife fighting instructor who had trained troops in knife use in Viet Nam, He offered some changes, which I incorporated into the 2nd and 3rd ones I produced for him. But that exercise really made me think about what features are necesary to make knives be the best they can be. Until that time, I just sort of fired up the forge and made whatever....not really thinking about whether or not the knife was all that it could be.

Now design and function are very important parts of my knifemaking. Certain ideas I have incorporated into most of my blades are to me, of such improtance, that I've either not finished older blades I started or refused to sell or give away blades that that didn't have those features. If you get a minute, check out the "Black Knight" knives on my website. Take a look at what one professional thought was important enough to want on the knife he carried. Since that time, I've been able to make suggestions to people, of which later they've come back and thanked me, because after using a knife I made, they thought it was "better," ie., more useful than it would have been without the things I suggested design-wise.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-29-2002, 04:10 PM
Dana Acker
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

Captain Knight felt that the perfect combat/field knife should contain the following:
1) Double/cross guard
2) Finger groove forward of the guard (for choking-up)
3) Roughed area exposed at the pommel for striking matches.
4) Two finger grooves on the handle in case if in a fight he lost his index finger, it left him an extra groove to keep hold of the knife.
5) Partially serrated bottom edge, and a long, sharpened false edge.
6) Micarta or other comparable synthetic handle material for wet conditions.

These are the things that readily come to mind from the talks we had.

So again, I ask? What, in your humble opinions makes for a good skinner? A good hunter? Combat or tactical? Etc.?

Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-29-2002, 07:57 PM
MaxTheKnife
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

My question is why have three separate knives when you can have one that will do it all? Not trying to be a smartass here. Just wondering what all the hubub is about? Forge one knife that will fill all the requirements and there you go. I've done it in the past. I know I can do it again. Of course, that's just my take on it. I don't know nuthin. Heh.

Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-29-2002, 08:25 PM
foxcreek
Guest
 
Posts: n/a

You know the old adage, "form follows function." You can have a knife designed for a specialized purpose, such as a skinner, superb for skinning and useful for other uses. You can also design a general purpose knife that does pretty much everything acceptably well. There is no end of variation in design. Some of it is just tradition or aesthetics, or ethnic. Some forms, such as the skinner are so well developed that the form is pretty much fixed. You cant improve on the form of the skinners used over a hundred years ago by the professional buffalo hunters, etc. All else is aesthetics. Like they say, "A chicken ain't nuttin but a bird!" and plenty of room for all happily.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
a, art, art knife, blade, ca, forge, forging, guard, harley, hunting, hunting knife, iron, knife, knife making, knifemaking, knives, leather, made, make, material, post, sheath, teach, worth


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 

(View-All Members who have read this thread : 10
argel55, cnccutter, Dana Acker, jimmontg, jon creason, mtuuri, prizzim, Sallet, Tai Google, TexasJack
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:37 AM.




KNIFENETWORK.COM
Copyright © 2000
? CKK Industries, Inc. ? All Rights Reserved
Powered by ...

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved