That Ranger is nasty looking! As I recall I have made only one in this variation. Thanks for sharing Gus!
First of all, a HUGE HUGE "Thank you" to Kymedic45 who graciously sent his outstanding Apache to me so I could check one out first-hand!
Secondly, here are some comparison pics of my OKT Hunter and his Apache. The Apache handle is curved a bit more but that could just be customization/variation. As commonly stated, the Apache blade is about 1/8" shorter and the tip drops a bit more to the center line. I would say that the handles are almost identical in all of the widths and contours. Note that the pictures and difference in materials are a bit of an illusion - they really are the same.
Bottom line is that I would choose and recommend either one, the differences are minimal/subtle but I do think I prefer the Apache just a tad more with the drop of the blade tip.
It would be awesome if we could get some close-up shots of the different types of hammer texturing that Chris does on the blade flats.
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I recently acquired two new Osprey knives from DLT Trading (Eric was a pleasure to deal with the way.) The models I picked up are the Razorback and Ranger. I decided that this occasion was a good excuse to post some comparison photos with similar size Fiddleback knives to show a sense of scale with other knives you may be more familiar with.
First up is the Razorback shown with my Bushcrafter and my wife’s Bush Hermit. The blade on the Razorback is taller with a more centered spear point than the other two.
The Razorback has more noticeable Coke-bottle shaped handle contouring than the Fiddlebacks.
The balance point is just a touch behind the center of the first finger depression (choil?)
Back to back photos show that the top of the handles are of similar length.
Looking at the bottom handle comparisons, you will notice that the effective handle length (i.e. “distance from the center of the first finger depression to the back corner of the handle.”) on the Razorback is shorter than the other two due to the forward pommel angle.
I like all three of these knives for different reasons. The Razorback is definitely a keeper in the rotation.
Moving on to the Ranger, here it is with my Fiddleback Woodsman and Duke.
The blade on the Ranger has a little more belly than the other two. The hammer-texturing pattern on this blade is one of my favorite patterns that Chris does.
The Ranger has perfectly neutral balance.
Back-to-back photos show that the blade on the Ranger is slightly longer and the handle is a little shorter than the Woodsman and Duke.
Switching to the bottom handle comparisons, you will notice that the effective handle length on the Ranger is shorter than the other two due to the more acute forward pommel angle. The Ranger handle also has taller “m” curves on the bottom than the Woodsman and Duke. The handle height on the Ranger is slightly less than the others too.
Overall, I found the handle on the Ranger comfortable and roomy enough for its blade size. With that said, I still prefer the more open feel of the Woodsman and Duke handles. The blade shape on the Ranger strikes me as a better all-around shape than the other two given the belly and tip placement above the centerline.
My plan going into this particular comparison was to pick two of these knives to keep and let one go. In the end, it came down to the fact that I like the handles better on the Woodman and Duke. In the end, a good friend of mine in Arizona wanted this Ranger more than I did, so it has moved on to his collection. I am sure that you will be seeing more photos of it soon.
The Fiddleback Woodsman is a wonderful blade an one that I would find hard to replace with any knife in that size range. It is one of those profiles that you can get a lot of use from both at home or out in the woods. I am also fairly confident the Duke would be held in a similar position and become a go-to field knife, though I have yet to handle one. I really like the the production Duke and have been holding out for either a surprise run of 3V or a nice custom shop Duke. Maybe one of these days one will pop up that I want to try for.
I have been intrigued with Chris' Ranger for some time and finally have one coming in the near future. It is a knife that I am fairly excited to try. Like you the Duke, if I owned one, would be the knife I would make the comparison to. The addition of the Woodsman is a nice touch. The more I look at the Ranger, and these photos with the handles are helpful, the more I think I am going to love it. Some pretty knives you got there.
I cant believe I forgot to respond to this post. I glimpsed at it once and it slipped my mind. Thank you for sharing your comparisons of the Ranger, and Razorback with other more familiar models.
I enjoy reading about my work as well as others through your perspective. I like how you pointed out the unique but subtle differences between the blades.
I am pleased you like the Razorback, and I look forward to anymore indepth analysis you may have to offer.
I can say that I am slightly disappointed that you didnt like the Ranger enought to keep it. (just ribbing you)
I do however understand that it had nothing to do with the quality of the blade, just a personal preference of style on your part. Reading this did allow me to gain insight on designing future blades similar to the Ranger that would be more appealing to you and others for the reasons you pointed out.
I appreciate you taking the time to study and analyze my work, and sharing what you find with all of us. I know I am not the only one who respects your opinion and appreciates your council and friendship.
If I may offer one suggestion from a users perspective, I would like to see you apply small radii to the front and back corners and edges of your handles. I am not suggesting doing away with the unique lines of your handle designs, just wishing you would soften the edges a little to eliminate potential hot spots in use. I hope others will chime in here with an opinion one way or another on this subject.
Keep growing and evolving Chris. You are the knife maker that I most closely follow now. You have a very bright future. Thanks for sharing your creative process and wonderful knives with us.
One of the reasons that Phil and I have so many knives that have moved between us is that we usually come to the same conclusion about what knives we buy, really like, and use. Of course, we love to discuss these attributes at length over good food and beverage. Through his generosity I have been able to acquire several OKT knives over the past month(s). I have been working on some other posts that will be up in the near future focusing on mid to large sized-knives and I definitely wanted to throw a Ranger in the mix. As with all of Chris' knives, fit and finish are exceptional. Here are the four I currently have in my possession:
Kind of a boring review on my part, but I don't have much to add to Phil's comments on the Ranger. I absolutely agree with his opinions. The Ranger fits my hand well, but I certainly fill the grip. If my hand were any larger it wouldn't work as well. It is one of the lightest and well balanced 3/16 knives in that size range that I have held. For that reason, and the tip position (as Phil pointed out) I think I will keep the Ranger Chris! The other thread I'm working through has taken far more time than I though because I want to include as many "in the field" shots as I can. One knife that will be discussed there is the Fiddleback Forager. I find the comparison interesting between the Ranger and the Forager because the shape of the blade's cutting surface and tip placement are almost Identical. The handle and the balance couldn't be more different. An interesting comparison to play with for sure (more to come). The 3/16 Ranger is actually lighter than the Forager even though the Forager is a 5/32 TT.
My next statements must be preceded by the comment, "I am not a knife maker, nor do I play one on TV". However, I also agree with Phil's comments about the radius on the scales from a functional standpoint. I've had more than 100 Fiddelbacks pass through my hands and only 2 have this feature. I still own both. One BC and one Woodsman. Here they are:
The woodsman also has the pommel radius-ed:
I'm not sure a radius would suit the lines of the Osprey knives I own. However, I have an AA forge that approaches the same functional issue in a different way with more of a bevel:
I think it would be difficult to do but a bevel on the edge of any of the OKT knives that was perfectly symmetrical and really accented the geometry of the existing angles would be a thing a of beauty and add a lot to the functionality.
It's really about the only thing I might want to see changed on the models I have so far. Most of you know I am a huge fan of the BC family of Fiddlebacks and that is primarily because of the rounded pommel and the comfort that adds to the grip for me. As such, I think I've been gravitating toward the Mamushi's grip, but I really like all of the blades. The Raptor is a slicer extraordinaire! I can't wait to see some of the new designs which combine the other blade geometries with the Mamushi and Trailhand grip (I'm lumping these together Chris, I'm not sure if they are really related).
The Trailhand is next on my list for that very reason.
115 + 115 = 230
For Sale - Fiddleback Forge Knives
These the in depth commentary you guys do! Much appreciated. Also the pictures are wonderful!
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