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And then there were 3

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by LostViking, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    Been thinking lately.
    I believe I am going to make Fiddleback Forge my Default Knife Company.

    In reality that means very little. I am not now, nor will I ever probably be, a large consumer of new knives. Don't get me wrong. I do buy knives. But not like many folks here do. But Andy always treats me like a big customer anyway. And that is pretty cool.

    What drives me to this decision?
    First off, as I as said, Andy has always treated me very well. And as anyone who is here probably already knows. The fit and finish of Fiddleback Knives is outstanding. Plus the community sort of jives with my way of life. Just real and sort of laid back. I like that.

    But it goes deeper than that.
    And it truly is driven by different things.

    First off. I like the small hometown feel of Fiddleback Forge. It's an American Company, making American Products. I like that.

    Next my knife needs seem to be an ever evolving Möbius. I'll probably end up back where I started if I travel long enough. But I may be facing in the opposite direction when I get there.

    And lastly, It's the knives themselves. Not just how they look. But how they respond in your hand.

    My Leuku is a fairly large blade. Bit it's light and quick in hand. It always seems ready. I rarely find it slipping out of my grip. It's like an extension of my hand. It's just there.

    My new Pro Kephart arrived on Saturday. It has that same balanced feel to it. Such a cool little knife. We have spent most of our time together so far, in the kitchen. Wind, rain, ice, and snow have all conspired to keep us out of the woods. The Kephart has done a great job at tasks it wasn't really designed to do. So I can't wait to actually get into its own element.

    Yesterday, I listed a knife for sale. Not a Fiddleback. But a very nice knife never the less. I need to downsize and generate some cash. I wasn't looking to trade. I wanted capital. But as luck would have it. I was asked if I wanted to trade. I said I'd listen. And what I heard was Fiddlebacks. Long story short. My knife is headed out and a Fiddleback Bushcrafter is headed my way.

    The Bushcrafter will make 3, hence the title. In truth, I haven't seen many of Andy's knives that don't appeal to me. But I thought the Bushcrafter would fill the void beween the Leuku and the Pro Kephart rather nicely.

    As I was researching the Bushcrafter yesterday. I stumbled on a review from a gentleman who seemed to have it in his head Fiddlebacks were overhyped and over priced. He entered his review very skeptically. Almost mocking his loaner Bushcrafter as voodoo, and marketing. But by the end he was gushing about it.

    But gushing in a way that made sense to me. He used words and phrases like simple, straight forward, no unecessary frills or gimmicks, and so on. It just made sense to me.

    Since I had no capital outlay involved to try the Bushcrafter. It seemed like a no brainer to me. Of course I didn't count the money I already had invested in my original knife.

    But that's because my original knife was just sitting in a cabinet. It might as well have been money buried out in the yard in a coffee can. I had it, but it wasn't doing much for me.

    I certainly wouldn't call myself a "Fanboy". But I've never held a bad Fiddleback Knife. I regret selling my original Recluse and Woodsman. But time marches on, and we all have life lessons to learn.

    Late winter/early spring, always seems to be my weak spot for knives. Cabin fever is in full bloom. Spring is teasing, yet remains aloof. My mind switches to new bushcraft projects, fires, and outdoor cooking. All the opportunities and potential breathes new life in to my aging battered body.

    With two new Fiddlebacks and one old standby. Life should be good this spring. I am very much looking forward to testing out the Pro Kephart and now the Bushcrafter.
    buckfynn, xxwjtxx, Phill50 and 11 others like this.
  2. Aias


    Aug 1, 2012
    Excellent write up, Lost Viking. Oddly (or maybe not so oddly), I've come to hold many of the same views, including moving away from the knives I thought I wanted and needed for my outdoor adventures. With my first Fiddleback in hand, and the next looming on the near horizon, I can say I am very happy to stand here too. Selling off part of my collection was very worthwhile... no regrets.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
    LostViking, bladesmith3 and Oyster like this.
  3. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I've never played with a Leuku outside of the FF shop, but I like them, which stood to reason since i also like the Recluse and Patch. I LOVE the Kephart model. To me it has two features I really wanted for a bushcraft knife from a perspective of a field craft knife designed for use in the deep south where one of my favorite foods is alligator. It has a nice sharp point for penetration and it has a nice speed bump between the handle and blade. The Scandinavian philosophy on child and adult knives doesn't hold any sway over me since there are no gators in Scandinavia and we always end up comparing oranges to apples. I love the mid tech Kephart because of the steel used. The thing is I was spoiled to tapered tangs by the time I met Andy thanks to a couple of of my knife making and designing mentors. So I have a love hate relationship with both. I love the hand made ones because I can get the tang tapered on them, but all the steels used are prone to rust in or even near salt water. I love the mid tech version because of the steel used but hate that FF doesn't do tapered stainless tangs. But then I was fortunate enough to stumble across a particular FF knife made of hammer textured A2 with a nicely tapered tang that must be a special piece of A2 as it simply refuses to patina even when left soaking in food juices. So I am holding out hope that some day I might manage to land a Kephart in this special hammer textured A2 as well. For now though, this one has put the Kephart back in the drawer as I will edc this one over the summer :) The Bushcrafter handle is sublime.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
    buckfynn, LostViking and Oyster like this.
  4. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator

    Oct 19, 2005
    Well my friend I am honored beyond belief that you'd consider us your default knife company. And I don't care if you use your three to nubs and don't replace them till the steel is sharpened to a spliter either. I thought that was about the best thing I've heard. Maybe we need a patch saying exactly that for Blade Show.
    Boxer .45, LostViking, Oyster and 7 others like this.
  5. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    I didn't make that statement lightly or off the cuff. You've earned it!

    I don't think I'm young enough to wear these down to nubs. But I promise they won't be in my will as safe queens either.

    I like the patch idea!
    Fiddleback likes this.
  6. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    I'm right there with ya,
    Knife selection is as much about the user, as it is about the knife. Personal preferences, location, skill levels, intended uses, all come into play. Which is partly why there are so many options out there.

    I like options and challenges.
    Sure you can do big knife stuff with big knives. The same can be said for doing small stuff with small knives. Where the fune begins is when you reverse the roles. You can learn a lot doing big stuff with small knives. And Vice versa.

    Some days, I just want to go out and cleve with a big chopper. But more and more I find myself on the other end of the spectrum.
    Aias likes this.
  7. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    Your posts always strike a chord with me!

    I have several knives that originated from "Witch Doctors in Helsinki"
    They know their craft very well. And the blades they produce are stellar pieces. But there is always that underlying fear. The fear of sliding forward.

    But I don't live in Helsinki. Although there are parts of Finland I could easily call home, wilderness wise. The original Puukko style, which I admit I am still very fond of. Seems more at home in the boreal softwod forests of the Nordic countries. Than they do in my northern hardwood forests.

    As of now. There are no gators in the Adirondacks either.
    But like you. I'm very of fond of the speed bump. I like pointy too. But that transition from handle to blade can be a dangerous place. Especially given cold, wet hands.

    Maybe I'm unskilled, or perhaps lazy.
    But I like the comfort level the speed bump provides. Also the extra leverage it provides when forward thrust is called for.

    Even more so than the safety feature of said bump. Is its seconday attribute. The ability to index the knife, immediatly, in hand, by feel. My Puukkos are all but indiscernible with out visual confirmation or physically touching the blade.

    I can grab my new Pro Kephart anytime. Day or night, and tell you exactly where the blade is just by feel. And while remaining on the micarts. I see that as a huge plus.

    Even in the kitchen. I find the need to visually check my Puukkos before my thumb ventures out on to what I hope is the spine of the blade.

    Just little things you pick up after you have bled all over a tent peg, or a pepper.

    Oh, by the way. You can keep the gators.
    I don't sleep well around hungry dinosaurs.
    buckfynn, Lady1911 and B Griffin like this.
  8. Aias


    Aug 1, 2012
    Yes... it's very much a process of self-discovery. As much as I liked the idea of the big chopper, the impracticality of it on my belt/ on the trail and in camp made itself clear. So, I had to better understand my needs, refine my skills, and in the process evolve. I know now that my ideal sized field knife is in the 5-7" range, and, even then, in most cases a 3.75-4.5" inch blade will serve just fine. But I like a little more knife, just because... so a 6" blade tends to be my favorite size (thus, the Fiddleback Forager I am waiting for).

    Between your posts and Mistwalker's, I've had a lot to think about. Thanks to you both for that... and as for a 'go to' knife company... I looked at Fiddleback a long while ago, unconvinced that what was offered would suit my needs. That was then--a fair amount of experience has shown me otherwise... and as I said before, I'm glad to stand here with you all.

    I'm a professor by trade, but an outdoorsman by passion... soon the semester will be done and I'll be wandering in the nearby mountains, desert, and coast line... I'll post pics ;)
  9. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I don't see it as lazy, I just see the absence of a speed bump to be stressful in some uses, and disconcerting when I'm fatigued. I don't necessarily need a full on lower guard, but I like them on some field knives. I don't mind an integral guard in/or a dropped edge either when done well. I definitely prefer an asymmetrical handle just for the ability to index quickly and safely in the dark. But the cool thing about gators is, unlike bears, gators can't climb trees :D
    buckfynn, LostViking and Aias like this.
  10. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    That may be true. But I would counter with bears don't lay in wait with just their nose and eyes sticking out of the water. I guess it's what you grow up around and get used to.

    It's funny how the universe can work its magic if you will let it.
    It may be the universe, it may be your own mind. How it works doesn't really matter. That it does work, is the important part. I made the original post on Tuesday. At that point I sort of had a plan. I almost always have a plan. To be fair. Some of my plans are better than others. Some are borderline genius. Some are equally as far in the opposite direction. Most hang somewhere in between.

    The mind/universe is a powerful tool.. Some folks take it to cosmic depths and try to explore the psychosocial ramifications of it all. I take a simpler path. More like when you buy a red Ford F-150. All you see for three weeks are red Ford F-150s. It's because your are focused on Red Ford trucks.

    Focus is where it's at. Life, or at least success in life hinges on focus. I myself need to be reminded of this. Because, it ks very easy to lose focus. And this post is sort of a yellow sticky note in my own mind for myself. But I figured I'd share.

    For those who want to dive deeper into focus. There is a book out there called "The Power of Focus" written by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Lee Hewitt. This book litterally changed my life. The book itself is very good. But the wheels it set in motion for me are what sets it apart.

    In my original post I declared I was going to make Andy and Fiddleback Forge my default Knife Company. Again, just with that stated purpose. And the small amount of focus that came along with it. Things changed.

    With the pending arrival of my new to me Bushcrafter. Clad in Oatmeal Burlap Micarta with Natural bolsters, and Natural liners. I was focusing on finding more about my trade knife. I was digging back through old Fiddleback Friday pages. I found the original sale post. And knew exactly what I was going to get. At least as much as you can know off of paper. Without actually holding it. Seeing if it fit, and feeling its balance.

    The funny thing about focus.
    Is that when you apply it. Things happen almost by accident.
    While I was scouring the net. In search of the origins of this mystery trade knife I had inbound. I stumbled across another post in the Fiddlebacks For Sale thread.

    A forum member here was looking to part with two other Oatmeal slabbed, Natural bolstered, Natural lined Blades, a Woodsman, and a Terrasaur.
    I was immediatly smitten by them. But reality crept in, and I realized I had no such money for these. Still I clicked back several times over the next few hours. The hours seemed like days. I slept on it and then the focus thing took over.

    I thought about my verbal commitment to Andy and Fiddleback. I pawed through my draws and realized, I have the money for these two new wonderfully dressed blades. It's just tied up in boxes of other knives. So I contacted the seller and a deal was struck. They should be here Tuesday or Wednesday.

    So last Tuesday, I didn't even have the Bushcrafter yet. And by this coming Tuesday. I should have a set of three matched awesome Fiddleback Custom blades. Is this focus stuff cool or what?

    This morning. I was having a bit of buyer's remorse. Does everyone have that? Or is it just me?

    That is until. I started the prep work for tonight's dinner. My bride, the eternal optimist. Brought home two steaks that she thought perhaps we could do over the coals this weekend. The weather is certainly improving. It was 50F yesterday. We should eclipse that today. And tomorrow should reach 60F. She says I'm beginning to act like a caged lion. Pacing, growling, and generally wanting to just pounce on something. She's not wrong.

    But with 18" of snow on the ground.
    Optimism only gets you so far. I could have pulled it off. But we opted for Browned Beef and Gravy, with mashed potatoes insted of steak in the coals. Browned beef and gravy is like poor man's Beef Bourg. 1" chunks of sliced beef. Dredged and braised. Then simmered low with onions and spices for several hours to tenderize the meat and generate a redneck roux. This is one of my all time favorite comfort meals.

    What is the sense of having a really cool new knife if you're not going to use it right? So the Bushcrafter got the call. It made fast work of the steaks. First trimming off the fat. Then dicing them into cubes. It easily sliced the onions so thin you could almost read through them. Very pleased with its performance.

    As I was working through the food processing. The buyer's remorse slowly faded away. The magic of Andy's knives is in using them. The handle on the Bushcrafter is genius. It has more contours than Cindy Crawford Coke commercial. And they all work.

    I was lucky enough to own one of Andy's early Woodsman blades. It was an excellent blade. But I needed to generate some quick cash. So that and my Recluse got called upon to fulfill that duty. Bad idea. Some knives I can sell, wave goodbye, and never even twitch. These two weren't like that. It was painful to send them off. It has remained painful.

    I will be pleased to have a Woodsman again it is a very versatile knife. As Brian pounts out. It transitions very well from the woods to the kitchen. And as he also points out, it is quite pointy. Pointy can be good for a lot of things.

    So all this from a little focus!

    But it goes even further.
    Since my downsizing. I have been focused on finding work. But this time I focused more on finding satisfaction, than monetary gain. A cool gig emerged in the mountains of North Carolina. I was actually working on it last fall. Before the downsizing. It cropped back up in January. I'm through the phone interviews, and the background checks. I even managed to get through a Skype session this week.

    I will be making a motorcycle trip down the first week in May. And hopefully it will go well from there.

    My bride and I have both come to believe that we need to get out of New York. I love it here. We're stupid rural. It is a great place. I can even handle the blanket of snow in my yard as I type this on April 22. But the politics, the taxes, the gun laws, and the overall mindset have convinced me I need to find a new home.

    Part of the reason for this post. Is to both remind me, and to drive home, what I can accomplish when I focus. More than ever. I really need to focus on what's important. What's important for my bride, what's important for me. And what's important for us as a team.

    Focus doesn't mean free!
    Those two new knives winging their way here. Will need to be paid for. So I will be focusing on getting that done today and tomorrow.
    Focus is never about free. It is about where you want to be. Lr what you want to have. And what sacrifices you need to make it happen. Focus is about choices.

    I read long ago.
    From some buisness motivational speaker. Zig Zieglar, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, I honestly can't remember. And they all seem to parrot each other anyway. None of this is new. The Egyptian Pyramids didn't rise out of the sand from lack of focus. Rome wasn't built by accident.
    But I remember the statement. In fact, it's emblazoned into my mind. "You become what you think about"

    In reality, this stuff is stupid simple. But it works. I'm living proof.
    buckfynn, Wurrwulf, Oyster and 4 others like this.
  11. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    In an effort to improve the signal to noise ratio of this thread.

    Here is some bushcrafting with the Bushcrafter. Still snow and wet. So I tried something a little different this afternoon. An upside down fire on posts.

    The Bushcrafter made some feathers and shavings, peeled down some birch bark, shaved some fat wood, and cut some twine,

    The drier cherry on top took the heat from the kindling well. It took off like it was soaked with K1. It has been a long time since I had a fire roar to life like this one. Dry wood is a wonderous thing.

    It all worked rather nicely. The posts kept the whole thing out of the wet. The top burned down and started the post burning. A nice afternoon.

    Who knows may even coals for morning coffee.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
    buckfynn, Bmurray, Wurrwulf and 8 others like this.
  12. Odaon

    Odaon Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 13, 2009
    Really liking that handle set up! Thanks for continuing the share thoughts and photos. :thumbsup:
    LostViking likes this.
  13. VANCE

    VANCE Allen, I have an axe to grind with you. Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 13, 2006
    i like that fire lay
    LostViking likes this.
  14. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    They actually look great in real life.
    Odaon likes this.
  15. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    It worked out great. I had a late breakfast on the leftovers this morning. I'll get some shots posted up later today or tomorrow.
    VANCE likes this.
  16. Aias


    Aug 1, 2012
    Again, thanks for posting! That's a good looking knife, and the tutorials are very much appreciated. :thumbsup:
    LostViking likes this.
  17. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator

    Oct 19, 2005
    That Bushcrafter was hard to send out. I love that handle.
    Odaon and LostViking like this.
  18. FeralGentleman


    Nov 13, 2013
    The oatmeal is underrated IMO... add that natural bolster/liner and it takes a top slot in the looker department. That Bushcrafter looks amazing (let me know if you don't like the Terrasaur you picked up)
    Odaon and LostViking like this.
  19. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    On the way back up to the fire, I grapped some small dry branches. Hoping for the best.

    This is what it looked like in the morning, there was still tons of heat and even a little smoke.

    I had to run i to town for a few errands. But first I added some of the small dry stuff and tipped over a few of the uprights. The heat did its thing and I had flames.

    I usually eat breakfast early. But the bride, sensing we were about to have our first really decent day since last fall. Talked me into a brunch thing. Allowing the sun to help with the temps. I agreed and headed off to town. Hungry but excitied.

    When I returned she was ready. She had a tray full of goodies all prepared.
    buckfynn, Bmurray and Aias like this.
  20. LostViking

    LostViking Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2009
    When I returned. I knocked in the rest of the posts. This piece was doing interesting this with smoke and flames. I didn't catch the best of it. But I liked what I got.

    Here is my new knife with my favoriet old pan. Nice looking team.

    I arranged two of the uprights to support the pan and dragged some coals in between them. Sort of a caveman keyhole set-up. This way you can keep the main fire burning and add or subtract coals for heat as needed.

    Not much smalls better than bacon frying on an open fire in the morning ,

    While the bacon was doing its thing, I scrambled some eggs. Then the Bushcrafter and I had our way with some onions. This knife slices really well.

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