Bradburn/Bounty Hunter 01


Gold Member
Oct 19, 1999
...5 years ago I was under the impression that with a rival I can bring myself to greater heights, but after tragic hurt and broken grammar I've realized that nothing can drive a man insane than a beloved enemy. Downtown an acquaintance appraoached me and given my failing memory I was a abit apprehansive. "It's Me Morris, 'ey I'm a from New york." Above me was a theatre sign that said [Loveless] - it was a play about an old man named Sean who had 3 chinese daughters. He loved to cook, and I just walked away.

OKay ignore that blurb up there.. I'm gonna give you another review whether you like it or not
I recently took delivery of a Gary Bradburn Jap tac.

Here's a frontal pic:

here's Bradburn's webpage


DESIGN contraceptive:

here are more pics of the knife...

This might be an inside joke for a few people but I must say that it is a great honour to have a knife named after me
and I'm easily flattered. muwahahaha. This is one of Mr. Bradburn's new models he named the [Bounty Hunter]. I wanted a nice swedge coupled with a more smooth traditional point as I am not a big fan of the american tanto. Bradburn was eager and ready for the challenge to make a TRUE custom piece.

My knife is 10" OAL with approx. 5.5" chisel D2 blade. Ito wrap over white python skin (ofcourse) with a simple tiger menuki (was a surprise).

I am recently really getting into Jap Tacs and many of my friends are surprised since they don't even fold or flip like butterfly knives
. SUffice to say there is a large range of makers who make high end blades and those who make a more affordable user - it dependes on your mileage. I have a clear idea of the quality of the market due to my recent fanatic collecting. I am not loaded enough to pay premium for a Hartsfield but I have handled them. I have also handled blades from makers who think Jap Tacs are an easy market to get into because of the demand for moderately priced knives but really fail to understand the complexity in it.

I had heard of Mr. Bradburn from friends who have ordered his stuff and told me about the good value in the knife without the high price for a Jap Tac. I also heard an anecdote of a friend who said he had received a Bradburn knife he was fine with but Bradburn himself hated it and gave the knife to him free and promised a replacement. That perfectionist attitude really impressed me and I was eager to try him out.

I found Mr. Bradburn a fun guy to talk to with a real interest in learning about Jap Tacs, maybe even specializing in it in the future.

I guess handling RJ and Snody's knives have spoiled me, so if you are looking for something to hang on the wall like an RJ or hartsfield you are better off saving up your moola and pawning furniture. Bradburn's Jap Tacs are knives that are priced and presented to be users.

First of all I noticed that Bradburn's Handle wrapping needs a little more work in terms of tightness and symmetry. I also found that the turkshead knot (pretty good for a first try, I can't even do a turks head myself) on this knife would be better with a tighter fit as well as thinner grade cord (all adds time and drives the cost up keep in mind).

I also was keen to notice that the Python Skin was not as seamless as I had hoped under the Ito Wrap.

Next the The grind lines on his knives seem to be not as crisp as I woudl like. The flat unground part seems to melt into the ground part which adds very little contrast to the two areas of the blade. I also prefer a higher secondary bevel for sharpness.

Finally I was quite happy with the Meuki Mr. Bradburn provided as a special gift. It is not as classy as a full antique but adds a very nice feel to the knife.

Despite my whining - believe it or not I am actaully quite satisfied with this knife. The price I paid for this knife with a 5.5 " blade length would probably buy you an RJ blade with a 1.5" blade, I htnk that is good value. Not everyone can afford an RJ or Hartsfield or Snody and I must say I have tried a number of moderately priced user custom tantoes (80-180.00 range) and Bradburn is one of the best in my opinion. I have tried to grind knives as well as wrap handles and I knwo how time comsuming it can be. What Gary Bradburn has is a sincere love for the art of Jap Tac making as well as the intent to deliver a very fairly priced custom made product that is meant to be used. ALthough not the prettiest it is a good knife that I have every intention to use..

in fact I have used this knife to cut up steak for lunch yesterday and cut up some boxes. It performs great in slashing and the unique looking sweddge in front helps in point geometry. After all the tests it can still shave hair.

I hope this review encouragaes Mr. Bradburn to perfecthis craft and pursue his love.. as well as introduce forumites interested in starting a Jap tac collection to a good place to start.

[This message has been edited by sniperboy (edited 03-02-2001).]
Gee sniperboy, you’re getting all sorts of neat new toys lately
! I really like the Bounty Hunter and I agree with your assessment of Gary’s work…his knives are some of the best values available for user-grade customs. Gary made the following knife for me last summer:

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It’s a variation on his “Kwaiken” model made from ¼” M2 stock (chisel ground) with maroon cord wrap over black cobra skin. I don’t have the knife in front of me to measure, but it’s a little bit smaller than the Bounty Hunter. Gary was a real pleasure to work with; I e-mailed him about a potential order for a modified Kwaiken and he called me right back to hash out all of the details of the project. He is extremely knowledgeable about his craft and his enthusiasm is contagious…we spent a long time discussing the various options.

Like sniperboy, I usually don’t care much for Americanized geo-Tantos and I asked Gary to “smooth out” the blade profile to something more akin to what I thought a traditional Tanto should be. I really hadn’t initially planned on getting a blade this thick or using M2 steel, but Gary made some convincing arguments for this configuration (and I’m very glad I listened to him
). The edge on this knife is truly frightening, and it has held up to everything I’ve been able to throw at it without dulling perceptibly (ya gotta love that M2). The knife is extremely well made, but it’s definitely a user. Gary’s work may not have all of the niceties of finish exhibited by some of the high-end makers, but it’s definitely a lot of knife for the money. The only complaint I’ve had about this blade is that the lack of any kind of guard sometimes makes me a little nervous; I keep on visualizing my hand sliding up onto that scary-sharp blade. The Turk’s-head knot he’s used on the Bounty Hunter would solve that problem nicely…I may have to consider asking Gary to re-wrap my knife and add this feature.

I’m glad to see that Gary’s work is continuing to evolve and I concur with sniperboy’s recommendation…anyone looking for a maker to implement a “true” custom
design would be well advised to talk to Mr. Bradburn.


(Oops! Sniperboy's post seems to have disappeared whilst I was making mine...I guess I'll have to learn to work faster

[This message has been edited by UglyJim (edited 03-02-2001).]
I'll jump on the bandwagon and endorse Gary's work as an excellent value for a user knife. This is his neck tanto- 6.5" oal, chisel ground D-2. So far it has been used for pretty mundane cutting chores and has performed very well indeed. Nice functional kydex sheath that holds the knife very securely, and a nice touch is the neck cord- he took the core out of some para-cord and used it to cover the ball chain. Very comfortable! All in all, a nice utility package for an excellent price.

[This message has been edited by richard rosvall (edited 03-02-2001).]

[This message has been edited by richard rosvall (edited 03-02-2001).]
Ok, ok, ok.....I gotta chime in too I guess! I'm the guy sniperboy was talking about....that received a perfectly good kwaiken from Gary (at least I thought so), but he didn't like it. Actually, what he didn't like was the way the snakeskin underwrap had (not) taken the resin dip very well - causing bubbling. Nonetheless I took it out on a research cruise, hacked into numerous dead fish carcasses in search of truth (or bone specimens...take your pick), and it worked just fine. As has been said - a fantastic using knife with pleasing looks for a very good price! Mine was in D2 - but had no problem w/rust even in the saltwater environment with minimal care. I have since given the knife to a friend who is relatively new to knife collecting - figured I'd get him started on customs this way. Gary makes a great product, and is a pleasure to deal with!


"The search is half the fun!"
To all of you...Thanks for the nice words. Some might say that these were less than glowing reviews, but actually to me they are. They go right to the point of what I do. One of my goals in knifemaking is to make a really good using knife with a little style that the average guy can afford. While it would be nice to be known as the best of whatever category, That just ain't goin' to happen here. I acvtively enjoy making a knife that can be afforded and used hard.

Jim; I only recently learned how to do that Turks Head knot. Send me yours and let me put one on there. Lets save those fingers for better uses.

Bob; same goes for you. If your buddy would like that turks head knot just send it to me and I'll fix it up.

Richard you too. If you want one on that little guy let me know.

A realy big thanks to Sniperboy, for building me a great front page which we are going to expand into a full fledged web site.

Take care all.

Gary Bradburn
Bradburn Custom Cutlery

I am glad you like the review Mr. B. I am just doign what I like doing reviews and making webpages
if given the chance to go back in time I woudl have still bought the [bounty hunter]. A lot of factors play in a custom knife and eventhough I havent been collecting Jap tacs for that long I knwo what's "good" keep it up. I'll destroy this knife and make it a full fledged user by jove

[FAKE01].[the mirror site](
If you play with love you will be heartbroken; if you play with knives you will [bleed]
Gary- I sure appreciate your offer, but I like mine just the way it is!
My neck tanto has seen a lot of use in the kitchen, wood and plastic cutting boards, vegies, meat, poultry, etc., and I've never had to do more than run it across my ceramic sticks.
I might take you up on that offer about adding a Turk's Head knot to my Kwaiken, Gary. I'll have to think about it though…like Richard, I love this knife the way it is and I'd hate to be parted from it
. I should probably stress the fact that I have never even come close to having my fingers slide up onto the blade…the cord wrapping provides a very secure grip. I just have too vivid an imagination and I turn into a bit of a weenie when I think about how sharp this thing is
. The Turk's Head knot does look pretty cool, though…

I'm glad to hear that Gary took my comments in the way they were intended. I wasn't trying to denigrate the finish or quality of his craftsmanship; it is easily as good (if not better than) much of the work I've seen from better known makers. I was just trying to emphasize the fact that my Kwaiken is an extremely robust knife that simply begs to be used. I have several blades from much more expensive makers, but I use my two Bradburn knives more than any of them…the phrase "user grade custom" was definitely intended as a compliment
. Considering the quality of his work, Gary's knives are (IMHO) some of the best values in the custom cutlery market.

Jim sums it up well,"user grade custom" is a compliment. The few knives I purchased that were too nice to use have either been traded or sold.