Francis Knives 4" bladed knife

Mar 20, 1999
I just received a nice medium size knife from John Francis of Francis knives in Ohio and thought I would put out a few words about my first impressions of the knife.
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Model: John doesn't name them yet. It's just a 4 inch bladed knife.
Blade: 4" 440C stainless (full tang construction) - 58-59 Rockwell
Scales: Black Micarta with red spacers - held on with 2 stainless pins
Sheath: Black basketweave finish pouch type
Overall length: 9"
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Blade: The knife didn't come hair popping sharp, but that was easily remedied. I personally like 440C blades from a maintenance standpoint. They make great gifts or loaner knives that you can be resonably sure won't rust away between hunting trips if not properly maintained. Finish is not a high polish, but not a satin either. Quite attractive, actually. There are just a few grind marks visible on the blade.

Handle: The fit of the handles to the blade is well executed, but there are 2 places (one on top, one on bottom) where there is a tiny gap between the spacer and Micarta. It looks as if the spacer might be thinner in these spots. <center><img src=><img src=></center>
The Micarta slabs do not match, but that hasn't ever been a big issue with me. Although the handle is large and blocky, it is quite confortable with sort of a large steak knife feel. I would prefer a bit more contour to the handles, and maybe a an index finger notch or some grip serrations on top, but can live without the latter as this is a cutting tool, not a thrusting weapon or fighter. (Note: John has informed me that the newer knives he is producing have more contoured handles.) The only sharp edges on the slabs are on the forward part of the grip where a bolster might go on some models. No points off for fuction here, but we can't totally discount asthetics. When coupling a knife with a pouch type sheath, I prefer to have a lanyard hole (for a fob) or some sort of pinkie hook on the trailing end of the handle if not both. Neither are present.

Sheath: Well made, thick and sturdy. Black basketweave finish on the front, smooth grain on the back. Stitching appears to be white nylon cord. The inside of the sheath and the belt loop are unfinished which I find detracting. A little extra leather dye would go a long way with me in the looks dept. A friend of mine commented that the sheath looked a bit "generic," like perhaps John uses the same sheath for a few different knives. I don't know if that's true or not, but this knife fits well with almost no play. As old-fashioned as I am, I've lost my love for leather sheaths and would prefer a Kydex model.
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Usage: Unfortunately, the knife came too late to try out on deer, but it did get to spend the day with me in the kitchen. I cut beef, chicken, cheese, and veggies of all types on cutting boards made from plastic and wood. I even cut up an onion on a glass plate. No re-sharpening or steeling of the knife was done or needed. The knife will still shave hair except for a small area by the tip. (Probably from being pounded into the glass plate while mincing onion.)

This knife typically fetches $75.00 or so which is a more than fair price for a hand made knife that is as handy as this one. Cold Steel's Master Hunter with it's 4.5" blade retails for that much. To me 4 to 5 inch blades rule the roost overall in utility.

John has some nice designs from what I have seen and I will be looking to get my hands on a few more. Especially if he is improving on them. This one will probably end up going to my brother-in-law in Texas.

John can be contacted at . He doesn't have a website yet.
Hey Joel.. that's a good, clean, honest-to-goodness knife. I like its simple looks.

Sheath looks okay.

I think the overall simplicity is what drew me to the knife in the first place.