Guard taxonomy...

Joined
Nov 20, 2001
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7,350
OK, how do you call guards that have 1 or 2 branches, sometimes flush with the hanbdle, like here:

Hudson.jpg


(photo Coop) versus the oval guards that are more clearly separated from the handle, like on this one:

KBB012-walnut-bowie-combo.jpg


(photo http://www.rehobothcustomknives.com)

Also, which style do you like best? I like the top style better for comfort, but the bottom one offers more artistic treatments.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2002
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This will no doubt earn a place in the history of unhelpful replies but:

1) I don't know any specific terminology - save that one has a ferrule and the other does not; and

2) I don't have an absolute preference between the two. I have knives with both types of guards and think each can work equally well. I will say that for thin oval-shaped guards on a large knife I do generally prefer a ferrule - without it the guard can, to my eye, tend to look somewhat lost or overhwelmed by the rest of the knife.

Roger

PS - Thanks for showing that Hudson again. :D
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2000
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615
I was hoping that this thread would garner more attention. Primarily this was because I didn't want to admit that I don't know the proper nomenclature for the type of guard on the Hudson Bowie. :D

Because of this shortcoming I generally just refer to it as a fighter-style guard, though I'm sure that is inaccurate. I believe that some of the modern tactical styled knives that are classified as fighters are guardless -- right? I've also heard it referred to as a double guard and use that term on occasion as well. However, that term can be sometimes confused with sub hilt depending on who you are talking to.

For the duration of this post I'll refer to it as a double guard. Perhaps someone will slip in and set us straight on the correct terminology. As far as which one I like best, the answer is "it depends".

From a construction standpoint
The double guard style is generally easier and less time consuming to make. You can rough out the guard and handle, then finish the two together after assembly. That is, if at the time of assembly, the handle material is wider than the guard or vice versa it's no big deal. You can sand the two flush in the finishing stage. Multi-piece double guards are a bit more complex and time consuming, so understand that I am just speaking in general terms here.

In contrast, with the oval guard and ferrule, each piece needs to be pretty much completely finished before the final assembly. It involves numerous dry fits and for most, the use of indexing pins for the ferrule, and so on.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that in the case of the Hudson Bowie pictured, there is nothing easy about it. That's a complex execution that Rob has performed, and he does it so well. Thats' why I said the double guard style is "generally" easier.

From the aesthetics standpoint
My personal preference with respect to "the look" leans toward the oval guard and ferrule. I like the old style "traditional" look. Also, since I know who time consuming this type of construction can be, I can really appreciate it. An exception would be in the Hudson Bowie. Rob does this so well that that anything he does is true art.

From the practicality standpoint
As much as I love the oval guard and ferrule look, there's one thing that bugs the heck out of me. That would be dealing with the sheath. Since the sides of the guard protrude beyond the handle it can dig into and scar up the leather on the loop if If the loop extends above the top of the sheath. It can also be difficult to quickly remove and replace the knife from this type of sheath. Conversely, if the loop is below the top of the sheath then the knife tends to ride too high on the hip. In the case of short guys like me, the handle tends to dig into my ribs.

Another type of sheath that is often employed with this type of setup is one with either a frog button or a Sam Brown stud like the one with Bailey Bradshaw's beautiful Bowie. Again, this type rides too high on my hip, but I'm a short guy. Others might not experience the same problem. I think that the type that uses a frog button and a frog would work best for me on this style of knife.

#####

[ Edited to add ... ]
My last comments on Bailey's sheath is not criticism. The knife and sheath pair are just beautiful. Wearing big Bowies can be problematiic for us short folks no matter what sheath is used.

[ Edited again to plug in some missing words ] *sheesh* :rolleyes:
 

Burchtree

KnifeMaker & Moderator
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Mar 15, 2002
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I like blades to be very "level." I like the spine of the blade to match the top of the handle and the ricasso matching the bottom. Sometimes with the "integrated guard" it gives the illusion that they to don't match. But done well, they can look fantastic. I think a lot of Bill Buxton's bowies do well with that type of "integrated guard." I like the other type of guard (and trying to do some as they seem to be more predominent on the market), but if the stand-alone guard is done poorly, I can't stand them. They need the ferrule or something to complete the "flow" (and the lines need to match up of course. :))

Anyway, I didn't answer any questions, and basically just added some ramblings. :)
 
Joined
May 8, 2002
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In re: the Q about nomenclature... I have this nagging memory that the "double-hilt" was called a Quillion in one of my texts regarding 18th-early 19th Century Hunting Weapons... I won't swear to this until I actually figure out where I saw this and can use it as a citation... Still, it does click as right... But, I'm just as willing to accept "double-guard" or " double-hilt" as the proper terminology...

As to the aesthetics...
What Burchtree said!!! His descrition of the linear flow of the overall shape is what draws me, and I have found satisfying guards in both styles...

And Terry's observations also apply to us tall, gangly types with no real hips, too - the guard can affect the carry position which leads to Buttus in the Ribbus... :mad:
Terry - that's why I wanted that left-hand, forward cant sheath on the piece I got from you... Under the right clothing conditions, that works best for me...
:D
Cheers!
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
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7,350
Aahh... I had not thought of the term quillion, but I suppose it could apply here.

From a practicality standpoint, I think that they have the potential of being much more comfortable that the "plate" guards, if only because it's easier to put your index in front of the guard.
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2000
Messages
615
It looks like quillion may in fact be the term -- or in this case double quillion.

Obviously I was familiar with the term quillion, but I always associated it with a straight cross guard type of thing. But after doing an Internet search I see that these guards are often referred to as quillions (single or double quillion).
 
Joined
May 8, 2002
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Dang.. sometimes that vast black hole of a mind'o'mine does spew out something in the right ball park every now and again... :eek: And if I can remember, I'll get a citation or two that might be of interest if y'all haven't come across those particular books...

And just to add a little more pertaining to personal preferences and aesthetics/ergonomics...

There are many different styles of "guards/hilts" out there that are truly useful AND attractive... My biggest joy is going to a show and coming across one different enough from the body of my collection, but still falling within my preference range for the collection... It usually becomes a case of "I HAVE TO HAVE IT!!!" LOL!!!! :D

Hey y'all... Have a safe and Happy Turkey Day!!! ;)
 
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