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Question-models that didn't work for you

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by drewway, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. joarthur

    joarthur Gold Member Gold Member

    301
    Sep 25, 2006
    What doesn't work:

    -- Handles less than four inches long: (can't fit three fingers on them.)
    -- Five-inch handles: They poke the base of my palm. Tried so hard to persuade myself that the handle ends of Bear Paw and Bushfinger were as comfortable as the rest of their handles. IMO the Bushfinger is one of the ultimate Fiddlebacks, perhaps THE essence-of-Fiddleback model.
    -- Some 4-5-inch handles whose ends jab base of my palm: for example, HB, Bushcrafter, Bear Cub.

    Best handles for me:

    -- Big Palmer: Best 3-finger grip. Can also bear down with four fingers in hammer grip. I've used this for hours at a time for processing fruit.
    -- Woodsman with 5 1/3-inch handle: Comfortable in all grips. Use a lot in the kitchen.
    -- Big Mitt, whose handle I modified to accommodate my gimpy grip: It's become my most used model and could cause me to sell some other short blades, since I only keep knives I use.

    Other handles that work for me:

    -- BC Karda: Very useful blade. Downward curve of handle prevents jabbing of palm in all grips.
    -- Short-blade Patch (2.6" blade and 4.2" handle, which is only 6/10ths inch thick): The tip broke off. Andy repaired it. I then bought it on the Flea. One of my two favorite models for fine work that the Big Mitt is to big for, the other model being the Bushcraft Karda. Weighs just 2.7 oz., so perfect EDC for around town.
    -- Carver: Ingenious handle. Curves so slight, yet locks in hand for fine work and strong grip. Can get four fingers on it in carving grips. Only model with original edge. That's because I'm not sure I will keep it, as I already have four other short-blade models. But it might replace the BCK as a short-blade/long handle EDC. Very classy design and favorite to look at.

    Handles that worked but that I've sold: BC, Jr., Monarch, Toboggan.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
    Fiddleback, Comprehensivist and CAD like this.
  2. Aias

    Aias

    Aug 1, 2012
    Alright man, you made me put it to the test... in all honesty, I really bought this Runt for one of my daughters (6 years old now)--she loves yellow, and camping and the outdoors, and I thought it would make a special gift once she gets a little older. I've carried it a few times, and it fits well in my right front pocket. I typically favor a larger knife for etc, but I wanted to see if that bias was unwarranted. Well, it worked... but I had to do some things a little differently when it came to certain tasks. Given this experience, I think I'd like an Esquire... that would be the same size as my GEC American Jack when open, which is pretty ideal for a small edc. My 'modern' folder of choice is an Emerson Outlaw.

    Pics show Runt in hand and a few cutting tasks around the house... my two youngest were home sick, so frozen pizza and a warm fireplace was the move.

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  3. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Nice shots, I almost feel like I need a shot of a Runt and Babyboot side by side to be fully accurate in articulating my thoughts here, but the Babyboot fits my hand in a similar fashion. As in where the pommel lands after my ring finger, making it a 3-finger knife for me. I have been doing some similar stuff with it, like the fire prep and food portioning stuff, for a blog post and for some illustration photos for a discussion on small knife techniques in April. I think the Runt and Babyboot are similar in length, and while I know all the reasons the Babyboot appeals to me much more aesthetically I think the reason it also appeals to me much more functionally, besides the pointier (and more utilitarian blade in my opinion), is the concave underside of the handle and the way it swells from just to the rear of the "guard" to the pommel. So all three fingers help lock it in place during cuts with a pulling type motion on the handle.
     
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  4. Aias

    Aias

    Aug 1, 2012
    You nailed it, Brian. The fact that my little finger lines up flush with the butt of the handle makes this small blade work for me. Glad to hear the Babyboot has similar proportion—of all the small knives I’ve seen, I like it’s lines best. But it’s really the Bushboot I prefer—that one is just harder to pocket carry.

    Thanks for the compliments on the pics... that’s really cool coming from you—your style is actually my inspiration when trying to snap a decent pic.
     
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  5. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Same here. I absolutely love the Bushboot. It and the Protagonist are by far my two fav Fiddleback models. And unlike the Protagonist, I don't hate the Bushboot in tapered 1/8. Although I do prefer 5/32 and would love one in tapered and swedged 3/16. If I ever get back to the point of being able to afford different Fiddlebacks for different occasions I'll pick up another Bushboot first. But the blade grind I like on the Bushboot makes it not so people friendly in some crowds and can be off putting at times. Where as even with those same grind lines the Babyboot is too cute to be menacing to most people. So since I can carry it pretty much anywhere, including church functions with no off-put people, it is the one Fiddleback I have held onto in the process of selling off damn near everything else spare I owned just trying to keep our heads above water after the last couple of years of insanity.

    And thanks for that compliment!! :)
     
    Aias likes this.
  6. Aias

    Aias

    Aug 1, 2012

    We've touched on this before, I believe--the Protagonist would be awesome in 3/16ths with a TT. 1/8th for a Bushboot is fine, but 5/32nds would just make it more sure for tougher outdoor tasks--I think we agree there too. I have a Sneaky Pete in 1/8th stock (it's just as menacing to some as a Bushboot) and a Bullfrog in 5/32nds--and while both have pretty fine tips, it's clear to me the extra thickness is asset while doing camp & trail tasks. 3/16ths would be far too thick for either; that stock thickness starts to make sense to me once a blade starts creeping past the 5" mark.

    Hope things work out for you man--you've got lots to offer. People will see that.

    Best,
    Anthony
     
    B Griffin likes this.
  7. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Yes, 3/16 certainly doesn't work for every model. I handled a 3/16 Bushfinger years ago and I wouldn't want one personally. I handled a 3/16 Esquire that was swedged and tapered, and while that may be excessive for that model I would love one just due to the areas I work in. Most of the photos on my website were taken from places at times of day where other photographers fear to go with a few thousand dollars worth of camera equipment. I do think that much like with the Camp 3/16 would be the ideal steel for the Forager for good inertia development due to how much material has been filleted off in the grinds. Which is also the reason I don't care for the thinner Protagonist, it's too light in the hand to me for the attitude the design exudes. I could handle it fine in 5/32 Tapered as long as there was still some flat left between the grinds. One of the only reasons I can have as much faith in the Navy MK3 I have on me most of the time when I am in the field as I do, or the Ka-Bar is that they are slightly thicker than 5/32 and have low saber grinds that leave a lot of steel in the cross section. But having a protagonist in 1/8 makes about as much sense to me as having an M7 Bayonet made in 1/8. When the goal of what I am doing is to intentionally track down dangerous things, in areas where dangerous people like to hide to do their illegal activities, I want to have tools that inspire confidence. As for the Bushboot, yes I do prefer 5/32 because I like them tapered and swedged and the 5/32 leaves a strong core. But as long as it isn't any thinner than 1/8 I'm fine with it. 3/32 would be a deal breaker, unless maybe if it had a handle material I just couldn't resist. But for me on anything bigger than the Bushboot that wasn't a dedicated kitchen knife. 3/32 is a deal breaker.
     
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  8. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    This is a great thread. I appreciate all your opinions on my models. None of them are invalid either. This is the main reason I make so many models that are identical in blade and handle length.

    Don't tell anyone, but not all of my models work for me as user knives. And there are even Fiddlebacks that I do not like at all. Though, usually, those models disappear. This is not to say that models that don't work for me are bad knives or even bad designs. We all have different bone structures, and our muscles in our hands are different as well. On top of that we all have preferences that are even more varied. @Aias little trick about putting his pinky behind the Runt handle simply doesn't work for everyone. I myself have never carried a Runt. When I drew it on a post it not during a boring meeting that lasted all day I thought it was pretty and quirky. Then a few weeks later I sold several at my first Blade Show (a decade ago). That show I sold several Runts, and Bow Legged Joes and one Bushcrafter. Hmmm. Small knives sell. Honestly, the demand for the Runt is a major factor in making that knife.

    @joarthur 's giant hands don't fit on some boat paddles, and the knife I designed for him is one of the most lopsided knives I've ever seen. I can't even stand to look at the pattern. But he needed someone to take his big hands seriously, and the knife works for him. That makes me happy even though I'd be embarrassed to be seen carrying that thing.

    Its fun hearing what each of you like and don't like. Keep them coming.
     
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  9. joarthur

    joarthur Gold Member Gold Member

    301
    Sep 25, 2006
    "... one of the most lopsided knives I've ever seen ...."

    "Lopsided," yeah the Big Mitt did look a little unusual coming out of the box. But because its handle was the right length, I knew right away I was going to keep it. After reading about how others had modified the handles on some of their knives, I decided to give it a try. A year ago I thought I was done, but since then I've tweaked the shape a bit, and that has made all the difference.

    Here's how it looked when it arrived:

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    And after modification (superimposed over previous photo):

    [​IMG]

    I only removed about 1/2 ounce, but it feels much lighter in-hand. It's even more lopsided now, (I prefer "asymmetrical," as it sounds more intentional). Perfect grips now, with neither fingers nor grips changing or handle moving in my hand whether I hold the handle lightly or squeeze down.

    CHANGES TO FRONT OF HANDLE:
    -- Top -- A Runt/Surls Big Palmer reverse curve for thumb.
    -- Left Side -- A divot or "nest" for thumb pad.
    -- Right Side -- A perfect curve for index finger's path around handle. (Not visible in pic, but basically copied shape of Woodsman there.)

    CHANGES TO MID-SECTION:
    --None except for a little rounding and surface roughing, which I did to the whole handle surface.

    CHANGES TO BACK SECTION:
    -- Top -- A reverse curve for fleshy base of palm, an idea from several recent new models. Really like this feature.
    -- Right Side -- Indented for fleshy base of palm (not visible in pic.)
    -- Left Side -- Also indented but, since base of palm doesn't contact left side, I was able to optimize its shape for the ring finger and pinky.
    -- Underside -- Curve like on many other Fiddlebacks, and a flat spot for pinky to push against (not visible in pic).

    Thanks, again, Andy. I really do appreciate that you did this.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  10. Comprehensivist

    Comprehensivist Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    ^ Nice job on the handle mods @joarthur . It's cool to see you make the knife a perfect fit for your hand and intended uses. :thumbsup:

    Phil
     
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  11. joarthur

    joarthur Gold Member Gold Member

    301
    Sep 25, 2006
    Thank you, Phil,

    It was your post about modifying your Sneaky Pete that gave me the confidence to pick up a file; your many posts before that which showed me (along with many others) how to analyze and understand why a handle is or isn’t comfortable for oneself; your comparison of the Drop Point Maverick and Bush Hermit and general comments about Andy’s new models with a reverse curve on the top back of their handles that convinced me to make that shape on the Big Mitt; and, your recommendation that I try a Woodsman that made that model one of my “indispensables.”

    Jim
     
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  12. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Yeah, and it's not limited to physical differences, experiences, aesthetic issues. Symmetry can be an issue for some, and proportion for others. As far as full size belt/field knives go, I am not at all drawn to ones that have a blade that is more than just barely shorter than the handle. This usually works out okay for me as I prefer a 4-1/2 to 6-1/2 inch blade for field carry anyway and few people make handles over 4-3/4 inches long. When I bought my first pilots knife at Jack's Army Store in downtown Chattanooga in 1979, the blade and handle lengths appeared so close I laid two side by side but inverted, just to be sure the blade was actually a significant amount (like 1/2 inch on the Camillus I bought) longer than the handle before I bought it The first several weeks I owned and trained with it, with my friends and ROTC brethren who all carried them in the field when hiking and camping, it still seemed awkward and took a while to warm up to. Today, after all I went through carrying one, I can't imagine my life without that knife in it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  13. drewway

    drewway

    174
    Oct 30, 2015
    In the end I couldn't resist the temptation of purchasing another Old School Karda.
    [​IMG]OSK on Flickr
    Colorful, scandi, mosaic pin, checks all my boxes.
    [​IMG]Hammer on Flickr
    Nice solid 3.5 finder hammer grip, fits comfortably in the hand.
    [​IMG]Reverse on Flickr
    Reverse the grip, here is where I run into a problem. Because I can get a 3.5 finger hammer grip, I have a mental expectation of being able to do the same in the reverse grip. Unfortunately, due to the C grip shape and the length of the underside there is no place for my hand to go without the butt end of the handle biting into the meaty part of my palm. The best I can do is a finger grip.
     
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  14. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    With this model and the Babyboot, much like with a folder of the same shape and size which is where I learned what I am about to type out years ago with a Sodbuster Jr, Overhand reverse grip is better, more comfortable, and offers a more secure purchase if you adjust the hold some. Hold the handle in an pinch grip with the tip of the thumb in the curve of the lower side of the handle and in like with the tang, and the forefinger wrapping around the end of the handle at the base of the spine, so that your thumb is pushing the end of the handle into the second joint of your forefinger. Then the middle and ring finger really just hold the handle against the meaty part of the palm just to brace it, and the oinkie sort of anchors the pommel if you need to push the blade into something this way. This is good for cutting fishing line, string, cordage etc. Also for gutting game and fish. I don't have time to post pics right now but I can later tonight if you need me too.
     
    drewway likes this.
  15. drewway

    drewway

    174
    Oct 30, 2015
    Overhand pinch grip, I like it! The butt end of the handle still rests against the meaty part of the palm, but the pressure is all in the "pinch". This will probably make it a keeper. Thanks Brian!
     
    B Griffin likes this.
  16. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Cool. Glad I could help. The same grip with the edge reversed is handy for other types of cutting, especially instances of cutting in a line traveling from the thumb side toward the finger side...like a motion that goes out and to the right if using a right hand (reversed if left handed), like in a whittling, filleting, or chest-lever type cutting motion.
     
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  17. Warrior108

    Warrior108 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 24, 2012
    That's what she said ;)
     
  18. Warrior108

    Warrior108 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 24, 2012
    Great post!
     
    Aias likes this.
  19. Warrior108

    Warrior108 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 24, 2012
    Silly question Andy buuuuuut, why don't you make one then? :)

    And out of curiosity; What is your favorite user knife or maybe top 3?

    (pretty much "get to know the maker" questions there)

    Thanks,
    Jerry
     

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