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Some Seax Tasker Impressions And Images

Discussion in 'Fiddleback Forge Knives' started by B Griffin, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Some of the Seax Tasker's lines caught my attention and intrigued me when it was first released, which is not the norm for me with a guardless knife. That's because being raised as a woodsman a hunter and a fisherman, and having a life-long love for cooking (to the extent I am currently working on two different types of cook books), I am often putting a lot of thought to variations on themes in a knife design that could work well for bushcraft uses, fish and small game processing, and still also work well at a cutting board. Which naturally means there always has to be some serious compromises in the prioritizing of all the elements.

    I tend to like some sort of speed bump between my forefinger and the cutting edge, or somehow having some design feature that makes it difficult for my finger to slide onto the edge of the knife when pushing the blade into tough materials, like thick game hides or when boring holes with the tip in not so great weather or if somewhat fatigued. With the Seax Tasker that element comes in the form of a subtle forward swell, rather than a guard per se. A swelled hilt that causes the handle to act like a wedge being forced into the hand when forward pressure is applied to the tip of the blade, even in a flat pinch grip. And then the slight concave aspect of the top and bottom of the handle combined with the swell of the pommel has the same effect on pull cuts and power-cutting.
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    So the handle provides a nice secure purchase in the hand, wedging in place in both push and pull cuts, added to usual comfortable Fiddleback ergonomics, and still puts the beginning of the cutting edge just forward of the handle for less fatiguing of the wrist in power cuts and long term uses.
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    And yet at the same time the entire edge can come in contact with a cutting board.
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    Some of that chicken breast was leftover, so it went in a pot of chicken vegetable soup later that evening.
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    All in all I like this knife a lot. Much more so than most other guardless knives I've worked with. It has a nice old world flavor to it that speaks to me on a primal level, and the highly refined subtle curves and lines are very aesthetically pleasing to my eyes. The handle provides a nice secure and comfortable purchase, while still providing an overall profile geometry that allows the blade be extremely functional both in the field and at the cutting board. I think the combination of the various elements of this model are very nicely done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
    AntDog, hasco, McFeeli and 12 others like this.
  2. cbach8tw

    cbach8tw Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    Still think that a slight bump of a guard would be better for safety. Very cool using review.
     
    B Griffin likes this.
  3. VANCE

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

    Mar 13, 2006
    nice job Brian:thumbsup:
    great photos & insight
     
    B Griffin likes this.
  4. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you, I'm glad you liked the post. For a lot of knife users who grew up using knives here in America, myself who grew up hunting gators in Florida included, it is an obvious and inarguable statement that a slight bump at least between the handle and blade would in fact make it safer for us in some of our uses. But then again from the Scandinavian and Norwegian perspective it would make it safer for us if we just adjusted our perspective of knife use and our techniques, and that's pretty hard to argue as well, but the last time I checked gators still weren't a thing in Scandinavia. I simply don't care for a knife on which handle tapers to the blade with no guard, as in big at the pommel small at the hilt, with little to no contours in between (think Old Hickory and most traditional Puukkos), for anything other than pull type cuts, as in butchering meats, or fine carving. The geometry and physics involved make them automatically loosen in the hand in thrusts into hard materials. But I like how Andy addresses that aspect with the Seax Tasker in much the same way as the makers of some of the other older designs like some of the primitive Scottish Dirks and Sgian Dubhs did, in order to provide purchase and still leave the knife sleek in profile.

    All knife designs are a series of trade offs in features and elements. For instance I have always loved the handle of Andy's Bushcrafter model from day one. With the three dimensional contouring, flares at the hilt and pommel, and the rounded pommel it offers exceptional ergonomics and comfort and a secure purchase in every use I put it to. It will also seat well in a pouch sheath with the slight guard and forward flares. But the point just isn't pointy enough to suit my needs in a knife for field crafts. And I feel the same about the Arete. To me the blunt spear points are of little utility to me, and that's why most iterations of the Kephart knife hold no appeal for me. I like to be able to do fine work with a narrow blade and a nice pointy tip, as in primitive living type uses, like boring small holes, making small notches, penetrating tough hides, filed expedient surgeries on myself etc. But for others the Bushcrafter and Arete are their absolute favorite models in the line and suit their needs perfectly. The K.E. Bushie gives me the blade shape and a point that I like for fine work, and the rounded pommel I like for boring holes, but having only the slight bump at the back of the edge of the blade, and the handle largely tapering smaller from the pommel to blade with no flaring of the hilt on the sides or top, it doesn't offer a secure purchase to suit my needs in pushes into hard materials with sweaty hands or hands slick from fish and game fluids. Plus the handle shape doesn't really lock in as securely in a pouch sheath as I would like and isn't conducive to a retention strap. So then Andy finally made his Kephart, which gave me the blade shape I want, the point I need, and the contouring and flaring to give me the comfort and secure purchase I need in long term uses of a knife in the field, and will lock securely into a wet-formed sheath. The pommel isn't really my fav, but being as it ticks all the other boxes, I adjusted my knife uses to it and it is so far my fav overall Fiddleback. But the Seax Tasker now gives me another to really like :)

    But then I don't consider myself a Bushcrafter. If I had to label myself I would say I am more of a Wayfaring Explorer. I love to explore new areas, usually woodland ones, which often puts my waist below a sea of: weeds briers and trailing vines, and sometimes below the surface of the water I am crossing, so I travel light. Sometimes they are urban areas where ducking, running, crawling, and climbing can come into play, and there I travel lighter. A secure fit in a sheath is a prerequisite for a knife for me. I conduct a lot of field research and experiments with various materials in both environments for my various works, both organic and synthetic. Experiments in utility, firecraft, etc., and I also love to cook while I am out. Sometimes four course gourmet meals in the middle of nowhere, sometimes in old abandoned buildings just for the nostalgia of it, and because I find it therapeutic. So I probably don't always weigh out the elements of knives the same as everyone else.

    Thank you Phillip, I'm glad you enjoyed the post :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
    Halfneck and cbach8tw like this.
  5. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    It has been a fun experience, having all the conversations with Andy on the concept of handle function meeting with form over the years, and watching him refine the various elements of his handles. The subtle lines in this handle make it another of the ones that illustrate some of his thoughts and his dedication to refinement very well in my opinion
     
    VANCE likes this.
  6. cbach8tw

    cbach8tw Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    Fiddlebacks handles are a design of form and function and aesthetically pleasing. A lot of thought goes into their construction. I also like the term Wayfaring Explorer mentioned above.
     
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  7. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Yes, I agree. Andy puts a lot of thought into all his handle concepts. More than people yet understand on some that seem a departure from his norm. Andy and I grew up in similar environments using similar tools, and learning similar things from them, but applying those lessons differently. They inspired him to want to create better quality more functional yet more user-friendly tools. But As fate would have it the only way I am able to do that relaxed is to set up my own shop. The experiences of my childhood taught me a great deal about knife function. My growing up hunting and fishing for food, and also fishing and trapping commercially, then at the same time being taught everything about survival during the tense years of the cold war that my single father Marine Dad could manage to teach me, made me want to make knives of my own early on. Being an artist who loves to create and developing a major fondness for cooking only added more to that. So I was designing and making rudimentary/primitive knives from files in shop class in the 9th grade in south Alabama in the 70s.

    However, the PTS issues I have, that came from all the random violence of my childhood, combined with all the night assaults in my sleep, starting with the night I woke up having to kill my stepfather just to survive the night, and on the streets through my teen years have negative effects on that. While it also taught more a lot more about the survival and weapon side of knives, it also makes it impossible for me to relax with all of my senses deprived like that. If I can't see hear and / or smell who is coming up behind me then I'm tense and can't relax, and that makes the knife making not so much fun for me. There are several unfinished knives of mine in various stages of completion in the shops of several knife making friends. So now I design some knives for different companies, and help other makers tweak theirs to be more user-friendly in long term uses as an outlet because I enjoy the connection with the tools and the people who make them. But also because I'm more inspired to seek out better designed, better quality, more user friendly tools to use in my work as a wayfaring explorer and researching writer, than to make them myself. Because there is no way I'd have the time to do everything I want to get done before I die or am unable to do so. So because of our friendship and similar thinking, I am drawn more to Andy's knives than any others, especially in this price range.

    And thanks, I've been a wayfaring explorer since I was a kid exploring the coasts and everglades with my father or practicing the things he had taught me while he fished lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019 at 1:02 PM
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  8. cbach8tw

    cbach8tw Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    This may be off topic, but have you done any exploring in other nations? Any one that ypurnreslly liked?
     
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  9. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    I have only ever barely been out of the US, and only as a kid and mostly on the water in the Caribbean with my father who co-owned an ocean salvage company. I've wandered back and forth from Alabama and here S.E. Tennessee to Texas twice and then back to Florida the last wander, mostly on foot, between the ages of 15 and 19 when i didn't have a family anymore and refused to go into the system and had to stay on the move. The first time I just barely crossed the Mason Dixon line from Kentucky into Evansville Indiana and back into Misery (Missouri) at St. Louis during a fluke autumn blizzard, sustaining bad frostbite in my hands and severe frostbite in my feet before heading south to Texas to get out of the north. The other pathway was down through Georgia into Florida and along the Gulf coast. Maybe in a few years when my youngest is an adult I may go abroad. I'd like to explore several places, but only time will tell if I have that much time :)
     
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  10. Hurrul

    Hurrul Gold Member Gold Member

    200
    Aug 26, 2017
    Personally, I find that more edge curvature up to the tip, lessons the tips effectiveness. Typically for me, this means the spine of the knife must come down to the tip to a greater extent. Sometimes severely down, as in Japanese kitchen influenced knives - santokus, gyutos, or Andy Roy's Shaman pattern.
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    An added bonus is sharping tends to be easier on straight edges or gentle curvatures.

    But, some ancient seax patterns were too straight edge, and gentle edge curvature can be a helpful characteristic for some cutting techniques, properly placed during the shaping of the blade.

    This Seax Tasker looks pointy, but with some useful edge curvature. I don't mind the lack of guard, except I would hesitate to use this if I had to wear gloves due to cold conditions.....although guard-less knives have been used in Scandinavian countries for sometime into the past and they must have been using them with gloves/mitts through out countless Nordic winters.

    I have a Fiddleback Scout -
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    which is supposed to be a little bit like a puuko (I think that's the story) with no finger guard. I like the handle. But, I like the pointy end on the Tasker better.

    As a side note, the multitude of blade shapes and patterns that FF create is partly what drew me to the maker. There is a great lineage and timeless breadth of knife design just in the Scout, Tasker and Shaman - and that's only 3 of Fiddleback Forges library of work!

    Thanks for reading and thanks to BGriffen for shooting and typing this post into being.
     
    B Griffin likes this.
  11. hasco

    hasco Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Thanks for sharing the write up and beautiful photos Brian! That is a great looking knife too! I am in the same boat of usually preferring some kind of guard, but I must say I really like the lines of this one.
     
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  12. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Thank you for chiming in! We have some very similar thoughts. I too like a below center tip and a shallow belly on a blade. In 1978 when I was 13 and first found myself dealing with life on the streets of North Dallas, dealing with high school jerks with attitude problems and a gang mentality but no real organization or any sort of training, just a penchant towards pointless racist violence, I made a knife for those circumstances I could carry discretely out of an old Mauser bayonet. I only had access to my stepfathers hand tools, so I used a hacksaw and files to make it have a reverse tanto blade about 4.5 inches long, with a very acute needle sharp tip, and removed the barrel lug and guard, and part of the pommel. I made a leather sheath I'd wear in my boot, drilled a hole in the pommel for a finger lanyard, secured the sheath to my leg with an ace bandage, and cut slits in the seems of all my jeans where I could stick my finger through into the lanyard and pull the knife out at need. That knife was my best friend for the next two years, and went everywhere I went. These days I still prefer knives with narrow blades and below center tips.

    Thank you Todd! I'm glad you enjoyed the post! Yes, I'm still safer with a guard in my uses lol, but I do like this one a lot better than most guardless knives I've tried out. I bought a blue Mora Eldris to give to my daughter a few years ago, lol, it's still in my desk drawer. She thinks it's mine and wonders why I never use it...
     
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  13. hasco

    hasco Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    LOL! I bought the blue Mora Eldris for my son but never gave it to him for the same reason!
     
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  14. B Griffin

    B Griffin Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    The damn thing is razor sharp! I just can't feel comfortable about giving it to her. I keep picturing her filleting a finger with it...
     

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