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Tactical Design Input:Prototype Pics!

Aug 4, 1999
The Prototypes are done the pictures taken...
I would like to thank the following Forum members for their suggestions and expertise, Jim March, Steve Harvey, Joe Talmadge, Lynn Griffith, C.Rushing, S. Douglas, Howie Lintz, Drew, Don LeHue and Marion David Poff.
EDIT: Marion David Poff was kind enough to post the pictures below!! Email Me if you would like to see more pictures of them.

Neil Blackwood

[This message has been edited by Dr.Lathe (edited 14 September 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Dr.Lathe (edited 14 September 1999).]

You can post the pics if you like. Just keep them small.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Do it! Do it right! Do it right NOW!

Thanks, I am working on this will the help of a generous Forum member!! The next project for me is out of the shop and in front of the computer......Bulding a website!!!!!
Dr Lathe in his message to me with the pics said this
The Knives are 8"OAL, D2. The brown handled one has a tanto style tip and the black one is hollow ground to the point. It would apear that I have drifted off the utility theme just a little. Several people have been carrying the tanto pointed one for the past two weeks and are very happy with the feel of the handle and its abilty to handle daily cutting chores!



Pretty cool if you ask me.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at mdpoff@hotmail.com If I fail to check back with this thread and you want some info, email me.

My site is at: http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Meadows/1770 Including my review of the Kasper AFCK, thougths on the AFCK and interview of Bob Kasper.

[This message has been edited by Marion David Poff (edited 14 September 1999).]
Thanks MDP!!! Not having that capability has lit the fire under me to get my website up and running......
EGADS! I see NOTHING WRONG with these knives! Congratulations for a superb design!

Well, I suppose if I really want to be nit-picky, I'd smooth out the diminuitive upper guard completely, make the lower guard slightly more pronounced, and give the blade a bit more drop.

But that's it! Incredible. Again, great design.

Thats the second "remove or reduce the top guard"!! One of the other prototypes has a more dropped blade and the top and bottom guard were reduced considerably. I never thought about enlarging the bottom one, I will look at that on paper!! I tried to keep the point in the centerline of the handle. I read several articles where this was considered important. If you don't mind me asking, why more drop?? Just curious!!!
I tried to keep the point in the centerline of the handle. I read several articles where this was considered important. If you don't mind me asking, why more drop?? Just curious!!!
Dr. Lathe,
I wonder if he meant to actually drop the point more. He could have meant, modify the style to be more like a drop point. I don't know though, and am not trying to put words in anyones mouth.
I like the knives alot. Real talent here.

Lynn Griffith-Tactical Knifemaker
Winner of "Best Tactical Knife" at 1999 PKA show
My website
See my award winning "Spec Ops Tanto" in Gallery 3 of my website

GREAT designs, Doc! After looking at my kit knives I feel like putting them in the "do not touch...ever" drawer and calling it quits!
Seriously, though, I am posting here to answer a burning question Dr. Lathe emailed me about...somehow I got roped into maybe making the sheaths for these little beauties, and they would be, of course, Kydex or Concealex. Lathemeister wanted me to hash oout some prices and design ideas, so here they are (although, maybe I shouldn't post the $$ amounts?):
1) I'd prefer a folded-over 1-piece sheath design. This sheath is easier to make, cleaner looking, smaller, and cheaper.
2) I'd use black stainless steel Chicago screws for keeping it all together.
3) I would use Kydex (or Concealex, but I like Kydex better) of 0.093" thickness in Black for the basic sheath. I could use a nice Gray Kydex (courtesy of Madpoet, rest in peace, friend) also, or I also have the Desert and Woodlands camo patterns of Concealex available at a highly inflated price, too.

4) I would make a Kydex belt loop that allows for high-ride vertical carry, as well as horizontal carry, if that would be comfy with an 8" knife. For a pittance I can make a kick-ass IWB clip, too.
Pricing is confidential, as I don't want to advertise outright, but sum would be reasonable for the stock setup (around 30 clams). I don't think i would stand to make any $$ off this deal, as I would like Dr. Lathe to make me some small knife kits for groomsmen gifts, and the $$ from my part would go into that, I would assume. Also the Masterlather is turning a Ti wedding band for me, so he is tres cool.
In any case, I am one busy MF, so the number of sheaths I can do is pretty limited. It may be one of those things where I get a blade blank (hopefully all the knives are exactly the same, or i may need each knife to do each individual sheath for) and spend a weekend doing a limited production run (it takes about 1.5 hours per sheath from start to finish) of just these knives. I'll have to square away a weekend for that with no other orders, too. I do have vacation coming up in October for 10 days, so I would REALLY rather do it then. So, let Dr. Lathe know what you want in terms of sheath details and I can provide. I will also do pancake sheaths and the like, but trust me when I say you want one of my foldovers from a cosmetic/cost/function point of view. You can see my latest sheaths at my webpage (follow Sheaths!, then the Photo Gallery). The sheaths for these knives would be something like the CR Mountaineer II or Nimravus ones shown there.

My Custom Kydex Sheath pagehttp://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Lab/1298/knifehome.html
Palmer College of Chiropractic
On Two Wheels
If the other prototypes didn't get adopted by their "now" owners.... I would have taken pictures of them too. One had a blade about 1/4" longer with the point lower. Also, the belly of the blade was moved back more. It had a look somewhat like the MT Vector blade at the point but alot more recurve and belly. Thats' the best way I can describe it!!!! The blade didn't seem to handle all that well. It came out looking wild but it was so hard go grind that I didn't want to do another one!!! I am doing all the hollow grinding with a 6" dia. wheel.
My feeling is that SB might be after a sharper point. I hope he gets back on this!
Very nice work. Looks as though you've done a fine job with a pretty complex grind. I especially like your solution on the "tanto" tip - eliminates the secondary point and retains the belly!

My $0.02:

Remove the top guard. I always say that - you only need one guard to keep your hand from slipping, there is no edge there anyhow, and a single guard allows more grips, like laying the thumb along the spine.

Expand the integral guard. Make the handle material cover the entire "guard" portion of the tang. This is comfier and more secure, IMO.

Maybe more recurve. The curve of the edge appears to reverse only 1/2" or so from the shoulder. You might get more cutting mileage out of a longer recurved portion towards the base - more wasp-waisted and less Kuhkri-like.

That's only my thoughts, of course. Your knives, and fine ones as they stand. Thanks for sharing with us.

I have a drawer like you mentioned with lots O' knives in it!!!! Before you put that utility knife with the mosaic pins away in a drawer, you send it my way........
I will get with you on the sheath thing! All I know is that I can make a pretty good Kydex neck sheath, but I would trust the more complicated styles to you.
I have several people that just want my basic leather pouch sheath which is fine but I think Kydex is the way to go with a knife like this.
By the way, FLOYD is rattling my roof as I type this!!! If I don't get back to anyone for a while, it's because the power is off!

[This message has been edited by Dr.Lathe (edited 14 September 1999).]
As you mentioned, it is a somewhat difficult grind! Changing the height of the grind line is harder than following the curves. The tanto is actually much easier than the full hollow grind. The blade is only 3 3/4" long from the tip of the blade to the front of the handle material. More curve is not easy to fit in this space! But, thats what makes a custom knife a custom knife!!I have and will continue to experiment with this idea.
The exposed tang on the black handled knife is actually very comfortable to hold. Even when squeezing the knife very hard you can't feel the exposed tang. I think it LOOKS better covered though, that was an experiment!
I have had suggestions to make a longer version of this knife. When I do that it will be much easier to go with maximum curve! I will also go to a traditional grip with more "pinkie hook" for chopping.

[This message has been edited by Dr.Lathe (edited 14 September 1999).]
Doctor, doctor! I’m ailing. Help me! I need one of them black-handled knives you made!

Will these be available? How much? How soon? I like the way it looks and the size!


Jim Six
Adventure, Intrigue & Cheap Thrills
I can make you one just like in the picture. Right now I could have one to you in less that 3 weeks. I am still working out the details as far as the Kydex sheaths.
This is a new venture for me, I mainly make and sell hunting knives that all come with my handmade leather sheaths!!
Pricing for this knife with basic handle materials will be under $300.
Please Email me if you would like more information. I can provide you with more pictures also.
Thanks for your interest,

[This message has been edited by Dr.Lathe (edited 14 September 1999).]
Dr. Lathe,
Lovely knife but i'm looking forward for a longer version (5'?). Keep us posted and good work!(BTW, how thick is the knife and will you be producing any with a G-10 or Micarta handle? and for how much?)


[This message has been edited by keninshiro (edited 14 September 1999).]
VERY nice. The "Tanto" is a particularly nice variation on the theme.

Personally, I think the lower guard is perhaps big enough, or enlarge it just a hair. I wonder what the upper guard would look like in it's current size, but moved tipwards along the spine about 1/2 to 3/4ths of an inch so that the thumb can rest directly behind it in "Saber" fashion?

Do that or count me as another vote for "remove it" - in this size class the "thumb over spine" grip style can be very useful.

One more thing: on the brown grip the pommel hook right behind the pinkie is *NICE*. It'll give good control and feel on any "pulling" type cuts. On the black handle you've put in the lanyard hole at the expense of "feel" right next to the pinkie, at a guess it won't feel quite as nice.

Sooo...I'd suggest an overall grip shape more like the brown version, but if you want a lanyard ring extend the tang steel outwards from the "middle" of the pommel for a butt-stroke-smash "spike" maybe 1/2 an inch tall, and drill the lanyard hole in that. You could then leave that pinkie support structure seen on the brown grip alone.

Overall this is an *excellent* design for a 4" blade class piece...one of the best I've seen in the class.

Jim March
Nice Job!!
I prefer the tanto style blade. I've never been a big fan of hollow grind.
I like a birds head on my knives for the ease of controlling the tip and the added security on pulling cuts.
I agree with Jim March...move the top guard foward and I would even reduce it slightly. The bottom guard looks good the way it is.
I prefer the black color but would go without the hole.
Have you considered offering it as a semi-finished blade?

Again, impressive work!


Wow Doc! I’m impressed. I really like the design, they look pretty beefy, capable of taking some punishment. Quite a quick turnaround if these are all from your last “Tactical Input” thread. Looking forward to seeing future stuff from you.

Take care,
The top guard has received the most concern!!
Followed by the exposed tang on the black handled one...That is just a variation and can be done like the brown one. I have only about a 50% demand for lanyard holes on my hunters!I was wondering what it would be on a knife like this??
As you may know by my posts in the shop talk area, I am big into aluminum prototypes!! I have 4 already for the versions of this knife that are in the pictures. One of them has a single finger notch handle. I am going to either make up a new one or change one I already have to reflect the upper guard ideas that everyone has mentioned here on the Forum. I have orders for the knife, as is in the pictures, so I will keep that template intact!!! I might like the new top guard better myself, I'll work on that over the next few days.
I think that I have set a record for most knives produced in about a three week time period in my shop! I anticipated getting busy again as hunting season approaches, and wanted to get as much done on this design as I could before that happened!
I AM considering a larger version of this knife! After I finalize all the details on this one I will work on that idea.
Right now I'm working on my webpage and will be putting up the final results of this project along with options and pricing on there. One of my good customers has "demanded" a damacus version!!! I WILL have a picture of that on my page!!
Thanks again everyone for the input and encouragement!!!
Neil Blackwood