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Wood and Leather Tactical.

Discussion in 'Koyote Custom Knives' started by koyote, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    So, back before I started knifemaking, and probably for a half a year
    after, I would pass by Tactical Knives Magazine, and browse Blade of
    Knives Illustrated. The sharp angles and kydex thing really never has
    done much for me, and my opinions on fighting with itty bitty folders
    are best aired on whine and cheese.

    But a bit later I started picking it up to see some surprises. The
    editor writing about bushcraft knives and nessmuk, photos of carbon
    steel blades in the jungle. And a lot more fodder for my design
    imagination than I'd expected.

    Now, I'm still not sure what tactical means, I think it varies
    depending on the situation, maker, and user. But I do think TK has put
    to the forefront something I like using- and making


    Wood and Leather Tactical.

    I hear often that I have a rustic, or even period trapper look to my
    knives. And there's truth to that- it is in large part
    intentional. But the designs are most often modern.

    Quite frankly, the handles on a lot of period knives suck. Not all,
    and paradoxically, the more useful are often on the cheap
    knives. (Dude, there are some period bowies out there whose handles
    are a torture device.) But I've spent some brain work on my handles,
    and just because they aren't all micarta or G10, and I don't use
    corbys, doesn't mean they aren't tactical- or as I'd say it,

    The blades themselves aren't period- I've tried to work with a lot of
    good traditional ideas, mostly American and Scandinavian. And I've
    added my own flair, design goals, and results from using knives in the
    field into them.

    the sheaths are sturdy, versatile, and leather. You can do a lot with
    leather, and there's usually no problem repairing it if you need to.

    The whole package is definitely non period, but tries to borrow some
    of the better aspects of traditional knives.

    There's something to be said- from a tactical point of view- for a
    wood handle. It's hackable in the field if necessary, can
    be maintained easily, and is most often less brittle than some of the

    Leather is such a wonder. It can be shaped, dyed, oiled, dried, and is
    a LOT less flammable than nylon strapping.

    A good full convex grind is the easiest thing to care for in the field- all you
    need is a strop. A scandi, in my mind, comes a close second. Easy to sharpen,
    easy to hone, easy to care for in heavy usage situations.

    But are these knives tactical? I think they are. My primary sticking
    points for a long time were that they don't look tactical, certainly
    not in the mall ninja sense. And blade thickness. I usually work to
    make the thinnest blades I can that will do the job. Most often in the
    neighborhood of 3/32, though some big ones have crept up to 3/16, and
    a few EDC sized customs have been done with a 3/16 spine and a full
    convex grind. I think a full sized, thin spined knife can be a good tactical tool.


  2. Rockywolf

    Rockywolf Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    Hmmm, good food for thought. I have to go along with you on almost every point too. I like a bit thicker knife (my next one from you will probably be 1/8 thick) and I like a wide, longer handle too. Your knives are period looking with a working attitude. I use the EDC ALL THE TIME! I gave the other one to my older son-he loves it.
    The knife edges are easy to maintain and your daughter's sheaths are tough, functional works of art.
  3. csabacanada

    csabacanada Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 5, 2005
    Hello,Sir.First of all I would like to say that I am really glad you have your your own forum .
    It was about time.I love these leukus ,I think I just found the models for my next order.One in 6'' another in 8'' long blade.The handles look really comfortable. By the way ,could you post some pictures of the knives with sheaths ?ALL THE BEST
  4. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    I did ship those threee, but with a little luck i will be able to get the photos off the old camera and put them up here. They are just about the apex of wood and leather tactical. I'd carry any of those on a deployment.
  5. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    I have never aspired to have tactical blades, albeit, I do own knives that might easily be classified as such. I agree that knives that simply work borrow attributes that make sense to their use.

    I really enjoy the merits of kydex sheaths for some knives, while at the same time I like leather on others. I think that both leather and kydex have different qualities and both can be made with good solid retention. Where I really like Kydex is when compactness is a major criteria. The kydex just takes up less physical room. On the other hand, leather, is much more aesthetically pleasing. Also the flexibility of leather feels better when withdrawing and re-sheathing a knife.

    Regarding handles, I have knives with G10, mircata and wood. I like them all provided they have good ergos. The synthetics tend to be more dense and this sometimes comes in handy to the designer when trying to optimize balance for a given blade/handle length. Wood feels warmer to the touch and provides unique character. The one thing I have learned about handle ergonics is that it is pretty dam hard to come up with any hard and fast rules as to what works and what doesn't. Looking at a picture doesn't really give any perspective of how that knife will feel in your hand until you actually handle it. I've been surprised on knives that I thought the handle would be too short, yet it felt great. I can make the same statement about some knives with longish handles.

    Christoff's commentary on thin knives is something that I totally agree with. "Thin enough to get the job done" is a great philosophy. I've think BF has shown a real shift in perspective on this issue. I would guess that a year and a half ago, the majority of customs in the 4-5" range were 3/16" and during the last year we see 1/8" and 3/32" much more frequently. I remember two years ago, most people debating as to whether you could baton a less than .25" thick knife. That debate seems to be put behind us now. Production knives seem to be only very slowly making this change. For example, the Ratcutlery RC-4 would in my opinion be a superior knife if it were made with 1/8" stock like the RC-3.

    One of the things that all of your knives (Christoff) lacks is a guard. This is one thing that I usually think of first and foremost in a 'tactical' knife where stabbing type actions are more likely. For bushcraft, I see no real use to a finger guard. So on that basis, I never regarded (pun) Koyote knives as being tactical per se. Then again, in my books, I wouldn't regard that as a bad thing.
  6. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    Yah- I've seen a LOT more 3/32 lately than when I started. I felt for a very long time like I was bucking an unbuckable trend, along with Bryan and some of the other WSS regular knifemakers.

    And honestly, at first when Tony got his big chopper, even though I'd tested the first one pretty hard, I was really psyched out about it. But it looks like the CT crew has really pushed it and it's holding up just fine :D

    The guard is a good point. I've done a few gaurds, but nothing yet that would be a "fighting" guard. some knives, like this:


    I do with the idea of couching the front of the hand.

    I did stabbing tests. I don't know that it's a full on heavy combat blade, but I'd use it as a tactical backup knife, and I did manage to hold onto it through several dozen stabs into a tree wrapped in carpet.

    The only real fighting knife design I'm strong on making is the spanish dirk- and those go either way on guards. The large drop on the edge is such that it's pretty safe. I would like to put some out with full d guards, though :D
  7. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    First off, yes the 1/8th Chopper you made me is a helluva knife. I don't think even with a lil abuse I will ever break that knife. I never chopped any concrete or anything, but who really does that anyhow.
    Even the 3/32nds Lueku Bushcrafter has been driven into some pretty dense seasoned wood with no ill effects. They are two knives that I can totally trust not to fail as I and others put them through some over the top testing already:thumbup:

    2ndly- Where the hell did the knife in the pic come from? That thing looks beautiful. What are the specs? I want one! Maybe after the new year though, I'm broke:eek:
  8. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    that one went to a forumite in AZ along with a matching leuku pattern. I thought I put it up on a for sale thread. I should do more of them:thumbup:

    5.5 ounces, 9.5 OAL and a 5 inch blade. .095 15N20, convex double edge, stainless fittings on a tan canvas micarta handle. Nice full thickness- I almost always use 3/8 inch micarta.

    I'm currently trying to track down the mythical .120 15N20 stock, because I'd like to do more of these a bit thicker. Or I could try and find another similar steel- 8670m and L6, of course. I just love the 15N20. M2 might be a nice one to try out if the 15N20 sources dry up.
  9. dunefan


    Jun 22, 2003
    Christof , how much is the knife in the pic you describe?:

    5.5 ounces, 9.5 OAL and a 5 inch blade. .095 15N20, convex double edge, stainless fittings on a tan canvas micarta handle. Nice full thickness- I almost always use 3/8 inch micarta.

    I like that a lot. Hope it's in my price range. Both sides of blade sharpened?
  10. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    email sent for ya.
  11. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    Yes you should make more of these :thumbup:

    Lose the swedge and it is perfect. I love it! I also really like the last knife in your OP. For a guy who loves wood so much, you sure make gorgeous mircata :D
  12. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    I actually like the canvas micartas. I try and work them into the same shapes as I do with wood, which is why I use the thicker stock. The only thing I actually dislike about micarta is the little rectangular handles some people make out of it.

    kgd, i know how you feel about swedges :D i can make it as a spearpoint instead of sharpened double edged, of course.
  13. tonym


    Mar 18, 2008
    I'm with KGD, I would like the spear point also. So when I get some extra cash I will order it that way from you, but I will probably go wood for the handle..

    I don't think the double edge is ugly, but I have a hard enough time not cutting myself with one edge to worry about!;)
  14. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    I cut myself about once on each double edge knife just because I forget!

    I think the double edges are fine for special purposes- It's just not my thing on a regular field knife. You can bet is I was down on the border or out in the sandbox I'd be okay with the extra sharp, though.
  15. BarberFobic1992

    BarberFobic1992 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    i also like this one alot, although i would opt for wooden handles of some sort.
  16. j williams

    j williams Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 14, 2005
    Thats a very cool knife man. I like the looks of it!
  17. C_Kyle


    Feb 7, 2005
    That looks like my Leuku in the second pic. It's a great knife, and, while I will not be deploying anymore, I would have taken it with me. It meets my criteria for a tactical knife:

    Light weight
    Not shiny/muted, dark colors
    Easy to sharpen
    Sheath has multiple carry options
    Price is within reach of the average Soldier

    I would never take something like a Busse Full Battle Mistress anywhere. It's too large, too heavy, costs way too much for those who actually would use it in a tactical environment, etc.
  18. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    I think that one is yours. It's either yours or Esav's, or the other one, I've done three slim leuku pattern knives in tan canvas micarta.

    I'm working on a small (relatively) spanish dirk design for a deployment knife. Haven't quite got the first one done. Goal is 5/32, 7 inch blade, micarta handles and a gunkote blade finish. NOT IN BLACK. Probably tan or brown.

    This is what a large spanish dirk looks like:




  19. koyote


    Mar 29, 2007
    OOPS! wrong second pic! You meant the lignum vitae one :D

    I was wondering about the dark finish comment. That one of the heavier ones, honestly, and still pretty light.
  20. hollowdweller


    Sep 22, 2003

    I would like to personally thank you for not using photobucket to host these pics because since you used another hosting service I can see your beautiful knives. (Photobucket blocked for me):thumbup:

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