I have a knife design that has been rattling around in my head for some time. I have to admit, it is also not solely my brain child. The design also comes from months of chatting with Ben Piersma, owner of Ben’s Backwoods.
One of the most underrated knife features (in my opinion) is a swell on the top of the handle. When you close your hand around an object, having something filling in that space is pretty damn important to comfort. It is something that a simple oval shaped handle can do very easily, but becomes trickier with a full tang knife style like this one. It seems so many knives are cut out of a piece of stock that is flat across the spine and the back of the handle. While easy to do, it can never match the comfort level of a swell like this, in my opinion anyway.
The second key feature on this new knife is the first finger groove and guard area. A true guard gets in the way when doing things like batoning notches on a flat surface (like a log). But, having a little bit of something there can be beneficial for the grip I am about to talk about.
Previously, one of my primary concerns with this area of the knife was to get the first finger groove as close to the cutting edge as possible. Easy to understand because it is a matter of leverage. The farther away from your hand the item you are cutting, the more leverage it has. Power cuts are done up close.
However, this one is a bit different. I put some space in there for a very good reason. Ben has been known to grip his mora’s with his whole hand going over the guard. It kind of puts your first finger half over the cutting edge, but it is not scary to do. It feels like it centers the whole knife in your hand, and gives it a balance that is not achieved by simply “getting close to the edge.” It allows a lot of control and makes doing things like feather sticks a really fun task. Since Ben grabbed his Mora’s this why, I try to optimize this area of the knife specifically for that, and I have to say it feels wonderful.
The picture I have of my holding is attempting to show that grip. I was trying to take the picture with a big camera and no tripod so I had no choice but to do it up close and left handed.
I will try and get a better picture, but if you watch Ben’s video on the Ghillie Kettle, right around 0:20 you uwill see him using this knife technique.
This knife now has a page of its own for ordering under the “Off The Map Knives” tab of this website.