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Alex Middleton

Fire gear carry knife

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Its finally time to make a knife for me.  In my "spare" time I've been a POC firefighter for the last 16 years.  I've had this idea in the back of my head for several months now and thought I'd put it up here for comments before I started on it.20180330_125640.jpg

I'm thinking in the range of 1/4" thick, possibly slightly thicker.  A nice long handle with extra room for a gloved hand.  Add in a spanner wrench an window punch as well.  As much as I've taken to hating the looks of a sabre grind (this board can be a bad influence :D) I think it's appropriate in this instance, especially since this thing WILL be used as a prybar at some point in time.

Please let me know your thoughts.  Any comments or critiques are welcome.

 

Thanks,

Alex

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Interesting idea; I would make the top part wider to keep the spanner wrench part from making a weak point on the blade, where prying forces would be greatest.....also move the glass breaker forward on the blade. Temper for toughness, not edge retention. I look forward to seeing your progress.

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I'd put the glass breaker on the pommel end of the tang, myself.  What's the spanner for?  

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Posted (edited)

I thought about that too Steve.  I think I'll play around with the orientation a bit and see if i can get it to sit shallower on the blade. 

I agree 100% on the toughness over edge retention.  We have a sheet of 1/4" 1050 at work that I'm thinking about using.  I've hardened it successfully in the past, and then I can cheat a little and laser cut the profile.  The forging on this one is waaay out of my league.

Alan, the problem with putting the glass breaker on the pommel is that you are either holding it by the blade to use it, or, if you hold the handle, your hand goes through the glass after you break it and you get pieces down in your gloves.  Putting it somewhere on the spine keeps your hands clear and also gives you a lot more force when striking.  As for the spanner, most small diameter (1" - 3" diameter) fire hoses have 3 lugs around the outside of the couplings.  The spanner fits over the lugs and is used to tighten/loosen the couplings.

Edited by Alex Middleton

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My wife is a medic with the VFD and I've worked with vsrious fire servicesnow and then. I have always been intrigued by the idea of making a mission specific knife for firefighting. 

I once saw a custom " tool" for the purpose that was quite "out of the box". Similar to your design but it looked like somewhere in its geneology a bearded hatchet/axe and a "D-guard" Bowie trench knife had hooked up.

Best as I can describe it, the "beard" of the blade coming toward the handle was the spanner/shackle wrench. 

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There has been so many different tools created for the fire service, you could Google search all day and only see half of them.  For the hell of it one day, I started designing up what was going to be the "ultimate" personal firefighting tool.  It had a knife blade, axe head, cable cutter, screwdriver, window punch, seatbelt cutter, two spanner wrenches, and a bottle opener :P.  Things got really complicated, really quickly.  This one is much simpler, and in the end, probably much more useful.

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".......and a patridge in a pear tree"

As with many things, particularly in the edged tool world, almost everyone will have their idea of what they want based on their own unique experience, preference and personality. It would be fun to work with firefighters making their own designs...if I could get a grant for it.........

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Ah, gotcha.  I have used 3" canvas hoses with that type of fitting, and I also don't care for glass in the gloves.  :lol:  Since the blade is going to be so thick and heavy, I sort of wonder if just doing a little upsweep on the point would function as a glassbreaker?  Since all that is needed is a point to concentrate the force.

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Posted (edited)

That's not a bad idea Alan.  I'd have to test it out, but in theory that should work just fine.  I had it on the spine because that's what I'm familiar with.  There's a saying in the fire service, "2000 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress." :)

Edited by Alex Middleton

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You might be able to find a grant somewhere Vern.  Especially when it comes to emergency services and first responder safety, I'm sometimes amazed at the amount of money that can be available.

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30 minutes ago, Alex Middleton said:

You might be able to find a grant somewhere Vern.  Especially when it comes to emergency services and first responder safety, I'm sometimes amazed at the amount of money that can be available.

Back in the days of the LEAA I was a pretty good grant writer. Done a couple for non-profits since. Might talk to the chief of the VFD and get myself hooked into the system.

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He may very well take you up on the help. The federal government gives away millions every year through the AFG program.  The grants are tough to get and have to very well organized and concisely written in order to make it through the vetting process. Good grant writers are hard to find.

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Did a little bit of redesign work on this.  I added the swept tip and adjusted the profile of the spanner portion, also played with the handle design a little bit.  I'm going to keep the glass breaker for now, until I get a chance to test the effectiveness of the tip design on a demo car.  It can easily be removed later.  I may add a gas shutoff wrench in the large area between the spanner and the handle, I'll have to draw it in and see how it looks.

knifeWcouplers.JPG

 

Thoughts?

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Have you considered doing away with the sharp tip and making it like a chisel point? Might be safer when turning, prying, etc. Glass breaker doesn't look functional intuit location, what about farther up on the blade for ergonomics.

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I was wondering about that glass breaker in that location. Seems awkward to me.

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A chisel tip would probably be even more functional.  Far less sexy looking though.:D  Honestly, I like the idea.  A chisel tip would essentially allow me to remove the glass breaker altogether.  The sharp square corner on the back side should serve the purpose quite well.  Hmmm, back to the drawing board.

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Posted (edited)

I'm liking this more and more.  I squared off the pommel to provide a striking surface more in line with the tip.  I also added a gas valve wrench and O2 wrench.  Tempered hot enough, there should be plenty of strength left in the blade.  If I'm wrong, then I'll remake it without them.  The fun part of R&D is abusing stuff to the point of failure and then making adjustments from there.

knife.JPG

I'm toying with the idea of making paper micarta for the handle scales.  I've never worked with it, but it's inherent "grippiness" seems like a natural choice for the application.  My only concern is how well it will hold up in a high temperature environment.  We've monitored the ambient temperatures during training burns and we can pretty easily see sustained temps of 300 deg, with spikes up to 500 plus for short periods of time.  For price and availability reasons, I'd like to be able to use generic off the shelf resin from Walmart.  I just don't know if it will hold up without starting to melt.  Anybody had any experiences along these lines?

Edited by Alex Middleton

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new design looks great!

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I'll have one in my hand in the next couple of hours.  Our laser operator says he'll have it cut for me before I go home.  Apparently we don't have any of the 1/4" 1050 left in stock, so I'm going with 3/16" instead.  My gut tells me it'll be a little on the skinny side, but if it breaks, then I guess I'll know for sure for the next one.

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I like it. If 3/16 1050 doesn't work out I'll bet the same thickness in 80CrV2 would be the ticket. 1/4" 80CrV2, properly done, would be about unbreakable, and not expensive, and easy to heat treat.

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Got some work done on this today.  There was a slight problem with the first one that we laser cut.

20180404_213911.jpg

I had the scale on the cutting file at 2x. Oops.  :D I think this one will end up as a wall hanger someday.

The real one is ground, sanded to 220, and ready to heat treat.

20180404_203124.jpg

Even with a turnout glove in, I think it could lose an inch or so out of the handle.  Other than that I'm pretty happy with the design so far.  If it survives heat treating tomorrow I'll throw a handle on it and start putting it through its paces.

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If you leave the tang the way you have it it may provide a little extra leverage.  I'd say it's looking good.

Doug

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Looking good! 

You should finish out the oversized one and call it the "Fireman's Khopesh"

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I had thought about that Doug.  I'm going to finish it out and carry it for a while.  Maybe even give it to a buddy that's a full time firefighter and let him abuse it too.  I'm not going to make any changes until I can figure out what works and what doesn't.

1 hour ago, Brian Dougherty said:

You should finish out the oversized one and call it the "Fireman's Khopesh"

LOL.  I think I will finish it to one degree or another and then hang it over the door to my shop.  The wife already vetoed hanging it up in the house! B)

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Yeah, finish the big one!  It could act as a fire axe!  :lol: 

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