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Alex Middleton

Looking for opinions - Bird and Trout

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It's been a few months, but I'm finally finding some time to spend in the shop again.  I've been wanting to try a small B&T for a while now.  I took this one to the point of roughing in the scales, but now I find that I'm second guessing myself for not having a guard on it.  As its taking shape its starting to feel more like a table knife than anything else.  I'm not so far that I can't stop and convert this to a hidden tang similar to the sketch.  Maybe even extend the handle a bit for a better fit in the hand.

20190529_174234.jpg

Thoughts?

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Posted (edited)

If you want my honest opinion, I would either start over and force yourself to make the design you drew, or rework this blade into the intended product. The knife you drew is a very functional useable tool. The one you made is just OK. I think you will find that taking the leap and fitting that guard will increase your confidence, open you to a wider variety of knives, and raise your craftmanship a level. Don't take the easy way out. There's no growth in that.

Now for a B&T, I would make the blade narrower (spine to edge) What you have there looks more like a typical hunter/skinner/field knife. (very nice design BTW, but the blade could be shorter. like 3-4" max).

If you want to keep making full tang blades with scales that's fine, but kick it up a notch. Add bolsters and maybe a finger groove to protect the hand. Again, a great way to expand your abilities and enlarge your portfolio. I have a WIP thread on this should you want some guidance.

Edited by Joshua States

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@Joshua States, thanks for the feedback.  FWIW I'm always looking for honest, well intended, feedback.  No matter how brutal it is.  There is a lot to learn in this craft and IMO the best way to do that is to have your ideas picked apart by people who have had more experiences (both good and bad) than you do.

This knife actually is coming along exactly as I had originally intended.  The knife is sitting right over top of the original concept sketch.  The sketch with the guard is one that I started as I got the knife ground to shape and really didn't like the "feel" of it in my my hand.  I think I'll convert this one to the hidden tang design and finish it out as a little 3 finger EDC.

The more I look at B&T profiles, I'm thinking that the profile of the blade needs to be a bit "pointier", with a touch of drop to the tip, than what this one has.  I agree that this one has more of a hunter look to it.  I do have a question regarding your comment:

15 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Now for a B&T, I would make the blade narrower (spine to edge) What you have there looks more like a typical hunter/skinner/field knife. (very nice design BTW, but the blade could be shorter. like 3-4" max).

You're not talking about the OAL being 3-4" are you?  That seems to be a touch on the small side to me.  This knife is only a touch over 6", and it already feels almost too small.  The blade is 2-3/4"ish long x 3/4"  wide x <1/8" thick.  Much smaller than that and it seems like it would be pretty hard to hang on to once the handle gets a bit slippery.

20190530_041732 (003).jpg

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4 hours ago, Alex Middleton said:

You're not talking about the OAL being 3-4" are you? 

No I wasn't. Now that I see the knife in your hand, I have some perspective on the size. (I guess I kind of missed the tape measure :blink: My wife calls me Mr. O'Blivious) 

I do not make any working knives with handles less that 3-3/4" from front of the index finger placement to back of the pinkie placement. So most of my working knife handles are over 4 inches long. I made the faulty assumption that the handle on this knife also met that same criteria and the blade looked equally as long, so it appeared to be a much longer blade than it is.

My small knives (I call them 3-finger) look more like this and the blade shape and size is more of what I think of when I think B&T. The handle size for a B&T is what ever you decide works for the application. I consider a B&T to be a "working" knife, so I would give it the larger handle and the smaller blade. Just my opinion.

You can decide how much it is worth being that I don't bird hunt and rarely fish.....

4 hours ago, Alex Middleton said:

I got the knife ground to shape and really didn't like the "feel" of it in my my hand. 

I'd like to see that one. Can you post some pics of it from side, top, and bottom? The design drawing looks like it should work fine.

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Aside from the tape measure (my wife says the exact same thing about me :D) i can see how you could make that assumption about the size.  I basically took a design that I've made a few times and scaled it down.  Believe it or not but I actually referenced your 3 finger post when i was trying to decide how big to make this (I really like that knife BTW). These pics are a little bit better than the first one.

20190530_211930.jpg20190530_211950.jpg20190530_212038.jpg

The scales are just temporarily held on with roll pins.  I'm going to ditch them and switch this over to a hidden tang with a guard.  Part of the issue that I was having was that my fingers were feeling a bit pinched at the rear of the handle and up by the blade.  I played around with the sketch a bit and I think I've got the handle tweaked so that it will be more comfortable in the hand, and still maintain the "3 finger" size.

20190530_211645.jpg

I'll post more pics once I get the handle redone.

I also changed the blade profile on the sketch to be a bit more B&T ish.  I'll try that out for my next project and see how I like it.

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The guard fits nicely, the blade/handle transition was kind of empty without it.

The drop point works too.

Personally, I dont like a flat butt on a knife. I make it slightly domed, like an upside down egg shape. If you drop the knife on its butt the doming helps keep the wood from chipping out.

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I traced and modified your drawing. This is how I would make it in my style, I also added a little length so it might be too long.  The knife looks better in the picture where you are holding it.

Moving the pin forward might not work, I would put it at the widest part of the handle.

 

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Thanks for the input Steve.  I really like your take on the handle butt.  It makes it look less like a table knife and more like something meant to be used in the field.

I see your point about the guard as well.  I've thought about that style quite a bit, but there is just something about the aesthetics that doesn't quite do it for me.  I guess the best thing would be to make 2 guards and see which one I like better once it's in the hand.

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Not sure if this will help your thought process any but here's a small bird and trout that I did a few months back...

Bird-trout.jpg

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Posted (edited)

That's a nice one Jeff.  What's the OAL on it?

I think the biggest issue I'm having in finalizing the design for this is that there really isn't a set definition for a Bird and Trout knife to begin with.  I'll bet that if you were to ask 5 different smiths, you'd probably get 10 different answers.  Small and sharp seem to be the only defining characteristics, everything else is all personal preference. 

Edited by Alex Middleton

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I think it looks better without the guard. I also think it will be nicer to use. I find guards on small blades to be mostly a nuisance. I agree that it is important for skill building to make the knife you initially designed so I would say contour the handle and finish this knife and then make one that adheres to your design.

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6 hours ago, Alex Middleton said:

That's a nice one Jeff.  What's the OAL on it?

I think the biggest issue I'm having in finalizing the design for this is that there really isn't a set definition for a Bird and Trout knife to begin with.  I'll bet that if you were to ask 5 different smiths, you'd probably get 10 different answers.  Small and sharp seem to be the only defining characteristics, everything else is all personal preference. 

3 1/2" blade and 3 1/2" handle area....basically a 3 finger grip....unless you have small hands....then you get 4 fingers...LOL

You're correct in the knife design aspect.   I spent months looking at different ideas...literally it finally came down to picking 6 ideas that I liked....then with the proper amount of alcoholic influence I rolled a 6 sided dice to make the selection....end result is as you saw in the picture...

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On 5/30/2019 at 6:45 PM, Alex Middleton said:

Part of the issue that I was having was that my fingers were feeling a bit pinched at the rear of the handle and up by the blade. 

I think that it's the Bird's Head heal that is giving you the problem. On a full size handle the pinkie wants to nestle in the bird's head. On a 3-finger, the ring finger does this. Your handle is probably too short for 4-fingers (causing the cramped feeling) and too long for 3 fingers (makes it feel sloppy and loose).  Most of the little ones I see have a handle shaped more like an arch or a long oval or a wedge.  As for the one with the guard, I agree with the modification to the guard and heel that Steve posted. A small knife gets a small guard. Cleaning game is messy work and for safety sake, you really need something to keep the hand/index finger from sliding onto the blade at the choil. 

I kind of toyed with your drawing a little. My draw options stink, so it may not be clear what I'm trying to say.

InkedAlex's B&T_LI.jpg

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I appreciate all of the input guys, definitely a lot of good options to think about.  I'm going to try to make a few of these over the next couple months and see if i can come up with a design that looks and feels right for me.  Thanks again!

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Alex, here is a little knife I just finished. I think the handle may be something to consider as far as the design goes. This is a 3 finger EDC, where 3 fingers rest inside the curve, but the pinkie can rest on the little flat at the heel. It was originally a file (obviously) and I left the teeth from the file on that flat, in order to 1) give a nod to the fact that it was previously a file and 2) to give a little extra grip and leverage when needed. You can see the teeth in the second pic. I will say that this knife handle is a bit skinnier than I imagine yours being. With a little guard this could match your design I think. 

image0.jpg?width=400&height=300

image0.jpg?width=226&height=301

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Just wanted to say thanks again for all of the input.  The end result:

20190609_202650.jpg

The pic sucks, but I just finished this up tonight.  I think it's going to end up as my personal EDC for a while.

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