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Forum Index > Medium and large game hunting > Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show

Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show

06 Nov 2019
@ 12:30 pm (GMT)

Warrick Edmonds

Nathan’s knife is crap!

I’ve been propping up a table at the annual Adelaide Knife Show for more than a decade but less than a century. Last weekend saw the retirement of the bloke who’s been organising it for 27 years in favour of handing management on to some young bucks with the promise of a bigger venue, more razzmatazz and social media advertising. That’s all good. Luckily for me, it also saw an expert give me a run down on everything I do wrong with my knife making. With his input I can now up my game. Here’s how that went.

Expert standing in front of my table of wares picks up the sheath for a long bladed hunting knife, which is essentially Nathan’s hunting knife with some unnecessary decorations. He sniffs it and looks concerned. He loudly proclaims to his girl and mate but mostly to the world in general that it’s too long, “how the hell can you have that on your hip” and proceeds to mimic running through the bush with it flapping and banging around. He then tells me, “it’s gotta be mounted across your back, (parallel and sideways on your belt he means, like some small, concealed fighting knives)”

Just to put you in the picture, in its sheath, we’re talking about a package about 35cm long. And some knives do get mounted sideways on belts, but typically smaller knives and typically angled slightly sideways on you hip like a police revolver, so you can see what you’re doing when stuffing the sharp blade back in its holder.

He’s a big bloke and I’m not. I’m taking my time and thinking how much he looks like a spoiled, overfed school yard bully. I’m checking out his mate and girl and they both slink around in his shadow, so it’s a clear picture. Anyway, I root around in my pack under the table and pull out a post-it-note, you know that flimsy yellow paper square. I ask for the knife back and get interrupted again by old mate. “I don’t care how ^&^%* sharp it is”, (which is a funny thing to say about a knife). Ignoring him, I zip the blade through the paper, which makes no noise and one half falls to the floor between us. “So you want to blindly fiddle that into a sheath you can’t see behind your back?” I ask. “Nah”, he looks at me as if I’m stupid, “You’d practice it first!”

“How many fingers you got now?” I ask him. He snatches the sheath back and pretends to run through the bush again with it flapping at his side, then, grinning, looks to his companions for approval.

Ok, look, I just couldn’t help myself. “Done much hunting mate?” I ask. “Yeah, heaps” he says dismissively. I says, “Yeah but do you get out of your car? Can’t say I’ve ever done much sprinting after deer when I’ve been stalking ‘em. What about you Mal?” I look to another knife maker standing to my left, he smiles.

Things don’t go well after that. Our expert is all quite and just standing there, looking down at me with his hardest stare and going slightly red. I reckon I was truly- rully about to be smacked. However standing either side of me were two other knife makers, both of them sheep farmers from the harsh inland paddocks, both about the same size as our expert, and probably ten times tougher. My possie. With all three of us staring back he did what all bullies do when faced off. He took it out on his girl, I could see her copping an ear bashing as they pushed away through the crowd, his little acolyte obediently trotting after.

So, there you have it Nathan. You gotta mount that thing sideways on your belt behind your back. When you do, let me know how it goes for you eh. Hey, don’t forget to practice first!

Replies

1
07 Nov 2019
@ 09:24 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Hi Warrick, it might comfort you to know that while you were being fed a load of BS from lollygaggers, I have been in the field using my knife. The days have been long and hard, the hunting has been difficult. I have shot prone and from from stalking positions, I have also had to run through various terrain from open ground to swamps to get through the daily workload, back and forth. One morning, I had to jump over an obstacle and roll out from the landing. I have spent whole afternoons butchering. I come home wrecked, my arms and shoulders have been aching. The knife has been either on my hip or in my hand. It makes short work of large jobs although it takes some getting used to and its not for everyone or for all situations. I put the knife over a stone some weeks ago. Since then, it has had a lick on a steel once in a while and that's it.
07 Nov 2019
@ 02:30 pm (GMT)

Warrick Edmonds

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
I'm glad the knife is working out.

Ha,.. so I do need to think about it banging around on your hip ! Yours is just so different to how I hunt. I'm all quiet, quiety, sneak, sneaky; through dense bush and on the edges of bush/farmland. I'm crouched there shushing noisy snails, telling them to stop whizzing by me.

Do you think adding a metal ring on the toe of the sheath so you could tie it to your leg would be of any benefit? I could incorporate a kind of thin buckle and strap on future models. Or is that just too fussy to be bothered with?

Warrick
07 Nov 2019
@ 05:25 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
As much as I dislike social media and u-toob, it's a pity, a real cryin' shame someone wasn't there with their phone in hand. Guaranteed a million hits and gone viral by the end of the day.

This one will keep me chuckling for a while.

08 Nov 2019
@ 07:43 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Hi Warrick, hunting is of course a quiet affair. But we have other work that we have to get through up here in the hills and of late, its been a lot of back and forth, carrying kit around etc.

I think the main consideration with a large knife is to wear it towards the rear of the hip. If a guy is wearing a belt over his jacket, its a simple matter of pushing the sheathed knife around to the rear. If a guy is wearing trousers (rather than shorts and polyprops), it simply takes a bit of fore thought. Most trousers have a belt loop at the sides, center of the hip. The knife should be placed behind this belt loop, not in front of it. If the knife is in front, it can come around further and interfere with movement.

A major consideration is sheath style. The sheath should be long and low so that the handle barely shows out of the sheath. The knife lanyard is an important aspect of this because it allows me to draw the knife, not by the handle but by the knot in the lanyard. Housed this way, I have no concerns about slipping over and sliding down a bank. If the handle were exposed, sliding down a hill would draw the knife from its sheath and slice me open. A short knotted lanyard does not seem to become exposed in this manner, not with the style of sheath you make.

I have also gone back to wearing braces with trousers. I used to wear them in the old days. They went out of fashion years ago which was annoying because pants are no longer buttoned for braces. So to wear braces, its either the clip on style or get your sewing kit out. There is also a new type, again not sold outside the U.S, with large plastic clips, rather than shiny metal. Braces are still used by laborers throughout the U.S and Canada. But the heavy working mans braces cannot be found outside of North America. If you have a lot of kit in your cargo pockets (in my case research kit), these can make the working day a great deal more pleasant. I would far rather visit a shop selling braces so I can get through a hard days work comfortably than visit a fucking beard grooming shop.

Again, I don't want to push the large style knife onto others. This is simply what I use in low country for various tasks and should have no bearing on other folks decisions. I simply had an interest in the early pioneering knives, Warrick made a knife of this style for me and I have been using it ever since (a couple of years now). It simply is what it is.
13 Nov 2019
@ 08:40 pm (GMT)

Iain

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Nathan, those heavy "proper" braces are obtainable for those of us who live outside the US.
I have a set on my protective chainsawing pants and they are excellent.
I bought them without fuss from somewhere in the US but don't remember where.
If the delayed recall function in my brain fires up, I will let you know the brand and/or the supplier. Don't hold your breath.
15 Nov 2019
@ 10:03 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Thanks Iain, yes the braces / suspenders I have are the more dinky kind. Keen to replace these one day.

Below is one of Steph's images. Warrick's big knife is not all that big when seen in perspective like this. I certainly do not need to wear it across by back! Warrick made the sheath so that it sits low. The top of the sheath and knife are level with my belt. But even in the low position, it does not extend down all that far.

As an aside, the boots I am wearing are cheap Ridgelines. I ditched my expensive Lowe boots in favor of the Ridgeline boots. The Lowe boots were too low and too narrow at the toe box. The tight fit is supposed to help when sidling, stopping the foot from slipping inside the boot. But they bruised my toes (length was correct and I had purchased extra wide). The Ridgeline boots have been great from day one.





15 Nov 2019
@ 11:49 am (GMT)

Magnus Vassbotn

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
First, Hi!

I've been reading this site for a while, and find it very interesting and useful. So now I've signed up, and just ordered the books as well. Really appreciate the work you are doing here, Nathan!

Now, how long is this infamous knife? Did you have a post with pictures or something?


Kind Regards

Magnus Vassbotn, Norway
15 Nov 2019
@ 12:01 pm (GMT)

Warrick Edmonds

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Just replying to Ian and Nathan posts above.

Nathan, do you reckon there would be any benefit in locating the belt loop lower on the sheath body so the whole package rode higher on your hip? (I was worried about center of gravity getting all skew-whiff so thought it better to be low)

There is an alternative I've used for really large knives and that's to fit either a belt and shoulder strap or a shoulder strap. Here's some examples;

This one is a really big knife, 50cm long. I mounted it on a metal ring with a shoulder and belt strap, so it presented like a sword. My son is modelling it, he's 6'2", which gives you some idea of scale.

https://imgur.com/3UUkk6O

Here's a photo of the knife out of its sheath

https://imgur.com/fajkjVd

Here's a second one, which was a bit smaller, so it's just got a shoulder strap

https://imgur.com/hgyVTH1

While they are alternatives for big knives, I don't know if you'd really want the handle sticking forward like that in dense scrub. Just showing that it can be done though.

Here's a photo of Nathans knife (for Magnus)

https://imgur.com/prTQ9tv
15 Nov 2019
@ 12:16 pm (GMT)

Warrick Edmonds

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Ok, I've got it now, so here's the photos, in order I spoke about in the post above







15 Nov 2019
@ 06:56 pm (GMT)

Iain

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Never ceases to amaze me what can be found in the dim, dark corners of my mind.

My braces came from davidmorgan.com I think mine are the "hopsack" model.
16 Nov 2019
@ 10:56 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Thanks for the link Iain, much appreciated.

Warrick, the sheath is perfect as it is, I would not want to change anything about it. If it sat higher, it would interfere with my pack. I wear my pack a great deal during the working week, even though it does not appear in videos or photos (other than as a gun rest), its always there.

Hi Magnus, thanks for your support, I do hope you enjoy the books. You will find a section on knives in the shooting book. But as for this knife, I believe most of it was talked about in the equipment section quite some time ago.

As a very brief summary, I have always had an interest in the early knives and weaponry of various peoples including pioneers. My interest in knives came about mostly due to a local farmer / bushman who had for many years buddied me in farming matters. I had tried many styles of knife including a Kukhri which I used for about 16 months, sharp but very hard on the wrists if you had to stab a pig.

I met Warrick via my work here. Warrick wanted to trial one of his knives long term in the field and offered to make me a drop point design which he had come to favor. This was my first knife from Warrick. The knife worked perfectly well, I still cannot fault it. It has both a generous length and heft without being too bulky for long hauls and holds a very good edge. You can see a photo of this in the knife section of the shooting book where I am cutting a pig cross ways through the spine.

Following this, Warrick made me my first big pioneer knife. The knife was based on an early and obsolete Buck knife which my bushman friend had loaned to me and had encouraged me to use in order to experience the older pioneer style knives. As with the knife before it, I put Warricks new Bowie to my hip and there it stayed. I used it for all of my work thereafter. In the shooting book, you will see this knife in the deer dressing section.

I would have been content to carry on with either of these two knives that Warrick had made for me but Warrick contacted me once again to say that he wanted to test a new steel. Warrick also asked me if I would like any further changes. At this point, as much as I loved the beautiful furniture, I asked for a more utilitarian handle to give the knife a bit more grip when out in the rain or when dealing with fatty sheep. Apart from this change, I wanted to carry on with the Bowie style. The photo above (in Warricks hand) is the final iteration of this knife.

The big bowie works well for me. But as suggested, I would not want to push it onto others. I use the knife to make large sweeping cuts. I can stab a pig, or hack through its spine at the hut, breaking the carcass in half without using a saw. The point remains sharp for weeks in the field and the strong curve also continues to cut after weeks of abuse. I use the knife for all manner of tasks. But although these bush knife hacking tasks are what you might call rough and ready, great care is required to use a knife of this length (7" blade) in this manner. I got ill last year, its taken me a year to gain some form of equilibrium, I am only just able to eat again now (last few weeks) without feeling sick. I had a jaw infection, then some form of bacterial or viral infection - who knows, blood tests were useless. I spent a year eating meals no bigger than you would give to a toddler. I am still down 10kg, still finding my way back. In any case, while hacking up dog tucker goats, trying to get through the job quickly so I could get back to resting, I was so fatigued that I near cut my left index finger off last summer. I had previously written about this and warned readers as to the cumbersome nature of very large knives in the shooting book. Now, suffering from chronic fatigue, I had proved my point. Still, the finger patched up fine and the nerves are just coming right as I type this.

As suggested, an element of skill and extra care needs to be applied with big knives and hefty cuts. I think for most folk, a blade length of somewhere between 5 and 6" is about ideal. Further thoughts on this subject can be found in the shooting book.


17 Nov 2019
@ 05:54 pm (GMT)

Warrick Edmonds

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Following on from what Nathan said, I've made a post in the Equipment section re different types of knife blade shapes. Remember, this is how I see it, not some sort of official dictionary definitions. Also, it's a bit of eye candy !
18 Nov 2019
@ 06:05 am (GMT)

Magnus Vassbotn

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
This knife looks very functional as an all purpose knife/ tool. The tip is curved enough for skinning, yet its pointy enough for gutting small trouts, pick splinters/ wounds and perform some finer tasks. And it looks very nice as well. Very good work!

By my taste it's a bit large for gutting and skinning though, but that's just a bit of getting used to. It makes up for it in other departments.

Personally I use smaller knives (3,5-5 inch blades). I carry a knife all day every day, either for carpenting/ other work, or hunting/ fishing and what not. I go in and out of the car, into stores etc, so a large knife is too much of a pain in the ass under these circumstances (there is always a saw, ax, machete or chainsaw nearby anyway).

I can see why some people might be critical to 6-7+ inch knives. But that all depends on the setting. If one is out in the field all day, and don't pack a saw or ax, such a knife is ideal. Also for cooking and cutting fish filets etc.

A few years back I was going through a "long bladed" face, using one knife for a wider range of tasks, and made quite a few at around 6-6,5 inches, and quite sturdy, and handed them out to hunting buddys. Worked well enough, but as gutting/ skinning knives they were a bit big, and that's mainly what they were used for. So now they're all back to 4-5 inch blades (and no finger guards that snags).

The large knife concept certainly has its own appeal, but I definately agree it's for more experienced users. For rookie hunters/ skinners I think 5 inches is max. Under 3,5 is just a bit too cramped.

Anyway, I find this post very inspirational, and feel a sudden urge to revisit the long blades. Thanks for pics and info! Will check out your other post.

M
05 Jan 2021
@ 03:15 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
I'm way late to this party but Warrick built me a large knife very similar to the black handled one in the photo above. I have used it several times. It is very different than the smaller knives I'd used in the past but it really makes the gutting go fast and it can be kept so sharp that skinning is fast too if you are doing it that way.

We are typically close enough to game butchers that we gut them out and get them to a locker pretty quickly because it's warm where we hunt. However I have skinned my fair share with this big knife and it works very well.

The sheath is intimidating the first time you see it but I just put it on my belt a little in the back but I handle it crossways so I can see it when I sheath it. I carry it on my left side but handle it with my right hand. I don't know why that works better for me but it does. I love the knife and how well its works.
05 Jan 2021
@ 03:15 pm (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
I'm way late to this party but Warrick built me a large knife very similar to the black handled one in the photo above. I have used it several times. It is very different than the smaller knives I'd used in the past but it really makes the gutting go fast and it can be kept so sharp that skinning is fast too if you are doing it that way.

We are typically close enough to game butchers that we gut them out and get them to a locker pretty quickly because it's warm where we hunt. However I have skinned my fair share with this big knife and it works very well.

The sheath is intimidating the first time you see it but I just put it on my belt a little in the back but I handle it crossways so I can see it when I sheath it. I carry it on my left side but handle it with my right hand. I don't know why that works better for me but it does. I love the knife and how well its works.
05 Jan 2021
@ 08:27 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
after many years and many different knives tried ,some good,some not so good.Ive just purchased pretty much what I started out using 40ish years ago.... originally I had a green river bushmans friend,untill it cut its way out of sheath and cut my leg....went off sheathed knives for years and found folders of similar blade shape worked.....then tried the mighty bacho with its plastic sheath and fell back into using fixed blade BUT with plastic insert in leather sheath...which is what Ive done with my knifekut rabbiters knife from H&F....same size n shape as the green river....piece of conduit plastic pipe...heated and squashed over blade...it sits inside sheath and stops ANY chance of it cutting its way out...takes a wee look when putting knife back in sheath,but gives me piece of mind.
funny how the bowie shape "just works"....the older I get, the more I realize there is little thats truely new,most anything has been done before and the better designs are timeless.
31 Jan 2021
@ 04:30 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
My smaller knife from Warrick. This one is so gorgeous that I've had a bit of trouble using it as intended. It's handle is more like a sturdy piece of furniture than something utilitarian. It's as functional as it is pretty but I'm emotionally attached to it.

https://imgur.com/hVYH8jd
31 Jan 2021
@ 04:34 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
15 Feb 2021
@ 12:12 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
I have one of Warrick's large hunting knives that
I use on elk and it is superb. 52100 steel blade,
Mulga handle.
16 Feb 2021
@ 07:13 am (GMT)

Lane Salvato

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
John,

Don't you find the 52100 to sharpen so easily and then easy to keep? Mine in the photo above is 52100 and I love it. I have large one too from Warrick but I don't have a photo of it and I'm not sure he'd appreciate me screenshooting it off his website!
27 Feb 2021
@ 12:34 pm (GMT)

Florida_Cracker

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Warrick - I'm another 'late to the party' responder to your 2019 post but I can't let it go without saying how much I enjoyed your commentary about the knife show - AND the outcome.
After reading Nathan's book and saw your knife, I perused your web site. Some mighty fine looking cutlery there. In addition to being late to the post, I'm also new to hunting and trying to learn from the likes of Nathan, you and other frequently appearing names on this forum.

I can't contribute anything informative to this thread except a 'Thank You' for sharing that show experience.

Florida_Cracker
28 May 2021
@ 01:32 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: Nathan's knife is crap, tales from The Adelaide Knife Show
Hello Florida Cracker,
So you are into hunting. In late winter I try to visit one
of my sons who lives near Oak Hill,Florida. There is good
hunting for pigs, deer and turkies in that area if you can
take time away from fishing for redfish, speckled trout,
crabs and shrimp. During my visits we hunt or fish every
day. I'm not a cracker, but lived in Gainesville,
Florida for four years.

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