Knife number 15 from the Michigan shop is a Beck inspired Tracker. Obviously I’ve made some significant changes to the design.
Beck Inspired Tracker
Why is this a Beck inspired Tracker? Well, because it looks a heck of a lot more like a Beck Tracker than it does a Tom Brown Tracker.
Above is an image that Tom Brown III claimed to be the original Tracker. Below is the original drawing of a Tracker Survival Knife.
The blade shape is obviously similar but there are significant differences between the Tom Brown design and the Beck design. I’ve handled many Tracker style knives, including the Beck and the TOPS design as well as several others. I got so frustrated with the TOPS version that I modified the handle somewhat.
I was still dissatisfied with the handle, even after modifications, although the one in the above photo is pretty nice. I’ve wanted a Tracker style knife with a handle that actually makes sense based on how the hand works. It makes absolutely no sense to have flat slab scales with minimal rounding off on a heavy use knife. Zero sense. A heavy use knife needs to have a handle that will not injure your hand. I’ve also explained at length why it is not a good idea to force the fingers apart with finger grooves. It is silliness. Finally, what hand is shaped like the handle in the original Tom Brown Tracker design? There is just so much that is wrong with the original design of the handle that I decided to scrap it and start anew.
It makes absolutely no sense to me that you would put saw teeth on the front of the spine of the knife. Assuming you are planning to use this knife to baton, where are you going to hit the knife? Sure you can hit it on the teeth, but it just seems silly. Also, what are you going to use those teeth for? People claim to need them to cut notches, but you already have plenty of edges on the knife with which to cut a notch. Why put teeth there and compromise the baton function of the knife?
Also, if the portion of the edge next to the handle is supposed to be useful as a draw knife, where do you put your hand to actually use it that way? On the saw teeth? It makes far more sense to me that you would put the saw teeth next to the handle if you were just dying to put saw teeth on the knife.
Cutting Edge Geometry
If you are wanting to use the front portion of the blade as you would an axe, why would you put any other grind in that area than a beefy convex grind? It isn’t as if you are going to be doing a lot of fine carving that far away from the handle. As far as a scraping and skinning tool, a properly done convex grind will accomplish those tasks in spades.
For the grind next to the handle, this is where it makes sense to put an edge for a lot of carving tasks. I’ve gone back and forth as to what that grind should be. My current favorite for that area is a 12 degree Scandi style grind. It functions very well for wood carving and does a bang up job of a bunch of other tasks.
Now that you have 2 different grinds, you will have to transition between them. This is not an easy thing to do well. People call this the quarter round area. Very few production companies have the ability to do a convex grind, and even fewer have the ability to do the transition right. This is probably why they choose the edges that they do. Those things have to be hand done, and training someone to do it might be very difficult, and the time to execute those grinds drives up the cost.
Almost every Tracker style knife I have handled is far to handle heavy. I lightened the handle and moved the balance point forward.
The Tracker Knife I Would Like
I made this out of 1/4″ thick O1 tool steel hardened to 60 on the RC scale. The blade is about 6.5″ while the handle is about 4.5″ in length. It has a forged in guard. This is a full tang knife, but I have slightly skeletonized the handle to move the balance point forward.
I did a 12 degree Scandi grind next to the handle. The quarter round area is a fairly thin convex grind. The front part of the blade is a full height convex grind. All very sharp!
The scales are a stabilized wood called Afzelia Lay. The liners are blue G10. Everything is secured to the handle by Corby bolts and epoxy. There is one mosaic pin in the handle.
If you are into Tracker knives and you have been looking for these changes to the knife, you will probably like this knife. If you hate Tracker style knives, you’ll hate this. I like them but I don’t carry them often and I don’t assign any magical powers to the knife.
This knife sold. Gotta be quick! 🙂 More to come.