Tracker knife input and suggestions

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by PACoureurDuBois, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois Supporter Supporter

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    So after playing with my cheapo tracker knife that I modified, I decided it's time to sock away money for a real one.

    I definitely have Caleb Cox's tools as a possibility. Any one own one that could give me some feedback?

    Also looking if anyone has used other ones?

    Everyone's help and patience is always appreciated.
     
  2. Skeptiksks

    Skeptiksks Green Haired Weirdo Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Do you have access to tools to take a whack at your own or are you looking to buy one? If you have the tools available and the will to take a whack at it I would say go that route. Good steel is actually really cheap for carbon and I'm sure there are plenty of people to heat treat it if you aren't comfy with that.

    I've been looking into making my own tracker style knife personally, so I may be a bit jolted on the make your own front.
     
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  3. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois Supporter Supporter

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    Unfortunately I'm not really set up to make my own. I was lent the use of a bench grinder, and probably beat the heck out of my dremel modifying the el cheapo I have.
     
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  4. Skeptiksks

    Skeptiksks Green Haired Weirdo Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    With annealed steel from a supplier you can do most of the shaping by hand with files of you have access to them.

    Gotta say though, with the price you would pay for a finished blade, you cant get a lot of decent tools to get you started on making your own blades if you have the space.
     
  5. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois Supporter Supporter

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    I definitely dont rule out doing it one day. I would like to start making blades, but I'm a total rookie.
     
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  6. Skeptiksks

    Skeptiksks Green Haired Weirdo Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    That a how we all started my friend. Put file to steel and turn out some prison shanks until you get something you like. Just my .02. Whether you buy a tracker or not, I say definitely start working on your own blades.
     
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  7. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    I've got a great deal on a full size tops tracker in the trade blanket that's had all the work done to it to make it cut a hundred times better than stock but the grinds a little funky from the previous owner.
     
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  8. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    @Skeptiksks has a great point. Many of us started as rookies. Some of us still are ( :rolleyes: :4:). My point is the learning is as fun as the doin'. Walter Sorrels has a great set of videos and tutorials on YouTube.

    One of which he shows that despite the shop full of tools, you can still get down to basics and hand grind one out. Using files, a hand drill, sand paper and lots of elbow work, he made a full size machette. It was a great video.

    As you get more involved, you can invest in a cheap (as in inexpensive) angle grinder which can be a 3 in 1 tool for you (cutting tool, grinder, and flap sander), some decent files, and butt loads of coarse to fine grades of sandpaper.

    I scrounge, trade, and beg for my steels, but that will land you a lot of mystery grade stock. Order some steel from a known source ( did I just say that? :eek: ) that will give you known properties and heat treat. Many folks here can tell you a good grade to start with (not me, I'm not well versed in the numbers :( ).

    Start small. Don't try a massive frontier Bowie your first time out. An 8 in. OA with a 4 in. blade is a great starting point. Ask for help most folk here will be glad to help out. :dblthumb:
     
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  9. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    I just picked up a Caleb Cox model and am a big fan. I just posted some pics and thoughts from a recent outing in the Tracker Action thread. It's definitely the best iteration of a tracker that I've used, including the tops model. The fact the you can get a Cox at its price point sort of makes the decision for you, too.
     
  10. OldFatMan

    OldFatMan Tracker

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    I like the tracker design... but I just can't make it " one tool " well enough to suit me...

    Its a bit weak on the chopping front... yes, it CAN chop, but its, less than ideal IMHO

    as far as small knifeing goes, I've gotten spoilt to a very slicy knife with a very acute tip for fine detail work.... trying to carve with a tracker FEELS like trying to hammer a small nail to hang a picture on the wall, with an 8lb sledge... it CAN get the job done... but not as efficiently....again IMHO....

    I've come to the 2 knife school of thought and really just enjoy the efficiency of the pair, The Large Chopper, and his Misses The Carving Knife.

    This is not to say I do not appreciate the tracker.... I very much do.... its just the wrong size for the job IMHO....

    When I fall asleep at night.... deep and peaceful sleep.... and the happy dream fairies creep in and sprinkle me with happy dream dust.....

    THIS is what I dream about.... the upsized Tracker dedicated chopper utility knife, and his Ladyfriend .......brings a tear to my eye!

    This is my current Holy Grail setup... and I'll own it one day.... very very soon.....

    ( T.M.Hunt Custom M-18 and a custom Yuma )

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  11. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois Supporter Supporter

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    @OldFatMan I do agree with you that it's not the end-all-beat-all woods tool, but it is a good all arounder. Sure for fine work, a better tool is available, but I like the utilitarian aspect of it. I want it for rough work, and use my smaller tool to smooth the wrinkles out, so to speak.
     
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  12. OldFatMan

    OldFatMan Tracker

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    I understand completely... and its a great knife with a huge following! I'm sure my personal issues with it are solely due to my lack of experience with it... I bought a Tops TBT, used it for about a week, was frusterated with its performance in almost every aspect of use.... but admittedly, I went into it without altering the knife in any way from the factory shipping state, with a mindset that it was not going to change my mind on the one tool to rule them all school of thought....and it was doomed before it started....

    The week I used in only helped to confirm my suspicions about the blade and its inadequacy for MY wants....

    I've been a 2 knife man for a LONG time.... its VERY hard to get out of that mentality once its had 25+ years to take root and grow. This is not to say there is anything wrong with the knife, its design, or your enjoyment of it... it simply did not work well enough for ME to replace 2 dedicated tools. I LIKE a bigger chopper, and I LIKE a small slicy knife with an acute point.... the TBT I have is.... not able to fill either of those needs to MY satisfaction.... at least not enough to make me trade my 2 knife set up for it alone, nor did I personally find it effective enough at either task set to replace my large or small knife with a medium sized one....

    I VERY MUCH do like the utility of the blade.... and have since been on the look out for blades that offer a lot of that multi functionability.....

    I spent a lot of time with the Becker BK4... a very versatile knife with perhaps the most useable draw knife available short of a dedicated draw knife separately... but ultimately found it to be lacking as a chopping blade due to lack of mass.
    I bought a Skrama... it has the longer handle, chops like an axe, has the thinner grind area close to the handle like the tracker style knives do... also a fine draw knife, but that rubber handle just does not sit well with me... I'm the kind of guy that prefers old school materials in my kit.... wood, leather, brass, cotton canvas.... no nylon, plastic, rubber, I prefer cast iron to titanium ..... I'm just ....old.... and when I go into the woods, I want to play mountain man more than army ranger with all the newest and coolest ultra light gear... its just.... my choice on how I personally do things.

    Your way aint wrong... for you, my way aint wrong, for me.... and as long as we all enjoy our time in the woods, that's what truly matters. Just being out there, and finding brief moments of joy in a crazy world and high speed low drag life.

    Just because it did not work for me WELL ENOUGH to change my mind about using a mid size blade over a large and small set up....does not mean it won't end up being everything you'd dreamed and more... we all do things differently, and not a one of us does it " wrong "

    I do hope you get the tracker, and love every second of your time with it. I DO hope its as awesome for you as that TMHunt M18 and Yuma would be for me....

    I hope I did not come off as trying to judge you for your choice, or that you think I was telling you not to get the knife, farthest thing from my intent.... I'm just an old fat man who currently has a broken neck and a lot of free time trying to pass the day discussing knives with some great folks... being familiar with the tracker, I thought I'd chime in....I stay out of threads I know nothing about so I don't sound as much of a fool....

    Good luck to ya Boss... I looked up the trackers by Caleb Cox and they look to be fine strong sturdy knives.... I like them much better than my Tops TBT.... might be the way to go!
     
  13. PACoureurDuBois

    PACoureurDuBois Supporter Supporter

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    @OldFatMan oh you're good, sir. I didnt take it the wrong way at all, I was pickin up what you were puttin down.

    Like you said, everyone has their way that works for them. We're all here to learn from each other in some way or another.
     
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  14. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    A tops TBT 01 can be a very disappointing experience out of the box. I know some people make them work but their grinds are way too obtuse to have fun with them in my opinion. They really need to be reground to get the most potential out of them.
     
  15. Medicine maker

    Medicine maker Guide

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    I can see just from looking at it they got the grind correct. I can see no issue at all as far as doing your finer tasks and youl have all the benefit of chopping ability. Note that he says slightly over a 1/4" thick. So yes your good to go.

    I have 2 wsk's . One is a 5/16 " custom made of L-6, the other is the tbt 01. With the good grinds 5/16 means nothing are far as impeding fine detail carving- standard fireboad nothches, carving shavings/bark, curling toothpicks etc.

    My tbt 01 is not edited and no one ive met in real life has felt a need for it. My tbt 01 was someone elses before it became mine and that guy felt zero need to regrind and yes laughed at the idea. I hang out with many a knife thrower and knife maker. In fact anyone I talk to in real life laughs at the thought of wasting so much time regrinding for a knife that doesn't need it. Buddy of mine been making knife/throwing knives for 40 years. He made my other wsk. And I said well the whole internet has this bs notion that this knife MUST be reground before its useful.

    He BURST out laughing and just kept asking why do they think that. Again its the same thing over and over either they aren't versed using that particular tool or their " spoilt to a very slicy knife with a very acute tip for fine detail work" OR " its VERY hard to get out of that mentality once its had 25+ years to take root and grow". I consider neither of these a reason why someone couldn't use a wsk.


     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  16. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    I have a pretty fair idea of what I'm doing with a w s k and the grind on a stock TBT01 sucks. It's too thick everywhere it counts. Of course you can make it work and do things with it but using one that's been reground thinner is a whole different deal and makes it that much easier to use.
     
  17. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Bushcraft Friend

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    @tobiism , here here!

    I've played with my brothers plenty of times. I say play because his is an unmodified TBT01 other than it being sharpened, and it still doesn't cut very well for crafting. Yes it works, but not without a serious amount of hand cramping force. It is one of the reasons it's not a $500+ knife. Beck's grind is much more refined, and will cut with less effort than the TBT.


    Since i dont have $1000 for a WSK I sourced all the parts to make my own Beck WSK and my dollar amount came out to $165.

    Heat treat $50
    01 stock $70
    Micarta $30
    Loveless Materials $15
    Not counting machinery, files, and sandpaper.

    Multiply the amount of time it will take me to complete the knife at $20 an hour for 20 hours of filing and sanding and I'll be out of pocket for about $600 . Still cheaper then buying a WSK for 1k. Overall it will be priceless when completed wether it is a spitting image of Beck's creation or not.

    Good luck to ya @PACoureurDuBois !
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
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