Tracker Mods Thread

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by T. Pollock, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Hey guys, I searched to see if I could find any complete Tracker (TBT1) mods threads using the search here and also using google. The only thing I could find was one OLJ did (and he did a beautiful job btw) but it didn't really show how the mods were done, just what was done after the fact. Then there's bits and pieces scattered throughout the Tracker Action Thread but no single thread dedicated to tracker mods and I know many have been done. I'll be sharing the mods I'm doing to mine here and would invite/encourage any of you other tracker guys that have done mods to share as well giving as much detail on how you did what you did as you can. Lets try to keep this to Tracker/WSK mods only and that way we'll have a central thread for folks to find helpful info on how to mod their Tracker knives.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  2. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Admittedly I was one of the Tracker doubters :8: until I was loaned a custom WSK by @tobiism to try out. I've really enjoyed using his and started wanting to get a TBT 1 to customize for myself. I didn't/don't currently have the funds to buy one but hoped I could either sell some things to get one or do some trading for one. Well a friend of mine here @TX-1948 sent me a PM telling me he had an extra one he'd like to send me. I offered to work for it or trade for it but he wouldn't have it, he wanted to be a blessing to me and pay it forward... not easy to accept... but how could I say no!!! :4::dblthumb: God bless you my friend and I can promise you I will continue to pay the blessings forward! The kindness, generosity and love shown here never ceases to amaze me!!!

    Let me first of all say I am no fan of Tom Brown Jr! Secondly the TBT1 IMHO "as stock" is a poor performer, however for a production knife I think it's a good base to mod into a great WSK. JMHO, YMMV, ICABW.

    ETA: This isn't an attempt by me to get into the tracker pack, I'm just passing along what little knowledge and experience I can. If they think I might be of benefit to the pack one of these days I figure they'll let me know. It surely couldn't hurt though! :4: :3: :27:
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  3. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Tracker Mods 1

    Mine as I received it from @TX-1948 ... unmodified and only lightly used.
    tm1.JPG
    Removable scales take two 3/32" allen wrenches to remove as they have thread locker on them.
    tm2.JPG

    I've seen it said in lots of places that the brass thong tube had to be pressed out. This is not true, if you have a roll pin punch set like the one below or a cut off drill bit 15/64" you can use it and a hammer to lightly tap out the tube. tm3.JPG

    Showing the tube partially out & the punch used to drive it out. Use a board with a 3/8" hole drilled in it to place the tube over for clearance to drive the tube out. tm4.JPG

    Place over the hole in the board & driving it the rest of the way out.
    tm5.JPG

    Here you can see the brass tube that has been driven out laying in the hole of the board.
    tm6.JPG

    Time to call in the strippers. :4: Used a brass scraper to help remove the coating after the stripper had had time to work for maybe 15-20 minutes. It's a tough coating and tough to get off.
    tm7.JPG

    Used a brass bristled brush to help remove the coating from the grooves in the thumb ramp and in the bottoms of the saw teeth.
    tm8.JPG

    How she looks after the coating is removed.
    tm9.JPG

    Colored the tang with sharpie and scribed some guide line for the drilling to lighten the tang area giving the knife more forward weight = better chopper. I know Mr. B designed it with an even balance because one of his main priorities was that it be balanced well for throwing. IMHO in a survival situation throwing the only knife you have would be stupid! JMHO, YMMV, ICABW. :4:
    tm10.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  4. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Tracker Mods 2

    As you can see I've removed a serious amount of metal from the tang area by drilling with a 1/4" drill bit. I'm not sure how they heat treat these but the tang was no problem whatsoever to drill with just a normal (but sharp) drill bit. Not sure how well you can see it in the photo but I place the scale on the knife and traced the front edge of it onto the tang to make sure I didn't drill too far forward. Where the black tape begins is where the scales end. The blade was taped up just to insure it didn't get scratches during the drilling and to give a little protection from the sharp edge while handling.
    tm11.JPG

    This is as far as I've got for now, handles just temporarily put back on to check the balance. The balance point before starting was about 1/8"-3/16" to the rear from the front of the scales. It was near impossible to measure it exactly because the balance point was under the radiused part at the front of the scales. When it's all done I'll recheck to see where the new balance point is.
    tm12.JPG

    If anyone cares to watch the thread, when I make more progress I'll note that I've added more photos.

    Thanks for taking a look and tracker guys... share your mods.
    Tim


    Updated.
    Layout lines scribed for the new grind lines. The factory bevel is 5/8" wide, The new grind will take it up to appox. 7/8" making for a much thinner edge geometry and a much better cutter/slicer than factory. The TBT1 doesn't have a true quarter round, it's more of a gentle slope than an actual quarter round. You'll notice the front is raised 1/8" higher than the rear to enable me to get a true quarter round like a Beck.
    tm13.JPG

    Scribe line for removing the rear finger choil. tm14.JPG

    I was only able to take it down to within maybe 1/8" on the platen as the belt was too wide for the slight radius on the bottom of the tang. tm15.JPG

    Finished off the rest using the 2" wheel. tm16.JPG tm17.JPG

    Time to remove the thumb ramp. Every DIY of this I've seen has left a camel hump (which is ugly as sin :3:) where the ramp use to be. I think the reason is the front of the scales are raised going into the thumb ramp and perhaps folks are afraid to grind into the scales. I used a straight edge coming off the top of the tang and a 8 1/8" dia. bucket coming off the radius of the spine of the knife to scribe a nice clean line leaving no camel hump. tm18.JPG tm19.JPG

    Thumb ramp taken off on the platen. tm20.JPG

    The knife now feels & handles completely different than it did from the factory! :4: We're getting there. :dblthumb:
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
  5. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Tracker Mods 3

    Scales put back on and the finger choil of the micarta removed with a file over the ole' garbage can. It's much easier to feel when you hit metal with a file than it is a 2x72 belt grinder. Camel hump still there at this point, ;) the top of the scales hasn't been filed.
    tm21.JPG
    tm22.JPG

    Updated:
    I wasn't able to get any photos of how I did the regrind (it takes two hands :dblthumb:) and I'm not sure how well I'll be able to describe how I did it but I'll give it my best shot. Really I doubt if even photos would help show how it's done. If it doesn't make since and enough people are interested in learning how I may try to do a video example on a scrap piece of steel.

    When I made my modified Kephart (TP Bushcrafter :4:) I had to make a new horizontal platen for my grinder. Since I had no plans of grinding any more knives I didn't permanently mount it and that cost me here! I was very careful to set the bevel angle for the platen correct but forgot to make sure the platen was square to the belt horizontally. This caused a dip in the LH bevel right behind the quarter round and also a slightly different front plunge line on this side.
    tm23.JPG

    You can see the dip better in this photo. It won't really hurt the function of the knife but it sure ticked me off at myself for making such a careless mistake. The bevels will be finished by hand but I doubt I'll be able to get the dip completely out.
    tm24.JPG

    The RH side turned out much better after realizing the mistake I'd made on the platen doing the LH side. The bevel on the straight part is now a sabre grind (much better for general cutting/slicing/draw knife use IMHO) rather than the very thick convex from the factory. The front I left as a convex because it's main use is for chopping but I brought the bevel up considerably taking off the fat shoulders (where the bevel meets the flat) the factory grind has. This should make it much more effective for chopping.
    tm25.JPG

    If you've ever run a belt grinder and done plunge lines before this might make sense, if not it likely won't. The quarter rounds were done basically the same way a normal plunge line is only leaving the belt hanging over the edge of the vertical platen a little further than you would for a normal plunge line. The key here is that the profile needs to be done first. You start the grind at the quarter round and come across to the ricasso (just opposite of what most folks typically do on a normal knife). Because the profile is taller where the two different bevels meet the bottom of the quarter round touches the belt first and begins to bend the belt (the part hanging over the platen) and with a gently touch automatically forms the quarter round by following the outer profile as you move rearward grinding. It would be near impossible to do on a 1" grinder because there's not enough belt width to get enough overhang over the edge of the vertical platen.
    Hope that makes sense but that's probably the best I can do with only words. :8:
    tm26.JPG

    I cleaned up/straightened/defined and started the secondary bevels with a round file (for the quarter round) and a flat file using appox this angle to the blade.
    tm27.JPG
    This is what she looks like now that the edge profile has been straightened up and the quarter round better defined. I'm thinking the front finger choil is going to have to go bye bye.
    tm28.JPG

    Front finger choil is gone gone. :dblthumb: Removed it on the 2x72. Shoe shine sanding going on here to put the contour in the handle where the choil was removed.
    tm29.JPG

    Here's what she looks like with the front choil removed and the handle contoured. Much more comfortable with both of them gone!!! This is probably the last mod I'll be doing to it for now at least. Now just to clean the grinds up, sharpen it and use the heck out of it! :4: :dblthumb:
    tm30.JPG

    ETA:
    Note on the regrind:
    I forgot to mention this earlier. I normally run my belts fairly tight but I loosened it quite a bit to allow the belt to flex over the edge of the platen better when doing this regrind.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  6. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Many thanks to all of you for following along!

    One last photo for now. Once it's cleaned up completely I'll take some decent photos with my good camera instead of my phone and post one or two more. I'm not going to go to any great lengths to shine or polish it cause this will for sure be a rough use knife.

    Close up of the under side of the tang and the contouring of the handle. Those sharp corners of the handle have been rounded considerably making the knife much more comfortable.
    tm31.JPG

    Hopefully others will join in here and share their Tracker/WSK mods.

    Here's the before and after shots guys. I don't think I have a program to be able to put the two photos together. I'll probably have tendonitis in my wrist and elbow for the next 6 weeks from all the hand sanding :dblthumb: but amazingly enough hand sanding the bevels to clean them up I was able to get almost all of my grinding boo boo on the left side sanded out. The bevels are sanded to 220 & the flats to 320 with a vinegar patina.

    tm1.JPG tm32.JPG tm33.JPG
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  7. Cp89

    Cp89 Tracker

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    Watching with much interest T.Pollock if it's anything like your knife build a long it's gonna be awesome!!!!!!
     
  8. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks bud, much appreciated! Mine will have some significant mods, not just a slightly re-profiled edge and I'll show how each step was done.
     
  9. Subdood

    Subdood Ex-bubblehead Bushclass I

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    Second thing I did with mine was strip the coating. Did the same with a TOPs BOB. The first thing was use a diy etcher and etched the logos, Ser# etc. the coating did a pretty good job of protecting the other areas. Not sure what caused it, but on the Tracker it wasn't quite as deeply etched and some of the copper from the wires had transferred. Not sure if you can still see it because after I stripped it, I did a diy cold blue to it. Maybe we can get @CoolBreeze135 to shoot some pics. And maybe I can get you to do some of that balance Voodoo, that you do. so we'll to it! :4:

    I am pretty excited to get it back. One of the things I want to do is reprofile mine pretty aggressively in the draw section. Effectively I want to really deepen the quarter round and make the draw section a bit more parallel with the top line. More like a Beck Profile. And thanks to a very skilled and kind gentleman, I have just the tools to do that now. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  10. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter

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    Yessir!

    20170109_134004.jpg

    20170109_192112.jpg

    20170110_092353.jpg

    I got it dirty! :eek::eek:

    20170204_160043.jpg
     
  11. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Who do da voodoo... me do voodoo? LOL I thought about trying to save the markings but when I'm done it'll be more TP design than it will TB anyway. :4:
     
  12. Subdood

    Subdood Ex-bubblehead Bushclass I

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  13. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    I can see the etching a little bit brother but my eye sight is pretty bad. I'd love to see how you did it sometime if you could show us. That's one thing I never got into while I was making other than etching my logo on them.
     
  14. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    For now at least the balance point is at the plunge line, so it's moved forward approximately 3/4". That may not sound like much but it makes a world of difference in the way the knife feels and handles.
     
  15. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have to again give not only thanks to @tobiism for loaning me his to try out but props for doing one heck of a job designing his own version of a WSK!!! If I had not handled and used his first (so that I could see how effective a well designed WSK could be) I likely would have never decided to get and mod a TBT1 even if I'd handled one in stock condition.
     
  16. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've looked and looked to see how others go about re-profiling their bevels and really haven't been able to find anything. Really I haven't even seen anyone showing a very good way of sharpening these since they have different bevels on the same knife. If any of you know of anyone who has a blog or video with some good info on that please let me know. My google fu probably isn't very good! ;)

    I have an idea that I think will work well for the re-profiling but I'd still love to see what others are doing.
     
  17. bo'sun carl

    bo'sun carl Scout

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    Looking good Tim! Can't wait to see how this goes.

    Carl
     
  18. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks Carl!
     
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  19. Subdood

    Subdood Ex-bubblehead Bushclass I

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    Razors Edge does some nice ones. JB knife and tool do them also. Whem Dirty D was selling them as a vendor they had a collaborative effort.
     
  20. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks bro. Have you ever seen anything on what method they use for grinding the quarter round?
     
  21. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    I haven't seen any from the other two but I have from Razors Edge and they do a beautiful job. Just haven't been able to find anything on what grinder set up etc. they use.

    ETA: I just finished the layout lines for the regrind but I may wait to see if I can find out any more info first and just take off the rear finger choil for now.
     
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  22. TX-1948

    TX-1948 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I really liked the looks of this mod. My memory says it included leather from Badger Claw....I could be wrong. Perhaps Dirty D would have a picture of the mod....
    Great work Tim. Definitely looking forward to watching your progress....
     
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  23. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushclass II

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    I don't know. If the tang was as soft as you said, I think you removed too much metal. I could be wrong, but when I see all of those holes drilled I get the feeling that the handle will bend or break when you get into a nasty knot or crotch while batoning. The tracker is definitely a heavy beast and could use a diet, that's for sure.
     
  24. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thank you brother!
     
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  25. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    The amount of metal I removed from the tang is no doubt extreme (and probably borderline) but it's worth it to me to make the knife handle and perform the way I want it to. I avoid striking the handle portion of my knives batoning so I don't think there will be a much of a risk there but the tang could bend easier than a stock one for sure. Time and a lot of whooping up on it will tell for sure if I went too far. :dblthumb: If the tang had been hard it would be too much risk of it breaking from removing that much metal. If one won't bend... it'll break. I don't mind one bending but breaking is another story.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  26. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Post #4 updated with photos and info.
     
  27. gwynn1975

    gwynn1975 Misguided Wanderer Supporter Bushclass I

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    Very cool brother. Makes me wish I wouldn't have sold mine now lol
     
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  28. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks bro! She'll be a whole other beast when she's done. :dblthumb:
     
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  29. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Started on the re-grind a little bit last night on the 2x72 belt grinder but got sceeered :27::eek::11::46: I'd mess it up and quit till I build up more nerve. LOL :4: Never done a quarter round on a knife before so this will be a first for sure.
     
  30. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Does the way I worded that make any sense at all guys?
    As I've mentioned I struggle a lot of times to word things right and you've all probably noticed that I often go back and edit posts (not to change the meaning) to hopefully word them more clearly.
     
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  31. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Well, wish me luck & send me up a prayer... off to the knife grinder I go to try my first ever quarter round! :51:
     
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  32. Fretful7

    Fretful7 III

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    Made sense to me. Lol
    I've done some minor hand filing to my TBT1 Quarter Round.
    I really like what ya got going here, Tim. Looking forward to what you come up with.
    I also thinned the thickness of the handle on mine...I liked that mod
    _Andre
     
  33. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce MOA #65 Supporter

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    Your descriptions are perfectly clear to me.
    I'm curious to see how you do the regrind. I've considered doing almost exactly what you've done so far, but every time I think about grinding the quarter round I chicken out.
    Thanks for posting all this!

    Sent from my bakelite rotary phone via Tapatalk
     
  34. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks Andre, I don't care for the feel of the factory handle either and plan to make some changes to it.
    It feels blocky to me (too flat/squared etc.) and to me even though the dips in the sides make the grain of the micarta show up I don't think they help the comfort of the handle at all.

    Thanks J. unfortunately I wasn't able to get any photos while I was doing the grinds but I'll do my best to describe how I did them. Trust me brother, I was sceeered :4: the whole time I was grinding!

    Thanks guys! I wasn't sure if the way I said it made any sense of not.

    I've took a few more photos and will update the photos posts here in just a few.
     
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  35. 08H3

    08H3 God, Family and Freedom Vendor Supporter

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    Ya know, I know a guy for some wood if ya want something different.
     
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  36. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Cool. :dblthumb:
     
  37. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Just got done updating post #5 with new photos guys.
     
  38. bowitis

    bowitis Supporter Supporter

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    IMG_1467 (2).JPG

    The blade on the right is a Razors Edge grind job. Very well done, but its a hungry blade.
     
  39. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    They do a very nice job! what is the grind on the straight portion of it?
     
  40. bowitis

    bowitis Supporter Supporter

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    I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you mean. I am a true novice.
     
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  41. ArmyMacE

    ArmyMacE Husband, Father, Skills Practitioner

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    Hey just some of my thoughts,

    @T. Pollock

    The holes in the handle will create strength in many directions, and will create weakness in the other.

    For chopping and for batting you will be fine, if not better. Due to the fact you will have a more ergonomic handle, and more weight forward.

    As for your wide side, using it as a prying tool will give it weaknesses.
    It's how some bridges and vehicles are made light and stronger.


    Though how much weaker or stronger I couldn't tell you I am not an engineer.

    I will tell you this, I love the modifications you have made this far!
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  42. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    No worries brother. :dblthumb:
     
  43. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks the kind words and for sharing your thoughts on the tang strength brother! I figured I'd probably lose some side to side strength, I don't pry with my knives so hopefully I won't experience troubles with it bending. If it does I'll be sure to show it here so no ones makes the same mistake. If it doesn't bend it'll sure be worth it to me to get the balance and feel I like in a chopping size blade and especially in this one with the hatchet style front part of the knife.
     
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  44. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Edited with a better chart.
    Here's a chart showing some of the popular blade grinds we see in bushcraft type knives. The one they are calling a high flat in this chart is what we bushcrafters typically call a sabre grind.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  45. bowitis

    bowitis Supporter Supporter

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    Full flat on the straight, very slight convex on the radius or curved section.

    Thanks for the chart.
     
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  46. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    You're very welcome brother!
     
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  47. chris67

    chris67 Guide

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    Wow fantastic work. When I see tracker with the draw knife section ground thin I know the user knows what they are doing
     
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  48. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks Chris! Tops would probably sell a lot more of them if they would thin that bevel down but I'm sure they have to go by TB's specs. The factory bevel is way too thick for what it's suppose to be used for.
     
  49. chris67

    chris67 Guide

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    I've heard him recommend thinning down that bevel. So I think it's a tops choice. The original wsk was hollow ground which I also think would get allot more slice.
     
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  50. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushclass I

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    Ah cool, I didn't know that about the original, I'm still a tracker newbie with lots to learn. :dblthumb: That would for sure make it a much better slicer. I'm loving how versatile they are though and look forward to my journey down the Tracker Road! :4:
     

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