Tracker T-2 First Impressions and Questions

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by sea6ear, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. sea6ear

    sea6ear Tracker

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    About a month or so ago I started reading the Tracker Action Pics Thread - somewhere between post #2401 and #2500 (out of 10,000+) I decided to buy a Tracker.

    I finally brought home a T-2 Tracker about a week ago.

    IMG_0801.jpg

    I picked the T-2 over the T-1 because I thought that the T-2 offered a gentler entry point for me than the T-1.

    It seemed like it might be simpler to start using without having to rethink how I handled my tool selections.
    At a blade length of roughly 5 inches, I planned to simply replace my current 5 inch belt knife
    without trying to adjust the rest of of my 3 (or 4 or 5 tool - whatever) tool system.

    I knew I was giving up the chopping ability of the T-1 to go with the T-2.

    While there isn't an especially large difference in blade length, there is a huge difference in weight between the T-1 and the T-2.

    The T-1 is listed online around 21 oz which is roughly the same weight as my small Estwing hatchet.
    The T-2 weighs about 9 oz on my scale, so that is close to a pound less than the T-1.

    In my mind this weight essentially changes the character of the tool.
    To me the the T-1 Tracker seems like a small hatchet or hand axe that can also do knife like jobs.
    On the other hand, to me the T-2 is a Tracker shaped knife.

    That is - to me the T-2 fits in my system roughly where a belt knife would go,
    with some extra capabilities due to the quarter round and the saw back.

    The T-1 on the other hand seems to compete more directly with a hatchet or a kukri as a "one tool option".

    I wasn't ready to go to a "one tool option" yet, so for me the T-2 seemed like a better place to start.

    First Impressions


    I love the feel of the T-2 in my hand.
    Ergonomically, it feels exactly right.

    For me 5 inches is kind of a sweet spot - just short enough to feel agile in my hand,
    just long enough to handle the kind of batoning I want to do with a knife.

    I went out to my porch and did some batoning and pencil stick making.

    I tried to do some "Tracker curls", but I was using some nasty, twisty, half-rotted and then dried wood that just wouldn't give me anything.

    IMG_0804.jpg

    I thought I was doing something wrong, but then I tried a section of 2x2 and my heart swelled as I got my first newbie curls.

    IMG_0803.jpg


    The next day I went to a local park and practiced peeling curls off a downed branch, so it works on other local wood. I also used the saw back, and was pleasantly surprised at how well (and smooth) it worked.

    I tried it in the kitchen slicing apples.

    It definitely wants to crush rather than slice by default,
    but I think I'm starting to be able to work with it as I get more familiar with it.

    My two boys were interested in it, but the older one said it was a "little too heavy" so visions of T-4 have started dancing in my head for them at some point.

    IMG_0808.jpg

    Over the past few days, I have come to love the multiple hand positions possible with the Tracker,
    I often find myself holding it by the blade as I'm doing pull cuts, or even reversed in my palm as I'm using the "chopping" edge for fine work.

    I took it up with me on a bike ride to our local glacier lake.
    It rode well on my bag strap.

    This knife *wants* to strip bark and carve walking sticks.

    IMG_0883.jpg

    Questions
    =========

    1. The spring clips on the kydex sheath.

    I'm finding them ridiculously hard to put on or take off of my belt for scout carry.
    The inner lip of the spring clips catch onto the belt especially when I'm trying to take the sheath off.

    I don't know if there is some trick or way of twisting it that makes it easier to get on or off
    but when I can't see what I'm doing it's almost impossible for me to manage by myself.

    For the moment I've just taken to putting it on an outside strap on my pack or bag.

    2. The linen micarta scales.

    I like the way the scales feel, but when I was washing the knife recently, I noticed that they seem to absorb water. I feel uncomfortable with the idea of that happening with other (especially organic) liquids.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to handle that?
    Does anyone seal them and if so how, or are there other ways to deal with that?

    General Impression
    ==================

    I think it's the perfect size for me to use as a knife.

    I enjoy all the different grip positions that I've found so far.
    For cutting and scraping I find it ergonomically nearly perfect.

    It's not really a chopper, but it works great as a hacking knife to take off chunks of wood for rough shaping.

    Overall I really like it.
     
  2. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    Nice review! That looks tk be a nice knife as well! I coming around to the idea of the Tracker. There's no denying the results that a knife like that can provide.
     
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  3. ACinSA

    ACinSA Bring it, don't sing it! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The sheath can be an issue for some. I am not a fan of the factory sheath. That said, there are many options available online from vendors here. I cannot recommend @badger claw enough...fantastic craftsmanship! Maybe look on fleabay for a kydex option.

    As for the handle absorbing liquid, well, it is what it is...an inherent nature of micarta. It adds to the character of the knife.

    If you have not yet finished the Tracker Action Thread, I highly encourage you to do so. There is a plethora on information there.

    Tracker on dude!
     
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  4. sea6ear

    sea6ear Tracker

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    I've made it through about half the thread so far. I think it will take me a couple more weeks to get through all of it.

    The bar is set really high in that thread. I'm so glad for all the information I've already read.
     
  5. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    Micarta will absorb liquids to an extent unless polished. That is a good thing as it increases the grip you get. When dirty/greasy, just use dish detergent and they should clean up nicely.
     
  6. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Good review. So far I have been able to resist the temptation of picking up a Tracker. Threads like this and the ongoing Tracker thread make it difficult.

    As for the micarta absorbing liquids, that has worried me too. I worry about bacteria when blood or other liquids are absorbed. I replaced the micarta scales I put on one of my BK2s with G10 scales that don't absorb liquids. I bought scales made to fit the BK2 from The Knife Connection. They don't offer scales for the Tracker though. You could order G10 blanks and fit them to your knife.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
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  7. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    A fine plan. Also know that bacteria will lyse (cell membranes rupture) and die with the presence of soap.. pretty much any soap. Anti-bacterial dish detergent used after you've cleaned your game with the knife ought to do just fine to kill any bacteria and remove any liquids/moisture that was absorbed into the handles. Like a carbon steel blade, it just takes more maintenance than G10 or ABS plastic would.
     
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  8. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    Good info! :dblthumb:

    I made the mistake of looking up the T4 last night. Out of all the Trackers this one is really calling to me!
     
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  9. JasonJ

    JasonJ Guide

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    I hate when that happens! That's how you end up collecting all of the different variations of the same type of thing! In the end, it's a collection for sure, but you hate to have gone through it all just to find the one that fits you the best... then you're in the situation of either keeping them all, or gifting or selling the rest.
     
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  10. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    If we were as poor as many of us growing up, we’d buy one very carefully and make it work for us. But tools as so cheap relative to other things that we can try to perfect or optimize our toolset. Using our mindset today we buy and learn that what we bought was not just exactly, precisely, perfectly what we wanted.

    You do not usually learn that right away, so it’s back to the drawing board when you realize all that. The funny thing is, after you buy that new perfect item, after a time you go back to first and find it was closer to the ideal than you thought.

    I guess it’s a nice “problem” to have.
     
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  11. Roamer

    Roamer Supporter Supporter

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    Interesting observation about weight difference between T-1 and T-2. Is that because the T-1 is thicker? Aren't they also different steels?
     
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  12. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

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    According to TOPS website the T-1 is .25 and T-2 is .19 thick. But the width is scaled down as well as length, I think.
     
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  13. Roamer

    Roamer Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks. Thickness alone looks like a 25% weight savings.
     
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  14. Idabow

    Idabow Scout

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    Get a tec loc to replace the spring clip on the sheath. I put one on my tops bob sheath. Works great.
     
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  15. trentu

    trentu Guide

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    They are nice knives that's for sure. If Tops would have went with a deeper more pronounced curved gut hook 1/4 round area it would make those curls just roll.
     
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  16. SkipJunkie

    SkipJunkie Tracker

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    So @sea6ear you find it as a good size/option belt knife . Does it handle smaller task well enough ? I'm looking to make the most of a two knife system . I'm not counting a pocket knife which is ever present as long as I don't loose my pants . But I'm wanting to believe that the smaller lighter Tracker will have the versatility to excel for simple knife task .
     
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  17. grizz78

    grizz78 Tracker

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    I use Tre-wax on micarta. Helps with absorption some without losing too much grip
     
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  18. sea6ear

    sea6ear Tracker

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    I decided to make a spoon last night to see how well the tracker does for wood shaping type tasks.

    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/tracker-action-pics-thread.67725/page-206#post-4080333

    I wouldn't call what I did fine carving, but I think the tracker is capable of quite a bit. Especially if your pocket knife is decent for detail tasks, I don't think there would be any problem with a tracker as the mid-sized knife. It does have a very different feel from normal knives. I think I agree with people that have said it's best to think of it as a steel version of a flint knife. I found myself doing a lot of pull cuts. I think I might get yelled at by someone that grew up on the standard knife safety rule of "always cut away from yourself". I used the draw knife portion of the blade for straight wood removal cuts, but all the shaping cuts were done with the chopping (or "belly"?) portion of the blade. Also, I would guess that around 50% of the time (or more) I was holding the knife by the blade as I was cutting, rather than the handle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
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  19. SkipJunkie

    SkipJunkie Tracker

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    I've read and watched many users state that the larger T1 would/could benefit from a little edge thinning to be appreciated as a slicier knife coming from such thick stock . Does the thinner stock of the T2 reconcile this issue ?
     
  20. sea6ear

    sea6ear Tracker

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    If you are wanting a slicier knife for purposes of food prep then I would guess the T-2 is probably not going to be significantly different from the T-1.

    I'll try really sharpening mine up tonight (with the default grind) and do some more food testing with it.

    Here is my tracker and my other favorite belt knife - a 5 inch Green River Hunter.

    IMG_1090.jpg

    They are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum as far as what each one excels at.
    The Green River is *excellent* at food prep and passable at splitting and wood oriented tasks.
    The Tracker is excellent at fire prep, and I'm trying to learn how to use it for food related work.

    As far as food prep, my tracker has wanted to crush and break rather than slice.
    Where mine has struggled has been things like carrots and apples.
    It would probably also struggle with potatoes or tomatoes.
    I don't think it would have any problem with cutting meat or bunchy or stalky vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
    I've seen plenty of people talk about cleaning game or fish with them and being completely satisfied.

    Basically it wants to angle off as you cut, kind of like a Scandi grind does unless you hold it so that one side of the bevel is completely vertical.
    I'll see how it behaves after I put it on my stones tonight and report back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018

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