Knife weight - preferences, light or heavy?

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C_Claycomb

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Oct 6, 2003
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Having been hefting a few bushcraft type knives lately, I was wondering what folk here like in the way of knife weight? Lets stick to stuff with a 4inch blade, obviously there are benefits to lighter as you go smaller, and heavier if you go bigger, but at 4 inches its not a chopper and not really a compact neck knife.

At one of the weight (yeah, I know its really mass) end you have stuff with thin hidden tangs and moulded plastic, natural birch, stacked leather or stacked birch bark. Maybe with full flat or high grinds in sub-1/8th inch stock. At the other, you have full un-tapered tangs with stabilised wood, Micarta or heaviest of all, G10.

Let's ignore the sheath options.

What do your favourite knives weigh, how do you feel about knife weight, how much of a factor is it in what you like to use or carry?

  1. Spyderco Bushcraft, 3.5mm full flat tang, fat G10 handle = 221g.
  2. Spyderco Bushcraft, 3.5mm full flat tang, fat stabilised wood handle = 166g.
  3. Spyderco Proficient, 3.5mm full flat tang, high flat grind, fat carbon fibre handle = 179g.
  4. Lionsteel B41, 3.8mm full flat tang, high sabre grind, G10 scales = 191g
  5. Benchmade Puukko, 3.5mm wide hidden tang, high sabre grind, rubber handle = 128g
  6. Mora, 2.5mm hidden tang, Scandi, rubber and plastic handle = 82g
  7. My own knife, 3mm wide hidden tang, full fat grind, Micarta handle = 142g

IMG_E5331.JPG

For me, knives start to feel a bit too heavy once they pass about 170g, especially if the balance point is fully back on my middle finger. Working with them heavier isn't a problem, but I am a lot less keen on adding them as pack-weight if I have to go somewhere and carry them. The Mora is great for pack weight, but feels a bit too light in hand when I am working.

I reckon my sweet spot is in the 120-150g range.

Chris
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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I think it's more interesting that the tang doesn't look like a swiss cheese because the maker tried to balance the knife and save a few grams.
A robust knife has its weight. The 170 g of the Morakniv Garberg is OK in my opinion. Regarding other equipment I count the grams to keep my rucksack weight as low as possible but I don't do it regarding the fix blade knife.
 

Tiley

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Oct 19, 2006
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I'd have thought that the balance point of a knife might be more influential than its out-and-out weight. My current favourite - a Ben Orford Woodlander - feels 'right' somehow; I think this is mostly due to the balance point being spot on. It's obviously weightier than a number of other options available but I like the feel of that weight. In use, because of the balance point, it doesn't feel heavy - just natural and purposeful. I'm afraid I don't know how much it weighs. In spite of my enjoyment of long backpacking trips, I've never been a gram counter - I simply take what I need. The habit has extended to knives for me: if they feel 'right', I'll use them.
 

gra_farmer

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Mar 29, 2016
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I have had a look at a few of my knives and I am closer to the 200g mark, I like the feel of a heavy blade in the hand, and 4mm thick stock is my sweet point, and roughly just over 25mm wide blade.

I love carving, but my blades are often pushed hard.
 
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C_Claycomb

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@Tiley
Where do you think the "spot on" balance point is?

Re. gram counting...I really cannot help myself, I like trying to get to optimum solutions :cool3: . My memorable trips have tended to be over-seas where airlines weigh baggage. I have been on a few where I took a knife that I thought would be useful, fairly heavy, and in fact it got little use at all.

Right now I am working on some designs and trying to get weights and balance to feel as good as they can.
 
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Athos

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Mar 12, 2021
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Tough question, it’s horses for courses. I like my Esee 5 and MOD Survival knife if I want something absolutely bullet proof and I’m not averse to carrying extra weight if it’s justifiable.

If I’m traveling light, I love my Marttiini puuko. It’s tough, cheap and a little razor. Current favourite is my Alan Wood MAK but it’s still new to me. In the hand, the balance is perfect and it feels bulletproof.

8BA77B8E-17F1-429B-BC50-F0BB868A7788.jpeg
C05D2AB0-3441-4930-8C22-839B0153F598.jpeg
 

Athos

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Mar 12, 2021
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@Tiley
Where do you think the "spot on" balance point is?

Re. gram counting...I really cannot help myself, I like trying to get to optimum solutions :cool3: . My memorable trips have tended to be over-seas where airlines weigh baggage. I have been on a few where I took a knife that I thought would be useful, fairly heavy, and in fact it got little use at all.

Right now I am working on some designs and trying to get weights and balance to feel as good as they can.
Are you making it yourself or getting a commission? What steel are you thinking?
 

C_Claycomb

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Are you making it yourself or getting a commission? What steel are you thinking?
Making myself. The design is somewhat independent of the steel. My own preference is for stainless with a fine edge capability. In the past I have used O-1, ATS34, RWL34, CPM154 and 12C27. I am interested in AEB-L.

What are the specs on that Alan Wood?
 

Athos

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Mar 12, 2021
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Making myself. The design is somewhat independent of the steel. My own preference is for stainless with a fine edge capability. In the past I have used O-1, ATS34, RWL34, CPM154 and 12C27. I am interested in AEB-L.

What are the specs on that Alan Wood?
5” blade, 4mm thick full tang. 12c27 with micarta handle. His handle design makes the difference, tapers towards the end. If you want any more dimensions let me know.

Your own blade on the original post is a lovely bit of work.
 

Nice65

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Apr 16, 2009
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Your own blade on the original post is a lovely bit of work.
At the specs, 3-4mm blade about 4 inches long any differences and extra utility is going to be in the handle and the preference of grind. Chris’s handle looks like it has more ‘options’. I had a very early HillBill in 3.5mm 01 with a narrowing downward sweeping handle that lent itself well to pretty much anything. Of those in your pics Chris, I’d grab yours or the LionSteel. Don’t have much time for the Spyderco bushcraft type knives at all.

In terms of weight I can only go by what I’m using at the moment, a Terava 140 so longer than the criteria. I sold the 110 because 4mm thick steel in the shorter stock didn’t work for me.

Mind you I have a very nice 3/4 tang PieInTheSky (Mike Reid) knife that is feather light and feels wonderful in the hand.
 

Kadushu

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Jul 29, 2014
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My scales aren't very accurate but most of my knives fall around 200g which feels fine to me. I have one which is 6mm thick and around 300g and that is a bit of a chunk. It's functional but definitely feels more like a tomohawk head than a knife in terms of weight.
 

C_Claycomb

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...I had a very early HillBill in 3.5mm 01 with a narrowing downward sweeping handle that lent itself well to pretty much anything. Of those in your pics Chris, I’d grab yours or the LionSteel. Don’t have much time for the Spyderco bushcraft type knives at all.

In terms of weight I can only go by what I’m using at the moment, a Terava 140 so longer than the criteria. I sold the 110 because 4mm thick steel in the shorter stock didn’t work for me.

Mind you I have a very nice 3/4 tang PieInTheSky (Mike Reid) knife that is feather light and feels wonderful in the hand.
Any pictures of your HillBill or Mike Reid? If you have a set of kitchen scales it would be interesting to know what the latter weighs and where it balances. I have handled a couple of his knives and he does really cool stuff with the partial tangs.

When you say "Spyderco bushcraft type", what are the characteristics that group knives to the type? What aspects do you not like?

I am tinkering with what could be done to evolve or hybridize the Spyderco designs, so all criticism is useful :)
 

Nice65

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Any pictures of your HillBill or Mike Reid? If you have a set of kitchen scales it would be interesting to know what the latter weighs and where it balances. I have handled a couple of his knives and he does really cool stuff with the partial tangs.

When you say "Spyderco bushcraft type", what are the characteristics that group knives to the type? What aspects do you not like?

I am tinkering with what could be done to evolve or hybridize the Spyderco designs, so all criticism is useful :)
The Hillbill was sold to a member here for his wife a few years ago and searching out the thread shows the pics disappeared in the Photobucket con job a few years ago unfortunately. Mark reckoned he made it around 2010, so an oldie.

I‘ll take a few pics of the PITS later and post them up, and anything else I can find that’s relevant.

My thoughts on the Spydercos is that they weren’t born as working tools that evolved into the classic bushcraft knife but more as a marketing opportunity. Obviously they’re not the first to copy the design, and Sal did his research before releasing them, but if there was ever a knife that didn’t need a hole in the blade, it’s a bushie. I confess to never having handled one, so everything I say isn’t backed up by real world use.
 

Dark Horse Dave

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I don't really have a lot that meet your criteria, but I guess weight (mass) is a consideration for me. That may have something to do with me starting off with a Becker BK2 (420ish g). That one has long gone (sold on here in fact, so I'm not the only one!)

The only "bushcrafty" (ie Woodloreish) knife I have and occasionally use is this fairly cheapish Condor Bushlore (@195g). These days I find I use this Frankenstein puukko rather more (Ahti blade, Mora Classic handle @80g; a nice Bushmoot bring n' buy stall find). After that I go off-piste with this Dave Budd / Stewart Light combo @193g, a reassuringly sized knife, especially when wearing gloves, it's Winter etc; then rounding off with this "survivally" Becker BK11 @103g. A bit of a mixed bag I appreciate!

I've been looking to go for a stainless steel / man-made handle combo for a while though. Perhaps not for this thread, but I'd be interested to learn what you think about that Lionsteel B41 at some point.

Knives.jpg
 

Dark Horse Dave

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My thoughts on the Spydercos is that they weren’t born as working tools that evolved into the classic bushcraft knife but more as a marketing opportunity. Obviously they’re not the first to copy the design, and Sal did his research before releasing them, but if there was ever a knife that didn’t need a hole in the blade, it’s a bushie. I confess to never having handled one, so everything I say isn’t backed up by real world use.
Weren't they designed by some "tactical bushcrafter"? :poke::sulk:;)
 
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Mesquite

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Mar 5, 2008
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Spyderco Bushcrafter reprofiled to a sabre grind and replacement reindeer antler handle on a full tang, 202 grms. This sits so sweet in my hand that since I had the work done on it I've not looked at another knife :)

Having said that I do like the look of your Spyderco Proficient Chris, I'd be interested in seeing that if you bring it down to the moot this year.

IMG-20210430-161111-802-01.jpg
 

C_Claycomb

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Weren't they designed by some "tactical bushcrafter"? :poke::sulk:;)
:runaway:

Now that was marketing gone awry.:lmao:

...
My thoughts on the Spydercos is that they weren’t born as working tools that evolved into the classic bushcraft knife but more as a marketing opportunity. Obviously they’re not the first to copy the design, and Sal did his research before releasing them, but if there was ever a knife that didn’t need a hole in the blade, it’s a bushie. I confess to never having handled one, so everything I say isn’t backed up by real world use.
I agree that the hole is a shame, but was unavoidable for Spyderco. There are a number of things I think are legitimate criticisms of the knife in design or construction, at least in hind sight. I am sorry you have your objections. If you are going to object to the design not being evolved, not a working tool, just a marketing opportunity or a copy of another design, you should lay that at my door, not at Sal's or Spyderco's.
 

John Fenna

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Oct 7, 2006
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I like them all - depending on my mood and the task in hand :)
For medium work - a medium weight, for fine work a bit lighter and for beasting... a beast of a blade.
Hence the range of knives I currently own! :O
 
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marcoruhland

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Apr 23, 2020
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a knife for what to do? and how to carry? fixed or folder?

first (sub 4 inch ) i like kneck knifes for edc but there is a max. weight around 100g under 4 o.z. (e.g. whiteriver fc35-pro) and no replacement for an axe

the second category (4-4.5 inch) is a legal (in germany up to 12cm fixed blade ) a universal tool sharp and tough but no replacement for an axe or breaching tool as well so - yes! - there is no advantage over 170g/ 6 o.z (for me e.g coldsteel master-hunter vg-1) vs. tops fieldcraft-154cm-stainless 300g

---

last one large knife (over 6 inch min. 15cm/ min. 6mm blade more is even better!) heavyweight super strong more a knife for a worst case scenario than for bushcrafting or fine woodwork nothing for edc.

for me fallkniven a1xb 400g carry on a belt but there is no limit 500g, 600g or more (for something like a large bowie, short sword, or a machete) e.g coldsteel trail-master3v, coldsteel gurkha-kukri-plus 3v

mr
 

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