American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fehrman Knives Thru Hiker

After receiving a Thru Hiker from Fehrman Knives a few months ago I've carried it on and off. The ergonomics on the Fehrman Survival Series (i.e. Last Chance, First Strike, Final Judgment, etc.) are among the best I've ever carried and used but the knives in the Utility Series (i.e. Shadow Scout, Peacemaker) had handles that just didn't work out for me very well. Actually, the Shadow Scout is the first Fehrman Knife I ever purchased and immediately returned it because I couldn't work out the handles. I exchanged it for the Last Chance and have now managed to pick up every knife in the Survival Series plus the Thru Hiker.

Now I've tried to love the Thru Hiker because it's an excellent size for a daily carry or companion piece in the woods. 3/16" thick 3V with Fehrman's proprietary heat treat should be nearly unbeatable for hard use and day to day "real world" use.

The Utility Series handles just don't work with my hand. I don't know if they're a bit too small or a bit too big but the contours just don't nestle into my hand and long-term use is out of the question unless I could figure out how best to grip the knife.

Not being one to just leave things well enough alone, I went to work on the Thru Hiker to make it my own. First I stripped the black coating with epoxy paint stripper from Home Depot. This revealed a well-prepared surface on the knife. It looked bead-blasted on the handles and satin finished on the blade. I hit the flats on a Scotchbrite belt just to clean up any remaining coating and to give it a nice contrast to the handles.

At this point it still fit perfectly in the kydex sheath and I carried it this way for several days. I have had no problems with patina or corrosion on the exposed 3V and it's now the rainy season here in Illinois including 80-degree temperatures, thunderstorms, and incredibly humidity the other day.

Next I had to address the handle issues. It's the butt of the handle that hits me wrong on my pinky so I pulled out a Sharpie, drew a line above the lanyard hole and below the last handle hole and then fired up the belt grinder with a 36-grit belt. Even though it's the handle I dipped the knife after every pass across the belt to keep it nice and cool. What I ended up with was a nice rounded handle that allows me to rest the butt in the palm of my hand or I can choke up and put my index finger in the choil and have a full hand on the handle.

Sure maybe I've messed with perfection (Eric's words) and maybe I've uglied this knife up beyond all belief but now it fits my hand, the finish is one I can claim to be my own, and the 3V with Fehrman's heat treat is the talking point on the knife now.

This one little change took me some time (3V is very tough stuff) and I finished it with EDM polishing stones to get a good finish on the bevels on the rounded butt end but now it's right where I want it.

I don't think my ergonomics are yet on par with Eric's Survival Series but are an improvement over the Utility Series for me. Now I've got to take another look at the Shadow Scout again.

Thanks for reading,



At 10:08 AM, Blogger J. J. Magnum said...

Nice mod on the knife. Do you have a before picture?

See, I do too read your stuff...

At 10:10 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

Hey Jim! Good to see you here.

Check the link to Fehrman above. That goes right to their Thru Hiker page.

I don't think I've got a Before picture of my own.

Thanks for your comment,


At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a picture of it in-hand after the mod? Thanks.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

I think I do. Let me go check the gallery.



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