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Author Topic: Why no guards?  (Read 397 times)
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danbot
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« on: May 02, 2017, 11:33:18 AM »

Hello Ed and friends! I haven't been on the forum in quite some time, but I thought I would drop in and say "Hi".

Anyway...recently I've been looking for an EDC with a fixed blade of 3 to 4 inches of blade length. I went to one of the few local stores in the city that sell decent production type knives and out of a reasonably large selection only two had any kind of what I would consider functional finger guards.  The guy working there asked if I was looking for anything in particular, so I told him what I wanted and he just raised an eyebrow and said "guard??"  I explained the concept of a finger guard and he said they really didn't have any knives like that, but if I wanted something bigger he could help me out. Then he started showing me the military/survival type of Kabar knives with 8 to 10 inch blades and saw-toothed spines. I was kinda looking for something a little more out in public friendly!!  

I've noticed this on the internet also in my quest for an EDC fixed blade. Why are so many production and semi production knives being made without guards these days?    

« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 06:49:02 AM by danbot » Logged
Ed Fowler
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2017, 08:26:56 AM »

It takes time to fit up and shape an adequate guard, also requires just a little more leather for a scabbard. Many folks will settle for less so why go to the trouble.

One of my best students came to his first class with a knife with no guard, It actually scared me to hold it, so easy to slip down on the blade. He said he was used to it. Several months later he showed me his  hand where there had been many stitches. Said he was now a believer in guards.

Some folks believe they are  expert enough that they don't need a guard!! That is OK, MD"S love to stitch!
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Will
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2017, 09:27:31 PM »

Think part of it is how they are used and people think they get in the way.  I don't put a guard on all my knives, but I insist on finger notches, bellies or other shapes, something, to keep the fingers from easily riding up into the edge. 
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RocketBoy
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 09:12:23 AM »

I think the reason many knives these day don't have 'guards' is it has to do primarily with perceived use. The 'BushCraft' community puts a premium on the 'carving' ability for their knives. A 'guard' interferes with the ability to use some of the typical carving grips. In fact, their insistence on being able to carve in the field pretty much drives the entire BushCraft knife design. Scandi-grind, no guard, etc.

My field-craft training goes back to my Boy Scout and Military survival training. I don't remember doing a lot of 'carving', beyond tent pegs. Obviously, things have changed in the past few years. Be warned, any criticism of the BushCraft knife design will result in a swift rebuttal by the BushCrafters. They'll evoke names like Mors Kochanski and Ray Mears as if calling upon Zeus and Hera on Mount Olympus.

Like Ed, I also have a friend who now has limited use of the of his fingers on his right hand because it slipped down on a knife with no guard field dressing a Deer. The Tendon damage was permanent.

I do have two 'BushCraft style' knives that have no guard. And yes, they make me nervous to use.

I hope this helps.

J.  
« Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 09:15:42 AM by RocketBoy » Logged
danbot
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 07:03:30 AM »

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I guess I was just kind of surprised by the lack of a finger guard on the majority of the knives I was looking at considering what a safety obsessed society we have become. Not that I would like the safety obsessed types* to be dictating knife design!! Most of them I would guess don't use knives for anything more than vegetable prep.

I did end up purchasing a fixed blade with a finger groove that is deep enough to be considered a guard. But again, many knives with finger notches have the notches too shallow for my liking from a safety point of view.

* I'm not against "safety" obviously, I just think it can be taken WAY too far sometimes.
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Joe Calton
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2017, 02:55:42 PM »

I sometimes wonder if the lack of guards on production knives has to do with the guards that are typically put on production knives. I mean look at the guard on a military style kbar.. thin, and all sharp corners. if that is the only experience that someone has ever had with a guard, then they likely wouldn't want one. and even as simple a guard as that takes the manufacturers more time and money to make than a knife without a guard. so take that idea and look at it over a long period of time from the manufacturers and buyers eyes:

--company make a knife with a guard. the predicted sales prices says that they cant spend the time to even round off all the corners of the guard, much less make it a nice comfy one.

-- if the knife sells ok it is lucky, since sales probably aren't that great, the company either doesn't make many of them, or cuts costs by reducing the amount of time that goes into the guard making it worse.

--since the guard is so uncomfortable, the few folks that buy it, tell their friends how bad the guard idea is, and since it is so bad, they would rather not have one, especially since knives with no guards are cheaper.

take this out over several decades, and it doesn't take long before the guard is a thing of the past.
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