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“Tracker” Blades


While I admire Tom Brown's woodsmanship skills, in my opinion his engineering talent leaves something to be desired. As an engineer, I have always disliked the “tracker” design. It may actually be a decent blade... that is if you are looking to engage in knife fights. The upswept front will always present a cutting edge if you engage in a slashing attack. Whereas I don’t look for knife fights when I’m camping and hiking, I want my cutting edge focused on what’s under the blade, NOT in front of it.


Here's a progression where I've made modifications to the "tracker" design in order to make it functional.



Here’s what I would have done with Tom Brown’s design:



   Blade “C” is something I might actually consider hauling into the field, but it exists only in my imagination. In figure D's hatchet comparison, the hatchet’s steel would be thicker at the top to allow for extra weight at the front. The blade design makes up for that by having the extra blade area and thus extra weight forward of the chopping area.


   The movie that made the “tracker” style famous was called “The Hunted”... a particularly stupid movie. One character somehow gets a leaf spring off a car (without tools), and then makes a fire and hand forges his blade from it in about 5 minutes. He somehow sharpens it to a razor edge, and is then knife fighting with it moments later. How I wish it were that easy!


   To sum up, save yourself a few hundred bucks, and avoid fads like "tracker" blades.


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