Best Bushcraft Knives: L.T. Wright Tells Us What To Look For

Hey guys I’m L.T. Wright. Knife maker owner of L.T. Wright knives. I’ve been blessed to be making knives since early 2000s. My instructor and mentor is R.W. Wilson of R.W Wilson knives. His claim to fame is he made the tomahawks for the movie Jeremiah Johnson back in the 70s. Ran into him at a gun show and was kind of talking to him about this tomahawks and knives and said man it’d be really cool to learn how to make them. He offered to teach me so I have to say I took the ball and ran with it because man you can’t pass up an opportunity to do something like that. Found out he lived about ten minutes from me so that all worked out really really well for me and then ever since I’ve been making knives.

Went full-time in 2005 making knives and I’ve been making mountain knives ever since. Bushcraft was an interesting thing because as when I started I was a hunter. You know grew up hunting and and used buck knives a lot that’s what my father used so naturally you kind of use what your dad uses. I started as a hunting knife company and a friend of mine Tim Stetzer invited me to some bushcraft stuff. At the time man back in those days I you know heck didn’t even know what bushcraft was barely could spell it. You know and then it’s like hey what’s this bushcraft stuff so we went out we went out on a couple outings started really getting into it found out what a bushcraft knife was used for. You know and kind of started looking into the possibility of making knives in that genre and ever since and now we’re basically known as the bushcraft knife company and and we’re very blessed to be be doing that and and our knives being well-received around the world. Over the years I’ve done some survival courses and did some camping right now like vehicle based camping a lot too so we do a lot of that stuff and our knives are used more in a kitchen base.

But as far as the bushcraft knife generally making your your tent stakes are one of the the biggest things. you know getting out there making some tents stakes some pot hooks. Making your kindling but you know light batoning and feather sticking making different little utensils sitting around at the campfire at night carving a spoon one of the funnest things when you bushcraft a nice warm fire little spoon carving action that kind of fun. A lot of the stuff that we do in our Knives really is based on feedback from people that we have built knives for or people who have come to us and talk to us about our knives and say hey your knife does a really good job at this and if you did this to it maybe it would be an increase.

The sharpened spine came out of emails and interaction with people at places saying hey man it would be really cool if the back of the knife could strike a firesteel or a Ferro rod. We’re like yeah that makes a lot of sense so we started squaring off the spines of our knives which now is one of the features on all of our bushcraft knives. The thumb scallops came about very much in the same aspect we don’t put them on all bush knives because it’s just like anything else some people don’t like them some people love them you know it’s one of those things.

So you’ll find them on our genesis knife in particular and that was out of being requested to have a I guess a pinch point on a knife. I don’t know that the center line is a must have the centerline point but it is something that makes things you know when you’re doing bow drill divots or some things like that it does help so the point being in the center of the knife one thing you know you grab onto you work on a little splinter stuff bow drill divots is just it’s just a nice feature on a knife a scandi knife with a center point this is one of my particular favorite designs and a you know personal preference over that is having that centerline point on there.

When we first started making knives I was a hollow grinder that’s the way I learned how to grind knives so and again we were doing a lot of hunting knives on a Hollow Grind is a great game prepping style knife. As I got introduced to bushcraft and started doing a lot more stuff that having fun we found that the Scandi grind was one of those grinds that were very prevalent in bushcraft and the Scandi grind basically being a V ground knife short shallow we do about a 12 and a half even 11 and a half to 12 degrees through here. We also do we do grind it to 0 and then we do a micro buff on our particular knives. We feel it gives a little more toughness.

The reason people sometimes ask us why did we do a micro buff as opposed to just doing a Scandi sharp and be done. When we first started doing Scandis again not being super experienced in doing scandis you got to learn some where we were getting a little bit of a micro chip on this edge and we found if we did a hard buff which is just barely micro buffing that it really toughened up the edge of that knife for us and we’re getting better result in the in the bush craft industry with that. So Scandi grinds have been very very popular and have been for a long time in the bushcraft now because it’s like a wood chisel and those of you that i’ve worked would in in the past know that man you put a wood chisel on a piece of wood and it just strips it so making feather sticks or first sticks or anything like that boy you can really just use this thing it works fantastic for that long quick carving.

So bushcraft naturally is the Scandi grind is very very popular there’s different types you have scandi vex what we do is a full V grind with a micro buff on our scandis but another grind that’s quite popular with bushcraft is the saber grind. saber grind very much similar to a flat grind so now what you have is you have a saber grind a higher primary grind with a secondary sharpened edge and on our knives we do a convex secondary edge and a convex is basically what it’s doing is making what we feel is the edge tougher. A saber grind over a flat grind what it does is it’s giving you a little more of this spine left at the top of the blade as opposed to being ground clear to the top and doing what is called the you know the distal taper to the point. So you’re staying thick all the way out to here where the saber grind meets up and then from there down and very similar to a scandi is where it tapers to the end. So a saber grind right now I can tell you very trending in the bushcraft thing is the sabers are coming on very strong as opposed to the Scandis.

Can’t really give you a reason why they’re both great I think a lot of it can be a personal preference thing I know the guys love Scandis there’s some guys that hates Scandis same thing with sabers so it’s definitely gonna fall into a personal preference but they’re I think they’re both a viable especially if we’re talking about bushcraft specific. they’re both viable and that task. Our bushcraft knives at least our Genesis our full tang construction which means the steel is running all the way through the the handle and then the handles are attached to that. So a full tang construction versus a stick Tang a stick Tang will have the hand go all around here and then possibly have a full or partial stick Tang depending on the style a knife that comes partially back or fully back into the handle to there the rear part of the handle as well and some come all the way through and maybe have a butt cap screwed onto them and it’s just the difference in construction.

I can’t say one is necessarily better than the other that they’re both work quite quite well. Now our Genesis knife is basically a Kephart knife in design is what it’s based on. Surprisingly I based this design on a knife I had as a kid and it was a Herders catalog knife my dad probably bought for $10 they used to have a big old thumb hump here if any of you guys are familiar that they had wooden handles and herders was stamped right in the side. I loved that knife I played Tarzan I played Daniel Boone you name it when I was a kid and that’s where your love of knife starts is generally what your dad had you kind of gravitate to.

Well that was an extremely thin butcher style knife at the time and I think it was you know top to bottom ground convex edge but I really like the design I like the way the broomstick style handle felt. So again hanging around with a lot of bush crafters early on noticing what the handles they were gravitating to and what they were made of you know the pukos have a very interesting simple style handle in most cases the broomstick worked out very well it tapers slightly from the tail to the front which just gives you a great purchase on this knife all the way around.

There’s just enough here to keep your fingers from slipping forward if your hands are really really cold or wet and it gives you a good purchase on the knife overall and the way is the broom style handle it just gives you a full purpose grip when you want to do different grips and you’re working you know your different techniques and stuff. When we started in in the bushcraft way back in in the early days as I like to say I would say thick was in and the reason everybody was looking for that one tool option. So they they we were building large and knives if you remember the the PLSK 1s we used to build were 3/16 in thickness they were very very thick knives and they were duty workhorses and and they’re great knives well over the years it seems like the people were starting to gravitate to a little more nimble knife maybe so we started making our Genesis in a1 a2 when we started out with the Genesis and we’re very very pleased with this thickness it’s a great thickness and now I see the trend even going a little bit thinner going into the 3/32 which again like a lot of the Moraknives out there are 3/32 and who can say that a Mora knife isn’t a great bushcraft knife.

My goodness we’ve all had them and we probably still all have a drawer full of them. They’re great knives. So I see that right now again as the trend that I was saying earlier I can see that that we’re selling more of the the saber grind stuff we’re getting into the thinner knives we’re not getting asked for a four inch knife 3/16 thick anymore. It’s just it’s a mindset and I think maybe what’s happening is because bushcraft is getting a little more popular with people the beginners have started coming up through the ranks and they’re getting more proficient with their knives and as they get more proficient with their knives they’re seeing that maybe some of these thinners steel stocks they’re more nimble they don’t you know not as heavy in your hand and stuff and I think their skill sets are rising which is a great thing for bushcraft and as the skill sets rise they’re changing their tools over to suit them better.

When we started making knives we wanted to make a whole system I wanted to make sure that the sheath and the knife kind of all went together so what we did is we got with JRE industries and we talked about what we wanted in a knife sheath as well. Worst thing I could do and I used to hate to think about this is you buy a brand new knife you get the sheath you hate the sheath you have to sit in a knife off have a custom sheath made or something like that so we wanted when you purchase one of our knives you’ve got one of our good Sheeths so Spen at JRE makes these out of 8-inch eight ounce double died leather now what we’ve done is we added a fire steel loop to all of our bush knives so you can have your fire steel right there with you you can use it as a standard hip style or as a drop dangler I prefer the drop dangler because I’m usually wearing a long coat this way it’s easier to access my knife and plus when I sit inside my Jeep and stuff I got a little bit of rock and I don’t poke down into the sheath so gives you a couple open grommets on the bottom if you want to hang a little extra gear and it’s just overall cool setup.

Now in this particular sheath I’ve added a little Kydex tab here in the back for extreme retension because you know leathers gonna stretch out so I’ve made a little push pop point with a piece of Kydex Spen and I talked about it and he made me this little thing we put it on there it works fantastic so yes these are a great package all together knife and sheath. So guys remember to check out a KnifeCenter KnifeCenter is one of our authorized dealers you can check out the genesis there and a lot of our other knives as well but don’t forget not only our stuff but they carry other great bushcraft knives I have a knife collection I own a lot of other friends of mine knives so don’t just pick one get there spend your money tell them L.T. sent you .

L.T. Wright specializes in quality handcrafted knives and is one of the most respected names in the bushcraft knife world. Bushcraft is all about getting out and practicing your skills and you can’t do that without a good knife at your side. A good bushcraft knife will excel at woodworking, firestarting, or any other outdoor needs. We asked the man himself to tell us a little bit about his history of making knives fit for this purpose, and what things you should look for in a good bushcraft knife.

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