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Discussion in 'Osprey Knife & Tool' started by Florider 6, Nov 9, 2018.
Anyone able to post a few side-by-side photos of Vildmark/Apache/Lil Ferox?
I got you! Give me a few minutes.
Well I could have sworn I read Ferox, Lil Ferox and Vildmark. My bad.. LOL
I do not have a completed Apache with a handle yet, I hope this suffices for now. I am holding the Vildmark over the (K) Apache in the last picture.
No problem, you are welcome!
I recently had the opportunity to check out a beautiful Vildmark from the last group buy courtesy of my great friend @Kal-El . I went back and forth whether or not to sign-up for the group buy because I was unsure how much the Vildmark varied from a nice “K” Apache I already have. If you are in the same boat trying to decide which model is right for 000 in the new custom order thread opening tomorrow, I hope the following photos help you make a good decision. Please keep in mind that each of these knives is hand made, so some slight variation is inevitable from knife to knife.
The blade and cutting edge lengths are very similar on both models. The Vildmark is guard-less which I like on a bushcraft knife. The “K” Apache has a taller blade and grind which is thinner behind the edge and yields more finger clearance for food prep if that is important to you.
The shape and length of the bottom handle contours are very similar on the two models. The Vildmark is slightly longer (1/8” or so) in this area even though it doesn’t show well in this photo.
The top handle length is approximately 1/4” longer on the Vildmark than the “K” Apache. The Vildmark has nicely rounded corners on the pommel that I much prefer over the sharper corners on the “K” Apache.
These two knives differ most on purpose specific handle thickness and contour shaping. The Vildmark has a much thicker handle in the palm swell area and pommel end, with inward tapered flats on the front end. The “K” Apache has a thinner handle profile in the palm swell and pommel end, with an outwardly flared shape on the front end.
Focusing solely on the Vildmark, I found the handle profile, length, thickness, and contouring a super comfortable fit for my average size hand (i.e. large glove size.) There is enough extra room on the bottom of the handle to accommodate larger hands than mine.
I appreciate the inward tapered flats on the front of the handle that make transition to a forward pinch grip very natural on the Vildmark.
A couple of comments relative to this specific Vildmark:
I could stare all day at Chris’s hammer-textured flats. That is one of his signature features that has reached a high level of consistency and perfection over the years he has been developing it.
The wood on this knife is blue-dyed Buckeye Burl. Even though I am mostly a synthetic handle guy myself these days, I admire the color, figure, and beauty of premium handle materials like this.
If I was looking for a knife primarily geared toward bushcraft activities, I would select the Vildmark for its thicker handle contour and forward tapered flats that allow better leverage and control of different kinds of detailed cuts and reasonable sized batoning. If your uses and outdoor activities are primarily focused around food prep and/or game prep with secondary uses in wood carving and/or batoning kindling material, then the “K” Apache might be a better choice.
I encourage you to dig deep and be realistic about your uses if you can only choose one. If you can afford both, by all means get both.
I want to close by again thanking my friend Sergio for lending me his Vildmark to make this comparison possible. I have learned much from you because you set the bar very high with everything you do.
Phil - thank you so very much for your time in sending ALL of the above...
You hit all the major points and I really appreciate your description and photos!
Just to add: Part of an email exchange I had with @Florider 6 discussing the Vildmark and (K) Apache:
“At its tallest (measured from the spine to the sharpened edge at the ricasso) the blade of the Vildmark is 1 5/16”, the K Apache is 1 1/2”. That’s only 3/16” difference but it’s def noticeable and the Vildmark gets thicker much quicker - hence the K Apache is the better choice for food prep.”
ETA: although not quite as detailed, my comments and overall conclusions matched Phil’s exactly.
Great write-up @Comprehensivist - Phil you always set the bar high. The side-by-side comparison photos are always the most illuminating aspect of any review for me. I have always appreciated you for taking the time to plan, snap and share these photos over the years.
Having never held either of these models outside of the original Apache, I have concluded much the same from assumptions made staring at the knife pics posted for each model. I never realized how chunky the Vildmark's handle was until now, and I see why it would be a standard feature as opposed to a more kitchen oriented knife where I like to have a little more finesse.
Regarding the forward thumb scalloping on the Vildmark handle: how would you feel if this was reversed on the two knives in question and the K-Apache had the scalloping while the Vildmark had the corner? Going back to "finesse," that forward handle scalloping does offer a subtle increase in comfort. In a kitchen/food prep setting, where I use a pinch grip most often, a knife sized like the K-Apache you would be pinching right at the forward handle, just touching up on the blade as you demonstrated in your photos. It seems like it would be a slight functional upgrade here in feel. The Vildmark I can see having it either way. With a gloved hand you won't notice for the most part, but I do feel that those corners give you more traction especially when working with gloves.
I agree with you, there is nothing quite like that "feathered" texturing. I have some of the older hammered flat styles, but I do think he is on to something with the currently used texturing.
Thanks for the nice comments and perceptive question(s) @FeralGentleman .
A couple of months ago I suggested that Chris offer some occasional knives with thicker handles. My rational for saying that was that folks who do more serious bushcraft activities seem to gravitate toward thicker handles that offer more surface area and control in hard use. Based on the sample of one I have handled, plus photos of others, it seems the Vildmark is Chris’s answer to that application. I think he did a fine job designing the Vildmark to handle that niche.
I appreciate your observation and question about whether the Vildmark might be better suited to have a flared shape on the front of the handle versus the inward tapered flats (and vice-versa on the “K” Apache.) Both ideas make good sense to me. The flared front handle shape provides some positive positional reference and effectively forms a “side-guard” to help prevent your hand from sliding forward under hard wailing bushcraft use. Even though I get that very logical concept, I personally still prefer the forward tapered scallop shape on most kitchen knives and many field knives primarily because I appreciate the added grip mobility it affords.
Here are some specific knife examples to help explain my preference:
One of the things that initially sold me on the Nomad was the addition of forward thumb scallops. While they are fairly subtle on this model, I find them enough to facilitate a comfortable transition to the pinch grip.
I find that using a pinch grip on small fixed blades like the Nomad makes them feel like a bigger knife because when the thumb and index finger move forward onto the handle/ricasso area, the back three fingers move forward to occupy the rest of the handle. This means all five fingers are now involved in controlling the knife. (Note: The following photo is not a pinch grip, but it illustrates my point about the back three fingers moving forward when the thumb & index finger have advanced to forward positions.
Combine that grip with thin 1/16” CPM 154 steel and you get a very capable little kitchen knife. That is why the Nomad has been my traveling kitchen knife of choice on every trip I have taken over the last two years.
My favorite and most-used kitchen knife over the last three years has been this Robert Erickson chef knife. It has forward tapered flats on the front of the handle that make this knife very comfortable and precise in a pinch grip.
I find tapered thumb scallops useful on field knives as well because they add more comfortable grip options and control while doing close detailed work. Here are a couple of Carothers models that successfully incorporate forward scallops into a field knife application.
In general, I prefer forward tapered flats or scallops on the front of my handles for grip versatility and detail work control if I have an option. This is just my personal preference. I am not saying that my opinion is right or best for anyone else but me.
I think the majority of folks will default to the added “security” (real or imagined) of a flared shape on the front of their handles. I have no problem with that logic on field /bushcraft type knives. When it comes to the various “K” (i.e. “Kitchen”) variant models, I think it makes sense to add the forward tapered flats or scallops for increased finesse control in a pinch grip.
YMMV and there are no wrong answers on this topic, only preferences.