Wildland Firefighters Knife

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:56 am

I remember that knife. The cobra hood is quite interesting but I never handled one.
carrot wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 3:13 pm
It just struck me. The (long discontinued) ATR seems like it could lend us its blade pattern and overall shape, with its sheepsfoot, big opening hole, Cobra Hood, and glove-friendly design.

Image

It'd be a heck of a blade in SpyderEdge.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby odomandr » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:18 am

while we all know frank centofante was a knife maker, he was also a fireman by trade himself if my memory is correct. maybe some of his designs were more specific to that area of work. I love my centofante 3 though i understand how it may not be best suited
"Yeah? Well, you know, thats like uh, your opinion, man" - Lebowski

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:57 am

I have a couple preliminary sketches made and am awaiting some feedback.
Fingers crossed.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:01 am

I was not aware of his background, thanks. I see a lot of knives and tools focused on residential fire department needs but I think the tens of thousands of wildland firefighters could use a few purpose driven knives.
odomandr wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 10:18 am
while we all know frank centofante was a knife maker, he was also a fireman by trade himself if my memory is correct. maybe some of his designs were more specific to that area of work. I love my centofante 3 though i understand how it may not be best suited

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Lonehunter » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:08 pm

Much respect for wild land guys ! I was a FF in NY for 30 years , carried everything from SAK’s , to Delicas ,Striders and OTF Microtechs .... Good luck making a folder that can cut barbed wire fence ! We all just carried wire cutters for the miles of wire and cable in ceilings of office and highrise buildings .

I don’t know enough about wild land fire duty to make much of an educated guess , of what’s available now I’d probably carry a Leatherman with wire cutters and a 50/50 Endura .

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby sal » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:31 am

Hi Lonehunter,

Thanx much for your service.

sal

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:32 pm

https://youtu.be/zVmeFc1QeQw

Not the best example, but this is what I was referring to in a wire breaker.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:51 pm

Hi Lonehunter.
I just posted an example of what I was referring to in breaking wire. There are issues that come with a multi tool or carrying an extra tool. I hope we can come up with a good solution for the wire but even if the wire thing is a no go on a folder, a fixed blade version could. Right now I hope we can come up with a folding knife solution that can always be at the ready that will be a reliable and withstand the rigors of wildland firefighting.
Lonehunter wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:08 pm
Much respect for wild land guys ! I was a FF in NY for 30 years , carried everything from SAK’s , to Delicas ,Striders and OTF Microtechs .... Good luck making a folder that can cut barbed wire fence ! We all just carried wire cutters for the miles of wire and cable in ceilings of office and highrise buildings .

I don’t know enough about wild land fire duty to make much of an educated guess , of what’s available now I’d probably carry a Leatherman with wire cutters and a 50/50 Endura .

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Kissaki » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:44 pm

I was on a USFS helicopter rappel crew a number of years ago, before that, an engine leader, and volunteer for a rural fire district. I believe knife selection should be task driven. Thinking back, for me, that primarily consisted of:

-Opening boxes and packaging
-Cutting strapping
-Cutting hose
-Cutting parachute cord
-Field sharpening tools if a file wasn't available
-Field programming Bendix King radios (you need to short a couple of contacts with a knife blade to enable)
-Food related (MRE pouches, prep)

I can't remember anyone who didn't have a knife, especially a multi-tool. In working with different crews, there was a fairly small number of blade savvy guys and gals. I recall seeing a whole lot of lower-end Bucks, Schrades, Gerbers and Leathermans. I knew more than one Hotshot who packed a CRKT K.I.S.S. Inexpensive and easily replaced if lost, lightweight, lanyard hole, and the grind allowed it to be sharpened with a flat file; which were usually around for sharpening chainsaws and other tools. I think it's important to recognize that most wildland firefighters are seasonal, with a significant number of them college students. Price point is a big deal. I carried a Rescue Jr. in my flightsuit, a Leatherman Supertool on my belt, and a dummy-corded PE Endura in my radio harness or line gear. Definitely not high-end, but a lot of people thought I was nuts for having such "expensive" knives.

I didn't see too many fixed blades; the ones I recall were compact, ala Schrade Sharpfingers. I did have a 3.5" partially serrated fixed blade made up by a local knifemaker when I got on the rappel crew, thinking it would get some good use. But honestly, the folders were easier to carry and never left me wanting. Ruana Knives out of Montana makes a knife called the Smokejumper that's been around since the 1930s. I believe TOPS does a production version that's considerably cheaper than the custom. It might give you some design feature ideas; for what it's worth, all of the jumpers I knew carried folders.

If I was doing fire again, at the very minimum I'd have a Gerber MP600 or Leatherman Wave+ multi-tool. For a conventional blade, I'd pair a sheepsfoot SE folder with a PE folder, both from the Salt line. I never had an issue with rust on the conventional steel blades, but like the characteristics of the Salt steels. And the loss prevention yellow and green handles are a big plus. In my opinion, FRN just works when it comes to hard-use Spydercos; especially when you factor in price, weight, performance, and availability. For the seasonal firefighter on a budget, the orange Cara Cara 2 Rescue makes a lot of sense; a good potential Fire Byrd.

Much respect to the current generation of wildland firefighters. The extreme fire behavior occurring in more and more fires these days was not very common in my time. Stay safe!

K

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:55 pm

Kissaki. Thanks for the input. The fire behavior this year was just jaw dropping. Many people with decades of service saying they just have not seen fire behavior like this before especially this year. So many close calls for a lot of people I keep hearing and some I know personally said they could have easily been killed. The fire I was on in the first day we had 4 people go down with heat injuries and one rescued by helicopter due to fire entrapment. I have been reading about all the shelter deployments this year and I think it is the most I have seen. I was doing some type 1 hotshot work where we got flown in to this ridge deep in the fire and we lost our air support due to smoke and it all went to $#!+ after that where our escape route was burning and our safety zone was too small because the whole hillside had area ignition and the heat and smoke was more intense than I ever experienced. The captain of 35 years was looking nervous. we had to wait it out till it burned up and had to hike over the mountain to get picked up the next morning. I won’t forget that night ever. for about 15 min I wondered if I needed my shelter and kept feeling for the velcro release.
I seem to have rambled a bit...
back to the knife,
Yes, I see a lot of low end knives and then maybe a third of them use knives around the $100-$150 range. Agreed, a folder is a must and you don’t see a lot of fixed blades for the reasons already discussed. Most carry a multi tool but those have the issues we already discussed as well but I feel we can come up with a one knife folding option that can make me leave my multi tool in the pack and not on my belt. A lot of the firefighters are seasonal but i’m seeing a trend in the younger guys being more into quality knives now. Pocket knives have become cool and even status symbols. The newest and youngest guy has a $200 knife for work with another more expensive at home and wants another even more expensive!

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Kissaki » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:07 pm

Fireman - Trust your gut and training when it comes to those sketchy situations. The past couple of years have been insane, and I fear it's only going to get worse. You guys are entering a whole new phase where conventional tactics and strategies are going to need to be rethought and adapted. There will definitely be a period of more risk until the new normal is dialed in.

Interesting that the younger groundpounders are now packing better knives compared to my dinosaur days. I've seen the same thing take place in the LE and .MIL worlds, so it makes sense. Could be a good market trend for Spyderco to take advantage of.

It would be cool to see a Spyderco Hotshot (or whatever it ends up being called). I'm really looking forward to seeing your design.

K

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:53 pm

My thoughts exactly about safety and tactics.
I like the name “Wildfire” but “Hotshot” is not bad either. I wish more people knew what our heletack crews do. Those guys are some heroes of heroes. I am glad to get to work with them. the “Wildfire” name kind of encompasses everyone from the Feds to the State to the local govt firefighter working together to tackle this dragon called wildland firefighting.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby BLUETYPEII » Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:50 am

Fireman wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 1:51 pm
Hi Lonehunter.
I just posted an example of what I was referring to in breaking wire. There are issues that come with a multi tool or carrying an extra tool. I hope we can come up with a good solution for the wire but even if the wire thing is a no go on a folder, a fixed blade version could. Right now I hope we can come up with a folding knife solution that can always be at the ready that will be a reliable and withstand the rigors of wildland firefighting.
Lonehunter wrote:
Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:08 pm
Much respect for wild land guys ! I was a FF in NY for 30 years , carried everything from SAK’s , to Delicas ,Striders and OTF Microtechs .... Good luck making a folder that can cut barbed wire fence ! We all just carried wire cutters for the miles of wire and cable in ceilings of office and highrise buildings .

I don’t know enough about wild land fire duty to make much of an educated guess , of what’s available now I’d probably carry a Leatherman with wire cutters and a 50/50 Endura .
I am making a prototype out of cardboard with the features I think will be necessary to take care of the job.

I also think the idea of using the cobra hood on the opening hole is a great idea.
Last edited by BLUETYPEII on Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
:spyder: 18 Spyderco in 8 different steels, 1 Byrd and 16 “others” :spyder:

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby BLUETYPEII » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:01 am

I have another question about this knife you’re designing: Is LC200N going to be a strong enough steel to hold up to cutting barbed-wire, Or do you think a steel like 20CV or CTS-204P would be better?
:spyder: 18 Spyderco in 8 different steels, 1 Byrd and 16 “others” :spyder:

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:44 am

BLUETYPEII wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:01 am
I have another question about this knife you’re designing: Is LC200N going to be a strong enough steel to hold up to cutting barbed-wire, Or do you think a steel like 20CV or CTS-204P would be better?
Thanks for your input. I do love those steels, but I feel LC200N is the best choice for weeks of action without corrosion and ease of edge maintenance with high performance. If you see the video I posted you will see that what I was thinking was a wire breaker and not a wire cutter. You bend the wire to the point of failure with a few bends. This is the best way to do it with limiting the chance of injury or failure.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:24 pm

https://youtu.be/XsHAVUhhqrU

Here is another video showing the Tom Brown Tracker using a knife notch to break wire.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby sal » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:30 pm

Hi Fireman,

I've not yet received any of your emails?

I must admit that I am not yet convinced that I would trust my life or anyone else's life on bending wire to the breaking point? Especially using the blade of a folder. I watched the video and I'm sure I could cut any of those wires in less than 2 seconds with a good wire cutter. Don't we want the best performing tool for any job?

sal

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:42 pm

Hi Sal. Can you send me an email or confirm your email for me? I sent them a few days ago but will gladly do it again. I’ll send you a PM using this forum.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby ladybug93 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:47 pm

there's a movie 'playing with fire' where john cena plays a smoke jumper and uses a spyderco clipit rescue. seems like a good knife for any kind of rescue tool and they're relatively cheap which is great if it might easily get lost.

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Re: Wildland Firefighters Knife

Postby Fireman » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:53 pm

Hi again Sal. The wire breaker depending on testing may or may not be in the end design. My philosophy of use in terms of the wire breaker is summed up in the adapted saying that “the best ______ is the one you have on you.” The best option means more tools and more weight. We are limited on what we can take with us because we are already carrying so much and when you carry more, that compromise or limits our performance.
sal wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:30 pm
Hi Fireman,

I've not yet received any of your emails?

I must admit that I am not yet convinced that I would trust my life or anyone else's life on bending wire to the breaking point? Especially using the blade of a folder. I watched the video and I'm sure I could cut any of those wires in less than 2 seconds with a good wire cutter. Don't we want the best performing tool for any job?

sal


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