Fixed Blades

Knife Review: L.T. Wright GNS – Initial Impressions

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

[Update 2/19/2015: The full review of this knife is now complete. You can read it here]

I was fortunate enough to meet L.T. Wright at a local gun show recently. As one half of the partnership that was Blind Horse Knives, his reputation for producing a quality, handmade blade is well established. Now he heads up his own company, L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives, and the blades he had at his booth lived up to everything I have come to expect from the Blind Horse products I have owned and handled in the past.

L.T. was kind enough to send along a GNS model for us to review, and right out of the box I was immediately impressed with the knife’s solidity and the supremely comfortable handles.

GNS, the name for this classic Woodlore inspired design stands for “Go No Show,” and it has everything you need to have, and nothing you don’t, to make it an ideal bushcrafting companion. The 4 3/8” drop point blade is made from 1/8” thick O1 steel, and sports a scandi grind with a micro convex secondary edge. That edge arrived quite sharp. Highly polished, it was able to shave hair easily, and could make thin curls out of newsprint. I can’t wait to see how it carves wood.

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

The knife had a little more difficulty when I tackled some 3/4” manilla rope; the edge is not toothy enough to handle the rope well. Highly polished edges tend to slide around a bit on this test. Against a taut section of rope, it took a lot of force, two solid pulls and then a final swipe to get all the way through.

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

Considering the amount of force I put into the cut, the bead-blasted micarta handle scales were excellent. The contours fit my medium-large hands perfectly, and hot spots were kept to a minimum. The bead-blasting creates a very pleasing texture–just enough grip without it feeling tacky or rough. The fish eye bolts holding the scales to the blade tang are the only aesthetic embellishment on the knife, and I think they add a very nice contrast to the refined simplicity of the design. In addition to the bolts, the scales are held on with a high strength epoxy. I have no worries about the scales holding up to heavy use.

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

Also included with the knife is a very nice, pouch style, leather sheath, made by JRE Industries. Extra features include a firesteel loop, and the ability to attach the sheath to your belt with, or without, the included dangler attachment.

Image courtesy of David C. Andersen

All of these and other small touches, such as the large lanyard tube, and the sharpened spine (allowing it to act as a scraper), promise to make the testing of this knife very interesting. The full review will follow once I have been able to get some field time with the knife. I plan on tackling some big projects with the GNS, and I will report back to you with the results.

Discussion

15 responses to ‘Knife Review: L.T. Wright GNS – Initial Impressions

    • Sam,
      We usually try and stay between 11 1/2 to 12 degrees per side…(depending on steel thickness)…this seems to work quite well long term in both edge retention and edge toughness. We also put just a bit of a microbevel on them.

  1. David or L.T.,

    Your knives seem to be mainly based on the Scandi Grind. Understandable since it’s popular with the Bushcraft crowd. Having been a guide for 26 years now, my circle of professional friends have largely settled on Flat Grind or High Flat Grind. It seems when butchering or processing. the “top” of the grind sometimes pushes the flesh (or material) so far apart that the sharpened edge isn’t making good contact. Not always, but it can make even field quartering a PIA. You really notice it with trying to slice and prep on veggies or potatoes too. What are the advantges to the Scandi… what are we missing LOL

    • I would say the benefit of the Scandi grind is in wood processing. The same wedging you don’t like with game is great for preparing kindling.

      I definitely agree with you as far as flatter grinds being better for food tasks. I am looking forward to testing my new Canadian Belt Knife. It seems to take a game and food bias as opposed to my Mora’s wood bias.

      The famous Kephart knife often has a grind that splits the difference.

      As a fishing as opposed to hunting guide, I do more wood cutting than skinning with my knife.

  2. Clay,

    Interesting, with fish processing (I worked 2 summers outside Naknek, AK in a salmon processing plant…never again) I switched to 5.25″ Straight Razor. Same as I shave with (well, not THE same). It works equally as well with caping.

    I’m really enjoying both a Blind Horse Knives Camp “Muk” (Scandi) and Lil’ Muk’ (full Flat) for downed animal duties. Had I known the drawbacks of the Scandi grind for meat processing however I would surely have opted for a Flat grind on the main tool. Expensive mistake…

    Thank you for the reply….

    • Dutch,

      Good to see you here! Even though it not the most ideal grind, I’m glad that the Muk is getting to live life on the wild side!

      As far as the advantages of the scandi, Clay nailed it. They work great for woodwork and whittling, which is why bushcraft guys like Ray Mears swear by this style of grind. Keyword here is “bushcraft,” as opposed to “survival.”

      Cheers!

  3. Well we are about to make good on the advice and experience we have both shared. The Blind Horse Camp Muk’ leaves tomorrow on it’s way to a well regarded custom blade maker. The Scandi will have a regrind to a High Saber profile. A full flat was really not practical and may have compromised the temper. Admittedly, this is going to set me back about $100 however that Muk’ has much “mojo” and I cannot part with it. There will be a short group of pics showing a before and after with some thoughts on the change in performance. If it works I’ll call it out but if it doesn’t I’m not afraid to admit wasting a C-note.

    If you have any interest (it’s really not part of the Benchmade review) I can forward what I’ve learned from the transition. After 26 years serving as a hunting guide I’ve learned (hopefully) what works for my needs and in the area(s) we frequent with clients.

    Dutch S.

    • Dutch,

      I would be thrilled with whatever you were willing to share with us. The stories you have shared with me have been quite enjoyable and definitely put a smile on my face. 🙂

      I’m glad the Muk is getting a regrind. It is an idea I toyed with myself when I owned it but never got around to it. I think that style of edge suits the Nessmuk shape much better than a scandi edge.

      I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

      • I second that Dutch. I would love to post anything you want to send me about pretty much anything. But a “What I look for in a knife” personal story piece would be at the top of my list.

        I have been a fly fishing guide for 15 years, in Ohio, Idaho, and Tennessee. Outside of Alaska, most flyfishing is catch and release, so passable rather than optimal is fine for my knives when it comes to animal processing. Rope work on a boat, wood processing, and cutting hoagie rolls is equally important.

        “Survival” for me in the Smoky Mtn backcountry is more about shelter and fire than food processing. I am around water, so if I can get a signal fire going I am looking at a time frame of days until rescue provided I am of able body. Any fish caught are a bonus if I have the other two.

        If you haven’t read my review of the Will Woods’ Kraken, I detail skinning a groundhog as part of my review.

        http://www.thetruthaboutknives.com/2014/07/knife-review-will-woods-bladeworks-kraken/

        I have done more bird than large game hunting, and I am not on a professional level with either.

        I also will give the next person to tweet “I want a sticker” to @knifetruth one of our last Empire Outfitters stickers.

        • I know that some of you follow us on Twitter. Someone please tweet us, I want to give away another sticker.

          I am going to do a Twitter contest for the Beer Defender keychain tool from Wilmont. In a tweet we are going to want people to tell us why they need the Beer Defender.

          Details to follow. But this is a cool piece of kit.

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