There are some folks that are never satisfied with a tool as it comes from the factory. David has modified some OTC “Old Hickory” knives and wrote this excellent piece. Contributor Ian M stripped the paint off of his Cold Steel Norse Hawk, attempting to force an antique patina instead.
I have never been much of a modder myself. I have made some creative repairs when an item has begun to wear out or break. I designed and built my fishing lanyard from scratch, incorporating over 60 feet of paracord in what is essentially an oversized survival bracelet with snap-swivels woven into it to hold my guiding accoutrements. But with the exception of my drift boat which I built to my own specs while working for Hyde Boats in Idaho, most of my gear is in fairly stock condition.
I recently made one simple modification to my Mora Bushcraft’s sheath . It is so embarrassingly simple that to make it a stand-alone post would be an insult to your intelligence. Instead I am incorporating it into a discussion on the larger topic of modding – hence the QoD.
This simple mod address a problem that has developed over time, and I think it is an improvement over the stock configuration. All I did was add a paracord loop and bead retention strap to my sheath.
It is wader season again, and I no longer just throw my Mora and wading belt into Rubbermaid gear-tub that I haul to the river. Through a year of use, my sheath no longer retains my knife as effectively as it once did. It isn’t bad, in fact I can still hold the sheath upside down and it takes a shake to drop the knife free, but over the summer I noticed that the knife would work itself loose while jostling around in the tub.
Now that I am rolling my knife and belt up in a pair of waders, the stakes are higher. While I haven’t cut myself or anything else by accident, I don’t want to run the risk of cutting my waders. The knife is razor sharp, and I would rather avoid spending the day in leaking waders because my knife made contact with the nylon fabric.
All I did was run a piece of paracord through the belt loop, and slid a spring-loaded bead over the tag ends. I knotted and fused the ends so the bead would not slip off or fray. The bead can be slid up to tighten the loop and positively retain the knife in the sheath.
I used the knife for 3 straight days of guiding this weekend (hence the delay in this post), and I really like how it turned out to work. When tightened, the knife is held firmly and cannot be shaken loose. I left it tight until I needed to use the knife for the first time each day, and it was simple to blindly slide the bead loose. It hung clear of the blade’s draw-path, and remained so when I returned the knife to the sheath. I don’t need to tighten it until I remove my waders, but would usually do so (again blindly one-handed) while watching my clients fish.
The only downside that I can see is that the cord prevents the sheath from rotating 360 degrees. But it will still swing to a fully inverted position when I sit down in the truck. That is important, and the inability to do so would have been a deal breaker.
So here is the question:
Do you mod your knives and other gear? Is it destructive like reshaping a blade, or just a small tweak to improve an item’s function?