If you have been following along, you know that I injured myself with my Becker BK21. In that post I mentioned that I never got fully comfortable with that blade until I configured a forward lanyard onto it. After using the blade this way for a time, I can say that all choppers should have this fantastic safety feature.
My first encounter with forward lanyards comes from seeing competitors using them in Bladesports competitions. Unlike with a rear lanyard, where the blade can swing around on you if the blade slips from your hand, a forward lanyard keeps the knife from going… well.. anywhere if you lose your grip. Using proper cordage, this can allow you to hit even harder, thanks to the positive retention.
As another bonus, even when not engaging in chopping tasks and instead performing smaller detail chores, the forward lanyard stays out of the way much better than a rear lanyard which can sometimes interfere with your work, especially if the lanyard has any beads on it.
Unfortunately, not many production blades out there have a forward lanyard hole as a standard accoutrement. Fortunately, it is an easy mod on a Becker knife to create the forward hole needed. Simply removing the forward bolt creates a perfectly positioned opening. The only question I had was whether or not the two bolts are enough to stand up to hard use.
Although I had messed around with my reconfigured BK21 in my backyard, I never got to give it a proper workout until this past weekend on a campout with friends. It rained nearly the entire weekend so we had to do a lot of work to get at some dry firewood. Although we had a chainsaw to assist us in breaking up some of the stuff we found, the Becker did a fair bit of chopping, and we used the knife to baton through enough wood for two nights’ campfires. The handle scales didn’t budge throughout the weekend. With the amount of abuse we threw at it, I am pretty confident in the strength.
Even though I’m thinking of epoxying the scales permanently for even more security, I would be perfectly at ease removing the forward bolts on my other Beckers in a heartbeat.
Even on knives without the forward hole, I have rigged up a lanyard using a clove hitch to tie the loop to the handle, such as I did with the Fiddleback Forge Camp Knife that I reviewed last year. Not the best execution, but better than nothing.
Keeping in mind there is no substitute for practicing proper technique, the safety a forward lanyard inspires allows you to hit harder, and more securely, than any other device I know about.
Has anyone here had any experience with forward lanyards? Be sure to let us know in the comments.