In this third installment of Woods Monkey’s look at the knives of Fiddleback Forge, Tim takes on the smallest of the batch tested, the EDC. As its name implies, this model is intended for Every Day Carry. It’s a bit smaller than the Woodsman and the Bushcrafter previously reviewed, but its still a lot of knife for the money.
Andy Roy, of Fiddleback Forge puts a lot of attention into his blades and the EDC is no exception. The EDC features a 3 ½ inch blade of 1/8 inch thick O-1 steel. The blade has a willow leaf shape to it with a touch of drop at the point. Andy heats treats his O-1 to around a 60-62 Rc and puts a convex edge on his blades. The handles are what really jump out at you when you first look at one of Andy’s knives. On the EDC, the scales are an interesting laminate of stabilized crotch cherry wood over top of Maple. The layered affect is unique and rather striking. The handle itself is very well contoured and you can tell upon picking it up that Andy isn’t kidding when he says that he puts a lot of emphasis on the comfort and design of his handles. Capping off the handle is a bullseye patterned lanyard hole that’s both functional and attractive. From point to pommel the EDC measures in at right about 7 inches. The EDC comes with a JRE pouch style sheath that is ambidextrous and that works just fine with even a thick work or hunting belt.
The EDC’s size and relatively thin blade make it suited for a pretty wide range of projects. I can see this being a blade you keep with you for the various odd jobs that pop up throughout the course of the day, particularly if you live or work in a rural setting. It’s certainly handy enough to grab for opening up boxes, cutting rope and cordage, and busting into packages. It also does pretty well as an impromptu kitchen knife either on the job site or in the brush. The 1/8 inch thick blade and convex edge do a nice job of slicing meats, fruits and cheeses. It doesn’t do half bad on splitting up a large hoagie either. You don’t have the length of a true kitchen knife for serious cutting board type tasks, but it works well for most anything else. The EDC also looks like it would work extremely well as a hunting knife. Its 3 ½ inch blade is spot on for most mid sized game. The drop point and willow shaped blade provide plenty of belly too.
I took the EDC up to my in-laws camp with me this summer and used it as my primary knife on the trip. Aside from all of the basic cutting chores of the day, I also did a good bit of whittling and camp craft with it. After taking down an oak sapling with another test blade, I used the EDC to strip off all of the bark and whittle down any rough spots on the two walking sticks that I made out of the tree. The EDC zipped through the green bark with ease and peeled it off in long strips. I probably worked on the sticks and a couple other projects for over a half hour straight and I had no problems with discomfort from using the EDC. I can definitely say that hasn’t always been the case with other knives that I’ve used for an extended period of time. I used a variety of grips as well and found that Andy’s nicely rounded scales worked well no matter how I was using the knife. When I did the design work on my own Bushcrafter, having a handle free of any sort of sharp edges or anything that could cause hotspots was of prime importance to me and I can see that Andy is on the same page as me in this regard. The EDC’s handle is smooth and comfortable , but the contours of the handle still provide you with a solid grip. Whether in a conventional hammer grip, or a reverse grip, you’ll find the EDC is pleasant to work with.
I ran the EDC through the gamut of other field chores I usually do when in the woods as well. Much like Scott, one of the first things I try a new knife out on is fire preparation. I’m not a fuzz stick master, but I had no problems getting nice curls out of twigs and small sticks, and making a pile of shavings to use for my base. The EDC has nice sharp spine that works well for scraping fatwood or magnesium bars as well as operating as a firesteel striker. I didn’t baton anything crazy but I did take small sticks in the 1 to 1 ½ inch range down a bit further to have some proper sized kindling for when my tinder took. Once I had my fire going, I whittled points on a couple of Y shaped sticks so that I could run a crossbar over the fire for a kettle or hobo stove. I later sat down and made some tent stakes since that always give me a good idea of how much control I have on a knife, especially when cutting the notches out. I’m happy to say that the EDC passed all of these tests without issue. In fact these duties just reinforced to me how comfortable the EDC handles are under use.
After working with the EDC for a while, I did have to do some clean up and maintenance work on it. O-1 tends to stain and will rust (like any other carbon steel) if left unattended, especially if you cut things like fruits and potatoes. I was starting to develop a decent patina on the EDC but since it wasn’t my knife I decided to clean it off. A few minutes on the bench with some polishing compound got most of it out and things looking normal again. Personally though, I don’t mind a good patina. It shows you actually are using the knife and adds some character to it. If it were mine, I’d let that patina accumulate. I also touched up the edge after working the hard oak too. I actually got a slight burr after shaving down about 8 feet of walking stick. I knocked the burr back with a couple of strokes across my Sharpmaker and then hit the EDC on my JRE Stropbat to bring back the edge and things were fine after that. I can’t really fault the EDC too much on that though as I’ve had the same thing occur with both Scandi and Convex edges in the past. Generally once that initial burr gets knocked off after the first sharpening things seem to settle down, and that seems to be the case here as well.
After talking with Andy at the 2009 Blade Show and handling his knives there, I was pretty sure I was going to like the EDC. Andy’s a good guy to talk to and I liked his take on knives and how they’re meant to be used. You can see that in his finished products too. They certainly have some distinctive and attractive features to them, but at the same time they aren’t presentation pieces. They’re meant to be taken afield and used, not just dropped in a display case somewhere. Pick up one of his knives and you’ll know what I mean right away. Better yet, run out and buy one to try out for yourself! The EDC would be a fine choice for anyone looking to do just that. It’s a good all around piece and pretty affordable too. Similar versions have sold for around $165 with sheath recently, but check with Andy for exact details. That’s a pretty good price for a hand made knife with the attention to detail and thought that Andy puts into the knives of Fiddleback Forge.