Bernie Garland Woodsman Bird and Trout Knife
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
I have had the pleasure of meeting Bernie Garland a couple of times and have long admired the various styles of knife this straight talking (some would say outrageously blunt talking) outdoorsman makes. A regular shooter – wildfowler, deer stalker and black powder enthusiast – Bernie is also a keen ‘bushcrafter’ and gets a lot of use out of his knives.
Made To Be Used
A one-time carpenter and joiner, Bernie is almost obsessive about the quality of his hand-made knives. Each knife is individually crafted using no jigs, patterns or templates, and as the knives are intended to be ‘users’ not ‘draw queens’, the blades are finished to a ‘soft’ 350 grit finish rather than a mirror shine.
In his range, Bernie includes such knife styles as a fixed Bushcraft knife, a Bushcraft folder, stalking knives, ‘Little Whittler’, wood carving, camp knives, ‘Woodsman Bird and Trout’, as well as cutting competition winners and a custom design service. As well as working in 01 tool steel, Bernie also crafts blades from Alabama Damascus steel.
Bernie has earned himself a growing reputation as a designer and maker of top quality, and frankly beautiful looking knives with an order book of customers from around the world. At present the waiting list for a finished knife is about 8 weeks, but for a blade for you to put a handle on yourself, it’s about 3 weeks from deposit or payment.
This wait is bound to grow as demand for a ‘BG Original’ increases.
A Warning About Meeting John Fenna In The Woods…
The last time I met Bernie he entered the woods with his own personal ‘Woodsman Bird and Trout’ but after a couple of evenings around a convivial camp fire and some determined haggling (Editor’s Note: that’s Welsh for nagging/begging), I walked out of the woods the proud owner of this fine, well proven example of Bernie’s knife-making skill.
Designed as an ‘all round’ knife, the Woodsman Bird and Trout is equally at home being used for woodwork, game preparation or butchery, this knife has a 106mm blade (4.25’) and an 110mm (4.1/3’ handle.
Both Fish and Fowl…
The blade on has a straight spine to which the deep scandinavian ground edge rises in a smooth curve. There is little ricasso to the blade, which is made from 3mm thick 01 high carbon tool steel and tempered to 58-59RC. This steel takes and holds an excellent edge that is easy to re-sharpen and hone (Bernie sends all his knives out shaving sharp) and will develops patina over the years of use it will have.
This blade shape makes it a very versatile knife that can cope with carving intricate shapes in wood, yet is strong enough for brute work such as batoning along, or through the grain of wood, and fine enough to slice carrots without pinging them across the kitchen. It will also joint and butcher meat, or gut and fillet fish – hence the name. The very tip of the blade may look a little fine and fragile, but unless you use it to lever open paint cans or such (just don’t!), then it should prove strong enough to cope with all daily cutting tasks quite easily.
The handle is of a full tang construction with stabilised box elder burr scales which have white liners and are comfortably shaped with a ‘waist’ and a ‘flare’ to the butt, giving a positive grip for a multitude of hold positions. As well as having brass tubes both forward and at the butt (for a lanyard loop if you like such things) the scales are pinned through the blade with a central mosaic pin in both white and yellow metals.
As well as being highly practical, the handle shape and materials are lovely to look at, making the knife a thing of beauty as well as a great tool to work with.
The ‘Woodsman Bird and Trout’ comes with a deep friction fit, Scandinavian style leather sheath – this can be attached by lanyard to your neck, belt or baggage. Although this is not my favourite type (I prefer a ‘double dangler’ belt sheath) the welted construction of this hand-made moulded leather sheath is effective and secure. I replaced the paracord loop that Bernie had been using with a longer, thicker, cord and wear it in a ‘Baldrick’ style which works well for me. The fit and finish of the knife is to a high standard and the more I use it, the more I like it!
The Bernie Garland ‘Woodsman Bird and Trout Knife’ is a well made, well designed and very good looking piece of kit and with prices staring at round £175.00, plus p+p, it’s not expensive as handmade knives go. It comes complete with a certificate of authenticity, care instructions and a guarantee against faulty materials or workmanship.
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