Neck knife?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by David Mary, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. Basp2005


    Dec 6, 2015
    This has been my go-to for a couple years now. Izula with a custom kydex sheath. Very slim and simple. I went with stainless steel because of sweat. Cord wrapped handles will collect moisture and rust your knife. Even if it feels dry there is still moisture aginst the handle. So I don't bother with a wrap. The cord is paracord with the ends melted together. For reference, I was in a fight and the cord broke before it choked me. This setup is so comfortable and easy I forget to take it off and have slept through many nights with it around my neck.
  2. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Those that fail, in my experience, are not so much because of the knife but because of the sheath. And there are a lot who fail, and by fail I mean the knife loses almost all retention in the sheath after a few months of use... Very disappointing, especially if the knife is great in all other regards. You can still use it as pocket carry, belt carry or pack carry but it failed at being a necker.
    As a start : IMO, the real neck carry is handle down, hence my fetish with safe retention (this said, you can neck carry almost any knife handle up. Pulling the knife is not so natural and easy but it works).
    Let's focus on "handle down", the most efficient neck carry.
    In leather sheath : the tightest fit will still need a strap of some sort to secure the knife. Leather gets supple over time, retention will diminish and sooner or later the knife will fall out. I have no problem with a press button strap, it works. Thing is, you need two actions to draw the knife. Less natural and easy...
    In Kydex sheath : thanks Scagel, there is Kydex. Yes, but actually no... The best working sheathes are made of Kydex or FRN but some of the baddest, too !
    As a general rule :
    - When the retention of the knife in the sheath relies on the blade's heel or a nub at the blade's heel (be it with sharp or more or less rounded edges), the steel will eat the synthetic away and the knife, sooner or later, will fall out. Not good. There is a long list of brands who chose that solution, even on pricier knives.
    - When the sheath snaps onto the handle, that works very well and for a long time : synthetic on synthetic is a secure match that is bound to last. However, it impacts the handle design (at the bolster/guard mainly) and the handle can show scuffs in that area.

    I can show a few knives where the "neck carry handle down" design was aptly nailed. I have been carrying some of them for years now (and my gut still feels safe).
    From top to bottom : Cold Steel Secret Edge and A.G Russell Woodswalker. The three down are nice knives but failed at handle down neck carry.[​IMG]

    Another A.G. Russell (Sting 3B). Works perfectly and will do so for very long (two lateral claws snap into the hole in the handle) :

    A perfectly made necker/sheath unit (Stoil Manchev, on BF's Knife Maker Market). Easy to draw and totally safe retention :

    Another one by Stoil Manchev. Very strong retention. I could hand it down to the next generation, they don't need to fear for their gut !
  3. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    @herisson, thank you very much for the insightful post. I agree with everything you said on sheath retention. I have also come to the conclusion that if I start making dedicated neckers, they will have a retention configuration mating the handles and sheath similar to this tanto I made a while back. I made the video specifically to showcase the sheath fit and retention.

    Three very good points worth considering, thank you very much! Do I hear thin AEB-L calling me again?
  4. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Exactly this ! You know what it's about. And I plus on AEB-L. A very good steel. I love it in my kitchen knives and I see no reason it wouldn't work great with neckers.
    David Mary likes this.
  5. comis

    comis Gold Member Gold Member

    May 17, 2013
    The only time I would neck carry a knife is if I ever go winter camping(which is really rare) and it is difficult to access the knife under all the clothing. I have heard some outdoor survivalist would also advocate neck carry, since it may be the only way to access the knife if you fall thru the ice into the water.

    Otherwise, the neck carry never appeals to me, the lanyard could be a safety hazard if there is no breakaway, and if it is not a kydex sheath, pretty much it is a two hand operation. I probably won't want to neck carry a heavy full handle fixed blade, but then a short blade/short handle skeleton frame is not most ergonomic to use, which kinda defeat the purpose of having a fixed blade in the first place(at least for me). YMMV.
    David Mary likes this.
  6. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Read what Mors Kochanski has to say about it... He's one of the first "outdoor buscrafting survival" specialist / enthusiast. It's educational, at least. I like to read stuff from people who've done it. It's no gospel but there's some weight. And sometimes, it's like a "hey, I should try that" moment.
  7. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    Brilliant! I think a lot of accident situations could be supplied as examples where this might apply. Thanks for the good point.

    All good points. So what I'm hearing is I should design a line of neck knives that is

    1) attached with a breakaway cord for safety - check
    2) secured in a kydex sheath (or boltaron for those hot climates where Kydex can start to lose its shape and retention when left in vehicles) - check
    3) lightweight (easily done with thin stock, skeletonized handles micarta scales with hollowed out inner faces) - check
    4) Stainless - check

    I'm 100% on board with all this. In fact, the reason I became a knifemaker in the first place was my dissatisfaction with the edge retention of CRKT's 5Cr15MoV, and I wanted someone to make me a necker like it, but I had a really hard time getting anyone to work with me, so 10 years, lots of mistakes, and thousands of dollars later, here I am ready to make them for everyone else!

    To that end, I'd like to continue this discussion, and have started a thread in my subforum where we can hammer out the specification for a new line of neck knives. At the moment, aside from the above considerations, there is literally nothing designed yet, so this will be a completely new and fresh design, and everyone has an opportunity to input their ideas. We'll talk about the design, expect multiple sketches as we hash out the design, the materials, the process, and eventually WIPs, passarounds, and ultimately first run release of the design. I'd like to invite all to participate in the discussion, and those who contribute to the design and passarounds will certainly receive my gratitude in the form of preferred pricing on the final product.
    jfk1110 and comis like this.
  8. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    I just wanted to contribute modestly to a positive progression :
    1) Not needed. Everybody can get leather strings, come on... You are not supposed to provide the neck loop. Don't !
    2) Kydex is the secure choice. It's the most stable material... compared to leather ! People who leave materials in any way sensible to heat on the front or rear boards of their cars are idiots.
    3) The tang doesn't even need to be skeletonized, if the design is spot on.
    4) Stainless : Yes, of course. A blade held close to the body should be stainless, if the option is available.
    jfk1110 likes this.
  9. 000Robert

    000Robert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 28, 2020
    I love leather and will always choose it over Kydex. And I don't like anything on my neck except for my grandbabies, or a hot chick.
    But I have been thinking about making me a leather Crocodile Dundee back shoulder harness and sheath.
  10. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    :) Never could stand anything around my neck , even had use to clip-on ties !

    Used to carry neck type knives on a merc harness or simple shoulder strap ...more armpit carry than neck . :cool:

    Main problem I ever had was poor retention . With any type of inverted carry you absolutely must have a reliable retention system .

    Worst offenders are those plastic sheathes that cannot be modified with heat . :mad::thumbsdown::thumbsdown:
    Smiling and David Mary like this.
  11. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    sometines I wear the smaller knife shown around my neck in its leather sheath tip down. It hangs very naturally. This will sound awkward but it’s not. I reach down the neck of my shirt pull it out. The sheath flips and I pull it from the sheath in a downward motion.
    jfk1110 and David Mary like this.
  12. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    That actually sounds really convenient
  13. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016

    Chain is best I suppose, but I can’t seem to find one that doesn’t pull at my neck hairs and corrode badly. Sometimes the connector parts give me fits. So I prefer paracord but as mentioned that has strangulation risk.

    When I use paracord I either melt the ends together in a way that seems weak. So it will hopefully break.

    Or I prefer to use these small ferro rods as a clasp. Thread the cord ends thru the friction holds it in place. It stays were you put it but will slide under a load. Added benefit of adjustability and potential emergency fire start.

    Your mileage may vary so if you use paracord do so at your own risk.

    The big advantage to neck carry I see is being able to get the knife with both hands.

    I keep a pair of gym shorts hanging in my room. To work out or lounge in. I keep a neck knife with that pair of shorts and put them both on together.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
  14. KitchenQueen


    Jun 23, 2020
  15. jfk1110

    jfk1110 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 9, 2013
    I do the same with my Fallkniven juni and the sheath it came in!! Just run some ball chain thru the belt loop and good to go!!
    eveled likes this.
  16. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    My gym shorts combo I mentioned previously. You can see the ferro rod close to the sheath.

    I found one of those springy two hole thingies. So I’m trying that for now, but it shows how I was using the ferry rod as a clasp. You can also put both ends thru in the same direction and have the tag ends stick straight out.
  17. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    Or use a simple leather string... It is way tough enough for EDC and it sure will rupture in extreme situations. I have a bunch of them sitting in drawer. I replace them when they get weak but even at full original strength they won't strangle a 200 pounds (give or take) guy.

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