1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Week 29 of the BladeForums.com Year of Giveaways is live! Enter to win a Ron Flaherty Folder

    Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Ron Flaherty folder , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, and help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread!

    Entries will close at 11:59PM Saturday, July 20 ; winners will be drawn on Sunday @ 5pm on our Youtube Channel: TheRealBladeForums. Bonus prizes will be given during the livestream!

    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Nomad Handle Modification

Discussion in 'Osprey Knife & Tool' started by Comprehensivist, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Comprehensivist

    Comprehensivist Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    I have posted positive comments about my Nomad several times over the years. Its primary role has been as a compact kitchen knife that goes in my travel kit on almost every trip away from home. It has served me well on the road in a world that is predominantly filled with cheap dull knives.



    The thin 1/16” CPM 154 steel and G10 handle with good finger clearance over a cutting board make this an efficient cutting tool that is easy to maintain in damp, wet, or sticky settings. Just rinse and dry and pop it back in its kydex sheath until next time.


    While I enjoy using this knife, I always felt there were a couple of spots where the handle could be improved to make it more comfortable in my hand.

    The first is the position and shape of the bump on the bottom of the handle. If a knife has a distinct raised bump in this area, I want it to rest between two fingers rather than act a pressure point under one finger. The bump on the Nomad rests right under my middle finger, which is not comfortable.

    For this reason, I decided to get out a small single cut file and some sandpaper to soften and round-off the point without removing the original form completely. This subtle change minimized the pressure point feeling under my finger.

    The other area that bugged me was the flared shape and squarish corners on the back end of the handle. Many knife makers like to incorporate hard lines and/or squarish corners on the front and back ends of the handle to add visual contrast between curves and lines. It also highlights their knifemaking skills. I get that from an aesthetic or collector viewpoint. From a user perspective, harder lines and squarish corners add nothing desirable to the party for me. That is especially true on a small handled knife like the Nomad.

    My solution was to remove the corners and round-off the pommel for a more comfortable and natural fit in the center of my palm.




    After I was done with the reshaping and polishing, I masked-off all of the steel and glass bead blasted the handles one side at a time. I went with a slightly coarser texture than Chris normally does for a little better grip in wet conditions.


    I am happy with the way it turned out because one of my favorite little travel knives has become even more user friendly. That is a good thing in my mind.


    I understand that not everyone will appreciate or agree with these modifications. That’s perfectly fine. Feel free to comment; good, bad, or indifferent.

    I would like to hear a variety of voices share their preferences on handle design in general to spark some interesting discussion. Please feel free to add your thoughts and opinions on the subject.


    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  2. Bmurray

    Bmurray Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 9, 2012
    I’ll take it, thanks for the giveaway Phil.
    varga49 and Choppaman like this.
  3. Comprehensivist

    Comprehensivist Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Aug 23, 2008
    ^You wouldn't like it Bob. There are no notches in the handle. ;) :D
    varga49 and Choppaman like this.
  4. RobbieB

    RobbieB Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 13, 2017
    I’m not a fan of squarish corners at the tail end of knife handles either, especially on smaller handled knives. I think these are excellent modifications for the exact same reasons you gave.
    varga49 and Choppaman like this.
  5. Choppaman

    Choppaman Gold Member Gold Member

    May 6, 2017
    That looks great @Comprehensivist !! Well done. I like the end result with your changes. :thumbsup:
    varga49 and RobbieB like this.
  6. varga49

    varga49 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 1, 2016
    Nice thought provoking work as usual Phil! I’m going to get mine out and have a look, since I hadn’t used it and left it in Canada, where I’m at now. I’ll be taking a closer look.
    Choppaman likes this.
  7. FeralGentleman

    FeralGentleman RansomWildernessCo Dealer / Materials Provider

    Nov 13, 2013
    Nice work Phil. I always admire you willingness to modify your handmade knives as needed to fit your needs.

    I have been carrying the EDU around a lot over this year. The smallest of the Osprey's I believe. It too has the finger channel with nearly the same, slightly pointy hump transitioning to the rear of the handle. I think I played devil's advocate in the past on this, but even on a small 3-finger knife, the point does not impact any discomfort for me no matter how I grip or tightly hold that knife. Same with the Warthog, etc. Hands in general are pliable so lacking any real acute tip pressing on them they tend to conform to a handle hold. From a lifetime of working with with various hand tools for a living, I rarely find hard pressure on a smoother radius to be a problem. Now there are some goofy things out there that do have exaggerated finger grooves and more definite points.

    The Nomad is slightly different with the hump towards the middle of the handle. For a smaller knife like the EDU, it is more forward. For me the forward hump fits my pointer finger perfectly with the right amount of "bite" to feel very secure when using it to score material or pulling the knife something. Not that that really matters for my uses of something like an EDU; I don't think that knife would ever get loose on me during use. I can see where that middle hump might not feel right for some people with larger hands on the Nomad and a smoother curve working better for XL+

    What grade medium did you blast with? It appears to have a real nice texture.

    Have you had a chance to handle any of Chris' more recent blasted handles coming out of the shop? He has gotten slightly more aggressive with the texturing and it was noticeable, to me, after handling a few knives that I asked him if he had changed anything.

Share This Page