What Were You Think­ing? The Story Be­hind the De­sign

Knives Illustrated - - Gear Up -

Ran­dall Burns’ life has fo­cused on the out­doors. Not only is he a sur­vival ex­pert and in­struc­tor, he is also a fly fish­ing guide and in­struc­tor who most re­cently de­signed the JBA Wilder­ness knife. In the fol­low­ing Q&A, the Vir­ginia res­i­dent, who is Har­vard Univer­sity ed­u­cated, pro­vides in­sight into this Bark River Knives prod­uct.

EJ: What was your thought process be­hind the JBA?

Ran­dall Burns: I started work­ing on this de­sign be­cause I used and taught with a Tracker knife for years. Although it’s a great knife, it’s not user-friendly to novices and doesn’t do small tasks as well as smaller bushcraft knives. I wanted to make a knife that would han­dle large tasks, such as shel­ter build­ing and wood pro­cess­ing, but also one that would be bal­anced to use in small camp chores and bushcraft­ing tasks.

It needed to be easy to sharpen in the field, as well. Af­ter field test­ing over 180 knives, I had not found a one-tool op­tion for wilder­ness ap­pli­ca­tion, so I started draw­ing up a pro­to­type to fit that de­sire and need in my own life. I tested it for a very long time and re­al­ized that this is the knife I’ve been look­ing for, for well over 25 years now.

In my opin­ion, it’s a per­fect bal­ance of an over-built bushcrafter that al­lows it to be a one-tool op­tion, as well as a pick-up-and-use knife by begin­ners or sea­soned out­door pro­fes­sion­als.

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