What Were You Thinking? The Story Behind the Design
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.