TSA Knives is thinking “SFO HUNTING KNIFE”


Hess Knifeworks was established in 2005, after many years of working for other knife companies. Whether we are building our own brand or working on someone else's knives, our goal remains the same, and that is to make high quality "Made in the USA" bench made custom knives.


Greg is asking…how would YOU modify this knife?


Entry for this month is easy.  Enter as many times as you would like.   Help Greg decide what the hunters, collectors, knife folks would ask for if they could make this knife their own?  Give us your ideas.




And what will the winner receive?  How about a HESS knife?


Cocobolo Wood

2.5 inch total length Blade
1095 high carbon steel 
1/8" thick blade

Notch for Firesteel use

Brass Lanyard Tube

Brown Leather Belt Sheath



This contest will run the month of August and Greg @ TSA Knives will choose the winner.  So enter often and lets help Greg build an SFO he and Hess Knifeworks can be proud to offer.



Views: 1695

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Ergonomic changes as stated in the previous responses, that are economical to the manufacturing process are what he will focus on first.

  • index finger groove
  • blade spine jimping
  • checkering of the scales for grip
  • maybe a finger guard

Custom offerings.

  • hardware options, Brass, Nickel silver, Stainless, Mosaic pins & matching finger guards
  • Handle materials, 3 types of exotic wood options, 3 colors of G10 & micarta


  • carry options-vertical and horizontal


  • 2" & 3"
  • Your full flat grind is perfect.

If I was to change the knife, I would add thin red liner behind a stabilized blue elder burl, the spine would include file work ending 1/2" in front of the scales, I would add mosaic pins and complete with a small Damascus bead on a black lanyard.

I think some stag handles would just set this knife off. 

I would make the following modifications of this knife:

1.  Add a brass half guard to prevent fingers from slipping onto the blade

2.  For improved digit traction when cutting or skinning, file some 1/8th-inch grooves in about one-fourth of the spine starting at the guard

3.  Increase the depth of the choil about 1/8th inch

4.  Add a 3/16-inch thick brass pommel plate to the butt of the handle to protect the wood in case the knife is dropped pommel-down on a rock surface.  Mount the pommel plate at angle that fits the curve of the butt with about 1/8th inch between the pommel and the lanyard hole.  Attach the pommel plate with two 1/8-inch dia. brass pins soldered into the pommel plate.  Drill holes to match the spacing of the brass pins into the handle and fasten this assembly to the handle with epoxy glue.

5.  If you don't mind the blade having a brown or black patina, use it to cut a lemon in half  to create a rust-resistant patina on the blade, wash the blade with soap and water, dry it well, then coat it with mineral oil

Looks like a great little Knife that just screams …”USE ME”!!! And for the intended purpose as a caper, the design is really well thought out. Without having it in my hand, I cannot see anything to change except personalize it with a lanyard so, when using it I could hang it up in a nearby shrub/tree instead of putting on the ground to get lost.

Initially I thought (as a pure caper) it didn’t need so much belly, in the blade but that adds versatility; where you could use  just this one knife to skin smaller game, such as foxes.

Otherwise it ticks all the boxes, nice rounded handle so it would roll easy in the hand, a good deep choil to put the ball of the thumb when using it upside-down, or the second finger when choking right up on it for the real finer work & no need for jimping because the tip of the index finger would be right down near the tip of the blade to guide it for the delicate stuff. Plus 1095 carbon for an easy touch up in the field! I could not ask for more, sorry Greg can’t help you much.


I have a few thoughts about this knife.  

I am not clear what this knife wants to be.  The length puts it in the range of a caper, but the blades depth seems lore like a short skinner.   That being said, for skinning, and caping, the handle material can get a bit slippery if it is bloody.  Maybe something textured either on the wood or a second material.

The shape of the guard is not efficient and could offer more protection if it provided a clear "stop" for the front finger to press against. This is also true of the slight curve in the handle just before the guard.  Though it is a graceful curve, it would not provide a comfortable grip for long amounts of time and would add to the danger of slipping up on the blade.

I could certainly see some gimping for the thumb,

I can not see the back of the sheath, but I would like to know the carry/mount setup. 

I apologize for being a bit tough on this knife, I think it is close, but needs some thought as to what its end user will be doing, as well as safety and comfort concerns. 

I have another thing to add, if I may.  If this is aimed at collectors, I would add some high end detailing.  Mosaic pins perhaps, maybe fileworking the spine of the blade.  Some "eye candy" for collectors.  

If it is going to be a knife for carrying/using then I would go with the things I said in the last post. 

How about a folded piece of leather attached to the outside of the sheath that could be used as a strop with compound. The fold would protect the strop and keep it clean?

I would like to see it have a longer blade. A drop point is really not my style of knife though.

Got this from Greg today

Here's a couple more pictures that might help and my own reflections on the caper as it stands.
For my personal use, I typically carry the Hess Caper on the shoulder strap of a Maxpedition Fat Boy.  I utilize the lanyard to make sure the knife will not or cannot fall out of the sheath regardles of the position of the bag or if it's dropped, thrown, whatever.
It's not in the size class of knife I would use for 'everything'.  Excellent size however, as someone mentioned, for skinning out small game, kitchen chores and general 'odd jobs' around camp.  I use and recommend a bigger knife or hatchet for splitting wood or clearing brush to setup camp.  Due to the nature of the size, it's not the best choice for heavier duty cutting which is where the Hess Large Caper comes in.
I've carried and used the pictured Caper for a couple of years.  My hands are relatively large and for extended periods of cutting, a little larger handle is nice, but 99% of the time, the Caper is pulled out for a quick task.  That's really what I bought it for.
From the comments I've read so far, there's some excellent ideas.  The suggestion of adding jimping on the top edge is A+.  Some minor reliefs cut into the handle for finger grooves are also near the top of the list.  While I'm not really thinking of the collector so much, I do like the idea of dressing it up a little possibly with liners or mosaic pins. Function is at the top of the list, but nothing wrong with a good looking knife either.
Really appreciate the input and keep it coming!

Keep the ideas coming!

looks like a great little knife, with a job in mind. other than maybe making the handle a little wider, so that your hand doesnt get cramped as quickly, or wider w/ finger grooves, lookes like a great caper/ skinner/ small game knife. this knife offered with a boning knife in a pair, would make a great combo.

Reply to Discussion


White River Knives

Visit Lee' s Cutlery





JSR Sports!

Click to visit

© 2022   Created by Jan Carter.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service