Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poor Man's Knife Harness...

During a recent rendevous, Care and I learned about a Poor Man's Knife Harness for conveniently toting a fixed blade knife in a shoulder rigging. I immediately tried the harness and found it serviceable, albeit a tad uncomfortable due to a cordage crossover that occurred right on my spine. When not rubbing directly on the spine, the cordage had a tendency to move around easily, changing the placement of either the knife & sheath or the cordlock.

After some brainstorming with friends, I came up with the idea to use a leather crossover disk to keep the cord "knot" off the spine and to keep the desired angle of the knife being carried. I fashioned a crossover disk from a piece of scrap leather and then tested it to be sure the theory worked. Once relatively sure it did work, I contacted Spen and Dan of JRE Industries to make some crossover disks from some good leather. Here's the result:

Here's the assembled components of the harness, followed by a parts list:

8' of milspec 550 cord or any other stout cordage of your choice. I prefer the 550 as with it, I'm carrying an (approximate) extra 56' of cordage inside the 550 cord outer sheath. Some prefer to strip the inner strands out of the 550 cord so that the harness lies flatter and tighter to the body,

One cord lock,

Two beads (Optional - but they really aid in adjusting the completed harness),

One leather crossover disk,

Knife with a sheath that has grommeted attachment points - a leather or kydex sheath will work...

To assemble the parts, first thread the cord through the grommets on the knife sheath to the approximate midway point of the cord. Now thread the cord in an "X" pattern through the holes in the crossover disk. Next, thread both ends of the cord simultaneously through the opening of the single cord lock, pulling the cord lock up 8 - 9" onto the cord. If you choose to have beaded ends, now thread on the beads. The last step in assembly is to tie off the ends of each piece of cord.

To fit the harness, put it on like you're putting on a jacket. Position the sheath where you want it and then slide the crossover disk to a position right above your spine. Once done, slide the cord lock up so that it holds the desired sheath and crossover disk position. You will have to trim the dangling ends of the cord to suit your size. Leave about 6-8" of extra "dangle" to accomodate the ability to adjust the harness for wear over heavy clothing. After the final sizing and trimming, don't forget to heat seal the cord ends to inhibit fraying.

Care and I have been wearing the harnesses we made almost daily since we got all the parts assembled. We both found the harnesses we made extremely comfortable and an easy way to keep a fixed blade concealed yet handy. I also sent Jerry Young (hayseedw45) a crossover disk to test. Here's Jerry's comments:

"I wore the shoulder set up the whole time, well excluding bed. I found the disc kept the set up from moving around. It was very comfortable. I give it 2 thumbs up! The disc made the difference."
Taking another suggestion from Jerry, here's Care with an added carabiner filled with survival essentials attached to the strong side...

Need one? Want one? Yeah - you know you do. With this harness system, gone is the day of the neck knife and all the discomfort and accidental chokes associated with them.
Spen at JRE has indicated that he will make the crossover disks available in black or tan and, soon, will have all parts stocked at a very reasonable price. Click on the link to your left for JRE contact info...