If you’re a knife aficionado, you tend to see similar styles and patterns of knives over the years and they can often blur and begin to look the same. Some makers, however, tend to have styles that cut through the chaff and are easily identifiable at a glance. The knives of Fiddleback Forge certainly fall into that category, and I can quickly pick out a Fiddleback knife at a show with just a glance. Whether it’s a pocket EDC knife, or a big, brush-busting machete, Fiddleback Forge offers a full range of blades, all crafted with the distinct style lines that tell you they’re part of the Fiddleback family.
Fiddleback Forge has a new line of machetes in sizes ranging from 12 to 18 inches. The blades come from Imacasa, but Andy Roy finishes them himself with a full-length convex grind and custom handles in the Fiddleback style.
Andy Roy is the hands and talent behind Fiddleback Forge. When I first met Andy, he was a part-time maker but that soon changed as demand for his blades moved him to the full-time arena. Andy has a background doing machine work in an electrical engineering shop, but he’s had a lifelong interest in knives instilled in him by his father and grandfather. Khukuris influenced him early on. After seeing photos of barefoot villagers pounding out red hot steel in a dirt-floored hut he decided to try his own hand at making knives. His influences may have been from primitive blade smiths, but his end products are anything but crude.
Andy emphasizes blade handles. He points out that not many tools have thin, square-edged handles. If you look at tools designed to be used for long periods of time like hammers, chisels, and handsaws you see rounded, hand-filling handles with smooth contours. Andy takes his inspiration from those tools and translates them to knife handles meant to be comfortable during prolonged use. Considering that many of his designs are bushcrafting tools, making them comfortable for extended use is of utmost importance. His blades aren’t designed to simply cut open a box or some twine and then put them away. They’re made to work in your hand for hours while you carve and cut, and create all sorts of traps, triggers, tools and handicrafts.