Story by Dwayne Unger, Photos by Dwayne Unger and Taryn Allander
In a day and age where knives seem to be designed and built with a specific use, it is sometimes easy to forget that the knife is simply a tool meant to be used in a variety of ways. Maybe it takes a knife that has ‘General Purpose’ in its name, to remind you of what it’s truly meant to do.
That is what knife designer Tim Stetzer and maker L.T. Wright had in mind when the L.T. Wright GP Medium was conceived.
While speaking with Tim I was able to get some insight as to his mindset when designing the GP Medium.
After designing the Bushcrafter knife, a knife designed with the emphasis on woodcraft, Tim started designing a knife geared more towards general utility use. He stated he wanted something that could work well for camping, and even as a hunting blade, but had a bigger image in mind.
He wanted a knife that would be suitable around the job site, farm or even a warehouse. Something that is small enough to carry comfortably every day, designed to do a variety of tasks and built from materials that will take abuse and be easily maintained.
“I could see it being used to cut bailing twine, cut open concrete sacks or feed bags, mulch bags, open up boxes and cut packing straps. The shorter blade is plenty for any of those tasks, while being coupled with a longer handle gives a lot of power and control to cuts,” Tim said.
Let’s dive in and look at the L.T. Wright GP Medium and my initial impressions of the knife.
Right out of the box I knew it was a knife made by L.T. Wright Handcrafted Knives. The attention to detail in the handle shaping, the sharpened spine and the hair popping sharp convex secondary bevel all screamed that this was made by L.T. and his crew.
Everything about the short, stout, 3.125-inch drop point blade – made from AEB-L steel – with a primary flat saber grind and Micarta scales (accented with 4 brass pins and a brass lanyard hole) says ‘work horse.’
In addition to the knife, the JRE Industries sheath is made incredibly well, with a snap flap design that is reminiscent of the .45 cal military holsters. Which is no surprise, since Tim mentioned that the knife’s name, GP Medium, is a nod to the military GP Medium tents.
As mentioned earlier, this knife was designed as a hard use knife, designed to “do-it-all.” With a design like that I was wondering where it would fall short. After all, can a knife really do multiple tasks well, if it is not purpose built? In short, the answer is ABOLUTELY!
I have used a lot of other knives with shorter blades, but many have shorter handles to accompany the design. Tim’s design, to have a full-sized handle with the shorter blade, is an absolute winner. The knife is extremely well balanced, and the ability to get my entire hand around the scales provided me with tons of control and power. Never once did I feel like the knife was unwieldable, and quite honestly the shorter blade performed like other knives with a slightly longer blade length.
The high, flat saber grind is an extremely versatile grind, suitable for the tasks this knife was designed to perform. The thinner grind made slicing a variety of materials quite easy, and the AEB-L Stainless steel blade not only held a great edge but is easily brought back to razor sharp, with basic sharpening and stropping techniques. Most of which can easily be done in the field – a big advantage over some “super steels,” which may require specialty sharpening devices.
While it is not designed specifically with bushcraft as its main purpose, I had to test how the GP Medium would perform – finding its strengths and any potential weaknesses – in the area I am most comfortable.
Try sticks were easily carved, with the ratio of handle to blade length, and the sabre grind made clearing the cuts quite easy. This is a big plus for any woodsman’s knife, because you cannot make your coffee if you are not able carve out a proper pothanger.
Feather sticking was also easy to do effectively, with the help of the factory’s razor edge. Throwing sparks off a ferro rod for tinder ignition? I did mention L.T. Wright makes theses, right? His sharpened spines can make any ferro rod throw sparks like it is a mini handheld version of the M2A1-7 flamethrower.
Batoning and splitting wood? The shorter blade length minimized its size capacity, but anything within its size range was quickly and easily processed down, with minimal effort and zero edge damage.
Fending off a 400-pound Black Bear? Alright, this wouldn’t be my go-to defensive knife. But with a little time, the knife could easily carve out a variety of stakes, traps, snares, etc. and cut all the cordage you need to set up a defensive perimeter or make several traps for food procurement.
Once you procure your food, whether it’s the 400-pound Black Bear mentioned above or just cutting up a steak and vegetables, no knife should be called “General Purpose,” if it falls short with food prep. The GP Medium was up for the task.
Slicing tomatoes can seem daunting for knives with inferior edge geometry, but that was not the case for the GP Medium. Steaks are also meant to be sliced through, not sawn through, so a sharp edge is a necessity for cutting into that medium rare Ribeye.
After all the food is cleared from the table, one thing you do not need to fret about is your blade. The AEB-L stainless steel is easy to maintain and very resistant to any corrosion or staining.
The reality for many is that the knives we carry are truly used for general purpose tasks. Opening boxes, breaking down the Amazon cardboard for the recyclers, cutting rope around the farm or cutting open bags for your landscaping projects.
For years I have carried – and always will – a folding knife. I also carry a small PSK for tasks that are much dirtier and may get into the inner workings of my folding knife – requiring clean up and maintenance. The challenge with the PSK is the limitations of it, due to its small size.
When I am bushcrafting, I personally gravitate towards a 4-inch blade. However, I often don’t carry a large fixed blade on me when I’m doing basic chores, or just out for a quick hike, due to the imposing size (as seen by others). I feel like the GP Medium is a great fit for that sort of gap.
While no knife is a true “one tool option,” I think Tim Stetzer’s design, and L.T. Wright’s manufacturing, certainly fits the bill for so many of us – if we truly take a step back to see how we use our knives every day.
Even with access to a lot of different knives, I can honestly say that the odds of you finding this knife on me, while I am out and about, are probably pretty good. K&G
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*All L.T. Wright knives are handmade and final specs may vary slightly*Blade Material: AEB-L Stainless SteelBlade Length: 3.125 inchesOverall Length: 7.625 inchesBlade Thickness: .12 inchWeight: 5.8 ouncesHandle Material: MicartaSheath Material: JRE Industries Snap Over leatherMSRP: $153.95
L.T. Wright Knives(740) 317-1404www.LTWrightKnives.com
L.T. Wright KnivesKnifeCenter.com
Dwayne Unger is the owner/operator of Dwayne Unger Outdoors, an associate instructor with Estela Wilderness Education and online instructor for the Old World Alliance. Dwayne is also the 2018 Bladesports World Champion and winner of History Channel’s Forged in Fire: Knife or Death (S1,E4). Dwayne is a part time custom knife maker and has been published by several online and print magazines. Dwayne can be found on Facebook, Dwayne Unger and Dwayne Unger Outdoors and on Instagram @dwayneungeroutdoors.com
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