Rob Bixby, better known as knife sharpener and YouTuber The ApostleP, is making a longtime dream a reality by designing the Gunny Sidekick fixed blade. The Sidekick, which will be produced by Bark River Knives, reflects Bixby’s frustration with maintenance issues that many other knives fail to address.
“I had this knife kicking around in my head for years,” Bixby tells us. An advocate for user knives and a longtime admirer of the Buck 110, he designed the Sidekick’s 4” clip point blade for maximum durability and cutting performance. The blade features a full 5/32” stock for wood processing or light prying tasks, but with an inch wide blade, the convex grind has plenty of time to come to a thin edge. M4 is the steel of choice for superlative edge retention and toughness. “It’s a good prying tool and a good slicer,” Bixby says.
He has been reviewing knives for four years and sharpening them professionally for nearly as long. Bixby, who takes issue with the way knife makers often treat sharpening as an afterthought, channeled his discontent into the knife maintenance-friendly features of the new design. “There’s nothing more frustrating than knives being brought to market with very little thought put into how the user is going to maintain them,” he says. “There are so many knives out there that when you sharpen them, you ruin them.”
While many customers will pick up the Sidekick for the striking bowie blade, some of the most useful elements of the design are ones users might overlook: a short ricasso, tight plunge grind, and a large sharpening choil to facilitate long-term maintenance. “There should be a nice true edge all the way to the back,” Bixby explains.
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The Sidekick announcement follows the January release of Bixby’s first knife design, the Great Eastern Cutlery #74 Heartland Clip. Bixby has entertained the idea of becoming a low-volume knife maker, but says he’ll stick to designing blades and letting others build them. “If I’m going to be part of bringing knives to market, I think I’m much better served being a designer.” He will continue to pursue knife projects and says he has been working on an idea for something a little different. “The next design in my head is for a modern folder. I don’t know what company that would be with.”
The Sidekick will be available exclusively through KnivesShipFree and should be ready by hunting season 2017. The first run will consist of 150 pieces and be priced in line with other M4 Bark River knives.
Knife featured in image: The ApostleP Gunny Sidekick Prototype