David R. Beck, Knifesmith LLC
Call Us: +1-610-670-5319
"Fine Cutlery for the Adventurer"

TRACKER/WSK Knife History:
The concept originated in the early '80's between collective minds to address the needs of the modern hunter-gatherer relying primarily upon aboriginal skills rather than extra gear for lighter travel. The tool needed to be tough, dependable, & possess the traits of both a hunting knife & hatchet to accomplish the most common tasks encountered to survive & thrive in the wilderness. Developing such a design had its challenges & wasn't easy. It wasn't expected to be perfect for every task as some compromises & limitations had to be accepted, but the idea was to construct a tool that worked well enough, that a single knife could accomplish all the practical requirements one would need to perform. An early attempt called the "Medicine Blade" made by Ed Lombi, demonstrated the possibilities & set the foundation  for further refinements by other makers influenced by the design.
After being introduced to the concept, David Beck presented his own design improvements & in the late '80's he was persuaded  to take over the project. Within a few years, the basic concept transformed into a more functional tool displaying his own unique design enhancements & his knife shop was opened to equip those in the growing "survival/tracker" community. Aside from the name "Medicine Blade", the knife concept was also generically known as a "tracker" in reference to the name of the survival school where it originated, but in 1991 the name "TRACKER" was officially designated after Mr. Beck became the first to own & stamp the registered trademark "TRACKER" (issued by the US Patent & Trade Office) on his blades, & the Original "TRACKER" Wilderness Survival Knife was born.
After ten years of producing his knives, idea conflicts & marketing difficulties resulted in his first venture coming to an end, & with the closure of the knife shop also meant the end to his exclusive "TRACKER" trademark registration.

Through luck & circumstance, Dave's knife was selected for an upcoming film, & Dave became the designer & maker of the actual "TRACKER" knife used by Benicio Del Toro in the 2003 Paramount Pictures film the "HUNTED", which for historical reference, was one of his model "C" Gen1 TRACKER knives. With the exposure & renewed interest, a new demand brought buyers looking for the "Real" TRACKER knife, but only found disappointment with what was now being marketed.  With several years to concentrate on further design & manufacturing improvements bringing his "TRACKER" knives to a new level of performance, a better chance of success appeared promising, & he re-opened his doors for business. It was a tough start & met with resistance as he now had to address competitive pushback & establish himself in a world-wide community who knew little of his name, history, & involvement, especially since his name was left out from the movie credits most likely due to future marketing interests. In addition, with others now marketing their own versions & battling over name rights to secure an advantage, hopes to reclaim his TRACKER trademark meant too much expense with little prospect of gain. The decision was to simply change the name, & from that time forward, his knife became known as the "WSK" (Wilderness Survival Knife).
Production of his new knives didn't last long as his second attempt was cut short by injury, but in 2011 Dave's knife shop once again resumed full-time knife making operations but now under the name of David R. Beck Knifesmith LLC. With many years experience now under our belts & motivated for success, we looked forward to a long-lasting venture providing our customers with some of the highest quality knives they're find anywhere.

The TRACKER/WSK Knife Today:
​After over thirty years of dedication & hard work, our WSK knives have evolved into finely-tuned tools which far outperform the early examples. Proportions, angles, contours & heat treating have been perfected, raising the bar of performance well beyond what could have been imagined years ago. What started as a simple, yet highly efficient tool for modern survivor/hunter-gathers, was now seeing broader use in many conflicts abroad, proving to be just as dependable & effective in demanding combat/survival applications as it was in the back woods.
Through feedback from the Special Operations community, many other military personnel & survival experts from around the world, further testing & refinements ensured our knives could meet the challenge, & pushed our WSK knives to a new pinnacle of design & demand.
Traditionally, TRACKER/WSK knives were made from 1/4" thick blade steel for optimum ruggedness, but in 2019 we began to also offer medium duty versions with 3/16" thick blades for those not requiring such a robust blade. Although not as popular as our std. weight knives, these med. duty knives have become very favorable among Elite military & bushcrafters who preferred a knife that offered greater control & lighter carry with minimal compromise in blade strength & chopping performance.

Today, we continue to individually hand-craft every
WSK knife & never cease to expand our skills to make our
even knives better with every year.
There are many now producing this style knife, but no
one has made them longer, crafted more by hand, or has
more experience to know the intimacies of the Tracker/WSK
design better than us. If you're searching for a true
"TRACKER/WSK" knife, look no farther, for our knives
have become the "gold-standard" standard by which
all others are compared.
 Std. "Swiss Army" type staggered saw teeth used on Model "C" & "S" WSK knives.
Full-length distal-tapered tang on a1/4" thick-bladed WSK knives.
Tang types:
Tapered tangs used on 1/4" blades.
Non-tapered tangs used on 3/16" blades.
  Click on thumbnails below to enlarge & for captions of options made for our WSK knives.
*Shown below are some examples of our std. & customized Tracker/WSK knife
designs & options.
As of Jan. 1, 2024 we have changed how we make & sell our knives.
*We are now only sell knives as they are finished & ready for immediate purchase.
*Refer to our "Finished Knives For Sale" page to view knives that are available to purchase.
*Tracker/WSK knives continue to be entirely hand-crafted. Due to the physical demand required to produce Tracker/WSK knives, these will now only be produced in very limited numbers a few times per
year. The WSK knife model & options we select to make will change per batch & we will post a notice on our "Finished Knives for Sale" page about a month prior to any WSK knife listings so everyone has a fair
(Above): John "Lofty" Wiseman
Author of the "SAS Survival Handbook" A legend,
friend, & proud owner of one our WSK knives.
Hope to see you on the trail.
David R. Beck on an adventure atop Angel's Landing, Utah
< (Left) #SS1 Adjustable Shoulder Strap:
              Attaches to scout loops w/D-rings.
​David R. Beck working a WSK knife at
 Hawk Mountain, PA.
Tracker/WSK Blade Anatomy
A. Draw Knife Edge: The sharpest, & most delicate edge for
general carving, shaping & scraping. Originally hollow
ground, but in later years changed to a flat-grind (shown)
to provide greater edge support.
B. 1/4-Round: Used as a gut hook & for carving/scraping trap
parts & arrow shafts.
C. Hatchet: Flat-ground for chopping, scraping & the only
edge that should be used when splitting woods. Correctly
angled so the strongest part of the blade forward of the
"1/4-round" delivers the impact for greater edge safety &
D. Saw Teeth: "Swiss Army" type staggered tooth design is
self-cleaning & aggressive cutting on both the pull & push
stroke. Used for cutting square notches, or tilt at a 45 degree angle to cut "V" grooves (both used for traps & snares).
Downward angle enables sawing square & "V" grooves on
flat surfaces & stakes for trip & snare wire channels.
E: Spine Recess: Specifically designed as a striking point when
splitting woods & for push-carving. The curved surface
enables the blade to be rocked or tilted at any angle & still
receive direct energy into the material being worked.
Recess edges are slightly sanded just to remove the sharp
burr to avoid injury in carving but can be sharpened if
needed for scraping tasks.
 Although additional benefits have been discovered by
 others, the anatomy details to the right explain what
 these knife features were originally designed for.
F. Arrow Wrench Hole (Not Shown): On some early knives, a 3/8"
hole placed in the center of the hatchet body for straightening
arrow shafts. Determined to be less effective than hand-straightening, prone to denting shafts, & producing a weak spot in the blade, this option was later omitted & is no longer offered.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tracker/WSK Knife Use:
* Basic care & use tips are supplied w/every knife, but should a customer not find an adequate answer in the printouts
supplied, please contact us for more info. We're happy to share info & assist our customers in any way we can.
* Our knives are designed to be efficient cutting tools & should be treated as such. They are designed to cut wood,
fiber, flesh & similar materials. Although plenty strong for their intended purposes, they are not indestructible.
Our knives are tested beyond the standards of reasonable use to help ensure user safety under "normal" conditions,
but the more unnecessary abuse your knife receives, the greater risk of premature wear, damage, or injury.
* Chopping/splitting should ONLY be done using the hatchet edge & not the finer draw knife or 1/4-round edges.
* Don't chop bone & never cut, or chop directly on the ground to avoid edge damage.
* Don't beat on the saw teeth! Although they will hold up well, once damaged, saw teeth can be very costly to fix.
* Batoning, or the splitting of wood by pounding on the back of a knife is a task which is common practice today
rather than reserved for true survival situations. We do not recommend batoning only because your interpretation of
what may be acceptable force could be quite different from what our knives are tested to endure. A true, survival
situation is one thing, but if you need to split firewood or build a cabin use an axe & your knife will thank you.
* Don't throw or use your knife as a pry bar. (NO, our knives will not fly straight like seen in the "HUNTED" movie.)
* Keep your blades clean & oiled, or better, waxed for those in wet or coastal environments to help ward off rust.
* Don't use diamond stones or grinders for sharpening. These remove too much material & lessen blade life.
We recommend a hard Arkansas stone w/light oil or water. For the finest edge just strop on leather w/a little fine
rouge to polish. The key to a sharp edge in not the removal of metal but keeping the edge finely polished. Stone use
should be reserved for very dull, overworked edges, or for removing minor imperfections.
* Apply common sense in use & your knife will give you a lifetime of dependable service.
* Refer to the printed materials your receive with your knife & our "Terms, Conditions & Warranty" page for more info
on recommended use, services & product coverage.
< (Left) Wet-sanded vs. blued finishes.
< (Left) #SP1 Sharpening Stone Pouch:
​Blk. molded leather w/hvy. duty mil.-spec snap closure. Fits a 1/2 x 1 x 4" stone w/enough room for a ferro rod striker. Comes with a removable belt loop for separate carry but requires two mounting straps to attach to a sheath.
"Type-1" WSK sheath. (Basic version: no mounting holes/options)
This version comes std. with all WSK knives.  Upgraded sheath design & add-options available at an extra cost.
"Type-1" sheath (rear view)
"Type-1" sheath
Blade finishes:
(Top) Wet-sanded
(Bottom) Blued
< (Left) "Type-1" WSK sheath shown w/full mounting package + Kydex ferro rod loop & 4" Saranac knife added.
(Left) Type-1 sheath
(Right) Type-2 sheath
(Left) Type-1 sheath
(Right) Type-2 sheath
(Left) Type-1 sheath
(Right) Type-2 sheath
< (Left) Difference between WSK sheaths (Basic versions):
   Type-1 (Left) w/fixed belt loop.
   Type-2 (Right) w/belt loop assembly.
< (Left) "Type-2" WSK sheath shown w/full mounting package +
   Kydex ferro rod loop & 4" Saranac knife added.
   Note: Type-2 sheaths have full ambidextrous capabilities but the vertical
              belt loop assembly (panel & loop) is right or left hand only.
< (Left) Model "C" Gen3 WSK

< (Left) Model "S" WSK

< (Left) "ANIMAL" WSK
< (LEFT) Model "G" Gen2 Tracker/WSK
 Some Custom Tracker/WSK knives
Above: Model "S" WSK Southwest Version w/fancy desert ironwood burl & crushed turquoise stone inlay.
Left: ANIMAL WSK knife (Modified, slimmer
blade profile made for pig hunting).
Shown with moose antler handle.