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Author Topic: PRIMITIVE KNIVES  (Read 7007 times)
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Ed Fowler
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« on: November 28, 2007, 09:50:54 PM »

This will be a new chapter for knifetalkonline. Here discussion and debate about unsigned undated primitive knives will be welcome. If you have a knife made from a file that has been around for a long time, you can post photos here, any old knife that you wonder about now has a home for discussion.    

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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2007, 10:56:18 PM »

For openers, this is a knife from the Colorado Gold Rush. A gift from someone I cannot remember, the blade made from a file, the handle an old piece of hickory and a triangular guard, the ricasso is wrapped.
Just a nice old knife, my father loved her and beaded the scabbard just because.


Although I have owned this knife since the early 50's I never saw the wrapped ricasso, unitl Bruce, Phil and I were talking about another knife and Bruce mentioned this attribute of some knives. It is probably lead or ?

I invite Bruce to discuss wrapped ricassos.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 11:02:24 PM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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Bruce Evans
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2007, 12:02:11 AM »

Ed I will be more than happy to discuss this topic....

I will try and find some pictures of different versions and post them up and explain why they were used.

The knife you have picturedd will probably be a pewter casted on piece,I will explain this later also.

Be back later on as I cant stay on here long at the moment.
Bruce
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Bruce Evans
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 04:39:03 AM »

Here are some I have done











This next one has the ferrule wrap around the handle material and is NOT just a spacer,it is a structural part of the handle.



I will try and find a picture on the net of a pewter casted guard tomorrow...

The ferrule like the ones I have shown in front of the guard were put on the knife becuse on the old knives the sheaths had a metal throat and by putting the ferrule on the blade it would cause a friction grip when putting the knife back into the sheath thus keeping it secured.

The ferrule that I have shown (I will show more later if you want)That is behind the guard which most modern makers call spacers were in reality used to hold the handle material on a framed handle or to help keep the handle material from cracking.the handle material was carved down just enough to allow the collar to slip over it snugly,It didnt add weight to the handle and if the handle material wanted to crack the collar/Ferrule would hold the handle so that it was still usable untill you could get a new handle.If the handle was over a frame the handle was carved down in the same manner as above and the collar slipped on it would hold the 3 pieces together without using allot of pins.If your not understanding what I mean think about the collar on the front and rear of a chisel handle,you can hit a wood handle with a hammer all day long and never bust it but without it the handle would just split off.same idea for the knife handle....Why do you think 100 year old knives still have Ivory on the handle even with cracks..

Bruce

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The soul of the Knife begins in the Fire!!!!!

" How to forge a frontier style Tomahawk" DVD available from me now.
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 04:59:47 AM »

Ed,It looks like the handle has been replaced at some time on the knife you have posted.I would almost guess that the guard was added at that time also thus it has the rapped ricasso look,but that one is way to thick to be used as I have explained before..The original casting wouldnt have come off but may have been filed down so it wasnt a big guard piece so they could add the guard and handle...Does this make sense.

I have always wanted to try a pewter casted on guard and buttcap but just never got around to it....

Here is a tutorial I found on how to do it and what the finished knife looks like,it is very interesting.

http://p222.ezboard.com/fprimalfiresfrm12.showMessage?topicID=113.topic

a picture of the finished knife from the tutorial..


Bruce
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 05:05:39 AM by Bruce Evans » Logged


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The soul of the Knife begins in the Fire!!!!!

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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2007, 06:28:36 AM »

Regarding the triangle guard, I wonder if when the knife is placed on a flat surface, does the blade stay lifted by the weight of the handle? If so, it may be an indication that the knife is much older. Some early Sheffield knives that were made for travelers to use for slicing meat at the table had that feature to keep the blade clean. That was when cutlery was still not provided by the taverns and the table was cleaned occasionally with a splash of water from the horse trough.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 01:25:17 AM by radicat » Logged
Harry Mathews
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 05:48:43 AM »

That is a good tutorial on pewter guards. It pretty much covers the process. Tapping the handle lightly will definitely make a difference in the quality of the cast. I have done a few and like it on a primitive style knife. It does raise some eyebrows though when you walk out of an antique shop/junk store with all their pewter. I told the first lady I was going to melt it all down for knife handles, now I just tell them that I like collecting it. It's a lot easier on the ears.
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Harry Mathews
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2007, 04:32:51 AM »

Just imagine the number of hours that would have been devoted to a knife that was made from a file that was originally handmade by a file maker hammering away to make each tooth with a gouge. That was a unique craft that took a great deal of skill.

I can't recall where,( Bernard maybe ), I saw a list of file maker's marks. Do you suppose those guys talked about the high-performance file? I'd say so.   
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2008, 05:27:11 AM »

I think it was Bernard that said most file knives were made during the 20th century because files were so much more expensive than knives when they were handmade and were usually recycled. I don't know enough to have an opinion but it seems just from the amount of file knives that there had to have been a period where it was hard to find good steel but there were supply's of old files.
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