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Author Topic: Why the clip point ?  (Read 12889 times)
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caknives
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« on: February 10, 2008, 02:47:44 PM »

Just curious if anyone knows why the "Bowie" as we know it today has a clip point. The sandbar duel talks about a large butcher knife. That would not have had a clip point. It's not a very utilitarian or practical shape, not the strongest or toughest. Not the best penetrating. Any thoughts ?    

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DanatSavageSmith
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2008, 03:47:04 PM »

I put very large sharpened clips on my bowies for use as a rough chore surface, i.e. chopping kindling, shredding tinder, opening boxes, cutting notches in poles, etc. any chore that might damage my skinning and slicing edge.

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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2008, 04:01:10 PM »

That is a question I have spent many hours debating in my mind as well as experimentally. I seriously doubt that one in a thousand makers has thought the functional considerations out, most do it just because.
When it comes to stick it is a good thing. Anything else it is a wreck in my opinion. But folks like it and it does not really matter why other than just because.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 08:04:09 AM by Ed Fowler » Logged

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radicat
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2008, 02:15:39 AM »

If you've noticed this new category, Antique Bowie Knife Discussion, you may assume that it was a just an afterthought. But, we on this forum have been contacted by someone that knows others who have a keen interest in the Bowie knife.

As these new members join us, I think we will benefit greatly from what they have to offer in knowledge and expertise on the style. We will see that these new members enjoy their new home here.

An introduction sticky post will be no problem if anyone wants to write one for the topic. Let me know Ed, if it's in the works.   Then this post will not be needed. As the one I wrote and deleted earlier was not needed. Also, let me know if other posts should be moved to this location at some point.   Clay

 



 
« Last Edit: February 11, 2008, 02:27:45 AM by radicat » Logged
Carey Quinn
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2008, 12:15:35 PM »

Ed,

I love that. 

When I was growing up, when it came from my parents, ?just because? was a good reason.  It has been known to keep me safe and out of trouble.  It was not, however, acceptable for me to give as a reason for anything I did.  I was expected to have a reason for everything I did.  That sometimes caused me to stop long enough to think before launching into some hair raising adventure.  If I was going to do something that would need to be explained, I would do best to think it through before proceeding.  As is true with most young boys, it didn?t always work out the way I planned and the explanation would fall short.

I think that when the clip was first used, the designer or maker probably had gone through some situation that he thought the clip would be the answer to or for.  In the course of time, we have lost that reason.  Now it?s just because.

Works for me,
Carey
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jared williams
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2008, 03:50:26 PM »

i've played a bunch with the clip point over the years. my opinion is that if you need a fine point it works well if you want a tough point don't do it. for me its that simple. in fact i'm doing a clip point knife right now for a guy. he wanted it real bad because of how he uses his knives while gutting elk. i didn't want to do it so we compromised. i am making his version of a clip point hunting knife and i am also making him a second knife without the clip. he decided two knives are better than one. and i'm not going to argue with him. he's buying both knives.
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2008, 06:09:04 PM »

I always figured its there for sticking, that's why I put a clip on any blade. A friend designed a new hunting knife for himself this past season with a clip point, he uses nothing but clip points for field dressing and I'll admit even though I dont normally use a clip point blade myself I have seen some advantages when using them for certain albeit limited tasks.

I always looked at a bowie knife as a cross between a sword and a machete designed for fighting, therefore the clip is necessary to be able to stick and if sharpened have a double edge. I love a nice big bowie knife but never really make them because they dont have much real use other than art and there is enough steel in a one to make three good hunting knives.
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2008, 11:20:04 PM »

I think there are three good reasons to have a clip point, assuming that a person may find themselves with only one knife.

First, in the field, a fine point is more useful that a blunt point. Digging a splinter out from under a nail, or a thorn from your palm, or digging a ball or arrow point from a tree , are the type of tasks that the fine point can  be an of advantage.

Second, if a person is in a fight to defend themselves, it's likely that a horizontal swing will be used. Having both edges sharpened prevents the flip of the wrist at the end of the swing for the return swing. The larger the knife the more difficult this is, and it requires practice. When the other guy is trying to stick you is not the time to fine-tune your swing. You'll have too much on your mind to do more than swing franticly.

Third, the penetration is much better when stabbing something. I think if I were under a mauling bear, I'd want a blade that would be more likely to penetrate at any angle.
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2008, 02:34:55 AM »

Whether it is a sharpened or unsharpened clip makes a big difference.

I see a clip with a sharpened or false edge clip like on the Buck 119 as primarily useful as a fighter. It can allow a snap cut and makes for a better stabbing point.
It could also be that it was quite an easy point to make for a smith?  A good single edged bowie is actually a very useful tool. The hudson bay knife is a good example. It can work as both a hatchet and a draw knife as well as most everything a knife is good for. Steel was expensive during the fur trade and everything had to be carried by hand so if it did not offer significant advantage it would not have been used.

I use a Scrapyard DFLE Bowie a lot as both a tool and to practice my skills with a blade both fighting and using. It has an unsharpened clip and a flat ground blade 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. I have actually contemplated sharpening the clip to fine tune the balance a bit and because I have a theory that for a slice like for a reed mat cut the part of the blade that actually goes through the material(the edge and front of the blade)would meet less resistance as the material would not have to open as far to get the now thinner front edge through. It would also make the point finer and better for stabbing like the cutting comp event where you spear ping pong balls.  Other than the choil and ricasso it is a fabulous production knife and I highly recommend you pick one up if you can find one. The full flat edge makes a huge improvement over the earlier sabre ground version. Mine is 16 ounces while the earlier was 20. With a bit of edge work(the stock edge is surprisingly good) it is much better at most things than the Browning comp bowie and it out chps the Browning 2 to 1.

My favourite point for a bowie antique or otherwise is a symmetrical spear point. A lot of that is simple looks but also it has all the advantages of a clip
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2008, 03:00:57 AM »

Unsub, those are some thoughtful observations coming from experience. I've wondered too if someone had a huge drop of the blade at the end of forging/heat-treat and decided to perk the point up a bit. resulting in a clip that hatched the idea. Many ideas are the result of correcting some perceived problem.
Thoughts?
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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2008, 07:53:42 AM »

There are great differences between a fighter and a combat (general purpose) knife. Pat and I had a long discussion along these lines last night in chat, I have a page of notes as a result. I asked him to post some of his thoughts and hopefully he will be doing a post in the near future.
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 05:23:59 PM »

I like to have my knives err on the side of users rather than fighters but if I can get a few more fighter functions without giving up usability I am all for it.
A false edge on a clip is a good example. It makes for a better point and easier snap cuts without giving up much if any usability.

Since I use my knives way more than I fight with them it makes sense.

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jared williams
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2008, 08:31:30 PM »

this may not be the best thread for this but concerning "fighting knives". a lot of people talk about the value of different design aspects of a good fighting. and a lot of them are very solid ideas without a doubt. but one thing to remember is how valuable are thes ideas when you are in a fight.
  for example i have a very close friend. we are basically family without the blood relation. he got kicked out of his home when he was 15. he lived on the streets and hopped trains for about 4 years before he cleaned up his life and settled down. during his time on the street he got in quite a few knife fights. he has the scars to prove it. as he told me once " this is how a knife fight goes, he pulls his knife, i pull a bigger knife he runs away, or he pulls his knife, i pull my knife he cuts me i run away or vice versa." very little show and no bravado. most people carry steak knives and screwdrivers anyway.
  i dearly love fighting knives. but the more i study them both in creating them and using them the more i prefer them as a tribute like Ed talks about.
  people talk about snap cuts and good penetration and edge geometry. i love these talks and i have many very similar ideas about what makes a good fighting knife. but i dont like to lose perspective of what it really comes down to when the fear is in your bones and you got stuck in a very bad situation.
 
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2008, 11:43:45 PM »

I agree, fighter's (except those for certain military personnel) are definitely more likely to be used opening bottles than opening people.  I believe that most knife fights are more like knife ambushes or knife murders anyways.  If you actually get into a knife fight and win you are probably bound for the bighouse. 
If only someone could come up with a lawyer knife...so much scarier...

-Dan
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2008, 12:41:16 AM »

Jared, I've witnessed the type of knife fights that your friend described. And, that is the most common scenario.

Dan, it's true most people that use a knife on others are going to use them in a cowardly way. Some see their use as doing their job,as trained, for the common good.

When a person carries a blade for the purpose of self-defense only, they have the responsibility to know when it can legally be used to prevent bodily harm to themselves or others. It takes self-discipline that begins with the decision to take some measure to defend oneself or others in bad situations. Instant choices have to be made. That requires intense thought before-hand and constant revisiting those thoughts to be prepared at all times to be able to make that decision when necessary.

It requires a mindset that does not include scaring someone with the blade before they feel its use on them. If a person finds themselves in a knife "fight", they have already made at least one mistake. They hesitated. Then the situation is controlled by plan "B" that is basically damage control.

The knife carried for the purpose should, in my opinion, be as carefully chosen as a surgeon chooses his instrument before surgery. It should never be used for other purposes, and hopefully, never at all.



« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 12:46:43 AM by radicat » Logged
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