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Over this past weekend, my aunt came to visit. Her boyfriend is really into history, hunting, basically anything outdoors. She told me that he has a collection of different knives and such and she took some pictures of the work to send to him. He called her back and asked if I ever made a patch knife because he wanted one. In all honesty, I had no clue what he was talking about, so I did some research. Boy, was I surprised! I decided to go ahead and make him one as a gift and to also try something a 'little' different. This is what I have so far. Hard to believe this was forged from about a 1" diameter coil spring from a train car. I still have a flat grind to do, then time for hardening and tempering. I cut some scrap walnut for the handle. I'm kind of aiming for a slightly historical piece seeing as how he's into history.

 

patch knife in progress.JPG

 

From what I've seen and read, the knife was mainly used for cutting off the excess patch cloth that stuck out of the muzzle of the barrel. The knives were also kind of a utility piece as well. This is going to be the smallest I have ever attempted... so far, so good.

Edited by R.W. Deavers
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Yep, looking good so far. What steel did you go with?

 

My first PW Damascus knife was a patch knife forged from chainsaw chain.

I consider them one of the first "neck knife" concepts as they were often carried handle down in a sheath on the shoulder strap of a powder horn for ready access when reloading a muzzle loader, or other momentary cutting tasks.

Placing the ball in a corner of a larger strip of cloth, starting it into the barrel and then slicing the excess cloth flush with the muzzle is easier to manage on the fly than separating out an individual round or square of patch material from a stack. Of course, pre-cut patches weren't a common item in frontier stores so it was also easier to buy a strip of cloth and just put it in your gear rather than cutting it into individual patches first.

 

James

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Placing the ball in a corner of a larger strip of cloth, starting it into the barrel and then slicing the excess cloth flush with the muzzle is easier to manage on the fly than separating out an individual round or square of patch material from a stack. Of course, pre-cut patches weren't a common item in frontier stores so it was also easier to buy a strip of cloth and just put it in your gear rather than cutting it into individual patches first.

 

 

This is something that I didn't know, but it makes perfect sense. I can go home happy that I learned something today :)

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You look like you have a great start there. I see that type of knife referred to a patch knife. Though to me I can see it as a multi-purpose knife! It is small enough to be considered usable for a patch knife. The rounding of the blade profile would allow it to be used as a skinner as long as you were careful of the point. As for the point well it would allow for starting a skinning job!!

 

 

I love the 1800's pieces, in fact that is where a lot of my stuff originates from. The patch knife iin my opinion is more of a modern thing. I have read extensively and have a couple of friends that have way much more knowledge than myself of this period.

 

I look at it this way. Whether I am in the field for a day's hunt or an 1800's trapper/mountain man. I am carrying everything on my being or at best between me and my horse. You just don't carry specific job knives. Now I will be the first to say I would bet they carried more than one knife! Back in the day a knife was a tool and something you could use to save your life! The Bowie, was an awesome tool, great in a fight or if needed for bush work! However for small jobs like skinning or a patch knife it would have been pretty much overkill. A smaller knife would have been more the tool for the patch knife but I figure it would have been used for other small knife needs!

 

A lot of our present day concepts are formed from the movies and TV, which tend to take big liberal jumps as too what if fact and what sells a movie or TV show!

 

Basically actual history of that period as it pertains to the knife, is based on the very few that made it too present day. One book that I have found that does as good as job as possible to explain in pictures, as well as other actual references, is Firearms, Traps, and Tools of the Mountain Men,by Carl P Russell. The author based the book on museum pieces as well as manifests and based on journals written from that time period. Of course as with any such book some conclusions are based solely on his research! I have also read other books and manifest's of the day to supply the fur trader/trapper and I do not recall ever seeing, {1 case of patch knives}. However I can say this is truly my opinion, based on what I have researched!

Edited by C Craft
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