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blacksmith's knives

16 posts in this topic

Hey guys. I was wondering. I think most of us have made a blacksmith's knife. I have heard them refered to as a woman's knife, patchknife, utility blade etc. You know, their one piece w/ a metal handle. Some people turn the handles into strikers if its thin, others just leave the handle big enough. Most of the time there is no leather wrapping or anything, just metal. I am in the SCA and I was wondering if anyone has any historical references for when such a knife was made,what it was really called, what culture/s used them? Are there any surviving examples? is there a website with this information, or better yet, articles or books on this type of blade. I am assuming it is a european kind of thing, from 1700-now. Just a guess, but I need to document this so that they are aware of the history of these kinds of knives. Please let me know. Thanks :notworthy: :notworthy: :You_Rock_Emoticon:

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any where and any who should have had them they all had the tech (during the iron age) to make said knives but i dont think you will find much on them since for the most part i would think the ppl who owend them wouldnt have thoght any more of them than we do off the steak knives we used for dinner last night or the box cutter that some uf us use at work

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This is sort of like asking "who invented the hat, and when" :lol: There should be NO BEEF from your SCA director.

 

I'd say they're common in any era in which man used tools, although for most re-enactment eras steel knives would be most common. It's not a technology that's new by any means, although for older eras (primitive societies, for example) a bone or wood handled knife might be more common because a short tang pinned in a handle uses less steel.

 

I think they'd almost have to make an argument against this type of blade not being "period" rather than you having to show an historical document describing the tool. It'll be very hard to find examples becasue they weren't interred in graves or deposited at offering sites (like the shallows at La Tene) because they weren't considered valuable, compared to a gold hilted sword (or any sword for that matter) beyond their everyday use- like dragoncutlery said :)

Edited by Kristopher Skelton

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Kris pretty much said what I was going to say.

I sell my Pixie Stickers fairly well at SCA events. Magic Badger also sells some all steel knives and does rather well with them. They are quick dirty and can be sold relativly cheaply.

Edited by Macabee

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Thats all pretty cool! Thanks for bringing this up. I hope you don't mind, but here is one of mine that I like the shape of. I made it for a guy and he said he's happy with it. Enjoy.

 

106_0453.jpg

 

Edit - Mac, you know Badger? That dirty little man is the one who tricked me in to all of this stuff :P He's a good man though. Let me forge my first knife.

Edited by Bob Ouellette

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BobO,

I only see him at Pennsic. I try and stop by his booth and BS for a couple of minutes at least once every year. I'm not sure he knows who I am besides just one of the Pennsic blade makers.

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I'm almost certain these types of knives were fairly common in Viking society, especially as knives used by women in everyday chores. I'd have to check on that now since I can't remember where or what book I was reading at the time!

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Thats a nice one Christopher. I like the leather wrap.

 

Mac, I only know him from an event he does in Norhtern Virginia. He has a shop in Virginia beach now.

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I don't have any good historical links for you, but thought I would share anyways. Beats working anyhow...

 

A good way to make one that would be acceptable for SCA would be to make sure the profile of the blade resembles a typical utility knife from the time period you are trying to replicate, and then do whatever you want with the handle portion. Makes me miss SCA. Any of you ever go to Gulf Wars?

 

It is my opinion that this type of knife has existed since the first blacksmith lit the first forge. I call them "self knives". I was into bowyery before I discovered this true addiction. A self bow is defined as a bow in it's simplest form... a stick and a string. Man's first bow was a self bow. When I saw my first blacksmith knife that is the name I gave it before someone 'corrected' me. I also think that while I love every aspect of knife making, self knives have a simplistic beauty that will keep me making them for the rest of my life. Besides... they are the perfect tribute to a tool worn past the point of being usable. Here is a shot of a few that I have made recently, all from files. It just feels right to take a file that is responsible for shaping knives and turning it into a knife when it's teeth have worn.

 

The socketed one on the bottom right is fairly recent... I haven't even heat treated it yet.

 

self-knives.jpg

 

--adam

Edited by AdamRidlon

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Those are pretty cool Adam. I like the ones with the texture left on the handles.

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One of these days I'd like to make it to Pennsic or Gulf Wars. For a few years anyway, the biggest event I'll probably hit is WW (in Northshield).

 

I've always heard them called both self knives and blacksmith's knives. The self knife name was explained that since the smith finished it him"self" instead of sending it to a cutler for final work, that it was a self knife. I don't know if that's true or not, I've never found any documentation supporting that.

 

Quite often I see them listed as Viking women's knives. I've only casually looked, but have never found any support for this.

 

I see them quite often at SCA events, and sometimes make (and teach others) how to make them. Most of the time, though, I walk them through making ones similar in design to the top right hand one in Adam's picture. It's a good design to start with, can be used with or without additional handles, and can adapted quite a bit.

 

If anybody does have references for this style in history, I'd love to see them.

 

Jamie

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Thanks for the link Guy. I must have missed that one. I had always meant to email the vikinganswerlady, but never got around to it. Some good places to look. Now to find the time.....

 

 

Jamie

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