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Old mountain knives

Alan Longmire

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I'm posting these knives I found in a local antique store to show the sort of homemade kitchen cutlery that used to be very common in the southern Appalachian region of the U.S. Despite their simplicity, I find an honesty in design and execution that appeals to me, somehow.


They are both made from bits of sawblade. The shorter one on top is made from a handsaw blade and is very flexible. The hickory handle is slotted with a hand saw and the blade rivetted in with a pair of iron rivets. The bottom one was made from what appears to be crosscut saw blade, and the hickory handle slabs are held to the full tang with lead rivets.


These are typical of the knives used to slaughter hogs every fall, with the short flexible one acting as a skinner and the longer one as a butcher knife. They are still sharp!




Edited to add: these could date anywhere from the mid-1800s to the 1970s, given where they came from.

Edited by Alan Longmire
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If I may, I'd like to add another example. My grandfather used to keep a dozen hogs. Every year, he'd slaughter them all and smoke them at once in a big army trailer. I have the knife he used to use. My dad says it used to be his father's father's (that would be my great grandfather), and he used to use it to slaughter livestock as well. I don't have any livestock, but it does a very good job of slaughtering herbs from my window garden.


MacGyver is my patron saint.


"There's nothing in the universe cold steel won't cut." -Conan of Cimmeria-

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I have used knives like that many times, I Have rehandled many a old knive for some old feller's. Then I also live in Hillbilly central(proud of it!)Southeast Kentucky in a place where even hillbillies say we are standoffish and clannish.lol I have killed and scrapped many a hog with knives just like those.Thanks alan for posting that picture, reminds me of late fall times with my mammaw. gathered around a fire after the work of the early morning was done. the smell of fresh cut bacon cooking on a iron skillet and some fried bisquits to with it!...so thanks for the memories!


God Bless


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Well added! B)


I love this sort of simple utilitarian cutlery.


Anyone else got any?

This is a sub-arctic hillbilly knife called a "tlabaas"(woman's knife in Koyukon Athabaskan).The originals were knapped out of local hard shale("tla-"refers to it),but since late 1800-s they were mostly cold-cut out of a cross-cut saws,keeping part of a handle and the rivets.Extremely easy on your wrist,someone skilled with one of these can keep cutting for hours.Mostly used to fillet king and chum salmon,but very handy for slicing meat very thin for drying.

Not having a cross-cut that i could afford to destroy i bootlegged this one out of a band-mill,but the one i used for the pattern was way more than a 100 years old.


God is in his heaven,and Czar is far away...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here’s a knife that was made by a friend of my grandfather, upstate NY farmers both of them. Made from a sawblade of some sort, he passed it on to me without going into great detail on who the maker was.

Then, a knife that was in a lot of assorted items at the end of an arms auction, not sure where it came from but it is an honest working knife for sure!

Finally, a reindeer herder’s knife that has a blade that looks to be made of bloomery steel, chances are not only the knife but the steel as well were created ‘down on the farm’ – or maybe that should be ‘up on the farm’ if we’re talking about a farm in Lappland. :D






Jomsvikingar Raða Ja!


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  • 1 year later...

Engaging in a bit of thread necromancy...

Here are two knives made by my Grandfather, likely made in the 40's or 50's from saw-blades. The handles are a micarta-like material.

The smaller blade is ridiculously thin and sees daily use in the kitchen, the larger mainly deals with hams and watermelons....


George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."

view some of my work

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Alan I think that every part of the country had these styles. I was raised in the Rolling Green Hills of Northern Missouri and my uncle and grandfather made the same kinds. unfortunately I did not start making until both were gone. I was lucky enough that I do have grandads anvil which had been heavily used. They made due with what they had. Mike

Edited by me miller
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