The Bowie knife is an extremely useful general-purpose tool. The blade is thick and heavy and can be used for cutting, paring, chopping and slashing, prying and levering. Although handy in a fight, the Bowie knife makes an excellent all-round tool and achieves its versatility due to its sheer weight and size. It can be used as an axe, a machete, a mallet, a canoe paddle, a pry bar, a mirror, and a razor.
With a 6” (15cm) blade and a choice of either a beautifully crafted stag handle or a rosewood handle secured by brass pins. The blades have a brass guard which are mirror polished and come with a high quality leather sheath as standard.
Fun fact - The Bowie knife was used as the weapon of choice in the films, “Crocodile Dundee” and “Rambo”.
Overall length: 141⁄2" (37cm) and 101⁄2" (27cm)
Weight: 281⁄2 ounces (810g) or 91⁄2 ounces (270g)
Blade length: 10" (25cm) or 6" (15cm)
Blade thickness: 3⁄8" (10mm) or 3⁄16" (5mm)
Blade material: 1075 Carbon Steel (CS80)
Blade hardness: HRC 52
Blade finish: Polished
Handle: Stag, Rosewood or Buffalo
The origins of the Bowie knife are somewhat shrouded in legend and myth in that the telling of tall tales was almost compulsory among the men of Jim Bowie's time and place, and the truth would never have been allowed to get in the way of a good story... So, a fully accurate history of the knife becomes somewhat problematic.
Although the knife was made famous by American James Bowie, George Wostenholm of Sheffield, England claimed to have been ‘acting on the instructions of legendary American frontiersman Colonel James Bowie’ in the development of the very first Bowie knife. A knife bearing the Wostenholm trademark is said to have been found on James Bowie’s body when he was killed defending the Alamo in 1836.
Whatever the history though, high-quality Bowie knives have continued to be made in Sheffield to this day. The Bowie can be recognised by an upswept clip at the tip of the blade which is often accentuated.
The Bowie knife lives as a symbol of passionate times when men were bold, brave and easily offended. These men killed for their honour, hunted for their food and dealt personally with disputes.
The main reason why the Bowie knife has holes is for weight reduction. The groove removes material from the blade, reducing its overall weight. This weight reduction enhances the balance and manoeuvrability of the knife, making it more agile in combat situations.
The Bowie knife was originally worn for defensive purposes. Its primary function was for personal combat. It was designed to be part of a gentleman’s attire. Bowie knives were made in a variety of forms, including:
With or without guards
Differently shaped blades
The knife got its name from a pioneer family who settled in early Arkansas and Louisiana. Jim Bowie, the best known of the brothers, killed one man and seriously injured another with a “big knife” in the “Sandbar Duel” on September 19, 1827, upriver from Natchez, Mississippi. In the early 1890s, the term “Bowie knife” began to be used, possibly shorthand for “knife like Bowie’s” for the knives that were being worn in the Mississippi River Valley region especially.
With many Bowie knives on the market today, it’s important to consider these factors:
Blade - Your Bowie knife needs to have a razor-sharp blade, so it's best to opt for carbon steel or stainless steel, both of which are great at retaining their edge.
Length - Bowie knives are at least 6 inches long.
Weight - A good Bowie knife should be heavy enough to help with tasks such as cutting wood but light enough that mobility is not affected.
Tang - Because Bowie knives are heavy, they need to be full tang.
Sheath - The sheath of your Bowie knife is just as important as the knife itself. Ideally, you want to opt for something leather or synthetic with a great design.
Unidentified soldier in Union uniform with large Bowie knife on his belt; circa 1864.
|Blade Lengths Available
|Stag or Rosewood
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