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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The Cutting Edge (Moderator: St. George)  |  Topic: The perfect blade length. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The perfect blade length.  (Read 11508 times)
c.o.jones
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« on: October 06, 2011, 08:09:12 pm »


If you lived in the 1860 to 1890 period, what would be the perfect knife blade length and why?
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2011, 12:22:55 pm »

Seven inches;  it is long enough for defensive purposes, and short enough to be handy around camp.

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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2011, 02:39:04 pm »

I agree with Books.  

Might go 8", but any more won't balance as well and will get clumsy to carry...but longer will chop better.  

The balance issue is the same for less than 6-7", and you won't have the heft needed for heavy camp work...but it will be easier to carry.

I have two favorite knives: a Linder 8" Bowie with stag scales, and a 7 1/2" Longline Charlie Bowie with an 8"Damascus blade and a stag horn grip.  

Both balance beautifully and both are getting close to being too long for comfortable carry.

I also have a 4" Linder hunting knife with full horn handle that is not good for much.  It's not big enough for most camp use and it's too big for cleaning my nails, etc., but it's a lovely jewel to look at.  It stays on my desk for opening letters and the like.

Finally, I have 2 1/4" knife exactly like the ones Linder still make, full stag handle and all.  My grandfather brought it back from Switzerland in 1895 -1896.  Its sheath wore out many years ago and now rides in a sheath around my neck.  Crazy Crow used to sell them but I no longer have a source.  I'd buy a new one in a second.
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 09:34:05 pm »

I like about a 7" blade,,,can use an 8" one...bigger than that is guy jewelry for me...(and yes, I have a couple big knives,,just dont use'em for 'real' stuff much)

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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 11:21:25 pm »

In a skinner, I would say something in the 4.5 to 6 inches in length. Now in an all purpose knive it would seem to me to be around 8 inches, the type of point however would be more of a concern I would think. A buffalo hunter would certainly have more than a couple of knives but a Bowie type with a 9 to 10 inch blade more than likely.

Hollywood has given the impression that most men carried a Bowie type with a 12 inch blade and they cut down trees with it for firewood. This was not the case nonetheless. I do have a bowie type knive that has an ash wood handle with brass rivets. It is 15 inches long and made from the blade off my older Woods Brush Hog. The blade on the knive is 2.75 inches wide. It has served me well hacking vines and thorn bushes while in the woods or bush country hunting.
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2012, 11:38:19 pm »

Perfect for what I say? Well, if your skinning smaller animals, I want a 2 to 3 inch knife blade with the point curved upward 20 degrees. Now for elk or moose, I want a 4.5 to 5 inch blade with the curve in the point so as not to pierce the hide, the blade glides between meat and hide with a slight pulling down motion.

If I am cutting a hogs throat, I want a 10 inch knive with boomarang type curve to the blade! My father years ago made such a knife and told me the Muslims used them in the crusades (an opposite curve (Nepalese Gurkhas Kukri) something like those friggin Arabs use today. We did our own butchering of hogs in those days and they sliced the throat very nice.

My boot knives are both 8 inches, one sharpened on both sides of the blade, dagger type and the other with a thicker blade but with a bit of a drop point to the blade.

My Bowie knives are 1/4 inch thick, 12.5 in blade length and 2.85 inches at the widest point of the blade, the other blade is 14.5 inches long and 1/4 inch thick blade with blood grove
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2012, 11:12:57 am »

SOO!  To summarize, there is no one-size-fits-all.

Each task has its own solution, so pick a knife that fits most of your requirements.

BTW;  I find a small axe is a much better camp knife than any sharpened pry-bar.
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 02:22:38 pm »

I have a question regarding when where stag handles used on knives?  Are they period correct for the 1880-1999 period?
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2012, 02:33:34 pm »

I have a question regarding when where stag handles used on knives?  Are they period correct for the 1880-1999 period?

Yes for knife scales.  "Packing Iron" shows several as do other books.  There is some disagreement rearding pistol grips.  
Phil Spangenburger (spl?) wrote in his "Guns & Amo" column several years ago that they weren't common prior to 1900 so I took mine off Cry

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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2012, 05:15:36 pm »

Stag handles and scales go well back in time, and they're authentic to our time frame.

Stag grips seem to've become popular post-WWI and in the 1920's - moreso as the movie Western developed and readily-visible grips became a part of the regalia - then by the '40's - plastic grips made by 'Franzite' were the 'go-to' replacement grip for far too many weapons.

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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 08:29:47 pm »

As an all around, multi-purpose knife, short enough to pack easily but large enough to be a credible weapon, I really like my Bark River Rogue, a Natchez-style Bowie. It has a 7" blade, 1 1/2" wide, with plenty of belly for skinning and most cutting tasks, no guard to get in the way or snag on things. The Natchez design was very popular in the 19th century and was used as a serious hunting knife.
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RickB
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 08:32:50 pm »

That's good to know. I am thinking of replacing the black (possibly laminated) scales on my bowie with either stag grips or imitation ivory. The blade on my knife is 7.5 inches and it is a really well made knife. It's sheath is the type that you slip in your belt and doesn't hang from the belt like some.

Thanks for the info.
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2012, 02:44:12 pm »

An excellent question, and an excellent series of posts.  Pardon me for joining it so late.

I think that, for the "modern-day" perspective, this issue may have been settled during WWII in America.  The good ol' US of A was propelled into WWII with an almost unbelievable shortage of edged implements/weapons with which to equip its fighting men.

As a collector of WWII American fixed-blade edged implements, I'm here to tell ya that the largest number of knives ordered/produced in this period had 6-inch single-edged blades.  While the USN Mark I knives had five-inch blades, and the so-called "KaBar" knives (real name "Mark II", made both for the Navy and Marine Corps) had 7-inch blades,   there is no doubt that the most popular blade length was six inches.

Speaking strictly from my own, individual, user perspective, (approximately) 6-inch blades seem to be the best overall.  As syndicated radio humorist Red Neckerson often said, "That's my opinion; oughta be yours!"

 Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2012, 04:36:18 pm »

An excellent question, and an excellent series of posts.  Pardon me for joining it so late.

I think that, for the "modern-day" perspective, this issue may have been settled during WWII in America.  The good ol' US of A was propelled into WWII with an almost unbelievable shortage of edged implements/weapons with which to equip its fighting men.

As a collector of WWII American fixed-blade edged implements, I'm here to tell ya that the largest number of knives ordered/produced in this period had 6-inch single-edged blades.  While the USN Mark I knives had five-inch blades, and the so-called "KaBar" knives (real name "Mark II", made both for the Navy and Marine Corps) had 7-inch blades,   there is no doubt that the most popular blade length was six inches.

Speaking strictly from my own, individual, user perspective, (approximately) 6-inch blades seem to be the best overall.  As syndicated radio humorist Red Neckerson often said, "That's my opinion; oughta be yours!"

 Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin  Grin

Is it true that all of your knives have wide round points and dull edges so you won't hurt yourself while playing with them?
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If so, my wife wants to know who did yours so she can have mine safety-fied the same way.   
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2012, 10:22:57 pm »

Since this has come back up I will post the following information.

This comes from the book "Guns and the Gunfighters" by Guns and Ammo.  The article is titled: "Interview with a Texas Ranger"

The following questions and answers were exchanged by a man that was a Texas Ranger during 1900 to 1906.  Past the timeframe listed but believe this would have applied.

Did you carry a knife?   Sure... Only used for dressing game and eating..
Why is that?   We never let anyone get close enough to have to use a knife.... although I got cut bad in the hand once.
So you never used a knife for fighting?  No, we used our guns.  I used a knife for eating....
Did you have a particular name for a knife?  Did you call it a bowie knife?  Nah, just a hunting knife.  Usually a blade about 5 inches long.


Thought this would interest some of you.  I have had this book since the late 80's and always followed that general advice when looking for or making a CAS knife.  Look at the knife on other Texas Rangers in old photo's, you will notice that they are not long.
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2012, 10:34:25 pm »

Quote
Look at the knife on other Texas Rangers in old photo's, you will notice that they are not long.
That would depend on the period - take a look at the knives in the Texas Ranger Museum and you will see in the earlier years many of of the blades were 8-9" long - a time when the knife was truly a back up weapon.....

As for the perfect length all depends on the usage and what you are familiar with - I have carried 8" blade ( a common length amongst the early trappers/hunters of the west) for a very long time and when the blade is designed "right" it can be both a useful tool and a useful weapon......than again I also generally carry a 3-4" folder (as did many/most of the early frontiers men) for the jobs when such a length is more appropriate - like most things in life there is no single perfect item for all and it also depends on training/personal usage

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aka Nolan Sackett
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2012, 10:43:17 pm »

Chuck,

I would agree with you concerning all types of lengths.  I created an English fighting knife to go with my 1860 Colt to represent the 1869 timeframe.  Copy of knife on page 92 of the Peacemaker book by Wilson.  I estimated the blade at 6 3/4 to 7 inches. It belonged to specific person during a specific time.  It was perfect for him.

But in the post I was referring to the Texas Rangers after the 1875 timeframe.  I figure that the Rangers were always working with their equipment and that they would have had the most experience with what worked.  Plus the interview was from an actual member not just an observer.  Therefore the length he stated would be of interest.

I would believe the longer knives you saw would represent the early Rangers, after Texas independence.  But this is before the 1860 date that was listed in the first post.

Most of the pictures available in the books used for CAS reference mainly show Texas Ranger after 1875 with what I would call general hunting length knives or daggers.  That is why I commented about them.  If you have or know of other photos, I would appreciate seeing them.

I think it all depended on the persons desires, needs, likes (just like today) and what the makers had available.  What did the makers create and why?  Not every knife was a custom order.  There are a lot of knives in various lengths shown in the Peacemaker book someone bought or made them for a reason.

If you go to the 1860's time line and the Civil War, then maybe the perfect length would be like a short sword or 12" to 15" length.Huh?

All depends!!!!!
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2012, 10:59:23 am »

This sounds like a Confederate D-Handled Bowie

The confederate cavalry of then carried these; they were big and strong enough to parry a sword, and could be used around camp to chop wood, dig ditches et al. Below is a copy of a Confederate D-Handle Bowie sold by David Carrico:



Here are a series of D-Handle Bowies from a museum:



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« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2012, 09:03:27 am »

Yes Sir,

That was what I was thinking about when I made the comment.

Nice photo.
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Black River Smith
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Howdy, Pardner! Sacramento, Ca here ....


« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2012, 12:03:06 pm »

Yes Sir,

That was what I was thinking about when I made the comment.

Nice photo.

Black River Smith,

This is my third attempt to post this ... it 'takes to long' and then the post is lost and must be rewritten ...

So here is a pic of my rig ...



The whole rig (even the storebought stuff ) was soaked in Vinagaroon.

The holster was vaccum formed (what a fiasco [never use a gun to mold!] I could have bought a 'blue gun' for the cost of rebluling the Remmie!)

The belt was hand made and the buckle is an early Florida cavalry buckle ....



The wooden block that has the bullet holes/homes for the Maynard ammo was minwax to give it at patina....



The original outer sheath (of horsihide and undyeable) was removed and a still wet from vinagarooning outer sheath of leather was applied. The outer layer was applied wet so it would shrink/mold to the wooden inner sheath ....

All in all I am happy with the results ... the end goal was to make it look like a caring cavalryman had worn it all the way through the War of the Northern Agression ...
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2012, 10:42:29 am »

Is it true that all of your knives have wide round points and dull edges so you won't hurt yourself while playing with them?
Quote

Yes, and I never run with them...  Tongue  Grin
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2012, 07:23:58 pm »

This post still interested me so, I made a tally of the hunting knife lengths available through the Mail Order houses.

This is just for information sake from the old catalogs that I own.

Montgomery Ward 1894 -95:  6 - 6"; 1 - 6.5"; 2 - 7"; 1 - 9".  Looks like more 6"

Sears 1897: 4 - 6"; 1 - 6.5"; 2 - 7".  Looks like more 6"

Sears 1900:  I have this catalog but this copy has numerous pages not printed from the original.  It does not contains the hunting knife section.  So I am including the 1902 tally.  I know it is past the timeframe in the original posting but ......

Sears 1902: 2 - 6"; 1 - 6.5"; 2 - 7"; 1 - 8".  Looks like 6 and 7" are the same.

Now this is just what was handled by the big supply houses and could be purchased by the town general stores.  Why were there more 6" knives make and carried or available?  What was the most requested length by the consumer, is still up for debate?
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Black River Smith
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« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2015, 05:53:35 pm »

Hi

Frank Einstein raising the dead again.   Cheesy

I'm putting scales on knife blades I purchased from Crazy Crow, Track of the Wolf, and Jantz Supply.  I've noticed that the handle on the 6 inch bowie knives is a hair too small for my hands.  I have long fingers.  I'm building a seven incher to my own use because it has 1/2 inch more handle.

Later
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« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2015, 02:45:37 am »

Hello,

I have a Sheffield bowie with stag handles and blade of 6 inches.
Easy to wear on a belt and not too long for fast draw  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2015, 01:33:24 pm »

Hi, interesting thought.
Antler grip length isn't defined by the tang length like it is on a full tang blade


Later
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