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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: Knife handle material 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Knife handle material  (Read 1739 times)
bear tooth billy
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« on: April 19, 2017, 07:37:07 pm »


I'm putting together an originals class persona for NCOWS. I'm going to be a buffalo hunter in 1875. I got
a picture of Antelope Jack, a tintype from the panhandle plains museum. This picture is in Encyclopedia of the
buffalo hunters, page 168, and Packing Iron, page 90. I'm basing my setup on this picture, but I'm having trouble
determining what his knife handle is made of. So my question is, what would the most common materials for a
carry knife handle  in that period? I have a wooden ripping knife, a stag handle, and a bone handle.  Thanks


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Forty Rod
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 10:07:17 pm »

Probably wood, likely walnut, or some kind of antler, deer or elk.  Exotics were available but most frontiersmen wouldn't have had those.
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 11:03:48 pm »

Wood was most common.

Knife blades were often shipped without handles for the fur trade - leaving the eventual user to handle his own - so there could easily be antler - nothing more exotic than that.

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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 04:47:31 am »

As the sages have mentioned wood ( walnut, maple, oak etc. ) and antler

There were piles of Buffalo bone , and Buffalo horn I expect.

http://www.ultimateknifestore.com/products/5_inch_black_buffalo_horn_gold_streaks_scales_handle_set_pair_handles_making_material_for_knife_making_blanks_blades_knives.php
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Tascosa Joe
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 08:45:44 am »

BTB:  In my wonderings thru museums, antique shops, and farm/estate sales--IMO the commercial buffalo hunter would have used wooden handles.  Knives were tools.  All the knives I have seen from the period were well used.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 01:13:26 pm »

Wood, they bought them by the case and used them hard.   

My old set from when I did hide hunter.  Skinner ripper and steel, carried in on or separate sheaths.

Became a door prize at the 2016 muster, belongs to Rattlesnake Jack now.  Good home, may make another set this winter.


Also bone, antler and such are very slippery when blood is involved, much more than wood.   



* BuffSet2.jpg (62.07 KB, 639x335 - viewed 46 times.)

* BuffSet1.jpg (69.22 KB, 639x372 - viewed 51 times.)
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bear tooth billy
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 03:48:50 pm »

I've got several old wooden handle knives, at antique shops, some very worn (perfect for my setup)
the knife in the picture looks different?, remember it's a picture of a tintype taken in 1874
so it's hard to tell

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Tascosa Joe
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2017, 12:21:44 pm »

I looked at the picture in both references and that particular knife appears to be a standard Sheffield "Bowie" with bone handles.  Similar knives are in the Panhandle Plains Museum.
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2017, 12:54:44 pm »

For what it's worth, the archeology of the Adobe Walls site located only one food-cutting implement, a butcher or skinning knife found in the Myers and Leonard mess hall.  The tip was missing, but it appeared to have had a sheepfoot or beak point.  It had a wooden handle held on by six iron rivets.  There was no guard present when it was found, but the blade had a slight choil.  The archeology was sponsored, by the way, by the Panhandle-Plains Museum.

CC Griff
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1961MJS
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 01:14:46 pm »

Hi

I asked this question a few years back and the primary answer was Walnut and Maple.  One other wood was mentioned, but don't remember which.  Really can't go wrong with those two.

On the Bullseye-L list, I asked what 1911 grips to use and was told wood, any kind of wood because Ivory, plastic, and other grip materials got slippery when you sweat.  Wood is grippy even when wet and when finished.

Mike
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bear tooth billy
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2017, 07:49:50 pm »

I bought a Sheffield bowie knife off ebay last night, I'm planning on using that for my originals
character, that's what the picture from the museum appears to be 


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River City John
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2017, 09:48:42 am »

Hi

I asked this question a few years back and the primary answer was Walnut and Maple.  One other wood was mentioned, but don't remember which.  Really can't go wrong with those two.

Mike

I wonder if it was Osage?

RCJ
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2017, 11:45:24 am »

More likely white oak.

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Cliff Fendley
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2017, 07:33:51 pm »

Hi

I asked this question a few years back and the primary answer was Walnut and Maple.  One other wood was mentioned, but don't remember which.  Really can't go wrong with those two.


Probably Oak
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2017, 01:28:24 am »

Two main division of the oak family are white oak and red oak, red is slightly reddish in color and more open grained.  Whit oak is close grained and is used for barrels and sometime knife handles.  Got several older knives with white oak scales.
 
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
1961MJS
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« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2017, 03:18:03 pm »

Hi

Found the wood types in the other post:

http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,53291.0.html

Quoting Chuck Barrows (RIP):

"As for handle material walnut is more than appropriate as would be ash or maple or Osage. In Fact Noah Smithwick a famed maker of Bowies from Texas used Osage and the blade described is very similar to the Cumberland style."

I wasn't remembering Ash.  I do have some Burr Oak that I'm using for a guy, it was his tree.

Later
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: Knife handle material « previous next »
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