Coffin Handle Bowie Knife

Over the weekend I made a pretty nifty coffin handle Bowie knife.  This is the first knife I’ve made with a coffin handle.  I have some fairly well developed opinions on what makes for a good ergonomic knife handle.  Knife News did an interview with me a while back about the topic.  As a result, I’m very picky about handle design.

The Challenge of a Coffin Handle Bowie Knife

I knew that I might not be able to make a coffin handle Bowie Knife with perfect ergonomics, but I thought there might be a way to make them decent.  Because I’ve been pondering the coffin handle for some time, I decided it would be an interesting challenge.

From the research I’ve done, the coffin handle Bowie knife was very popular during the civil war era and in the decades after.  I don’t very often see the design today, although some makers are making them.  The picture of a river boat gambler always pops into my head when I think of a coffin handle Bowie Knife.

I made a video of the making of the knife:

The coffin handle Bowie knife turned out pretty neat.  To make the ergonomics better but still keep the coffin handle shape, you really only have one variable to change and that is the side to side shape of the handle.

coffin handle bowie knife
While you can’t do much about the coffin shaped outline, you can improve the ergonomics with some handle shaping.

By eliminating sharp edges and putting the right curves in the handle scale, mission accomplished.

Modern Take

I decided to use more modern materials to make this knife.  The blade is 6.5″ long, 3/16″ cpm s35vn steel.  It ended up at about 60 RC hardness.  The guard is nickel silver.  I always solder the guard in place to prevent any problems.  I was looking for a modern handle material.  My favorite coffin handle Bowie knife specimens have bone or ivory handles.  As a result I decided to go with ivory paper micarta.  The handle is secured with Corby bolts and epoxy.  I included some nice mosaic pins.

coffin handle bowie knifeThe grind is a 5 degree flat grind and the edge is a shaving sharp convex edge.

Currently For Sale! – UPDATE  ***SOLD***

Almost everything I make now is spoken for before I make it.  I kept this project secret until right now.  The knife comes without a sheath but you can easily have one made by my friend Keith Puckett for a reasonable fee.  He currently makes all of my leather sheaths.

The cost is $250.  I have to charge sales tax and shipping.  If you are interested, let me know through the facebook page or by using the contact us form on this website.  Hurry quick, because this won’t last long.  Good luck!