Sometimes you just want to make a really big Bowie knife. For Michigan made knife number 7, that is just what I decided to do!
What exactly is a Bowie knife? That can be a loaded question. I suppose for a precise definition you would have to look back to James Black, a blacksmith who made the first Bowie knife in 1830 for James Bowie. Bowie used this knife in a famous knife fight known as the Sandbar Fight. The fight started as a duel which left Bowie shot multiple times, stabbed and clubbed over the head. Bowie survived, having dispatched several attackers with his knife. Newspaper accounts of the fight soon spread around the country. After Bowie died at the Alamo, everyone who was traveling to the frontiers wanted a knife like Jim Bowie.
There are so many variations of the Bowie knife and so many makers that exact specs are difficult to pin down. If you want to troll a bunch of knifemakers, get them talking about Bowie knives. A subject that creates particular angst is what the original knife looked like.
Common features seem to whittle down to a big sheath knife with a clip point and a cross guard.
Really Big Bowie Knife
As I was saying, every once in a while I get the urge to make a really big Bowie knife. This one is quite large.
The blade is 1/4″ thick O1 tool steel hardened to 58 on the RC scale. It features a 9 inch blade with an overall length of about 14 inches.
The guard is forged and is part of the tang. There is really no way for the guard to loosen or otherwise fail. I learned this technique from a great bladesmith named Lon Humphrey. You should check out some of his work. I am not aware of any companies that are mass producing knives with this feature.
One thing to note is that because the guard is only a single guard, and not a double guard, purists might take issue with calling this knife a Bowie knife.
The handle of this really big Bowie knife is made from a product called G-wood. It is a laminate of G-10 and wood in various colors. This is the first handle I’ve made using this material and I think it is gorgeous!
As always, particular attention was paid to the ergonomics of the handle. It should be very comfortable for most hands.
Did I mention this is a really big Bowie knife? The above is a photo comparing it to Michigan made knife number 8, which itself is a really big knife. I’ll post about knife number 8 another day.
UPDATE: No longer available.