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The Bowie Knife: A Collector's Item

May 7, 2008
The classic Bowie knife was not just one design, but rather a sequence of knives reinvented quite a few times by Jim Bowie. The earliest such model type was made by a man named Jesse Cliff. Jim Bowie's idea directly bared a resemblance to the Spanish hunting knives of those days and varied a little from an ordinary butcher knife. The blade is later on described as:

* 9 1/2" in length, 1/4" inch thick and 1 1/2" inches wide
* It was straight-backed having no clip point
* Simple riveted wood scale handle

The type most frequently recognized as the chronological Bowie knife would typically have no less than six inches of blade length. Although some would reach 12 inches or more; and have a width that would reach to about four to five centimeters. The backside of the blade sometimes had a narrow piece of malleable metal (normally copper or brass) inlaid premeditated to grasp an enemy's blade, and also frequently had a superior guard which bowed to the fore at an angle (S-guard), that is also directed to capture an enemy's blade. The version attributed to James Black (a blacksmith) had the back border of the bent clip point, also called the "false edge" sharpened and filed in order to permit someone educated in European skills of saber fencing to carry out the tactic identified the "back slash" or "back cut." Typically cast in a mold, the brass quillon is fastened to safeguard the hand.

The Different Bowie Knives:

A. "Hunter Bowie Knife"
The hunter Bowie knife was created in New Jersey by a cutler named Alfred Hunter. The knives that he made have been legendary and are rarely seen in the market these days. A Spanish notch is visible in the blade which is also found in many historical knives. Its blade is made of high carbon steel with nickel and wood as the handle. The overall length is fourteen inches and it weighs up to 12oz.

B. "New Orleans Bowie"
Pradel, the knife maker of New Orleans, crafted the knife through replicating the existing original. The grip is made of a checkered buffalo horn and the clear lines give the knife an outstanding appearance. Like the Hunter Bowie Knife, this is made of high carbon steel and it also has the length of up to 14 inches. However, it weighs lighter than the previous classification.

C. "Chevalier Bowie"
The Chevalier Knife has been crafted in a little shop in Broadway. It was named after the man who created it, John Chevalier. Nowadays, this type of knife is well-known among collectors and users too. They are much sought after especially by those who purchase knives for collection purposes. The nickel silver tip and throat give it an intimidating appearance. The extravagance is perfected by its authentic leather sheath. Like the others, it is made mostly of carbon steel and its handle is crafted with the use of a genuine stag. It weighs almost the same as the other Bowie knives too.

D. "Vicksburg Bowie"
The Vicksburg Bowie came out in the year 1836 and was manufactured by the W. & S. Butcher Company. Its grip or handle resembles that of a dog bone. The American market was awed by its appearance and since them it became a big hit in the industry. Its handle also has nickel silver plus it has an inlaid shield. It is a little bit shorter and weighs lighter than the other Bowie types.

E. "Horse and Gator Bowie"
In the middle of the year 1850, the Woodhead and Hartley Corporation produced yet another enticing knife designs. Its distinctive logo which is embossed in the handle looks like a half alligator and a half horse. It became a major buy in the market because of its intricate carvings and its plush look.

There are several other types of Bowie knives. In fact, mentioning all of them would probably take hours. However, the above classifications are the oldest and are among the most famous of the Bowie knife collection. Up to now, knife collectors find it difficult to search for the all original ones. You can only be lucky if you'll still be able to purchase one.
About the Author
William "Cole" Doggett is a knife expert and owns an Internet knife shop, Knife & Supply Company, LLC at Pocket Knife | Hunting Knife | SOG Knife. Also, check out the huge Bowie Knife selection!
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