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A knife to a gun fight...

ex13F

Master Class
...well kind of, it was a duel. For those of us who like American history and American cold steel I want to remember that on this day in 1827 a legend was born. So here's a morning whiskey to an original American badazz.

19 September 1827​







On this date in 1827…

Though shot three times, stabbed twice, and having a sword cane lodged in his chest, Jim Bowie killed Norris Wright and cut off Alfred Blanchard’s arm at the Sandbar Fight when a brawl broke out after a duel outside Natchez, Mississippi.

 
Closest I can figure after years of study this, in my opinion is the closest thing to what Bowie carried and used. This is a copy of the much fancier version by Danial Serles that Rezin Bowie had made and presented to an important person, and which supposedly was like the one he had made that He gave to his brother Jim. Take "old Bowie, he never snaps" he said or something similar going from memory. Snapping is referring to what occurred in his last fight where the percussion cap failed to ignition almost costing him his life.

010130791257665373392.jpg

This is how Rezin described the knife he gave James.

original Bowie knife was like a butcher knife in profile, with a thin blade but no silver mounts. Bowie wore it in a silver-mounted black-leather sheath. The Bowie knife gained widespread notoriety after the celebrated Sandbar Fight on September 19, 1827, near Natchez. O

You will notice the blade and handle profile are very kitchen knifish.

In my opinion the knife we know colloquially as the Bowie knife, with huge bkade and sharpend clip and doudle tined guard came along later. Quite probably by Bowie himself to keep up with the growing legend of the blade. It had to get larger and more impressive. There were even schools around the country which taught Bowie knife fighting.

Here you see a copy of the Musso bowie, one of what some consider a contender for the actual Alamo bowie. It is something very like this that I believe Bowie carried into the Alamo.

Finished-Musso1.jpg



Here is the Bart Moore bowie, another knife which sone have claimed as the Alamo bowie.

1ee1a80d721779a444a323e166b4b69e.jpg


Just an opinion.
 
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I tried to take a picture of a couple bowies I have to show what they were believed to look like. The top one is a copy of the Edwin Forrest bowie, believed to have been given to the actor by Bowie himself, it is a Bark River knife. The middle one is a copy of the Sandbar knife I had made for me by Scott Powers who was a Forged in Fire winner. The bottom one is obviously a KaBar that I placed in the photo just as a size reference.

Sandbar bowies.jpg
 
Another knife which has been championed by James Batson as a contender fir the original Bowie is the Edwin Forrest Bowie, which definitely has the look described by Rezin. Sadly there is little, meaning as close to zero as you can get without being zero, chance of ever knowing what the original was ot the Alamo Bowie was. Only one painting exists of James Bowie with a weapon. All you see of it is a bit of handle and a D guard. Knife? Perhaps. Sword, perhaps.

My opinion its a sword. A D guard Bowie limits its EDC functions and knife fighting handholds and a knife fighter like Bowie would not hinder his options in a fight, again, opinion.

ForrestBowie.jpg
 
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I tried to take a picture of a couple bowies I have to show what they were believed to look like. The top one is a copy of the Edwin Forrest bowie, believed to have been given to the actor by Bowie himself, it is a Bark River knife. The middle one is a copy of the Sandbar knife I had made for me by Scott Powers who was a Forged in Fire winner. The bottom one is obviously a KaBar that I placed in the photo just as a size reference.

View attachment 43869
Nice bowies
 
Closest I can figure after years of study this, in my opinion is the closest thing to what Bowie carried and used. This is a copy of the much fancier version by Danial Serles that Rezin Bowie had made and presented to an important person, and which supposedly was like the one he had made that He gave to his brother Jim. Take "old Bowie, he never snaps" he said or something similar going from memory. Snapping is referring to what occurred in his last fight where the percussion cap failed to ignition almost costing him his life.

View attachment 43865
This is how Rezin described the knife he gave James.

original Bowie knife was like a butcher knife in profile, with a thin blade but no silver mounts. Bowie wore it in a silver-mounted black-leather sheath. The Bowie knife gained widespread notoriety after the celebrated Sandbar Fight on September 19, 1827, near Natchez. O

You will notice the blade and handle profile are very kitchen knifish.

In my opinion the knife we know colloquially as the Bowie knife, with huge bkade and sharpend clip and doudle tined guard came along later. Quite probably by Bowie himself to keep up with the growing legend of the blade. It had to get larger and more impressive. There were even schools around the country which taught Bowie knife fighting.

Here you see a copy of the Musso bowie, one of what some consider a contender for the actual Alamo bowie. It is something very like this that I believe Bowie carried into the Alamo.

View attachment 43867


Here is the Bart Moore bowie, another knife which sone have claimed as the Alamo bowie.

View attachment 43868

Just an opinion.

That jives with all the history I've read as well. The modern "Bowie" interpretation is quite different, and more fanciful, than the original. The knife that Rezin built and that Bowie used at Vidalia was directly influenced by Spanish/French butcher blades that were imported in large numbers to the States at that time.

Personally, I prefer the simpler, cleaner style of the original/early examples. I'm also a sucker for coffin handles.

Rogue_Original_Circa_1832.jpg
 
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That jives with all the history I've read as well. The modern "Bowie" interpretation is quite different, and more fanciful, than the original. The knife that Rezin built and that Bowie used at Vidalia was directly influenced by Spanish butcher blades that were imported in large numbers to the States at that time.

Personally, I prefer the simpler, cleaner style of the original/early examples. I'm also a sucker for coffin handles.

View attachment 43871
Nice example, i have made several coffin handkes over the years. The big problem with that style as a fighting knife is the design of the handle with smooth transition to the blade and no guard, choil or riccaso to prevent the fingers from sliding easiky onto the blade especially when wet.
 
Nice example, i have made several coffin handkes over the years. The big problem with that style as a fighting knife is the design of the handle with smooth transition to the blade and no guard, choil or riccaso to prevent the fingers from sliding easiky onto the blade especially when wet.

Yeah, exactly. I think that style of knife was primarily designed and used for other, more practical applications, and only pressed into service as a fighter when necessary. Guards on fighting knives evolved for a reason. But stylistically, there's still something about it that I really like.
 
That jives with all the history I've read as well. The modern "Bowie" interpretation is quite different, and more fanciful, than the original. The knife that Rezin built and that Bowie used at Vidalia was directly influenced by Spanish/French butcher blades that were imported in large numbers to the States at that time.

Personally, I prefer the simpler, cleaner style of the original/early examples. I'm also a sucker for coffin handles.

View attachment 43871
I know what you mean, I like most all the knives that can be attributed to Jim Bowie. I didn't intend to be loading this thread with a bunch of my knives so I'll quit but I did want to add this copy of the James Black bowie from Bark River also. I really like the sheath as it can be separated from the frog and carried thrust under a belt or sash. Okay, I promise no more pics.

James Black bowie.jpg
 
I know what you mean, I like most all the knives that can be attributed to Jim Bowie. I didn't intend to be loading this thread with a bunch of my knives so I'll quit but I did want to add this copy of the James Black bowie from Bark River also. I really like the sheath as it can be separated from the frog and carried thrust under a belt or sash. Okay, I promise no more pics.

View attachment 43874
Ever been to Escanaba and the Bark River facilities? Nice people there. I love how Mike Stewart and crew even have a few patterns reminiscent of his old Blackjack knives.
 
I know what you mean, I like most all the knives that can be attributed to Jim Bowie. I didn't intend to be loading this thread with a bunch of my knives so I'll quit but I did want to add this copy of the James Black bowie from Bark River also. I really like the sheath as it can be separated from the frog and carried thrust under a belt or sash. Okay, I promise no more pics.

View attachment 43874

I just happen to have one of those in the collection as well. 😉

jGXHGq.jpg
 
I have this one that was made in post war Germany. It is inscribed Buffalo Skinner I and believe its design was inspired by the western film genre. I think is is not a Bowie design although I have yeard it called a Bowie.
 

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I have this one that was made in post war Germany. It is inscribed Buffalo Skinner I and believe its design was inspired by the western film genre. I think is is not a Bowie design although I have yeard it called a Bowie.
This is actually a skinner styled blade as called not what is generally considered a bowie. The curve is similar to the old Green River skinner and the newer Sharade Sharpfinger. I have seen those around for a long time, used to see them on Ebay when I was looking at knives there. Most of those came from Europe, especially Soligen Germany for the American market with names like Original Buffalo Skinner, Original Bowie etc. Basically to take advantage of a strong growing American market. Copies of Green river knives were big also.

It is similar in profile to a couple you will see in Madison Grant's The knife in homespun America. I have taken inspiration for many knives there.
 
Ever been to Escanaba and the Bark River facilities? Nice people there. I love how Mike Stewart and crew even have a few patterns reminiscent of his old Blackjack knives.
I haven't made it up there for one of their "grind ins" but I bought my first Barky around 2006 (Bravo 1) and probably have a dozen. I always liked Mike Stewart's videos where he ends them with "...this has black micarta, this one's mine."
 
I haven't made it up there for one of their "grind ins" but I bought my first Barky around 2006 (Bravo 1) and probably have a dozen. I always liked Mike Stewart's videos where he ends them with "...this has black micarta, this one's mine."
Will have to check the videos out, never seen one.
 
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