A Conversation for Bowie Knife - The Choice of Legends

The Bowie Knife

Post 1


You hit some good points about the Bowie knife. I believe that James Black, a smith at Washington, Arkansas, was the maker of the original knife, but as you say, there can be no definitive answer and Wostenholm could have created the thing. I hope one day that they locate Black's shop site and perform archeology there to discover more about the man and what he did. Black is supposed to have created a steel that brought him great fame. His process for making steel remains unknown and he was to deliver his secret on his death bed, but failed to spit it out in time.

I would like to mention two excellent makers of bowie knives.

John Fitch and J.W. Randall, both master bladesmiths (there's a bladesmith school at Washington, AR anyone can attend and earn a degree from journeyman to master blade smith). If you want a bowie that can cut a nail in two and then slice toilet paper in the air, these are your guys!



At Washington, Arkansas, cutting competitions are held every year. The competitions are open to any blade, but the "fellers" with the bowie knives always win. I've seen them cut a plastic cola bottle hanging in mis air by a string in two clean pieces. Fitch cut a 2X4 in half with three whacks. The contests can include anything that is possible and the entrants never know what the contest will consist of in advance. Try whacking 2 hemp ropes in two in one cut. These guys can do it and their knives are true art to behold.

Good entry, great research. Thanks.

The Bowie Knife

Post 2

pailaway - (an utterly gratuitous link in the evolutionary chain)

Hey, thanks for sharing this information smiley - cool

I was unaware of the cutting competition - now I may have to plan a visit smiley - ok

The Bowie Knife

Post 3


Check the ABA website for events, bladesmith schools, etc. The cutting competitions are usually held in conjunction with a "Hammer-In." I forgot to mention that when these guys cut something, the blade's edge is examined by the judges. If it is deformed in any way (a nick or bend) they are disqualified from winning, but may continue to participate. Try cutting an aluminum can (top to bottom)in two with a stock knife and have the blade left totally unaffected! They do this regularly.


The Bowie Knife

Post 4


Darn posts can't be edited? Anyway, there is an events link with some pictures from the 2006 competition where Jim Crowell won a nice Bowie for his efforts.....http://www.americanbladesmith.com/OldWashingtonFall06.htm

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