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Old 04-12-2014, 01:09 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 625
Hey mrto... sorry to beat you to this. I too had been watching it for quite a while.. loved the subtle shape of the blade and the swoop of the concave handle which compliments the hardware ... and when I finally came to the conclusion it was early '60s, I went for it.

I'm not afraid of wood handle cracks because of my master expert woodworking friend (see line about wood handle repair). He also can repair ivory, etc., but after doing a couple of those for others he decided it is too much work and takes away from his instrument repair.

However... the 12-9 bowie doesn't have significant or obvious handle cracks. When I bought it, I though it might from the pictures, but is wasn't very obvious in the wood. A small hairline starter crack at the butt and another hairline about an inch or so on the other side, but as soon as I applied a little furniture hydration oil, they pretty much healed. Pictures below. If they spread in the future, ebony repair is not difficult.

I'm still fooling around with dating knifes. The fluted brass spacer and coolie cap are not encountered that much, but are frequent enough on bowies to be interesting. What I need is someone to confirm the "rounded tang nut" is brazed on the coolie cap and the whole cap tightened. Then I need to narrow the date that method became the way of attaching the cap, and if it ever changed thereafter.

Above is a brass back ... presumably from early-mid '70s (?) (good braze on brass back, so probably by the original guy, Mr. White (?), beautiful handle. I had thought the round brazed tang nut was superseded early '70s and the nut was moved internal and tapered to a skull-crusher shape. However, apparently the taper is a feature, not an engineering marker. Oh well... I have a friend with a '66-'70 model-2. I'm sure he won't let me disassemble it to see how the cap was fastened to the tang ... but at some point I'll be able to look at it.

The knife I posted above with the low S would have been perfect to establishing the early date of the "round tang nut" if it indeed had one. Unfortunately, bad pictures and an asking price that was ... well ... extreme.

The other thing I'm looking for is another early coolie cap that used the open brass hex tang nut. The coolie cap on my 12-9 is obviously cruder than those that were used even a short time later... and the open brass hex tang nut is (so far) unusual. Perhaps more will surface.

But I'm very confident now that the 12-9 is circa late 1963.


PS - I've been speculating how one would tighten the coolie cap if the round nut was braised. I speculate that a clue might be in the deeper flutes of those coolie caps compared to those on my knife. One could picture a special "screwdriver-wrench" with four ridges that would fit into those flutes, over the nut, and allow tightening the cap like screwing in a Phillips head screw. But... maybe not. As an Engineer, I get distracted by such things.

Last edited by Jacknola; 08-01-2017 at 03:27 PM.
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