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The Sheath/Holster Makers Forum This is the place to discuss all forms of sheath and holster making.

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  #1  
Old 01-23-2006, 08:44 PM
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Chuck Burrows Chuck Burrows is offline
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Head Knives - Round Knives - historical info

Thought I'd add this info for those interested in such knives:

The true round knife was just that - a circular blade sharpened on all edges and used by the currier to thin leather:


An overview of head knives - both single head and double head (double head knives are now a days commonly called head knives or round knives):

The oldest known head, aka half moon, knives were made by the Egyptians of copper, #1 & #2 above, and are dated to at least 4500 B.C.
#3 - Eskimo Ulu
#4 - Iron Age Celtic knife
#5 - Iron Age - La Tene Period
#6 - Pompeii
#7 & #8 - Medieval - with small blade for tight curves and a half head - I had one of these at one time and loved it - unfortunately it "grew legs"
#9 - Modern Double Head Knife
#12 - Modern Saddler's Single Head Knife
#13 - Modern Saddler's Double Head Knife

Below is a late Medieval Cordwainer's (shoemaker's) Shop - note the two Medieval style head knives like #8 above - Several other style knives are also shown. Of interest also is the gent in the center sewing - he's doing what is called "knee work" in the shoe trade - traditionally stitching clams aka ponies aka horses weren't/aren't used by cordwainers. The man on the left is trimming a sole with a curved blade trim knife - today my most widely used knife is a clicker knife with a similar curved blade and/or straight blade.


Knowing where and why tools came from is always of interest so if any one else can add to this "tome" please do..........each craft had their own tools and often individuals made up their own specialized pieces.


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Old 01-23-2006, 09:36 PM
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Very interesting read, Chuck. thanks for the post. I guess those 1930's and 40's Osbornes aren't so old after all.

Paul
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Old 01-23-2006, 11:09 PM
Tony Graves Tony Graves is offline
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Chuck

That is very informative. I had heard of a round knife but had never seen an illustration.

The knife numbered 8 has a projection at 1 o'clock, was that used to punch holes, or a more obscure use? Comparing the grip size on that one to the others that looks like a LARGE knife.

Thanks, Tony
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:00 PM
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Tony, that projection is a combination smaller cutter and awl blade. Makes for sortof a Medieval Swiss Army Knife. I believe only cordwainers used them. Might be wrong on that.


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Old 01-25-2006, 04:04 PM
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Very cool post. Interesting to see the Ulu in the mix. Provides some clues and food for thought when pondering the evolution of blade styles, parallel development and such. Skinning knives seem to be related as a mulipurpose hide tool.


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Old 01-25-2006, 04:13 PM
Tony Graves Tony Graves is offline
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I grew up three houses away from an old time muskrat trapper in Tennessee.

He did all his cutting to skin "rats" with a little razor edge paring knife like an old Hickory. But he used the BACK of a blade like that IXL Skinner that Roc posted to flesh the hide after it was stretched on a form. Just held it upside down, gripping the handle and the end of the blade and about 4 or 5 full strokes it was clean. His multipurpose tool.

Tony
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Old 01-25-2006, 06:06 PM
fishguy fishguy is offline
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So, Xena was actually just a really pissed-off female currier? (Sorry, someone had to say it)
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Old 01-25-2006, 06:25 PM
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Chuck thanks for posting this, very interesting info.

Bob
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Old 01-26-2006, 03:32 PM
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Cool story about the muskrat trapper. I like tales of old men and their old knives.


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