A Living History Skills series by Colonel Jerry Tubbs

Until the Colt six-shooter made every man equal, knives provided both offensive and defensive capabilities. The Bowie knife typified the type and captured America's imagination like no other weapon. As stories of Jim Bowie and his use of his knife spread, the demand for Bowie knives did also. No gentleman felt completely attired unless he carried his Bowie knife with him. The Bowie knife even found favor with the less wealthy colonist. In a time when honor was easily offended, the Bowie knife was the perfect mediator when settling disputes. This is not to say that the Bowie knife was the dominent knife in use in the Texas colonies, but one type of many. When the Interim government of Texas was seeking weapons to arm the volunteer army, along with rifle and tomahawks, they requested butcher knives to be sent. Many easterners would have brought with them their slender bladed "Long Hunter" style knife. This knife was not only slender in width but was also much lighter than the Bowie. With the length being between 6" to 7" and ending in a very sharp point, this style was better suited for gutting and dressing out game. Carrying some type of folding blade would not be out of the question also. Folding knives were common among the soldiers of the American Revolution. The styles varied from maker to maker, but all would be correct for your persona.

Some good places to look for a knife that is historically correct whose design strikes your fancy are: The Knife in Homespun America 1750-1880 by Madison Grant, The Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution by George C. Neumann and Frank J. Kravic and Accrouterment II by James R. Johnston. These books have detailed photographs with dimension given also.

Remember in choosing a knife, size isn't everything. Selecting one that best suits your needs and station in life is what to look for. Try not to be a clone but instead work toward originality in your choice.

Creating a Character

Is That Gun Real?

What's in the Bag?

You need an Edge

What's Cooking?

Lighting up the Night

Keeping an Eye on the Sky

Getting Started

Then & Now

What type of Primitive Shelter is best for you?


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