Updated date:

Large Knives were Common in Early America


Today when we think of a knife we would carry everyday or even a hunting knife most don't think of the large or big knife. We may picture in our mind a knife seen in the big box store with a shiny blade and plastic handle.

The knife above is an original butcher knife (date unknown) but it is old and an original carbon steel knife. Blade being around 8.5 with a solid hard wood handle and larger sized brass pins. The blade has developed a light patina from being used for many years and re-sharpened nicely in my shop on an old oil stone with very little effort. I had it hair popping sharp when it left my bench.

Knives with larger sized blades were used and carried everyday years ago. This was something that was very common. Large butcher knives and also what we refer to as bowie knives now a days was something that a frontier hunter or even buffalo hunter would carry and use as a tool and weapon when need be. Large knives were also used daily by butchers, farmers, shop keepers and most common folk.

Most knives of yesterday even five inches in blade length were sometimes considered a patch knife to be carried on a hunting bag. These knives were set up on a bag to cut patch for a flintlock muzzle-loader. I would think allot of those knives were also used for cutting food, skinning game and more.

Currently I carry 2 knives in the woods a larger 8inch blade and a smaller 4 inch blade and both have served me well for many years. One of these days when time permits I will be making a smaller neck knife for myself as well.

Today Larger knives such as the one below I forged in my shop, with a blade length of a little under 7 inches can be used for many tasks such as they were many years ago. Camp, large game and more.


Hand Forged Mountain Bowie


More Information and Knife History

  • History of knives. The Trade Knife
    This was a term used for a knife such as the one above put on knives going back as far as the eighteenth century. This term was used on almost any knife that could be considered a scalping knife. Allot of...

Fixed blade KNIVES you can carry in your pack or


mlesniewski (author) from Upstate NY on May 24, 2011:

Hi TJ Tang goes to the back end of that last pin. Thank you. I will answer your email...thanks again..

TJ on May 23, 2011:

Hey Matt, How far does the tang go into that stag handle on the Hand Forged Mountain Bowie? How long is the blade? Very sweet!!!! I want one of those too...Maybe I can treat myself for my birthday in September? What do you charge for it and how long does it take to create? thanks TJ..=)

mlesniewski (author) from Upstate NY on March 22, 2011:

Hi Stephen..

Thank you very much.

all the best


Stephen on March 21, 2011:

Hi Matt,

Nice article and beautifull knife!

All the best,