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Login Name Post: colonial jack knife        (Topic#305502)
69 Cal.
Posts: 3132
03-12-18 06:05 PM - Post#1674011    

    In response to tenngun

I believe that it was the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said:
"God is in the details"

Posts: 7913
03-12-18 10:32 PM - Post#1674043    

    In response to Coot

I did run when I first this I went to check the pins on the knife I got from Townsend. In truth I never gave it a second thought. The pins are iron... or mild steel more likely.

Posts: 6351
03-19-18 10:02 AM - Post#1675075    

    In response to Stophel

Thanks for posting that photo- I think I'll use it as a pattern on my next effort.

54 Cal.
Posts: 1609
03-19-18 12:59 PM - Post#1675095    

    In response to Stophel

I'm wondering if the bolsters might have been brass instead of steel on that folder. Reason being that brass was much more easily available and easier to work. Plus, since it was used on a ship, the brass doesn't rust while the steel definitely will.

Seems that anything steel in the salt will rust like crazy if you don't keep it clean and well oiled. Had a fellow bring back a pair of stainless steel saltwater fishing pliers to me because they rusted. He'd never bothered to even rinse them off during his week fishing in the Carribean. Company replaced the pliers for him and told me to keep the rusty pair. It was all surface rust that I knocked off really easily with some 000 steel wool and I still use them today. But the point was that even modern stainless rusted under constant exposure.

So perhaps they used brass. What do you think?


Posts: 7913
03-19-18 05:03 PM - Post#1675129    

    In response to twisted_1in66

I do think we tend to make too broad of statements based on limited evidence sometimes. We tend to forget that hand made might vary a lot. We also forget one offs. Tom Dick and Harry might all have x while Bob had something one of a kind. And then Jack the knife builder built 99 knifes the same and then the hundredth different.
The chances of something being found today at an archeological site are so small we tend to think that what was found was typical or at least avarage. And if we find several of an near same we build a record of this is how it was. While in truth all it was was an example of typical of in a narrow setting.
There was a Viking hord that had a silver Buddha shrine in the other stuff. I doubt we would say there were many Viking Buddhist

Edited by tenngun on 03-19-18 05:04 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

75 Cal.
Posts: 5314
03-19-18 06:57 PM - Post#1675147    

    In response to twisted_1in66

I believe that the Carleton knife is all iron/steel (hey, the blade is still there after being under the ocean for 230 years!). The liners and bolster are a different color from the blade, but with the blade being steel, and the other parts iron, that would be understandable. It does not strike me as being brass, but I don't know. I have NO information on this knife other than the photo itself.

Keep in mind that brass was fairly expensive, and iron (relatively) cheap. Iron is also more corrosion resistant than steel. I have a 250+ year old hunting sword with iron bolsters and crossguard without the slightest hint of rust, though very well worn.

With knives (and other things), there actually is quite a bit to go on, but you do have to dig for it. There also is a LOT of misinformation, mistakes, and downright lies to have to sift through as well. There's lots of weird stuff made all over the world, and when someone happens across one of these oddities, he may think "ooooh, this must be a Revolutionary War period knife!"...(same with a LOT of other things). All it takes is for a well known "collector" (who are NOT necessarily experts, by any means) to make a claim, and it is accepted by the masses as virtual gospel, and their decrees can be revered as holy writ for a long time before finally being disproven to everyone's satisfaction. Only now are people coming to realize that these:

are NOT 18th century colonial American razors...after decades of common wisdom saying that they were. People are also just beginning to realize that maybe the very-popular "penny knives" probably aren't all that 18th century Colonial American authentic either.

as always, I'm rambling, sorry.

Posts: 6351
03-21-18 09:38 AM - Post#1675386    

    In response to Stophel

I agree 100%, there is a LOT is incorrect documentation on knives. This gets as bad as an Italian grape vine pruning knife getting labeled as a "Colonial American Penny Knife".
On the said knife- probably all iron. Smith's Key of 1816 does have brass shouldered knives so it could have been either.
Mass production of sheet metal didn't really kick in until the 1850's. So before that you could heat up iron and use a tilt hammer to drop forge it or you could make a liner and front and back bolsters and rivet everything together (Applied bolsters) so between the two, the one piece liner-bolster stamped/forged was the less expensive method.
I had one guy tell me the bolsters were "chopped" and had integral protrusions that fit through a hole in the liner and were then peen hammered in place. That "off hand" seems like a lot of work and I tried researching this "Chopped" method and found nothing. In making folders I ended up drilling a very shallow hole 1/2 half through the bolster and then sticking in a 1/16" pin. I staked the pin and the pin would hold a 5 lb barbell plate but more weight and the pin would come out. In any event I figured the pins were strong enough because they only have to hold the bolster until the blade rivet and anchor rivets were installed. So I staked the pins but I had no information as to whether that was the historical method.
There is a fair amount of information on fixed blade knives but early folding knives- very little. We all need to share what ever information we find.

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