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Knife Ideas?

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Hey! I’ve for a cool Northwest trade gun here and am in need of a good knife to go with the gun.

What would be a period correct, general purpose blade for an early 19th century trade gun? I have read knives such as the Green River butcher knives would have been common. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!
 
The Northwest Trade gun had a long history and was used in many areas by a lot of different types of people. Could you define a little more what type of a persona you are interested in? Mountain man from US. British type in Rocky Mts. Long hunter, French Canadian Native person. Etc.
 
The Northwest Trade gun had a long history and was used in many areas by a lot of different types of people. Could you define a little more what type of a persona you are interested in? Mountain man from US. British type in Rocky Mts. Long hunter, French Canadian Native person. Etc.

Thanks! Probably a US mountain man. Say the 1820-1840 period.
 
Find an old thin bladed butcher or boning knife in a thrift store or wherever and modify, as best you can, to look like the originals. Old Hickory kitchen knives have good steel, but they have telltale grooves in the blade. If you can find one without the grooving you can go from there. The grips can be replaced and with a good epoxy, attached with proper size pins. I'm sure most of us will help with suggestions and guidance. Due to the original French blades being thicker most often, go for an English look.
 
Well, you would carry either a butcher knife or a scalper. This gets CONFUSING because the items are listed separately on the fur trade inventory lists but then if you read the journals and diaries of the actual mountain men they seemed to have used the terms interchangeably such that if so and so talks about "his butcher knife" you really don't know whether it was actually a butcher knife or a scalper.
Most re-enactors view a knife as a back up weapon after you shoot your muzzle loading rifle. THEREFORE they want something with a sharp point and favor the scalper over the blunt tip butcher knife. If you actually read the journals knives were seldom used as fighting weapons, you were all by yourself and up against 20 NDNs. You left all your stuff and ran for your life. In many instances the NDNs stopped, forgot about you and began fighting amongst themselves over who got what of the gear you abandoned.
So knives were used to skin beaver, buffalo, elk. John Jacob Astor came from a family of German butchers. When he started the American Fur Company he figured a butcher knife was the ideal style. It seems that the scalper was often called an Indian knife or Indian trade knife, etc. which means, by default a butcher was left and therefore more common among the mountain men. BUT mountain men also used scalpers and NDNs used Butcher knives. There are war clubs with multiple butcher knife blades.
Where to buy something? Not many sources, I recommend this:
19 Century Pattern Butchers Knives - 6 inch
 
Thanks, guys. I decided on this one:

BE17EA4B-811D-47DF-9542-A782DCAB1899.jpeg

It’s a 6” blade Russell Green River butcher. Has good reviews and should be about right for my needs.

Now I need a period correct leather sheath for the knife. I placed a wanted ad in the classifieds. Does anyone have any recommendations on what sheaths would have been used in the mountain man/fur trade era? Thanks!
 
The six-inch Green River butcher is a good, practical knife that will serve you well. However, the handle scales would have been fastened with pins rather than rivets during the specified timeframe. There were some other subtle differences, but the pins are the most obvious. The makers name stamped or struck into the steel on the early knives (as opposed to being etched) is another.

I agree with @Red Owl (above). The six-inch John Nowill butcher is about the closest fully functional production made knife you will find for an 1820-1840 impression. It isn’t perfect but it’s close enough. These are made in Britain by a firm that has been making knives since the 18th century. The handle is pinned and the maker’s name is struck into the blade. The steel is comparable to the Dexter/Russell Green River blades, and it will fit the same sheath. Relatively few American dealers sell the John Nowill knives, but there is usually a seller on EBay who has them. I bought one off EBay a couple of years ago for about $25. The transaction was smooth and I am very happy with the knife.

if you can afford it, you might as well get one of the Nowill butchers as a companion for your Green River. They will fit the same sheath. Sharpen them both and carry the one you like. Leave the other one in your kitchen. If your wife cooks, she will love it.

Notchy Bob
 
The six-inch Green River butcher is a good, practical knife that will serve you well. However, the handle scales would have been fastened with pins rather than rivets during the specified timeframe. There were some other subtle differences, but the pins are the most obvious. The makers name stamped or struck into the steel on the early knives (as opposed to being etched) is another.

I agree with @Red Owl (above). The six-inch John Nowill butcher is about the closest fully functional production made knife you will find for an 1820-1840 impression. It isn’t perfect but it’s close enough. These are made in Britain by a firm that has been making knives since the 18th century. The handle is pinned and the maker’s name is struck into the blade. The steel is comparable to the Dexter/Russell Green River blades, and it will fit the same sheath. Relatively few American dealers sell the John Nowill knives, but there is usually a seller on EBay who has them. I bought one off EBay a couple of years ago for about $25. The transaction was smooth and I am very happy with the knife.

if you can afford it, you might as well get one of the Nowill butchers as a companion for your Green River. They will fit the same sheath. Sharpen them both and carry the one you like. Leave the other one in your kitchen. If your wife cooks, she will love it.

Notchy Bob
Dang it Notchy I do not need another knife! I know, I will buy a John Nowill butcher for the wife! That should work.
 
Thanks everyone. Is this a good place to buy from?

https://bernalcutlery.com/products/...10552&pr_ref_pid=5754194591896&pr_seq=uniform
Would a 6” blade be period correct? The handle on these Nowill butchers look to come unfinished. What would be a period correct wood finish for these? Thanks!
Well, to be honest, you need to take the handle off and put hardwood on it with small pins, OR what appears to be small pins. Those rivets are very much post ACW style, from what I've read and seen.

These are brass, but steel is much better.

KNIFE HANDLE 3 BRASS RIVETS.jpg


LD
 
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