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What woods are period correct for this knife? I believe boxwood and beech were used but would Ebony, Cocobolo or any others be acceptable?
 

Red Owl

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Not sure, goat horn was used on some (might be only European) The pin- on a lot there was a washer and the pin was peen hammered over it. There were some with a "dorsal" spring covering the top and they locked, there was an attached ring to lift the spring so you could close the knife. The photo shows a very good example of overall shape/ etc. There was a Dauphine style where the "button" on top had a rearward extension. This additional leverage helped to hold the blade open but when the knife is closed you have this prong sticking out that can eat holes into your shooting pouch, etc. If you notice the slant on the front of the handle, the "button" when the blade is closed, should be just a little ahead of the bottom of the handle. I made a cloth pouch for mine with a fold over top and keep in in the shooting/hunting pouch. I used walnut on mine even though it isn't PC. I really like the style but the penny knife might have been more common amongst American/English colonists.
 

Loyalist Dave

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What woods are period correct for this knife? I believe boxwood and beech were used but would Ebony, Cocobolo or any others be acceptable?

What was cheap at the time. These were absolutely utility knives. Boxwood, beech, English walnut, because the scraps would be used, Boxwood was very popular, for these and for trade fixed bladed knives. Nothing exotic nor imported.

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Not sure, goat horn was used on some (might be only European) The pin- on a lot there was a washer and the pin was peen hammered over it. There were some with a "dorsal" spring covering the top and they locked, there was an attached ring to lift the spring so you could close the knife. The photo shows a very good example of overall shape/ etc. There was a Dauphine style where the "button" on top had a rearward extension. This additional leverage helped to hold the blade open but when the knife is closed you have this prong sticking out that can eat holes into your shooting pouch, etc. If you notice the slant on the front of the handle, the "button" when the blade is closed, should be just a little ahead of the bottom of the handle. I made a cloth pouch for mine with a fold over top and keep in in the shooting/hunting pouch. I used walnut on mine even though it isn't PC. I really like the style but the penny knife might have been more common amongst American/English colonists.
Funny, I was just thinking of making one with the pin lock set up maybe I’ll try something else 😂
Thank you for the information
 

Red Owl

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How were you going to do the pin lock set up? When I made one with a dorsal spring, the spring is set so I made the hole in that and left the tab or pin on the blade over sized and kept trying to fit it in the hole, each time taking a wipe with a file until it just fit- which made a tight, wobble free lock- if that makes sense.
The springs aren't too hard to make. Quench and then draw to a bright blue and quench again.
You don't have to have a lock, you could also do a slip joint dorsal spring. The museum of the Fur Trade in Chandron NE sells a book- The Fur Trade Cutlery Sketchbook from which I got the pattern.
 
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I was going to leave a “pin” on back of blade, heat my spring material and hammer it down onto pin with some beeswax. If that doesn’t work I’ll try your method. I did some test springs yesterday, they seem to be good. I used an old garage door spring, shaped it, quenched in oil then tempered in kitchen oven.
Thank you for sharing how you made yours! Do you have a picture of it?
 

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I don't know how to post photos but one of the fur trade journals listed 5 1/2" clasp knives so the blade is 5 1/2" which means the handle is around 6" so a big folding knife. It is identical to what is in the book I mentioned- even the carved face at the butt of the handle. It looks a lot like the photo above except blond wood with the carved face and the dorsal spring with a tab in the blade (pin) with a ring in it for lifting out of the spring.
 

Runewolf1973

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I don't know how to post photos but one of the fur trade journals listed 5 1/2" clasp knives so the blade is 5 1/2" which means the handle is around 6" so a big folding knife. It is identical to what is in the book I mentioned- even the carved face at the butt of the handle. It looks a lot like the photo above except blond wood with the carved face and the dorsal spring with a tab in the blade (pin) with a ring in it for lifting out of the spring.

Are you referring to this type? It has a locking spring mechanism with the pull ring.
Screenshot_20221205-124023.png
 

Red Owl

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As I said, mine was based on the item in the Fur Trade Cutlery Sketchbook- it looks similar except instead of a right angled bend on the front of the spring, it is curled, and instead of the downward wings on the handle, no wings and a screw at the back of the spring. And a star shaped washer over which the pin was peen hammered.
 

Red Owl

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The devil is in the details but as stated, that style is still made and was pretty common up to 1920's. The "wings" I don't think that was used on the pre-1840 types- there was just a prong and screw on the top of the spring. The bent right angle on the front of the spring- I think the pre-1840 had a curl BUT, I'm going entirely back said book.
 

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All the replicas floating around have changed everything. The collection at Valley Forge- The "Knife Expert" (I won't mention his name) has pretty much identified a lot of them to the 1920's. On a couple of occurrences I asked various museum curators about the history of this item or that item and I got the "attitude" HOW DARE YOU ASK. The reality- they had no idea where the item came from. If you really pursue the documentation you often get into a circle going no where. It is a very difficult subject.
A few years back the "Knife Expert" was the information source on some knives in the Smithsonian. I told the guy at the Smithsonian the data was wrong and I got THE ATTITUDE. Well, for some reason it got me mad enough to spend the time and effort- I got death certificates from Sheffield England, etc. and sent them in to prove their info was wrong and to be fair, they actually changed it to conform to what was known but the fact remains. that the research is difficult. Many of these trade items were cheap, throw away items that no one at the time thought important enough to keep records.
Let's say you have a book that shows a knife with a "PIN" mentioned and there is a footnote. You think "GREAT" it's documented. But THEN you actually go looking for the footnote and when you read it, totally different and all sorts of assumptions so that the documentation is worthless.
So, a difficult undertaking. BTW no disrepect to the "Knife Expert"- I freely acknowledge he knows more than anyone else and he's also a pretty good guy.
 
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