Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Best Bowie knives

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by burnse, Jan 20, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. burnse

    burnse Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Could someone list the best bowie makers they know of? The more traditional looking, the better. Also, I am not too fond with most Cold Steel products, but if their bowies are really fantastic, let me know.
     
  2. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    1,744
    Location:
    SW USA
    Frankly, unless you are going to look at expensive handmades, I think you should consider Fallkniven. www.fallkniven.com

    When you select "English" and see the main models display, select NL1 and NL2.Look hard at them. They balance beautifully in the hand.

    I think one or the other is what you may want. Here is a large pic of the NL-2: http://www.fallkniven.com/bilder/nothernlight/stor-nl2.jpg

    Fallkniven knives aren't cheap, but they do the job, and look good as well.

    You have the advantage that a university performs stress tests on them, and they are very strong. The Swedish Air Force issues their F-1 model as a pilot survival knife. They have also passed USAF and USN survival knife tests and are authorized for unit purchase. (F-1 and S-1 with the black blade option.)

    If you want a more practical size for most use than the big NL series, but still basic Bowie lines, see the S-1 and the A-1.

    Lone Star
    P.S. If you have limited funds, get a Buck Model 119.
     
  3. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,559
    Location:
    Central Indiana.
    Can't beat the Western Bowie. I've had mine since about 1969...got if for Christmas like Ralphie and his BB gun. "The best Christmas gift I ever received or ever would receive". Big, sharp, balanced, sturdy, and priced for a normal budget...maybe $125 bucks these days?
     
  4. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    1,744
    Location:
    SW USA
    Western is out of business, and their knives were of average quality.
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,608
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    "best" is an awfully vague word. What's your criteria? What's your price range? Production or handmade? What use do you intend to put it to? Which pattern of "traditional" Bowie? There's a lot implied in the word "best" that only you can know.

    There are knifemakers that produce "traditional" knives that will cost you a thousand dollars and those that will make them for a few hundred dollars. Do you want forged, which would be "traditional" or would stock reduction work for you?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  6. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,559
    Location:
    Central Indiana.
    I was afraid of that...Western out of business. I am sure happy with mine...it is sharp as a razor and holds an edge like crazy.
     
  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,608
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    Western was part of Camillus and went when they did.
     
  8. burnse

    burnse Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Minnesota
    "best" is an awfully vague word. What's your criteria?


    I am just curious as to who make some of the better (in quality) bowie knives which are designed as fairly historically accurate, or traditionally styled bowies. As far as my purchasing interests go, forged is certainly preferred and I am the type to buy a knife I can trust every day for the entirety of my life, but it can be production if it is good.
    So just keep 'em coming and bring pictures if you got 'em.
     
  9. Valkman

    Valkman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Messages:
    6,585
    Location:
    North Las Vegas, NV
    I make bowies in my 7" Super Camp and 6" Fighters. Here's a Super Camp with stag that I just made:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  10. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Matthews, NC
    If price is a concern, you can get some nice bowie knives from Atlanta Cutlery. The bowies they make are handforged in India by Windlass Steelcrafts. The quality ranges from good to excellent. They aren't masterpieces handcrafted by artisans, but Atlanta Cutlery has a dozen different patterns available and none of them is priced over $100.

    Here is one, the 1850 coffin hilt:

    [​IMG]

    A.G. Russell sells a couple of bowies, also. You can check his website, you can search under the term "bowie" and come up with some good stuff, including the Bill Bagwell bowies made by Ontario Cutlery.

    In the end, you get what you pay for. If you wish to pay $5000 for a handcrafted bowie made of damascus steel, made by a Master Smith of the American Bladesmith Society, you certainly can do so. Not all of us have that much spare cash. :rolleyes:
     
  11. rklessdriver

    rklessdriver Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    926
    Location:
    NOVA
    I always liked Mike Wise. Hand forged just like in the old days. Top quality work and he is a super nice guy. Very reasonably priced.

    http://www.angelfire.com/my/wisecustomknives/

    I have a few of his blades and have never been disapointed by them.
    Will
     
  12. burnse

    burnse Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Minnesota
    for me, less than 500 would be great. Under 250 for a starter would be better.
     
  13. Valkman

    Valkman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Messages:
    6,585
    Location:
    North Las Vegas, NV
    Mine are $250 with "regular" handle materials, +$100 for stag or giraffe bone. I finished one last night (Super Camp) with killer spalted maple handles, $275 for that one but no sheath has been made yet. Custom leather sheaths run $50 extra.
     
  14. Travis Bickle

    Travis Bickle member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Messages:
    476
    Also, I am not too fond with most Cold Steel products, but if their bowies are really fantastic, let me know.

    I don't know much about knives, but someone has a review of Cold Steel's bowie knife on youtube that might help:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msToNcByErw
     
  15. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    1,744
    Location:
    SW USA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC-R6MeJ3-A&feature=channel

    Here, a reviewer who can't even pronounce the names of the knives he reviews covers Fallkniven's A-1. He just turns it in his hand, but you can see the knife, here in the optional black blade version, with the Kydex sheath that is no longer offered. It has been replaced with a Zytel sheath A leather sheath is still offered.

    I think this guy is not as informed as he'd like us to think he is. A man who can't even pronounce names like Fallkniven and Camillus shouldn't be reviewing knives. But Nutn' Fancy is a prolific reviewer of outdoors products.

    For the record,
    "Fallkniven" is pronounced, "FELL-ka-neeven". I can't reproduce it here, but the "a" has an umlaut over it, changing the pronunciati0n to an "e" sound in Swedish. I have this information directly from Peter Hjortberger, the company president.

    "Camillus" is pronounced as, "Ca-MILL-us." He says "CAM-uh-lis."

    He said that he managed to chip the blade on a Fallkniven A-2 by hitting it on a rock. Well, whoop-de-doo! You can chip almost ANY blade by hitting the edge against a rock. All it takes is enough force, at the wrong angle. The Fallkniven knives have been extensively tested by the Technical University of Lulea (in Sweden) and by US military evaluators, and tbey came through with flying colors. The only reason why the A-1 isn't listed for unit purchase is that it's too big for the sheath on US aircrewmens' vests. I think it's an outstanding knife for military or survival purposes. It has been extensively used by Norwegian Marines, and is a favorite private purchase knife with them. I believe these men are also the ones who requested the A-2 model, which they use to check for mines in Afghanistan.

    Don't understimate the Buck Special, their Model 119, either. It's an excellent knife, at a reasonable price. It is the favorite knife of the Canadian guy who has a survival program on Discovery TV. His is the valid survival program. (The former SAS man who stays in hotels and creates unneccesary trials for himself has a knife designed for him. It's quite probably a fine knife, but the reputation of his show detracts from its image.)

    Look at this video to see the Fallkniven knife, but I distrust the reviewer's comments at times.

    Lone Star
     
  16. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    1,744
    Location:
    SW USA
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2009
  17. Macmac

    Macmac Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,217
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    burnse , If you asked me first, I ask you first whatcha going to do with it?

    You can get a Bowie with a 5 inch long blade, or a 15 inch long blade, and I mean just the blade.

    What kind of steel?

    Safe queen? User? If so what for?

    If you buy a silly stainless blade and it is 5 inches long and you take it to pre 1840 VOO to show it off, the Buck Skinners will laugh at you!

    In the other hand if you bring a 15 inch carbon steel blade to the local SWAT gathering they will laugh at you for that monster?

    Just the word Bowie means about a million things to the same number of people.

    The supposed historical blade, sometimes sold, that is supposed to be a reproduction of the 'Sand Bar' knife probably isn't, not that I wish to be involved with any endless debate. The fact is on that; No One Knows..
     
  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    20,841
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I like strong tools that can also be weapons. My Himalayan Imports Crow is about my ideal hard use bowie. You should be able to find one for less than $140. It won't be perfect, but it should last a lifetime with just a little maintenance now and then. It's one of those 15" blades Mac's mentioning.

    On the other end of the usage spectrum (but still nowhere near the top end of what you could pay!), Valkman's Camps and Fighters are very attractive, clean, sturdy pieces that are smaller than short swords. :)

    [​IMG]
    Crow next to Kim Breed fighter

    Regards,

    John
     
  19. 7X57chilmau

    7X57chilmau Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Messages:
    687
    I've used a Himalayan Imports kukri before and found it to be a damned fine tool. Slightly crude, imperfect to be sure, but a really enjoyable knife that worked, was tough, held an edge well...

    If the crow is anything like, it'd be plenty good enough....

    J
     
  20. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2002
    Messages:
    20,841
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Yeah, they're great knives, both the kuks and the Crow. HI makes several other "bowies", including the Cherokee Rose.

    The Rose is mostly a dedicated (LARGE) fighter, and seemed oddly delicate for a HI piece. The Crow is a tool that can be a weapon.

    J
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  21. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,608
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    burnse,

    You haven't answered the question of what will you use it for. Honestly, what will you use it for? Please be realistic. The answer matters a lot.
     
  22. Big Daddy Grim

    Big Daddy Grim Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    618
    Location:
    Idaho
    lotta nice bowies here and to think I still carry my old Buck bowie
     
  23. burnse

    burnse Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Messages:
    212
    Location:
    Minnesota
    hso and macmac,

    This one will, first and foremost, be hanging on the wall for now, but I want something that will do in a pinch for HD, (I have moved for school and am away from the guns for the semester). And if the S were to HTF, I am more than comfortable with heavy blades, and am doing pekiti tersia. That being said, I know that I could get a barong from traditional filipino weapons in the same price range, but I like the feel of a bowie, and a clip point is a plus.

    So anywhere around 12" is great. And I do prefer convex grinds, but as long as it would look pretty on a wall, I'm happy. So, yes, a usable display piece.


    I should also mention that I think carrying a bowie makes me feel more god than man because it is such a thing of legend and great American stories of the past.:) (that sounds dumb but that's how i feel.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2009
  24. Piraticalbob

    Piraticalbob Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2008
    Messages:
    480
    Location:
    Matthews, NC
    Here are two of the bowies that Ontario Cutlery makes, designed by bowie authority Bill Bagwell. A.G. Russell sells them for $144.95 (check to see if they are in stock). The larger of the two sounds like what you describe, these are very light and quick in the hand, yet attractive enough to serve in the wall-hanger role.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    47,608
    Location:
    0 hrs east of TN
    burnse,

    That information helps a lot. Since you're taking PKT I'd recommend focusing on the narrower bowie styles than the big bellied styles.

    If you want the best bang for your buck look at Ontario's SP-42 and-43. While they don't have the look of a "traditional" bowie Dan Maragni has completely redesigned them and retooled the manufacturing for Ontario. The reviews on them are impressive, especially for PKT.

    Next notch up in price for production pieces would be the Cold Steel bowies. The Laredo (~$100) and Natchez (~$350) would do well.

    Next would be Ontario's Bagwell Bowies, if you can find one.

    Customs range from $300 up.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page