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Modern Vs Vintage Bowie

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Tired_and_hungry, Dec 27, 2012.

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  1. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know how because you don't know whether the bevels are at the right angle for use, the heat treat was properly done, the balance is alive or dead in the hand, the grip is long enough of properly formed for use. Even if you assumed those were all spot on you'd have to assume the same for the antique since period cutlers were capable of the same.

    It is attractive, but that's all we know about it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  2. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    Those soulless knives you refer to all have one thing going for them that your older knives do not necessarily have: consistency of quality.

    Hso would be the one to tell me if I am off base on this, but we have a much higher ability to get quality knives into the hands of the masses at a more affordable price. I am not so sure that was the case in ye olden tymes. I would agree that some truly spectacular knives equal to or exceeding modern examples exist, but how many and at what cost?

    I now own a few custom knives, and I enjoy the craftsmanship that went into them, and they are all fantastic knives. As a point of interest, I would like to own a NIB antique bowie as well. But, not so long ago I could barely afford to pay for food and gas, and often I really couldn't afford both. At that point, owning a custom knife was beyond any reasonable expectation. However, thanks to modern manufacturing and soulless capitalism, I was able to purchase a few inexpensive knives that, while mass produced, were well made and continue to serve me well.

    I am not so sure that if I was to time travel that would be the case. At an equivalent economic level, I think I would have been forced to buy junk, and that would have been that.

    Anyway, I am tired after a day of sledding and I am not sure if that makes sense, but thats my .02.
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    No question about that we have the ability to do just that. Almost all American produced knives are far more consistent in quality than the knives made in the 1800s.
     
  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    How thick are the blades of vintage Bowies? I can see the length and height from books, but no one ever puts pictures that give one an idea of the blade thickness.

    Was they around 3/16", or less?
     
  5. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    There was no standardization on thickness. I've handled vintage bowies that were more than 1/4" (~5/16ths) and others that were closer to 3/16ths. One of the things you have to keep in mind that the mid to late 19C saw a huge explosion in knives that were called "Bowie" knives and there were easily over a dozen different styles. Many were imported from England (Sheffield) for the market in the U.S. while others were made in one place or the other here by craftsmen ranging from talented cutlers to local blacksmiths.
     
  6. kamagong

    kamagong Member

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    If I were going to compare a current bowie to an antique bowie, I wouldn't limit myself to the factory offerings. I'd commission a custom, some of the bowies made today are among the best ever seen.

    I'd take a knife from one of the quality ABS smiths over any antique. While there may be exceptions, I think that modern knives are superior to the antiques according to your criteria, with the added advantage that you can get a modern bowie that "fits" you and your body type and style of use.

    This one is my grail, made in the past calendar year, and I'd wager that this is a knife Jim Bowie would've been proud to own.

    orig.jpg
     
  7. Loc n Load

    Loc n Load Member

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    Bowies & big knives

    Having been a student of edged weapons for over 45 years, there is a place in my world for BIG knives such as the "bowie pattern"....I routinely carry one in a river city sheath....I don't think anybody can doubt the superiority of today's metallurgy or mfgr processes.....I am a big fan of cold steel bowies, as I have seen them subjected to tremendous abuse and they can really CUT. I carry a Bagwell Bowie which is an awesome blade, it is "alive" in my hands and has the balance and speed that others lack....I have had a lot of training with big blades and they have no peer when used properly.
     
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