The first custom or handmade knife that I can remember seeing.

My dad had carried the knife through WW2 and my first memory of it was that he kept it in his big wooden tool chest in a small workshop area of the barn. I think that I was about 8 or 9 then and like most other boys my age growing up in the southern mountains I was interested in guns and knives. Sometimes the neighbor boy and I would get the knife out of the toolbox and have great fun throwing it at the barn doors or trees, but that ended when my dad started locking the tool chest. No doubt he noticed the many dings in the aluminum handle slabs that resulted from our poor throws.

The knife is 10 ½”overall in length and the blade is 6 ¼” long. The blade is single edged and has a small, shallow swedge at the top of the tip that is about 2 ½” long. The blade steel exposed under the thin, aluminum handle slabs is about .200 thick, and the handle slabs are fastened on with steel rivets or pieces of peened over steel rod. Overall the knife shows coarse grinding marks, file marks, dings, etc.

dadknife

The knife, sheath, and CBI bullion patch

The knife has its original sheath which has my dad’s name, address, and military ID number on the back still visible having been written in black ink. The sheath is thick leather, riveted together, has no welt, and is still serviceable today.

It certainly is a tough old knife; whatever steel and heat treatment was used must have been right for the knife to have survived all the abuse I heaped upon it back then.

I believe that I remember my dad saying that the knife was made by “an old man out at a sawmill”, but from its appearance I think it could also have been theater made. Whatever the truth is about that, and despite its crude construction, it is as old as I am and it brings back good childhood memories for me.

I have pictured the knife with its sheath and his China Burma India bullion patch.

copyright Bill North 2013

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