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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2014 10:50 am    Post subject: Butcher Knives         Reply with quote

Greetings. Did old frontier butcher knives have distal taper? Thank you.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2014 5:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Butcher Knives         Reply with quote

Ricardo S. wrote:
Greetings. Did old frontier butcher knives have distal taper? Thank you.


The ones I have seen, and that is not very many, were flat, i.e. I did not see or at least could not detect any distal taper. But then most originals are generally sharpened to the point that most of the blade is gone.

Just our of curiosity, why would distal taper help make a butcher knife a better cutter?

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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

Posts: 85

PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Butcher Knives         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
Ricardo S. wrote:
Greetings. Did old frontier butcher knives have distal taper? Thank you.


The ones I have seen, and that is not very many, were flat, i.e. I did not see or at least could not detect any distal taper. But then most originals are generally sharpened to the point that most of the blade is gone.

Just our of curiosity, why would distal taper help make a butcher knife a better cutter?


I see... Well i don't think they had a distal taper, since, just like you said, they were made just for cutting meat and alike. So there was no need of a balanced knife. The thing is that i am going to make a gunstock club based on those with butcher knife blades. And i am going to make the knives also, and want them to be as much historical as i can make. A distal taper gives more balance and reduced weight, and some say makes the blade less prone to breakage due to stress distribution. I don't know if it improves cutting capabilities on a knife, but it is vital on a sword. Not to mention that a blade with a distal taper is quite beautiful. Hope this helps and thank you for the information.
Best regards.

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David Hohl




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Feb, 2014 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The frontier knives I've seen (don't know about butcher knives, but general purpose hunting and so on) were made from quite thin flat stock. The bevels were quite small. I know that it was a very common practice for knives to be locally made from old sawblades, which would be very thin.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 2:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have an old sheffield butcher knife. I cannot tell its age with certainty, but it has been with the family for generations. It might well be 19th century.
You can tell it is not just ground from stamp sheet metal like most modern kithchen/butcher knives. It was forged (drop forged?) to shape and then expertly ground. It is a full tang design with two large brass screws/rivets that holds the grip cales.
The tang is tapered to almost paper thin and the blade has a nice distal taper as well.
Because of a really well shaped cross section and the thin edge, it cuts really well even if it is not honed to full sharpness.

I am no expert on thee old frontier knives, but based on what Ive seen on old school knife making in the old solingen smithies and grinding shops, I would think that distal taper was part of the design of most knives, even simple ones, in the 18th and 19th century.
Industrial manufacture normally involved forging as part of production. Heavy drop hammers with dies made forging quick and efficient. The dies were shaped so that any integral bolsters and blade geometry was introduced as part of the forging without any extra steps or trouble.

Today most industry made knives are shaped from blanks that are cut from sheet metal and then ground. Distal taper is an extra step that is normally left out.

Ill see if I can snap some photos of my old Sheffield knife. It is simple but to me a beautiful and functional design.

EDIT: I just read that knives were made from recycled saw blades. In those cases a thin flat blade without distal taper is natural and logical: it is a matter of the nature of the starting material and the process of manufacture. Knives produced in Sheffield or Solingen would have involved die forging for the most part.
Locally made knives made from saw blades or old files would have a shape that results from varying degrees of forging, or simply grinding to shape.
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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Hohl wrote:
The frontier knives I've seen (don't know about butcher knives, but general purpose hunting and so on) were made from quite thin flat stock. The bevels were quite small. I know that it was a very common practice for knives to be locally made from old sawblades, which would be very thin.


Very interesting dave. Thank you very much.
Regards.

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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 6:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
I have an old sheffield butcher knife. I cannot tell its age with certainty, but it has been with the family for generations. It might well be 19th century.
You can tell it is not just ground from stamp sheet metal like most modern kithchen/butcher knives. It was forged (drop forged?) to shape and then expertly ground. It is a full tang design with two large brass screws/rivets that holds the grip cales.
The tang is tapered to almost paper thin and the blade has a nice distal taper as well.
Because of a really well shaped cross section and the thin edge, it cuts really well even if it is not honed to full sharpness.

I am no expert on thee old frontier knives, but based on what Ive seen on old school knife making in the old solingen smithies and grinding shops, I would think that distal taper was part of the design of most knives, even simple ones, in the 18th and 19th century.
Industrial manufacture normally involved forging as part of production. Heavy drop hammers with dies made forging quick and efficient. The dies were shaped so that any integral bolsters and blade geometry was introduced as part of the forging without any extra steps or trouble.

Today most industry made knives are shaped from blanks that are cut from sheet metal and then ground. Distal taper is an extra step that is normally left out.

Ill see if I can snap some photos of my old Sheffield knife. It is simple but to me a beautiful and functional design.

EDIT: I just read that knives were made from recycled saw blades. In those cases a thin flat blade without distal taper is natural and logical: it is a matter of the nature of the starting material and the process of manufacture. Knives produced in Sheffield or Solingen would have involved die forging for the most part.
Locally made knives made from saw blades or old files would have a shape that results from varying degrees of forging, or simply grinding to shape.



Wow! Very very nice. Thank you very much sir. That is an amazing bit of information that helps me a lot. Well i think i gonna make the knives for my gunstocklub as if they were made from a saw blade, without distal taper. By the way, your work is just fantastic, congratulations!

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Feb, 2014 1:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
I am no expert on thee old frontier knives, but based on what Ive seen on old school knife making in the old solingen smithies and grinding shops, I would think that distal taper was part of the design of most knives, even simple ones, in the 18th and 19th century.
Industrial manufacture normally involved forging as part of production. Heavy drop hammers with dies made forging quick and efficient. The dies were shaped so that any integral bolsters and blade geometry was introduced as part of the forging without any extra steps or trouble.

Today most industry made knives are shaped from blanks that are cut from sheet metal and then ground. Distal taper is an extra step that is normally left out.


To amplify this, hand-forged blades will also tend to have distal taper. It's easier to hand-forge a blade that tapers (and has a tapered tang) than one with no taper.

So,
(a) locally-made hand-forged knives will usually have distal taper,
(b) imported Solingen/Sheffield knives will usually have distal taper, and
(c) locally-made knives from recycled flat stock (e.g., saw blades) will usually be flat.

(This still applies to modern kitchen knives - hand-forged and drop-forged knives have distal taper, and sheet metal knives are flat. Also, the forged knives typically thin from spine to edge, and if appropriate, are flat ground have a very small or no secondary bevel, while sheet metal knives usually have a relatively narrow hollow grind with large secondary bevel.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

Posts: 85

PostPosted: Mon 24 Feb, 2014 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Peter Johnsson wrote:
I am no expert on thee old frontier knives, but based on what Ive seen on old school knife making in the old solingen smithies and grinding shops, I would think that distal taper was part of the design of most knives, even simple ones, in the 18th and 19th century.
Industrial manufacture normally involved forging as part of production. Heavy drop hammers with dies made forging quick and efficient. The dies were shaped so that any integral bolsters and blade geometry was introduced as part of the forging without any extra steps or trouble.

Today most industry made knives are shaped from blanks that are cut from sheet metal and then ground. Distal taper is an extra step that is normally left out.


To amplify this, hand-forged blades will also tend to have distal taper. It's easier to hand-forge a blade that tapers (and has a tapered tang) than one with no taper.

So,
(a) locally-made hand-forged knives will usually have distal taper,
(b) imported Solingen/Sheffield knives will usually have distal taper, and
(c) locally-made knives from recycled flat stock (e.g., saw blades) will usually be flat.

(This still applies to modern kitchen knives - hand-forged and drop-forged knives have distal taper, and sheet metal knives are flat. Also, the forged knives typically thin from spine to edge, and if appropriate, are flat ground have a very small or no secondary bevel, while sheet metal knives usually have a relatively narrow hollow grind with large secondary bevel.)


Nice. Very good indeed. Quite vital information. Very precise. Thank you very much for the help sir.

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