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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Jul, 2017 11:41 am    Post subject: DIY: Confederate Side Knife         Reply with quote

This project has been complete except for assembly for many months because I couldn’t decide if it should be a slightly scaled-down John Brown pike or a somewhat more plausible Confederate side knife. I’m trying to close out some projects, so I decided to split the difference, keeping the pike form and construction but adding a simple cap of the type common on many Confederate knives.

The pikes made for Brown are pretty much identical, so there’s not much room for interpretation. The Windlass bare dagger blade I’m using isn’t a good match. Ironically, Brown is said to have designed the pikes based on some knives he saw.

There are many examples of Confederate military knives with cast brass hilts, but I don’t know of any with iron-clad grips of this type. It’s historically feasible. Pikes were even more useless than giant knives, and cutlers who found themselves with surplus pike blades did re-purpose them as knives.

Although useful on a polearm, the ferrule would not serve much purpose on a knife. If one happened to be lying around the workshop, it could be added as a special feature. It would ruggedize the grip without adding much or any more weight than the popular “D”-style guard variants. I think the ferrule works very well with the blackened guard and pommel cap. The balance, fit and aesthetics really appeal to me.

The scabbard is the distal end of a typical Windlass Steelcrafts sword scabbard, which most of us wisely pile in a corner. Be advised that these stand in for 19th c. knife scabbards pretty convincingly. I intended to use a Windlass chape, but my faux-antique treatment of the leather and knife argued for a “lost” chape and ragged tip. None of this is going to fool anybody long enough to allow fraud. I just like the look, especially because I’m so fond of the antiques documented in the wonderful book “Confederate Bowie Knives” by Melton, Phillips and Sexton. The side knife inspiration images below are from that book, and give a good idea of the variety seen in locally made knives.

My projects don’t get any cheaper than this one. It’s a Windlass/Atlanta Cutlery blade, maybe a dollar’s worth of sheet and bar steel, a rusty ferrule and section from a rotten hoe handle and discarded scabbard. I would guess I have $20 invested in this project. A documented side knife in this condition might be worth several thousand dollars.



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Thu 06 Jul, 2017 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Side knife inspiration


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Thu 06 Jul, 2017 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pike inspiration (with great details for some forum member to use in a reconstruction!)


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Mon 10 Jul, 2017 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This awesomely nuts Albion moat sale blade might make a good early bowie project, too. Eek!


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Jul, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean,

That is a pretty interesting knife project you've made! Inspiration, for sure.

Thank you for the close-ups and information on the pike. I had lately become more interested in pikes, and had heard of the John Brown pikes (and Confederate Joe Brown pikes). I was unaware they were tanged with a ferrule, rather than just a socket, however.

I must wonder what the smiths commissioned to make the original pieces must have thought of the request?

At some point in the future I'd like to return to smith work and may actually try my hand at one; time will tell!

Thanks,

M.

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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Joined: 21 Aug 2003
Likes: 10 pages
Reading list: 13 books

Spotlight topics: 7
Posts: 5,900

PostPosted: Mon 10 Jul, 2017 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's more technical detail on the pikes. Full history here: https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/john-brown-pike/10239

"The pikes Brown ordered consisted of a 9 ½ to 10-inch long double-edged blade of forged cast steel, a 4 ½ inch wide iron guard, a 3 ¼ inch long, tapering ferrule, and a screw. These were fitted onto six-foot ash handles."

The scarcity of 72" ready-made ash handles was an obstacle for me. You can get ash of the perfect form, complete with ferrule, in the 52" length, but have to search hard for anything longer.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Jul, 2017 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for that; curious things, those (curious-er still are those Confederate retractable pikes). I seem to have a thing for weapons that are out of their element, like these pikes in the age of definitely not pikes.

M.

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