Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First exposure of my work in a magazine

Not an article, but the April issue of Blade has a letter to the editor from me thanking them for their timely article in last June's issue about the Bowies at the Alamo. One of the Bowies pictured was the Caiaphas Ham Bowie on display in the Alamo's Long Barracks, which I had just been commissioned to make a reproduction of for a customer who wanted it not only for its historical value, but for the design's utility. As a bit of background, Ham was a friend of the Bowie brothers and was given the knife from Jim's brother Rezin, who was the knife nut of the family. From the caption on the display in the Long Barracks, it sounded to me like there's a good chance Rezin made the knife himself, though I don't remember what information there made me think that or know for sure that he did.

Although my shop is just a couple or so miles from the Alamo and I had studied and sketched the knife to the extent of my poor drawing ability, I wanted to get as close to the original profile as possible.

Armed with dimensions e-mailed to me by one of the head curators and the picture from the Blade article, I got as close to the original profile as I could. The original was forged from an old file, but this one was 5160. I used mesquite for the handle, appropriate for a knife made in Texas. :) I even offset the rivets in the handle as near as I could figure to the original.

Like the original, it has a tapered tang and a pinched-in spine.

Fortunately, the customer had better sense than to try to reproduce the original sheath, which was quite crude and seemed to be held together with *lead rivets*! Given the fact that my leatherworking skills would likely have made a sheath uglier than the original (I know where my skillsets lie, and it's not in the direction of leatherwork), the customer wisely commissioned knifemaker Luke Swenson, also living in the San Antonio area, to make a sheath for it.

Since getting the knife, the customer has put it through its paces, from cutting grass to patch a shelter roof to cooking to near-daily use in making kindling for his wood stove. In his words, "IT HOLDS A PHENOMENAL EDGE". That's what one likes to hear about one's work. :D I like making good using tools for folks what use them.

The magazine has just hit the stores and I haven't picked up a copy for myself (and other copies for my family) yet, but I've seen the page. They have a large picture of the knife plastered across the top of the page where you can't miss it. :) I've already seen a small increase in visitors to my website specifically because of it.

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding, James! Bowies.....gotta love 'em! Bill.......