Frontier Knives Page 1

Heavy Duty Camp Knife by James Collins


Hand forged out of 5160 spring steel. Knife is double tapered. Custom filework. False edge (not sharpened). Antique patina.  Heavy duty blade (see dimensions). Curly maple scales, brass pins and bolster. Sheath is from veggie tanned leather, covered in Elk skin, waxed for water-resistance. Glass trade beads.  Color is dark brown (please see the pictures with the darker brown color which are truer to the actual color).


Overall length:  10 7/8”

Hilt length:     4 5/8”

Blade length:   6 ¼”

Blade width at widest point:   1 ½”

Spine width at widest point:   ¼” (meaty blade)

Hunting Knives


There are several good blade designs on the market today and hunting knives come in various sizes. Finding the right knife for your needs is very important.



With a hunting knife, look for a full tang or scale tang design which means that the blade and handle are one continuous piece of steel. This makes the knife strong and very hard to break. Avoid partial tang designs in the larger knives. 


Size matters. Get the right size knife for the job you are doing. Skinners are better for dressing game and which the larger knives are good for overall bushcraft (cutting wood, etc.).


At Blackoak Forge we use 1095 and 5160 carbon steels. 



Bowie Knife


While you can use a Bowie knife for hunting and bushcraft, I wanted to address it separately. The bowie knife is not historically well defined. However, modern bowies do have a specific shape. There are several knives that have been referred to as a “bowie” knife that do not look like the popular modern “bowie” shape. Knives were essential to people during the days of the frontier. In close quarters, 

the knife was a means of defense and a devastating weapon. Large knives were carried and wielded when needed. The fighting knife 

during the frontier varied greatly in shape. The fighting knife was not called a “Bowie” until after the famous knife fighter, Jim Bowie 

(who died at the Alamo and is also my cousin), had his notorious Sandbar fight. Men did not ask to purchase a “Bowie Knife”, they 

instead asked to purchase a “knife like Jim Bowie’s”. The name stuck.  


While modern bowie’s have a curved tip with a clip, historians speculate that the original “Bowie” knife was more similar to a common butcher knife with a curved point but no clip.


Bowies have a crossguard to protect the hand and for trapping other blades. The handles come in a wide variety of shapes which, in my opinion, is really up to the person who wields the knife.


Regardless of whether you like a clip or don’t like the clip, the Bowie knife is still a very effective and useful knife. They are large (usually a minimum of 9” OAL), wide (usually about 1 1/2”), with a heavy spine which is very effective for a bushcraft / chopping / utility knife.



Frontier Knife


This is such a huge category which has no specific blade shape that defines it. The men and women on the frontier used a variety of knives for cooking, hunting, and daily living. These blade shapes varied. What they truly needed was a knife that did not break, could cut well and would hold its edge.


Blackoak Forge creates “frontier” knives based on historical pictures and uses materials and blade styles that the frontiersmen and mountain men would have had at their disposal. These range from knives that resemble Native American style knives, butcher knives, hunting knives, and knives based off of European designs.


As a longhunter re-enactor and cousin to Jim Bowie, Davy Crocket, Sam Houston, William Clark (Lewis & Clark), and a direct descendent of Daniel Boone's father, I have a lot to live up to so that I may honor my ancestors. I have studied bladed weapons for over 25 years and work to make my knives as period correct as possible. 



Camp Knife by James Collins


Hand forged out of antique buggy spring. Custom filework. Antique patina.  Heavy duty blade (see dimensions). Curly maple scales, copper pins, lanyard hole. Custom-tooled sheath is veggie tanned leather. Color is dark brown.

Overall length: 12 1/4”
Blade length: 7 ”
Blade width at widest point: 1 ½”

Frontier Style Knife by James Collins


Hand-forged from 5160 spring steel with antler handle and silver bolster. Veggie tanned, hand-tooled sheath


OAL 12”

Blade 7”

Blade widest point 1 ¼”

Spine width 1/8”

Avalon - Black Oak - 8106 Route 60, Ashland, KY - 606-571-6852- (at) gmail (dot) com

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