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Allow me to present a knife that could be 2000 years old! It's not, though. It's a recently-made rustic foldable knife on which the tool marks are nicely visible. It’s about 235mm (9.25 inches) long when open. The blade may look rough-and-ready but it’s high quality spring steel which behaves the way steel should when sharpened. It does come sharp, but a superior razor-sharp edge can easily be created and maintained*. The wood of the handle is slightly rough, but if that’s too rustic for your tastes, then sanding it a little and applying some beeswax polish is a very small job.
Back in 2010, this is what one blogger wrote about this same knife purchased from us:
“The blade came with a usable edge on it. I straightened the edge a bit on a steel, I then touched it up with my fancy sharpening doodads. It took longer than usual to remove a tiny amount of material, so the blade is probably pretty high-carbon steel. Even without extra sharpening, this slightly-mad-slasher-looking thing's not just a bit of renaissance-faire costume kit. It's a perfectly practical tool, with a nice slim blade profile that makes it good for slicing tasks, though not a great choice for really heavy cutting. If you were to hop in your time machine with it and go back to the Roman Republic, nobody would find it particularly remarkable. Well, actually I suspect the cap on the hinge rivet may be a bit of aluminium or stainless steel, which'd be a giveaway if someone examined the knife closely. But apart from that, this is a decent ancient replica. (You could be onto a nice little earner there, actually. Scour handle and blade with dirt for a while, soak it in wine, soak it in oil, put it in a low oven for a little while, then bury it in the garden and water it daily for a week. And then dig it up and put it on eBay with a $500 reserve as Roman Pocket Knife Miraculously Preserved In Peat Bog. Just hope they don't carbon-date the wood.) More intelligent readers may have figured out, from this, that folding pocket knives have been around for a surprisingly long time. Fixed-blade knives are stronger (provided they have a decent-sized tang), and simpler, and so have always been much more common. But the ancient Romans did indeed have folding pocket knives - some of quite sophisticated design.”
“Making your own knife, often from some cast-off piece of steel like an old file or a railroad spike, is a popular simple metalworking/blacksmithing project. I think a lot of people are put off the idea, though, by thinking they have to make something that's somewhere near modern commercial quality, or at least as good as a Douk-Douk or K55K. You don't, though. You can make a knife like this with basic hand tools, a gas stove and the very cheapest of eBay Anvil-Shaped Objects, if you've already got a chunk of steel. .... Or you can just buy this one, of course. ... Either way, it's another very satisfying object.”
We don’t recommend the eBay scam though! As well as a great Renaissance fair camp utility knife, it’s a very good all-around knife and works very well for opening plastic packages, boxes and such. We actually use them in our warehouse as on-the-job cutting tools.
This replica has a neat pseudo-lock system: there's a flattened spike on the back of the blade that stops it from opening too far, and is also easy to grip when you grasp the handle, and thereby prevents the blade from closing. It's not a real lock, and it sticks out when the knife is closed, but as a safety feature it's not bad. The spike also has a little hole in it, through which you could tie a lanyard or through which a small nail could be hammered: to convert it into a fixed-blade knife. (if you are going to do this, also tightly bind the protruding spike to the handle).
I wouldn't be surprised if someone, one or two thousand years ago, came up with a simple locking mechanism for a folding knife such as this. It's possible that many such knives were made, but didn't survive to the present day. Iron and steel items of all sorts are hard to find in archaeological digs, because iron easily rusts away to nothing over time, leaving archaeologists puzzling over the stain the rust left, and whatever parts remain, to figure out what the now-lost iron parts looked like. Older bronze-bladed knives and swords often fare a lot better. Early iron blades were actually clearly inferior to the bronze alternatives; but iron was much more common than the copper-and-tin used to make bronze.
Although this is a great slicer and gives a cool touch of “early settler” vibe to your kitchen top, remember, it’s not stainless - so don’t try submerging it in soapy water and leaving it out to dry on a draining board, or else it will pick up rust spots, but as long as you afford it that special treatment (giving it a wipe rather than a wash – and perhaps a dab of vegetable oil a few times a year) then it’s great for the kitchen draw. Goes perfectly with Victorian cottage type décor.
*As to the knife sharpening, get yourself a good diamond file: something decently fine. I actually use the file on my Leatherman to sharpen most of my knives, as it is more convenient than my knife care kit (also diamond file, it's more consistent than stone, and does not really wear out). If I want a really nice edge (for the kitchen cutlery say) then I have to get the kit out, but for your standard utility edge the Leatherman file works wonders. It takes practice to get it right, learn on a blade you don't love.
NOTE: These are genuinely hand made items, and no two look exactly alike. Although the pictured example is a fair and average representation, there might be very slight variations from knife to knife. For example, the wood might be of a slightly different shade or the line patterns on the handle might be cut at a different angle.
“How interesting! I actually like the rustic look it has; that's what makes it interesting and unusual when set beside the thousands of other bench-made knives that look oh so similar.”
“The knife itself is great; I'm a sucker for anything old or an old design still in common use or that can still be pressed into service without much trouble.”
“Great Medieval camp knife! I’ve been looking for something like this for quite some time. A rustic gnarly utility knife is not as easy to find as you might imagine – and now I’ve got one.”
Great value for what it is. Similar historical folder knives are sold on the web but they are way overpriced and likely unsharpened. This knife comes with a wicked edge and a nice aesthetic finish, evokes the fire and ice of the north. Devilman on 7th Feb 2020
This knife will be perfect for using at the encampment at festivals. Its rough and rustic look make it the perfect utilitarian knife for all tasks around the camp. The seax style blade with blackened steel make it a good choice for Vikings, Anglo-saxons, or other Germanic tribes. And there is plenty of archaeological examples of similar folding knives from those eras to satisfy the most perfection-conscious reenactor.
It came sharp with a plain handle that is just begging to be carved. Naomi. on 7th May 2019
Great little folding knife, has become my favorite pocket knife for around the house and yard Unknown on 31st Oct 2018
I bought 2 of these, there very rustic but have great potential as a little project, easy to "dress" up with just a little sanding and polishing.
I'm gonna get alot of fun out of these and at the price well well worth it Marc on 29th Sep 2017
This product, as with all products I have purchased from The Medieval Shoppe is excellently made.
The blade is sharp and I also love the rustic finish on both the blade and wood.
I have yet to put this knife to use but it feels very sturdy so the construction is good.
Very happy with this purchase and for the price it's a great buy as it has a very nice Medieval look and feel.
Highly recommended! Stixx on 4th Mar 2017