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 Post subject: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:03 pm 
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Location: Abilene, Texas
I am interested in why certain patterns and knife shapes are called what they are called. Some of them I can figure out: Coke bottle, gun stock, sowbelly, canoe, sunfish and elephant toenail are all self-explanatory. And, I found the definition of barehead but not bearhead in the glossary here. But is bearhead just a misunderstanding of barehead, or is there really a bearhead? A stockman knife gets its name from the people that use that pattern most, the stockmen or cattlemen that would be lost without them in their pockets. And I would venture a guess that a doctor's knife gets its name in the same way, although I don't want a doctor cutting on me with one of those! And serpentines are easy to identify. :roll:

But, why is a trapper called a trapper? ::shrug::

Why is a copperhead called a copperhead? ::shrug::

Does a congress pattern take its name from the Capitol building and its two houses of congress? ::doh::

Where does the muskrat pattern get its name? Did its name evolve from the fact that most muskrats have two opposite-opening muskrat blades, and if so, where did the blades get that name? ::shrug::

Anyway, just some questions I have been pondering lately ... Maybe some of y'all can point me in the right direction! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:55 pm 
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I can't answer for most patterns, but the doctors knife, almost by definition, contains a folding spatula and a pill crusher on one end, used for, guess what? :)

It's my belief that "Bearhead" is just a marketing or phonetic variation on Bare Head, which is applied to knives with only a single end bolster

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 Post subject: Re: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:48 pm 
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It is my understanding that the trapper was originally designed for use by those who trapped live animals for their fur. The clip blade was more utilitarian and the spey blade was used to skin the trapped game. The rounded tip of the spey blade helped to avoid piercing the hide which greatly reduced the value of the pelt.

Just speculating here, but a copperhead is a type of snake. The knife has a larger bolster on one end similar to the bolsters on a canoe and a more tapered bolster on the other end. Could it have been that the knife seemed to resemble the copperhead snake with a large head and a tapered tail ?

Phil

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 Post subject: Re: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 12:27 am 
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Great Questions! Your journey may be long but along the way you will be rewarded.

I would suggest two books that I think have exemplary info on Blade Shapes / Names as well as Pattern Shapes / Names and History.

The First you should purchase The Standard Knife Collector's Guide (5th Ed) by Roy Ritchie & Ron Stewart. Another to add to your list afterward is Bernard Levine's 4th Guide to Knives & their Values.

Good luck and enjoy the search.

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 Post subject: Re: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:05 am 
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Location: Abilene, Texas
philco -

I have wondered the same thing about the copperhead. If you hold it at a certain angle, the larger bolster looks almost snake-ish, if you squint your eyes just right ... maybe ... :?

Or, another possible explanation ... it seems that most copperheads have an exposed middle liner at the hinged end of the blades (I am new to copperheads; I am reluctant to say all of them have the exposed middle liner). Perhaps the brass color resembles copper at the head of the knife?? I don't know, that's why I am asking ... I am just making this up as I go along here! :roll:

Hillbillenigma -

Thanks for the heads up on the books! Next stop on the information superhighway: Amazon.com! ::nod::

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 Post subject: Re: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:25 pm 
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The muskrat gets it's name from the blades. The knife was designed by hunters and trappers specifically for skinning furred animals like minks, beavers, marmots, etc. The blades are long and slender which reminded trappers of the tails of one other animal they trapped, the muskrat.

- Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Patterns Defined?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:43 pm 
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Location: New Vienna, Ohio
I don't know the answer on the congress pattern, but in my opinion, they're called that because they're crooked. :shock:


Griz


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