Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

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John Wright
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Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby John Wright » Thu Mar 07, 2019 12:48 am

Why do many cattle knives have a pen blade instead of a sheepsfoot? You especially see it on the knives with 3 blades and a punch, like the ones that Sears and Wards carried. I have a Sears 9469 and it has a clip, punch, spay, and pen blade but no sheepsfoot. And other ones are similar. It seems like the standard set up on a stockman or a cattle knife is the clip, sheepsfoot, and spay. Why did the companies put a pen blade some of them instead of a sheepsfoot blade?

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Mumbleypeg
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby Mumbleypeg » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:22 am

Good question. Probably because some customers wanted them. ::shrug:: The Case 64047 is another example - California clip, spay, pen, and a punch. Never made with a sheepfoot that I know of.

You’ll find numerous posts here on AAPK debating the pros and cons of, and preferences for different types of blades. One of the main features of stockman and cattle knife patterns is that one of the blades is usually a spay blade. The sheepfoot seems to be optional. And despite the spay requirement being stated in Levine’s Guide and other respected references, you’ll get arguements from some about even that.

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KnifeSlinger#81
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby KnifeSlinger#81 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:23 am

That is just one of the ways the pattern was offered. In the old days each pattern usually had more blade variations that they do today because the demand and uses for them was higher back then. The pen blade was just one of many different options. Cattle knives in general are much less commonly made than they used to be, stockmans are mostly the same functionally and they kind of took over.
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby Tsar Bomba » Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:32 am

I have a few cattle knives with sheepsfoot and pen secondary blades and I like that configuration just fine. ::nod::
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Mumbleypeg
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby Mumbleypeg » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:04 am

Nice one Tony. ::tu:: I believe Levine calls that a “utility knife”, made on a cattle knife frame. How long is it?

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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby KnifeSlinger#81 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:28 am

I prefer a pen on a cattle knife for use, but there's also something about the looks of the more broad spey that is suiting to the heft of a cattle knife.
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby kootenay joe » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:49 pm

A sheepsfoot blade is suitable for a variety of cutting needs but has one drawback: when closed the spine is well above level of liners and makes the grip uncomfortable especially if you are cutting something that requires force and thus a tight grip. This might be why a pen blade is used instead of a sheepsfoot.
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby John Wright » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:43 pm

OK, thanks to everybody for the information.

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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby John Wright » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:14 pm

Mumbleypeg wrote:Good question. Probably because some customers wanted them. ::shrug:: The Case 64047 is another example - California clip, spay, pen, and a punch. Never made with a sheepfoot that I know of.

You’ll find numerous posts here on AAPK debating the pros and cons of, and preferences for different types of blades. One of the main features of stockman and cattle knife patterns is that one of the blades is usually a spay blade. The sheepfoot seems to be optional. And despite the spay requirement being stated in Levine’s Guide and other respected references, you’ll get arguements from some about even that.

Welcome to AAPK!

Ken

Thanks for the welcome, Ken.

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RalphAlsip
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby RalphAlsip » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:20 am

Mumbleypeg wrote:One of the main features of stockman and cattle knife patterns is that one of the blades is usually a spay blade. The sheepfoot seems to be optional. And despite the spay requirement being stated in Levine’s Guide and other respected references, you’ll get arguements from some about even that.

Ken, good information. On the older Case 3 blade 45 patterns (pre 1940), a sheepfoot blade seems very uncommon. For the main blade, either a clip or a spear are common. The spey seems prevalent and the 3rd blade is usually a pen with a punch as the non pen alternative. Other makers seem to use the sheepfoot blade more often on their cattle patterns. The XX Case 45 3 blade pattern seems to only have a clip main along with sheepfoot and pen secondaries.
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby WillyCamaro » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:05 am

In my humble opinion pen blades look nicer to me. Don't like sheepsfoot for the reasons stated before. But for using, sheepers are much better suited.

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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby WillyCamaro » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:07 am

Now just thinking,
A warncliff and pen secondary would be a great combination... ::hmm::

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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby Colonel26 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:23 am

I don’t cull any of the variations. I’ve been packing the redone Camillus with a bail today.

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Mumbleypeg
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby Mumbleypeg » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:59 pm

It’s always interesting to read threads like this and see the different perspectives. Levine says the cattle knife was developed in the 1870s, designed for working on and around livestock. Therefore the blades would have served a useful purpose for the knife’s users at the time. In those days there were no knife collectors. People bought knives as tools to be used, so the buyers of cattle knives would be looking for a knife having blades they found useful. Thus the reason most cattle knives have either a spear or clip master, a spay secondary, and either a sheepfoot, pen, or punch for the other secondary.

As we collectors get farther and farther from the dates when the various patterns originated, the historical circumstances of their origins become lost or secondary. The cattle knife is a good example. It seems for many collectors the cattle knife has become known and identified by its shape alone, with little or no concern for what blades it has.

As patterns evolve to please the tastes of today’s buyers, cutlery makers might indeed put Wharcliffe or various other blades into an equal-end knife, to suit the tastes and uses of current day buyers. That’s how the marketplace works - very few people “doctor” livestock today. But IMHO as one who values history, when altered as such they’re no longer “cattle knives”. JMO

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Tsar Bomba
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Re: Pen Blades on Cattle Knives

Postby Tsar Bomba » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:36 am

Ken, you make an excellent point. Considering "cattle" is right there in the name, a spey seems like the natural secondary blade of choice.

I still like my sheepsfoot better though. ::tounge::

Mumbleypeg wrote:Nice one Tony. ::tu:: I believe Levine calls that a “utility knife”, made on a cattle knife frame. How long is it?

Good name for it. The Imperial is 3 11/16" closed. I have a Pal Blade equal-ender with spear, sheepsfoot and punch that goes about 3 7/8" closed, too.


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