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What is a Natchez Bowie Knife?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by keithhblade, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. keithhblade

    keithhblade

    83
    Mar 18, 2012
    I thought a Natchez Bowie was a guardless Bowie Knife with a coffin handle, and a somewhat subdued clip point, if any. But when I search for Natchez Bowie, 90% of the photos are of the Cold Steel Natchez, which just looks like a normal big bowie with a traditional handle, guard, and clip point.

    And it is somewhat unbelievable to me, but I cannot find a definition of a Natchez Bowie. Can anybody supply some info, or point me toward a source of information?

    Thanks,
    Keith
     
  2. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Natchez is a place

    Many have called different Bowies that because of the locations association with Jim Bowie

    The original Bowie was supposedly a large guard less butcher style knife

    Hope this helped
     
  3. tltt

    tltt

    May 1, 2008
    [​IMG].

    [​IMG].

    [​IMG].

    That is what many folks believe is the most likely candidate for having actual ties to Jim Bowie. The Forrest knife.
     
  4. CascadeSam

    CascadeSam

    165
    Apr 18, 2012
    That is what many folks believe is the most likely candidate for having actual ties to Jim Bowie. The Forrest knife.

    tltt,

    Thank you for your posting with the pictures. The blade appears to be about 12-1/2" long and to share some basic design characteristics with the Becker BK5 and even to the Kyber Knife of Asia.
     
  5. keithhblade

    keithhblade

    83
    Mar 18, 2012
    JParanee and tltt, thanks for the info. So it sounds like "Natchez Bowie" can be applied to any style of Bowie Knife, just like "Original Bowie" is.

    I wonder when the term Natchez Bowie was first used?

    Thank you all
     
  6. Moosez45

    Moosez45 Custom Antlers, Factory Knives... Moderator

    Jul 14, 2010
    At a sandbar in Natchez, Mississippi.

    For all intents and purpose, the Bowie knife that Jim Bowie used, is believed to have been made from a file, a simple blade, long, with no handle.

    Very much like the ones pictured above.

    Moose
     
  7. marcinek

    marcinek

    Jan 9, 2007
    Many blades have a connection to Bowie. The Forrest knife is what many (including myself) believe to be the "Sandbar knife."

    As far as design similarities, look at French chef's knives and Argentinian punales/"gaucho" knives. Those were popular at the time and probably the design inspiration for the Sandbar knife.

    A great source of info is this site...

    http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dewitt/adp/history/bios/bowie/knife_like_bowies.html

    Equally good is Bernard Levine's chapter on Bowie knives in his "Levine's Guide to Knives & Their Values."

    What's important to remember is that what happened with the original Bowie (whatever it may have been) is very similar to what happens today. People heard the story, wanted a tacticool knife just like Bowie's, and every knife maker slapped "Bowie" on knives and sold them like crazy....most of the knives were pure ninja.
     
  8. Moosez45

    Moosez45 Custom Antlers, Factory Knives... Moderator

    Jul 14, 2010
    I agree with you Marcinek.

    But after that sandbar fight, who wouldn't want to be like "Jim".

    I remember reading somewhere that the knife used at the Sandbar Fight, was a "butcher knife" made by Rezin, out of a file. Simple, big and probably sharp.

    When I was a kid, and went to the Alamo on vacation, seeing that piece they have in that case, was one of those life changing moments. I've been a bowie knife fanatic since.

    Moose
     
  9. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Me too :)
     
  10. marcinek

    marcinek

    Jan 9, 2007
    Of course, it's a awesome story.

    I just think its fascinating that even then, people ignored what was probably the case (that the sandbar knife was just a beefed up French chef's knife) and went and bought themselves something totally tacti-awesome instead. :)

    Also interesting is that these "Iron Mistress" Bowies (what people usually think of when they think Bowie) and Thorp Bowies have very little to do with any kind of historical reality. Pure fantasy.

    Always been that way with Bowies, and no doubt always will. 'Scool, though, you know. Historically inaccurate...but fun.
     
  11. keithhblade

    keithhblade

    83
    Mar 18, 2012
    Moosez45
    It somehow escaped me that the Sandbar Fight was in or near Natchez, Mississippi. That clears it up to some extent, though it still doesn't give a solid definition of a Natchez Bowie, outside of the generic "Original Bowie" description. Though I can accept that Natchez Bowie and Original Bowie are synonymous.

    Always more to learn I guess.
    Thanks,
    Keith Hemstreet
     
  12. hardheart

    hardheart

    Sep 19, 2001
    9 1/4" long, 1 1/2" wide, 1/4" thick, checkered oak handle, straight back, butcher's knife. Reportedly made by Jesse Clifft (or Lovell Snowden) on the Bowie Plantation at the direction of Rezin Bowie. The Schively-Perkins and Forrest knives have a similar profile. That seems to be the closest description of the knife used at the Vidalia Sandbar duel. The fate of it is not known, reportedly left on the Goliad roadside after butchering game, lost in a fishing trip to Bayou Pierre, or rehandled, shown to Smithwick, and then lost. But the Bowies gifted and paid debts with many knives, so there are many that would fit the old sales description of 'a knife like Bowie's'.

    ETA - Here's a post made by Chris Nolen on johnwayne-thealamo about how convoluted the myth of the Bowie knife is

     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  13. marcinek

    marcinek

    Jan 9, 2007
    I think you are missing a critical point. They mean the same thing....nothing.

    Look at CS Natchez Bowie. It looks nothing like the leading contenders for the sandbar knife which is the "original Bowie."

    (Funny thing....any knife labeled "Original Bowie"? Nothing like the sandbar knife.)

    I guess the whole thing hinges on whether or not one cares about historical accuracy. If one doesn't...it's cool.
     
  14. marcinek

    marcinek

    Jan 9, 2007
    And we haven't even mentioned The Iron Mistress with Alan Ladd, which entirely messed things up even further.
     
  15. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    The Knife that won the west :) Ruled the South first.

    When the Bowie became a fashion statement the cutlerys in Sheffield England produced what the dime novel and papers of the time where writing about in mass quantities to supply the masses

    Like Bagwell says in his book, Louisiana was the Mecca of culture when Chicago was a outpost and New York a shanty town, and every guy getting off a boat to go trapping , market hunting, mining etc. was looking for one.

    Since firearms where still on the unreliable side the big knives made ther way into a lot of different walks of life. From the simple blade to the Gentlemen Gamblers, who where carrying them pimped out in all there glory. There are many tales of duels and conflicts fought with the big knives , some made up some true but all fascinating reading.

    Truly a piece of Americana that I find terribly interesting.

    Yes the first Bowie was a big butcher knife , it was the proto type so of course it was a simple strong using knife.

    The good news is there has never been a better time to be a Bowie knife fan. From cheap knocked out ones for the masses to high end collector pieces, and my favorite hardcore performance pieces that have evolved into probable the greatest combat knife in the world.

    Bowie knives are fascinating knives and I highly recommend reading up on them , sure a lot of the stories are just that but Americas Excalibur deserves all our knife fans respect :)

    Here are 2 examples of high speed performance oriented Bowies

    Knight Founders Bowie

    [​IMG]

    In hand

    [​IMG]

    Bagwell Alamo Bowie


    [​IMG]

    In hand

    [​IMG]
     
  16. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    ^^^Sure look better than the original.:)
     
  17. 19Eleven

    19Eleven

    7
    Jul 4, 2012
    COLD STEEL

    [​IMG]




    MARK BANFIELD CUSTOM (COFFIN HANDLE)

    [​IMG]




    JEFF DUNN SANDBAR

    [​IMG]


    HOPE THAT HELPS!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  18. Moosez45

    Moosez45 Custom Antlers, Factory Knives... Moderator

    Jul 14, 2010
    Like Joe said, with firearms being unreliable and SINGLE SHOT, a big honkin' knife was fast on the draw, didn't need to be reloaded, and worked when wet.

    Jim Bowie brought into the limelight, but he wasn't the only legend to pack a whoppin' hunk o steel.

    Cassius Marcellus Clay, The Lion of Whitehall, carried a Bible, a brace of pistols, and a brace of large Bowie's. Talk about someone that the law didn't want to go arrest, even in his twilight years. Man made point.

    And, America can lay claim to the Bowie knife, its all US of A, from start to finish. :D

    Now, we have the Arkasas Bowie, a migration into some great blades, from which, an "old butcher knife" was the progenitor.

    Go Bowie.

    Moose
     
  19. marcinek

    marcinek

    Jan 9, 2007
    My "Bowie"....by the way.

    [​IMG]

    Has absolutely nothing to do with the sandbar knife in any way, shape, or form (except that you could mess somebody up with it). But it's one of my favorites.
     
  20. BlackKnight86

    BlackKnight86 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    When you think about it, though, if you can't know the historical truth with any kind of accuracy, should you invest too much time in caring?

    I stumbled upon the following article when I was reading up on Shiva Kai knives:

    http://www.defensereview.com/shiva-ki-custom-fightin-bowie-knife-big-fast-and-mean/

    I was fascinated by the connection that the author drew between the bowie style and the cutlass/Spanish fencing of the period. Is it true? No idea. But it does seem plausible; and if it is true then history lent Jim Bowie's name to a particular design/style of knife and fighting that developed around it, regardless of the knife that he actually used.

    I kind of like the look of Cold Steel's Natchez. The question that I prefer to ask is, if this knife had been around back then, might Jim have carried it?
     

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