Bagwell bowies

Jun 24, 1999
For some time now I've been hearing alot about Bill Bagwell's production bowies from Ontario, and I've heard nothing but stories of perfection. Does anyone hear own? What do you think of them?
I'm curious too. Mr. Keating speaks highly of Mr. Bagwell and his knives. I'm curious about if the false edge is sharpened or not on these production knives.

Also, now that Ontario is making Bagwell Bowies, is Mr. Bagwell ceasing his custom knifemaking? I've noticed that his website has been down for some time.


"A fear of weaponry is a sure sign of neuroses."
There were reviews posted a week or two ago, but we no longer have a "search" function
Almost entirely positive as I recall.


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
I've had more than a few come through my hands. Most were pretty good. Some sucked. The first couple weren't close to the razor sharp blade that everyone kept talking about. The guards were twisted and the false edge was still very false. Some of the 2nd runs were much better. I would not call them perfect, but at least worth the price. The edges were much sharper, guards were better and the flase edge was still no where near the razor sharp edge that has been claimed. The last one I had was a Fortress and just sold it. It was probably the best one I had. I will probably get another Bagwell when my finances are straightened out.
I purchased the fortress from Dirk, a very kind and considerate forumite
. In answer to your question, the false edge is not sharppened but very formed to a definite edge. The main blade is sharp but I have already sharpened it up to hair shaving sharp. The detail and symmetry are flawless. The case fits like O.J.'s gloves, very tight. Blade thickness is close or equal to the recon scout at the spine, then tapers and thins down to the point.
Compared to the recon scout, even though it is about 4 inches longer, the fortress feels more lively when moving the hand in any direction. The handle is large enough for extra huge hands. I can see why this could be one heck of a fighting blade. If someone pulled one of these and waved it around in front of me, it would certainly get my attention.
The blade is flat ground and the false edge is very steep.
My local knife dealer said the reason the false edge is not sharp is due to the fact that some states have determined that both edges sharp is not legal. Sounds reasonable, but who knows.
Ontario knife will sharpen it at no charge and return it to me at no charge if I send it in.
Overall I am happy with it. Like all of my knives but one, this is a user. So far the only use is to just sharpen, hold, and wave around. I will find something to use it for sooner or later but right now it just looks and feels cool. I know, someone in his fifty's should not say cool but can't think of another word to describe it. Yeah, it is a keeper.

What? Another knife? Don't you have enough of those things already?
How many does one person need?
Going by a Fortress I had the opportunity to handle;

For what it is, a fighting Bowie, it's a damn fine knife. However, I don't agree with the distal taper, I'd have rather seen it in two stages or not at all, in order to preserve more metal upfront. It doesn't have much in the way of belly, somewhat made up for by it's length. The handle is pretty comfortable, but I'm not sure it's been fastened as securely as it could be. Not that it's loose or anything. The sheath sucked. At least the one I saw. The stitching wasn't all that hot, I don't like the fact it's a slip sheath, and I don't like the belt stud idea. Then again, I've never seen any sheath that I liked.

That said, the knife itself is an excelent fighter, if you know how to use it. I have much respect for Keating's work, but I think he's a little more hot for it than the knife warrants. For two reasons, he's into Western arts(as I am, his ABC's, however, are not the begining or end of my training, a good introduction for anybody though. remember, there's a whole world of weapons and skills available in WMA) and this is the first production knife built to be used with Western combative systems. And secondly, us WMA-er's are kinda a misunderstood minority right now, and he's trying to put forward as good an image as he knows how. His relations with Bagwell would make him enthusiastic, but I don't feel that he is letting that get carried away.

My overall impression, it's a good knife, a GREAT idea, but I wish it had been carried out better. For the money, it ain't a bad deal.

Note: Bagwell isn't in possesion of any magic. He just knows some intricacies and details many makers ignore/don't take advantage of.
i own a bagell bowie,made by bagwell. and i have the ONTARIO version as well.
the bagwell bowie is one of the livest fighting blades i ever handled and as more you play with it you apriciate a cutlery prefection.
the ontario version is as close as you can get to the real thing,and without a waiting list of 3 years. if you are looking for the best fighting bowie out there,this is the one for you. if you can't afford a porche buy a VETTE not a hyunday.
Anyone appreciating a "live" blade should also try a Fisk or Crowell bowie out before proclaiming the Bagwell as the "best".
i was refering the BEST for the production fighting bowies made by ontario.
i did handle FISK bowies and they are great.
and on my list of must have's.but that is not what this thred is about,if i recall the original question was on the ontario's bowies.custome bowies is a whole diffirent ball game.if you recomend another production fighting bowie you recomend please share it with us 'cause i'm getting hooked on bowies lately.
For production bowie, I couldn't agree more with the Ontario Bagwell's.

But for custom fighting bowie and considering price/performance/waiting time trade-off,
one might wanna consider Black Cloud's FB4 made in A-2 and with handle of your choice. Unlike the Ontario's, the false edge of FB4 is scary sharp.

I think Ernest Mayer's reputation here is well-known. It took only about 2 months to get mine. $400.00 is not too much for a knife with such quality.

You can see it below. It's the second knife from the top.

Of course, I've also ordered a Fisk bowie. Despite his fame Jerry is not unreachable. I emailed him any question and he got back within no time. Really nice guy.


[This message has been edited by Dew (edited 05 July 1999).]
I've handled some Black Cloud bowies, and man are they amazing. Sooo quick in the hand, and the guy understands edge geometry. Those Black Cloud bowies are high on my list for fighting bowies, and cost much less than most competitors.

I purchased a "Type III Fighter" from Charlie Porter at the Sooner Steel seminar. /Very alive in my hand and comfortable in my hand too! Reasonable price also, definately worth looking into. Charlie's also listed by Keating as a ComTech instructor. -Brian
Current production Ontario BagBwells have a properly sharpened false edge. Any new project can experience a few clitches - these have been corrected judging by the examples at Ontario's Blade Show booth. For production pieces, these knives are extremely live in the hand. I own both a custom Bagwell Hell's Belle and one of Ontarios offerings and have to agree with Scorpio that the Ontario Bagwells are the next best thing to a custom Belle.

Scorpio - Will you be at Jumpgate II? I'll be at first session.

hey mike,
no unfortunatly i will not be able to attend the jumpgate. brought bram frank to israel last month for a seminar so i keep in shape.
i'll take a rain check for next year,and hope to get to next year's riddle.[if jim will do it].hope you get a good one.send jim my regards,
The custom Bagwells that I have had are nice, the Ontario version does nothing for me. Not a big fan of the overall design, stainless does not send me and the samples that I have handled are far from wicked sharp. Custom bowie makers that I like (besides myself), Fisk, Crowell, John Smith,
Anders, MORANS!, Mike Conners, too many more to mention but the majority are ABS Mastersmiths, forge high Carbon and/or damascus Blades, differentially heat-treat and do all of their own work.
Dave Ellis, ABS, M.S.
P.S. you can view some of my work at my site
nice work ,but from your thread it can be understood that BAGWELL is not a master bladesmith. as far as i know Mr BAGWELL co-founded the A.B.S with bill moran,so are his knives are differntial heat treated.
so unless you meant the production ontarios,
i feel BAGWELL'S hounor should be maintained.