Barlows out of style?

Sep 20, 2000
Is it me, or are Barlows no longer popular as daily-carry pocketknives? By "Barlow" I mean a folding jackknife with clip and pen blades. Some people are selling single clip-bladed folders as Barlows. Those aren't Barlows, in my opinion.

I decided to look around for one, remembering I bought one for my brother about 20 years ago or so. I could find only two manufacturers, Camillus and Boker.

By the way, at, the Barlow is described as having a single bolster. I though you had to have two bolsters.
The Barlow, or Jack knife, has only one bolster and its blade (or blades) are attached only at one end.

Perhaps you are thinking of other slipjoint patterns like the stockman or whittler. Camillus, Case, Boker, etc all still make Barlow pattern knives.
Right now, the only "traditional" folder in my collection is a Barlow, I love the pattern. Mine is a two-blade Barlow from Cripple Creek, which went out of business years ago. I consider this pattern very handsome, especially with the swedged spearpoint the Cripple Creek has! I don't fancy the pattern very much with a clip points.

Take a look at the April 2001 Blade Mag. Apparently, Barlows are making a comeback. The article lists the various current makers of the Barlow pattern. Try the website at
The original Barlow from the Russell Green River Works in the 19th century were made with either a single clip blade or two blades at different times and all had a single bolster at the knife end of the handle. I have two of them here and actually carry one of them from time to time. The modern day Barlow would be true to the original pattern with one or two blades but always with a single bolster. Most of the major traditional knife manufacturers such as Case, Boker and others make Barlows from time to time although I'm not aware of any in production at the moment, although there could be. Both Case and Boker made Barlow models last year.
I love the barlow pattern. They are my favorite slip joint that I collect. There are several very nice barlows available at this time.

From SMKW the Winchester barlow is made by Queen. For less than $30 you get a high quality knife

From AG Russell there is a single blade Schatt and Morgan barlow made Queen (again). This is a gorgeous single blade knife.

Remington has a green over yellow delrin pattern barlow made by Camillus.

Do you guys see the trend? The 2 best pocket knife companies are making this pattern.

I just had a custom knife maker make me a barlow and the price and quality are superb. His name is Gary Crowder. I have been carrying it daily.

One question: What is a single bolster knife? Can someone explain that to me?

bolsters are the metal pieces at the ends of the knife's handles. a trapper, for example, traditionally has a metal piece at either end of each handle, while a traditional barlow only has a bolster at the end where the joint is. (trappers can have only one bolster, but i picked the trapper pattern as an example because both blades are at the same end, like a barlow.)
Originally posted by Kodiak PA
From SMKW the Winchester barlow is made by Queen. For less than $30 you get a high quality knife.

Does SMKW - Smokey Mountain Knife Works - have a web site? I can't find it. Or am I missing something?
Cardimon, take a look at Levine's guide (4th edition) and you will learn about the Barlow pattern a lot. The two bolsters knives you have described are swell butt jack knives. The Barlow has one long bolster only. Originally it was a cheaper but sturdy knife usually given to older boys. Because of the great functionality the larger (5") Barlows (daddy or grandddaddy Barlows) became favourite tools of farmers, outdoorsmen etc. The master blades were spear, clip point, even sheepsfoot, sometimes with second pen or sheepsfoot blades added. The handles were traditionally smooth or sawcut bone ones.
I would recommend another quality Queen product, a recently discontinued Robeson brand Daddy Barlow with a single ATS-34 clip point blade and bone handle scales. Makes a great user knife!
I've used mostly trappers for whittlin' since I was a kid. I did have a barlow that my grandfather gave me, it was a schrade I believe. This thread has me thinking that for long whittlin' sessions a Barlow patter might be more comfortable in the hand???
perhaps, but not much different than a trapper imo, because they are patterned similarly. maybe the slightly larger butt end would feel better, though... hm. i usually use a small fixed-blade carving knife with a teeny wharncliffe-ish blade.
My wife gave me a limited edition set of J. Russell & Co. Barlow's a couple of years ago. I still see them advertised from time to time. They are very nicely made with matched stag scales. I have carried the small one and it's a very nice traditional pattern that I understand goes back to the 1700's and designed by Obediah Barlow. I'm also pretty sure that the Barlow was mentioned in either "TomSawyer" or "Huck Finn" by Mark Twain.