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Customized Western W49 Bowie

Jun 24, 2003
I did a bit of work on the handle and handguard of my Western W49 Bowie. This bowie is the same pattern knife that Robert Redford carried in the movie, "Jeremiah Johnson". This pattern was also made in quantity during WWII and issued to aircrews and troops in the Pacific and the jungles of Asia as a survival and bush knife. The length of the blade from tip to handguard is 9".

It's one of the older carbon blade knives made before Western got run into the ground by Coleman, and Camillus took over the brand name and started making the knives out of 420HC stainless. This blade is 0170-6C steel, the same stuff they make the Beckers out of and the same stuff Cold Steel's 'Carbon-V' is suspected of being. The older carbon blade Western knives are extremely tough blades and they take and hold a razor edge.

Myself I liked the knife and it's become one of my favorite knives for serious use in the bush. However, I wanted to make it more tuned to what I wanted in the knife and better suited to a wide variety of bushcraft activities in addition to hunting. I added finger grooves in the full tang handle (the grips on this knife are made of rosewood). I cut and re-shaped the handguard. The lanyard hole is lined with 1/4" brass tubing. I usually like to line my lanyard holes with brass, if at all possible, when they go through wood.

My thanks to Scott at Razorback Knives for sending me a couple of pics of a Western W49 he did some good work on a while back. We were on a similar train of thought on the handguard.

Here's a couple of quick pictures I took of the knife.


Nice job!!!
I Bagwellized one of the carbon W49's awhile ago and gave it to my Father. The carbon W49 is one of those overlooked values.

Again nice job!!!

Nice- it looks great! I love my W49-- I've been using it for over 15 years, but I've always been afriad to modify it. I especially like how smooth your finish on the finger grips is.