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Rattlesnake Bowie Knife

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Snake-in-the-grass Rattlesnake Bowie, Ironwood

This is the third full-size Bowie knife I’ve made in the rattlesnake motif. This one has a classic 14-inch overall length (over 9-inch blade) and is made from high-carbon 440C stainless steel. This is a premium quality, heavy, blade. The Bowie is a classic tool of the old west.

The design is called “coffin handled” because of the outline shape of the grip. I’ve modified the design to include a heavy brass butt. I also sculpted a heavy brass hilt from several pieces of brass bar stock.

The book-matched handle is made from a single beautiful piece of Desert Ironwood. It’s spectacular. This is incredible material – I’ve never worked with Ironwood before. It doesn’t work like wood at all, more like some kind of modern acrylic. The sun and heat in the Sonoran Desert (Arizona and northwest Mexico), where the tree grows, basically cooks the moisture out of the wood, leaving the wood fibers embedded in a hardened natural resin. Desert Ironwood won’t float, it’s that dense.

I’ve embellished the knife with hand-cut leaf pattern filework around the tang, and I shaped a rattlesnake design along the spine of the blade. I work the hardened steel with high-speed diamond cutters and machine polish everything mirror smooth. The combination of the snake motif with the leaf pattern I call “Snake in the Grass.” Catchy, huh?

To continue the rattlesnake motif, I used a piece of genuine tanned Western diamondback rattlesnake skin and incorporated it into the handmade heavy leather belt sheath. Yup, that’s real rattlesnake skin. I hand-tooled a pattern into the sheath and finished it with a rich mahogany stain. The sheath matches the color of the Ironwood. Instead of a modern metal snap, I used a leather boot lace with a red sliding water buffalo bead to hold the knife in the sheath. It’s effective and more authentic to the Old West period, I think.

To create a unique mount for the blade, I searched along a section of downwind gravel bank at a local Ohio lake and found an interesting piece of dried driftwood. I thought it looked a little like a dead desert tree. I fabricated a Red Oak base for the driftwood, to hold the Snake-in-the-grass Rattlesnake Bowie. You can stand the knife alone, with the sheath behind, for display; or, you can stand the knife in the sheath.

As I’ve said, I’ve only made three full-size Rattlesnake Bowies, and each is different. I think this is a unique heirloom-quality item.

Thanks for looking.

* You must be 18 years of age to purchase
* My knives are sharp and must be handled with care
* All knives should be kept out of the reach of children and others who may be prone to injury or accidents
* The buyer shall use the knife at his or her own risk. I am not responsible for injuries that may occur from the use or misuse of the knife.

Rattlesnake Bowie Knife