Bowie Knives and their Care

Bowie Knives and their Care

14th Feb 2017

The first Bowie knife was made in the early19th century in Washington, Arkansas by a blacksmith named James Black for American pioneer and Texan hero Jim Bowie. Originally meant for self-defense, Bowie knives these days are used for skinning and butchering game or bought by knife aficionados for their collection. It is one of the best wilderness survival knives out there and quite popular in fiction too having featured in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the Rambo series.

Today, you can buy a Bowie knife online or at most knife manufacturing companies in the world. They tick all boxes necessary for a quality knife – durability, ruggedness, and looks. Still, no knife can withstand the elements on its own. Even the best of Bowie knives need proper care.

The Bowie knife should be stored properly. Using leather sheaths for protection is common practice but not recommended. Leather absorbs humidity which will eventually cause the blade – even the finest stainless steel – to rust. A hard scabbard, preferably metal, is a better option.  There are several models out there in the market, which provide a seal for the upper portion of the sheath to help protect against moisture. Another trick to guard against moisture is to oil the blade when in storage. 

Do sharpen the knife regularly. If you are new to the process of sharpening, start with smaller and less expensive blades till you get a handle on it. Bowie knives can be expensive and you don’t want to ruin them. Also, a dull blade is a health hazard. With a dull blade, you end up exerting extra force to bring about the same result, which could cause the knife to slip and cut a finger or some other part of the hand. Finally, keep the knife clean and dry. This prevents dust build-up which can spoil the knife and is also unsanitary. There are metal rubbing pastes in the market for cleaning knives.

To conclude, it is recommended that you use the Bowie knife in the capacity of a “knife” and nothing else. Sometimes, we get carried away by its effectiveness and test its versatility beyond what it can handle.  It is not a hammer or a screwdriver. If you use the knife correctly, you ensure its longevity and optimize its value.