Medieval Knives

handmade medieval knife

One of the most basic of humankind’s tools is the ubiquitous knife. The knife can be found in a dizzying variety of materials, styles, and functions. Throughout history and all across the world each culture has devised their own versions of the Hand Forged Knives. The main components of a knife are the blade and the handle. From there it gets much more interesting.

Medieval KnifeThroughout the middle ages people carried knives on a daily basis. Most of these personal knives were somewhat reminiscent of a modern steak knife in appearance. They were handled in a wide variety of woods and metals. The handles were often decorated with pins, inlay, carving, or fancy and exotic woods. Some had bolsters, but most seem to have been bolster-less. Two or three pins often held the handle material to the tang. The blades were most often less than seven inches in length  and under an inch wide. Decorative file work and engraving were popular.

These types of knives were used for eating and light utility tasks. The sheaths were made of leather wrapped around the knife and stitched up the middle of one of the flat sides of the blade. The sheaths were often carved for decoration. There was often a long leather thong to secure the sheath to the belt.

Obviously the more affluent would carry knives of finer make and materials than the less fortunate.

Then , as now, knives were used for all manner of tasks. Eating; preparing meals; carving wood; sewing; etc. They would be made from as high a quality of steel that they could afford or was available. Most of the medieval knives that I craft here at Forged In Time are hand forged from1095 high carbon steel with ATS-34 stainless steel as an option for those who don’t want to worry about rust. Most of the handles are made from a nicely figured ash, birch, or black walnut with a dark stain. The blades often feature decorative jimping (file-work) on the back and a clean polished edge bevel. These handmade knives are designed primarily to cut and slice rather than chop. Their balance and light weight makes them easy to handle and carry.

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