Big Bertha

Big Bertha
Circa 1940, on the streets of Rochester New York, Bertha does her work.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Tale Of Two Smatchets

Every now and then, a situation arises where I get to actually handle an example of one of the things I make.
This old Smatchet was sent to me for some minor repair work and was, on completion sent back home along with the new knife shown.
So we have a rare opportunity to compare and contrast although they're not really the same. I make a bastardized copy of the earliest British Smatchets while the old one is an American, second model, made by Case.
This is a fairly scarce knife even though 16,000 were said to have been produced. 6000 were retained in the US for the OSS while the remaining 10,000 were sent to Britain and were lost at sea - so the story goes.
I'd like to start making this style of sheath and leave the leather-over-wood as an option but...
I think we can agree; the handle on the Case is pangit. That isn't helped by the fact that aluminum doesn't age well.
Overall, it's blocky. The cross section is nearly square. Obviously a piece of wartime production.
The Smatchet I copied initially was built with a hidden tang while the Case uses a full-tang which explains the lack of interest in the handle shape.
I don't like full-tang knives for just that reason. You're locked into a handle the shape of the tang - or you've got to forge/cut/grind steel into a handle shape.
It is stronger but how often do knives break in the middle of the handle?

My blade has a little more heft - and the forging tends to make then thickest near the widest part of the blade - around 1/4".
I like the thin metal guard on the Case better than mine. I may go that way.
But, before I close, back to the wartime expediency.
Smatchets were originally contacted from the Ulster Knife Co. for $3.50 per unit.
According to the Inflation Calculator, that would be less than fifty bucks now.
I won't work that cheap.

1 comment:

Big W said...

The smatchet is one of my favorites! I would welcome a new addition with aluminum fittings. W

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