Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Knife Culture"

Someone in Finland asked me what is the difference between American and Scandinavian "taste" of knives?

It's a funny thing, but I have to admit that sometimes I think the saying "everything is big in America" is true :-) Most people seem to love their Bowies and the bigger the better... although I have met quite a few Americans lately, who prefer shorter blade knives. Even those people still prefer tipping point in their blade.

Has anyone idea why Americans tend to like big Bowies?


Anonymous said...

IMHO, the American love affair
with big knives possibly (?) stems
from the bowie knife era in the 1800's.

But then it could also just be the
old "mine's bigger than your's"
mentality at work. That seems to be
part of the male American culture
everything from cars, houses, knives and ..... :-)


Runs WIth Scissors said...

I personally love the Bowie because it's a profound part of our culture. When it comes down to good ole fashioned jingoistic chest thumpin' red blooded symbols and representations of all American goodness, there just aint much that makes me grin wider than the Bowie knife.

It was carried during the westward expansion, used in the War of Northern Agression, and has been in every war since. More happily, it's been a companion for countless adventureres and outdoorsmen. It's a devastating weapon, as well as a very useful tool. How could I not love that?

I don't think it has anything to do with "bigger, better, faster" Other countries have been known for Goloks, Barongs,Khukuri's, Leuku, Machete, etc. all knives that are quite comparable to and in some cases dwarf the Bowie.

The Bowie was developed in America, by an American citizen to meet American needs and criteria. I think that's neat.

Also, one must consider the definition of a "Bowie Knife" to the average American Citizen these days anything large is often defined as a "Bowie". I've had people call my beloved Leuku a Bowie! I've seen blades from 6.5" to over 12" described as a Bowie. all with double guards, single guards, no guards, convex grinds, hollow grinds, flat grinds, swedges, full tang, hidden tang, mortised tang, etc. So one must consider that it's a very loose definition in most circles when one speaks of the Bowie.

American Finn said...

I think you guys hit the point!

If you compare puukko to a bowie, the main difference is the purpouse of using one. Puukko was developed to be first and most, a tool for fishing and hunting or any type of wood working. Finnish nature is challenging and pretty unforgivable if you don't have a good simple tool and a sheath that holds almost the whole knife. You do not want to loose your puukko out in the woods, since your life depends on it! I'm not saying that a puukko wouldn't have been a weapon also, but it was not really developed for that purpouse. Finns and Sami have been living in Finland for over 8000 years and there are no stories of wars or hostile relations between the two of them... Finland's "war history" starts around 900 years ago. What I'm trying to say is that puukko has a long history of being just a tool and pretty short history of being a weapon...

Sam Keane-Rudolph said...

Hmm... bowies cover a wide range. I love knives of most kinds, but I think the bowie is quintessentially American because it's impossible to define. In theory, Jim Bowie invented it in a Louisiana sandbar knife fight- but nobody knows what that knife looks like. Likewise... Americans look like a lot of different people and are hard to define.