Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

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kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:13 pm

My most recent find is this Wade & Butcher "Boone" carbon steel hunting knife.
It was discovered together with several other vintage hunting knives in an old leather hunting bag from the 1930's somewhere in Amsterdam.
The steel has gotten a dark grey patina from being stored inside the sheath for decennia.

On the blade the letters "ILLWELL" are very faintly visible, and through Google i found that originally it spelled "GILLWELL", which is the 144 acre sight North of London given to the Scouts in 1919 and now the worlds historical site for scouts.
It seems that the change from "GILLWELL" to "GILWELL" took place when Baden Powell was made the first Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell in 1929.
So in 1919, when the first Wood Badge course was held, it was Gillwell Park.

If the info from Google is correct that would date my knife to have been manufactured between 1919 and 1929, although the sheath is probably not original to the knife but most likely from Scandinavian origin.

What do you guys think ?

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kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:13 pm

Currently i'm doing a bit of online research on what kind of steel was used in these knives, and according to this old ad the Boone blades were made from (the famous) Wardlow steel.

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Then i found these posts from 2017 on a forum:

Question: "What type of knife was used by Camillus in the early years, was it 1095 ?
I have a stockman made between 1920 and 1930, use it every day for carving, sharpest pocket knife I every had.
I am 64 years old this steel beats them all."


Answer: "Camillus forged their blades from Wardlow's best crucible steel from Sheffield England."

Reply: "All I know this blade steel is great, I carve 4 to 6 hours a day, sometime just strop and keep cutting.
My new pocket knives will not do this no matter the brand."


And from Bladeforums: "The S. & C. Wardlow steel that Camillus imported from Sheffield, England, was derived from about 8o percent pure Swedish iron ore; wide variation in heating did not injure it."

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kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:14 pm

This Pathe footage from 1949 shows the actual making of the crucibles and how they were used to produce cast steel:

https://www.britishpathe.com/video/hand ... /foundries

The first reaction below almost the footage on YouTube (but without sound) reads this:

"George Goodwin, puddling clay for the making of pots for melting crucible steel, looks like the old Benjamin Huntsman works on Coleridge Rd.
I started work there in 1968 as a lad in the forge, George by then was much older and working in the warehouse, he told us lads of these days making pots, and was still a very fit and muscular guy, bulging biceps for a pensioner a fantastic bloke.
A piece of Sheffield history here..... Bob."

kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:14 pm

The owner of this Wade & Butcher Boone knife also seems quite happy with the edge holding of his knife:

https://www.thehuntinglife.com/forums/t ... -fanatics/

kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:15 pm

Originally the blade used to be full convex ground, but sometime during it's existence a previous owner had sharpened a bit of a rough secundairy bevel into it.
So i reground the blade by hand to full convex again on 400 grit wet & dry using WD40 oil as a lubricant on a medium hard rubber backing (old piece of fiber reinforced conveyor belt)

The old blunt "edge" measured between 35 and 40 degrees inclusive, while the new edge apex fits almost exactly in the (specifically aimed for) 30 degrees inclusive slot of my Tormek WM200 Angle Master.
I do consider this a bit on the conservative side, as i think the steel can most likely handle a thinner edge geometry just fine, but for now i want to play it safe with this rare & valuable knife (to me anyway)
If need be further thinning can always be done later.

There is still a tiny burr on the apex, next step will be to refine the scratch pattern with probably 800 grit wet & dry.
After that the plan is to recut the swedge with a small diamond file followed by wet & dry paper & some WD40.
The handle has already been smooth sanded with 400 grit wet & dry and treated with several coats of warm Granger's wax.

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kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:16 pm

Some more vintage footage about old school knife making in Sheffield:

Bridlington, October 1978
After 72 years as a blade forger in Sheffield, Albert Craven has finally decided to retire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpeyhC-UIFg

Two knife grinders at work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfXYBheE_Fs

A website dedicated to various things Sheffield, among which several clips related to knife making:

Little Mesters – Alex Glen Wilson

Footage from the 1960's where the same George Goodwin (now 77 years old) shows how he makes the crucibles:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOS05k1C7zM

Also this fascinating color documentary made in 1945 about large scale steel manufacture in Sheffield.
In the beginning there is even some footage of crucible steel manufacture.

British Council Film: Steel

kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:17 pm

The blade has been refined through grit 800 and 1000 wet & dry (again using WD40 on the piece of conveyor belt), removed the very fine burr on the Tormek leather wheel, and the apex can now whittle one of my chest hairs from root-to-tip at about 3.0 centimeters from the point of holding.
Also polished the aluminium pommel a bit on a felt wheel, recut the swedge & jimping with a few small diamond files, and next step is to refine the swedge surfaces a bit more.

This is how the knife currently looks:

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gravknife
Posts: 1061
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:34 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by gravknife » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:02 pm

Kwackster

I really love that knife. 8)

I knew Wade and Butcher made some magnificent straight razors and bowie knives/dirks etc plus some army jackknives in ww1 and ww2 but thanks for the info on the Sheffield steel /Wardlows and its composition using swedish steel.

I live about 45 miles from Sheffield and ashamedly havn't visited the museums or the little meisters there due to lack of time at the moment .

The knife you have ,as well as the scouts connection, is a style sometimes attributed to soldiers /pilots private purchases in ww2 and I love the blade shape and the leather handle .

You have made a great job of restoring it as usual and have found yet another knife I would love to own.

Hope your well and thanks for the interesting information and how you restore these knives.

Ian

sammy the blade
Posts: 1947
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:18 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by sammy the blade » Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:01 pm

Great job, as you always do.

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tequiza
Posts: 5970
Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2003 12:59 pm
Location: back at the grill

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by tequiza » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:48 am

What Sammy said!
Polish a knife, cook a pig, drink several beers

kwackster
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon May 15, 2017 8:07 pm

Re: Wade & Butcher Boone fixed blade

Post by kwackster » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:42 pm

Paper ad from 1926 showing the Wade & Butcher Teddy model on top and the Pioneer, Boone, and Bowie models below:

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