1760’s Great Lakes Knife and Sheath Set by Ben HoffmanFor this year’s CLF fundraising auction, Ohio artisan Ben Hoffman chose to reproduce an original piece made in the Great Lakes region that dates from the 1760’s. True to artist’s exacting standards, both the knife and sheath was entirely hand-crafted.
Hoffman salvaged the steel for the knife blade from an antique buggy spring, which was then hand-forged using a vintage hand-crank-powered coal forge. The basic shape of the blade was crafted using a hammer, tongs and anvil. Most of the final shaping was done by hand filing.
The handle was entirely hand-carved in maple and given a rich finish of period-correct milk paint and linseed oil-based varnish. The sheath, which was made from oak-tanned cow hide and treated with a period-correct black leather dye, was hand cut and sewn using linen thread. All the tooling was done by hand.
The sheath is adorned with white trade beads and tin cones, which were present on the original, and the decorative deer hair tassles were dyed with madder root, an authentic 18th century material. This stunning knife and sheath set would be a great display piece for the 18th century collector, but would also serve well in the field. “As with all the knives I make,” says Hoffman, “it has been triple tempered and sharpened to a razor edge. It was made to use.”
For more information, contact the artist directly at: email@example.com
Larry Pletcher, editor