This was spotted laying alongside the interstate. I went home, got my motorcycle, and returned to claim the treasure. See story below.
There’s not much I can report yet on this blade. Right now, I can’t say for sure that it is modern. Perhaps it’s vintage or antique. Some blades like this I’ve seen advertised were touted as being made in the 1800’s. One dealer claimed that blades like this – Austrian blades – were used in the Crimean War.
The overall length is 24″. Blade length is 17-1/2″. The blade tapers slightly from the tip to the grip: 2-5/8″ to 2-1/4″. Blade steel is carbon and springy. A mounting hole appears in the tip of the blade, oriented toward the back.
The name AUSTRIA is well-stamped into the steel. In other words, it was not done haphazardly or carelessly, but rather intentionally.
When I found the knife, the edge was intact. After I cleaned up the blade, I put a working edge on it. The grinding sparked hot and evenly, though I limited it to just forming the edge and not losing temper.
The handle was wrapped in friction tape – a lot of it. I removed the tape and found the wooden handle intact but cracked on each side. Mixing some epoxy, I worked the adhesive into the damage to keep it from getting worse. After curing, I took a heat gun and heated the wood enough to scrape off any excess epoxy, and also applied some burnished spots as I began a process to “restore” a weathered, hard-use look. Once done heating, I rubbed in walnut stain while the wood was warm and wiped off the excess, allowing the project to set in the hot sun and “bake.” I like the way it turned out as it gives the weapon a look befitting the patina of the blade. Finally, the rivets are not steel, but they do not behave like aluminum when I set them (they were loose). I’m not ruling that out but I’m also considering them to be tin or zinc-coated metal of some kind. I’ll examine them more in time. (Note: The handle may or may not be original.)
That’s really about all there is to it. I’ve seen copies of this model but none made in Austria. Research continues but I have the sense that this is an authentic, vintage piece, perhaps not from the 1800’s, but that remains to be seen.
Research found the following knife, claimed by the dealer to be “an atypical short sword/knife dated to the Crimean War (1850’s).” The seller added, “It’s almost like a heavy duty corn knife and it may well have been used as such after the war.” This example is 20-1/4″ in overall length,with a 14″ blade about 2-1/4″ wide, with a $95 price tag.
The truth be told, I could have simply found a very expensive, very well made, very vintage, very practical corn knife. If it has no history, I’ll be glad to make one up. I just need to figure out how to work out the scenario of how it made its way resting beside the interstate…
It all started in September of 1853. Young Oleksander Yurdana would soon find himself heading from his farm to the front lines of the Crimea War. With nothing more than a machete to fight with, Olek matched it with his wits, instincts of woodsmanship, and a Pattern 1851 Minié rifle and plenty of black powder and Minié bullets.
How’s that for starters?