Svord Von Tempsky Bowie 11"
Blade Length : 11"
Overall Length : 16 1/2"
Blade Thickness : 5-7mm
Steel : Swedish I6 high carbon steel
Sheath : Leather
Made in New Zealand.
This is a replica Forest Range Bowie Knife, and is based on the knife design that von Tempsky issued to his company of Forest Rangers in 1863. These big knives were used in one-on-one armed combat, and also to clear tracks through the bush, dig defensive positions, cut firewood and for general use about camp.
A 1900 inerview with John Toovey, an ex Forest Ranger corporal, appeared in a 1935 issue of The New Zealand Railways Magazine: He had a farm near Te Awamutu. Customarily, out on the farm and in the bush, he wore a sheath-knife on his belt. The knife was a veteran like himself. It had been nine or ten inches long of blade, but the point had been broken off, and he re-ground and pointed it; even then it was like a young bayonet. He told its story, "That's one of old Von's bowie knives," he said. "He had a lot made for us at a blacksmith's in Auckland when the Forest Rangers were divided into two companies and he had command of me.
"You know, old Von was a terror with the bowie knife. He had learned to use it in Mexico and Central America. Certainly it came in handy in the bush, and as we had no bayonets it was comforting to know you had a good sticker on your hip for a scrimmage.
"I've had that knife more than thirty years. See how it's worn down. I've used it for all sorts of jobs, hacking bush tracks, pig-sticking, skinning sheep, cutting up my tobacco and my loaf of bread. It'll last my day, my boy!"