The clasp knife is a traditional knive pattern that has its origins in
where they were commonly known as “folding butcher’s”
knives. This also accounts for the characteristic blade shape of the clasp
knife which was ideal for use in the butchering of animals. They were simple
knives that usually had no bolsters and were made from easy to obtain handle
materials such as wood or bone, all of which made these knives very inexpensive
and quite common. This also contributed to the naturally curved shape of the
handle on most clasp knives. These were a true “working man’s” knife that would
be fairly easy to replace if lost. Germany
Modern day clasp knifes are known by many different names. The most familiar name is the “sodbuster” which was popularized by Case in the early 1960’s. It has also been called a rangebuster, dirtbuster and a bullnose depending upon the manufacturer. In some early Sear’s catalogs it was listed as a “horse castrating” knife. No matter what they were called, all are a basic clasp knive pattern. The traditional style of clasp knife had a handle that fit the hand well and made this knife easy to use all day. This was important as to prevent injuries when cutting meat all day in a butcher’s shop. The traditional blade design whose straight edge generally has a pronounced upward curve towards the point was ideal for this purpose.
While the term “sodbuster” probably originated with the Homestead Act in 1862, this may have been the origin of the term for this style of knife that was made popular by the Case Knife Company. The real popularity of this type of clasp knife was probably more a direct result of its notoriety as part of the kit carried by the legendary Davy Crockett.
This classic knife pattern survives today as an inexpensive and easy to use utility knife that can serve you well on a daily basis.
Staying above the water line!