Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Types of Knives - The Congress

The congress knife usually has a convex front with a straight or very shallow concave back. Congress knives can have two or more blades and they are normally found in a four blade configuration. A six bladed congress is slightly less common. A congress knive will generally have two master blades which are generally a sheepfoot and a spear blade and four-bladed models will also include a coping and pen blades. The four blade congress is the most popular style of this type of knife and is the pattern commonly seen and used.

With their characteristic back-bent handles, congress knives are fairly easy to spot. The main blades of a congress (sheepfoot and spear) are normally substantial enough that they can be used as a replacement for larger single blade folders. The additional pen and coping blades are of a size that makes them excellent for use in more delicate or intricate knife work.

For much of its history the congress knife was used mainly in the south as a tobacco knife even though it was originally intended to be a pen knife for use in making quill pens. It eventually became less of a regional type knife and was probably made infamous by the fact that President Lincoln was carrying a congress knife the night he was killed. This makes the congress knife rather unusual and quite unique among the more traditional knife patterns since it was originally a regional knife pattern more commonly found in the southern parts of the country.

Got congress?

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying this series on knife patterns Riverwalker, I'm learning tons. Thanks.

One useful inclusion in the Congress pattern are the serrated blades, great for those who work with cordage or string.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:07


This is sort of a reminder about all the unique knife patterns that are out there and how much their use was affected by the needs for an adequate tool for the job.

Probably the reason for many of the pattern names...stockman, trapper, etc.


Larry Bourgeois said...

Great post! What a cool piece of history there about President Lincoln's pocket knife of choice too. LarryB

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