Wanted: English-style 18th-Century Scalping Knife

English-style 18th-century scalping knife

Do you have an English-style scalping knife that you no longer need? Perhaps stashed from a persona from long ago?

I have an upcoming project that requires a scalping knife, maybe two—I may break one to experiment in the wilderness classroom, based on a journal entry I have that speaks of surviving with a broken knife blade.

This style knife is listed in several trade-goods inventories for the Lower Great Lakes region. From my research, the pattern pictured didn’t change that much and was available throughout the 18th century and up into the early 19th century. Sometimes they were referred to as “English trade knives.”

This recovered knife is 11 inches long with a blade of 7 ¼ inches. The blade was about 1 ¼ inches at the heel and features a full length tang with rounded wood scales, held in place by three pins. This style knife was also available with a half-tang and shorter blade lengths. The scales came in different shapes, too, some six-sided and some four faceted or “diamond shaped.”

Based on my experience in the woods, I would prefer the full tang, rounded haft and 7-inch blade—all in keeping with learning to use a tool that duplicates an existing original. And of course, I am concerned about having a knife that will keep a keen edge through all types of forest adventures. A sheath is not necessary. Nicks, scratches and other “trail-related” patina don’t bother me, either.

Please email me with specifics on what you have, along with photos and an asking price.

Be safe and may God bless you,

Dennis Neely





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