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Bolster Styles

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by WhittlinAway, May 19, 2017.

  1. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Excellent post Chin :thumbsup:

    Here's a pic of Stan Shaw's threading tool (on the left).

  2. kamagong


    Jan 13, 2001
    Bolsters are not normally a detail I pay much attention to. When done right however, they greatly add to the eye appeal of a knife.

    This Norfolk has pinched, threaded, slant bolsters. :thumbsup:


    One of the spots on my list is reserved for a knife with tip bolsters, hopefully in pearl. Something like this Erickson.

    image by Ken Erickson
  3. Jack Black

    Jack Black Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    ^ That's a beauty Christian :thumbsup:
  4. kamagong


    Jan 13, 2001
    I wish it were mine.
  5. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    An example of dovetailed bolsters on this Don Morrow Trapper.
  6. cbr1000


    Jan 31, 2013

    The Smiths Key images are amazing. Interesting to see the intricate bolster work. The knives with the finger grooves are new to me too... something you see often in modern folders, but I've never seen anything like that in a traditional. The cover material on the knives and blade shapes are also fun to look at. I wonder what the green covers are? Thank you for posting them!
    Cambertree likes this.
  7. jc57

    jc57 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2012
    Then you have what Case calls "worked bolsters" - which seems to cover a lot of territory based on their previous renditions. This is the current incarnation:

    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  8. supratentorial


    Dec 19, 2006
    Socks knocked off!! :)

    Very cool!

    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  9. pmew


    Oct 2, 2011
    A superb thread, well done ladies and gentlemen :thumbsup:

    That is absolutely stunning! :D

    That is absolutely not. :p
  10. WhittlinAway

    WhittlinAway Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Great stuff folks. Examples, reference charts, and discussion: I'm enjoying it all and learning a bunch, too. :) :thumbsup:
  11. sticktodrum

    sticktodrum Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 16, 2012
    This is one of the coolest knife threads I've read, ever. It's only shadowed by the Barlow thread...but this is great stuff to learn. Thank you folks!
  12. Cambertree

    Cambertree Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    Double post, oops.
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  13. Cambertree

    Cambertree Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    Thanks for the great posts and kind words, folks.

    Just as a matter of reference, if any of you don't have the free pdf of Smith's Key from the French national library, here's the link (download button's on the left side).


    It's intriguing to think that there must have been a whole specific nomenclature - at least on the shop floor level - describing all those bolster stylings and filework types.

    I suppose a working cutler of the time, much like a stonemason, could receive a brief set of verbal instructions from their foreman or factor, and then go and make one of those worked bolster sets, knowing exactly what was meant.

    (Of course, there would have been template patterns too, I guess.)

    I'd love to know if any of those old terms for the different filework styles on those fancy Smith's Key bolsters still survives.

    Just to clarify my earlier comment about contemporary bolsters being die forged: I meant this in the context of 'worked' bolsters only, like the TCs, and Northfield types. The simpler bolsters are obviously still ground to shape from brass blocks soldered to the scales, by some makers.

    Like this Trevor Ablett work sequence display board:


    Here's some Thomas Turner & Co. bolsters from a 1901 display board, now in the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield.


    Your guess might be as good as mine, and like knife patterns, I suppose bolster descriptive terms aren't an exact science - but I would say (from L to R) you might have rat-tail filed; rat-tail filed; threaded and fluted; threaded; and maybe fluted in the above pictured knives?


    What do you think?
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
    WhittlinAway likes this.
  14. supratentorial


    Dec 19, 2006
    Cambertree, Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos of Ablett's sequence display board and the beautiful exhibit of Turners :thumbsup:
  15. Cambertree

    Cambertree Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2014
    No worries, Jake, glad you enjoyed them.:)
  16. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    John Primble has a Stepped Bolster I am quite partial to;

    [​IMG]John_Primble_morning by GaryWGraley, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Primble_hand_bw by GaryWGraley, on Flickr

    and Le Thiers by Chambriard uses a nice contoured bolster on their folders;



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