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Long Knife: an American Cuttoe

Updated: Nov 25, 2022

Long knife cuttoe by Iron John Logan
Long knife cuttoe by Iron John Logan

Long Knife: an American Cuttoe by Iron John Logan

During the 18th century it was common for landed gentry and the yeoman class to carry a sword as a sidearm for both self defence and as a handy tool while traversing the wild of early America. One popular form was the Cuttoe, a small almost knife-sized sword that was fashionable in Europe as a town sword but proved favorable to the American frontier by being handy in close combat and the tight confines of virgin undergrowth. Similar to their cousin the Cutlass, Cuttoes are commonly equipped with short slightly curving blades, simple or shell hilts and little or no pommel to balance for a chopping cut. These knife-swords were so popular with the early American frontiersmen that Native Americans began referring to all colonial Americans as Long Knives to designate them differentently for Canadians, French and other nationalities.

Long Knife: an American Cuttoe is a direct reproduction and rethink of this original antique sword in a private collection, ca.1770, A Good American-made Revolutionary War Soldier's Cuttoe. Blacksmith made, slightly crude, single-edged blade, missing its original hilt and with a stress cracked handle as seen here

Revolutionary cuttoe

With rethinking what-could-have-been before use and time got the better of this 200+ year old antique I forged the blade from high carbon spring steel and the guard is repurposed wrought iron from a horseshoe found archaeologically in 2018. The grain of the historical iron shows the deformations of its previous life replete with nail holes and marks from hammer and anvil. I hand carved the fruit-wood grip from a naturally age-checked piece of beautiful figured pear wood and bound with an engraved silver ferrule. Simple iron plate pommel and peened tang. Blade is blunt but can be sharpened, patina and age by artist. Display stand of worn and wormy curly maple with solid brass and felt armatures. Measures 18 inch blade, 22-1/2 overall, and 6 inches tall on stand. Signed and dated by Iron John Logan 2022

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