Several people have emailed me pointing me to different places where I’m told I can buy the style of striking knife I just finished making. To all of those people, I offer my sincere thanks. But the fact is that none of the commercially available knives are quite right. They all lack “the bulge”.
It’s not really evident in the knife I just made, because I simply got tired of filing metal away. So the bulge on my knife is not very pronounced. But it’s there, albeit not as deep or as shapely as I would like it to be. For reference again, here is the Smith’s Key knife.
Note how behind the knife blade, the shaft tapers in, then bulges out, then tapers down to the awl point. Here’s a photo of Christopher Schwarz’s antique version. Note the same bulge.
This bulge lifts the awl end off the bench, making the knife easier to pick up, and it makes it settle into the hand much nicer than a straight taper. All of the other knives that I’ve found available commercially that are a similar style do not have the bulge. They have a straight taper from the knife to the awl.
Here’s one I bought from the smiths at Williamsburg next to the one I just made. The Williamsburg knife has no bulge. In this overhead shot of my new one, you can see the slight bulge a little better. It’s more noticable in the hand than it is by eye. Like I said, I would like it more pronounced (and I may someday grind it down some more), but I can feel the difference.
And the standard knives currently sold by John at Black Bear Forge. Again, straight taper (though I’m sure John can forge in a bulge, his standard knives just don’t have one).
And finally one from Woodcraft. Sorry, but this one is just plain ugly, and that knurling looks down right uncomfortable for long sessions marking out lots of joinery.
So thanks again for all the suggestions, but I’m still looking for a good commercially made example like the one in Smith’s Key with a nice round handle with “the bulge”. Though now that I’ve made one, I guess I can stop looking.