Woodbury Longhunter Knife & Sheath by Hershel House, John House, & Joe Seaboltadmin
by Heinz Ahlers
The knife is a special piece of equipment; knives can be cooking tools or butchering tools, wood carvers or weapons. For a longhunter, the knife was expected to be all the-se things. This put a lot of demands on the knife, it had to be tough enough to split out a deer pelvis, sharp enough to cut hair, handy enough to whittle, useful for cutting meat and chopping turnips, and a killing edge when the rifle was empty. A special knife appeared on the belts of the longhunters crafted by local blacksmiths to meet these needs. Todays re-enactors and primitive trekkers put much the same demands on a knife, except maybe for the scalping part.
The names of most of the overmountain knife smiths are lost to history and only a few of their blades survive. A few modern artists have recaptured this art but only a handful have reached the levels where their names will be remembered into the next century. The House brothers and Joe Seabolt are in this top tier of those producing traditional knives with traditional tools and techniques. Hershel has been Joe Seabolt’s mentor and Hershel is the founder of the Woodbury School of contemporary rifle making. John is knife maker in his own right and raises sheath making to an art form
This knife is as Woodbury as they come. With a 10″ long blade and 15″ overall length this lives up to the “long knife” name. Made from 1084 high carbon steel tempered to hold a keen edge this knife will shave hair. It features a full length tang and has a piece of musket barrel for the ferrule . The handle is elk antler with a coin silver end cap en-graved by Hershel to commemorate the C.L.A. 2015 auction. Joe and Hershel hand forged, hand filed, hardened and tempered the blade in the charcoal forge – like Hershel has been doing for over 50 years.
Joe passed this on about making the rig with Hershel and John “There is nothing better than working with Hershel in his blacksmith shop on a big knife like this, he has been a great friend an mentor over the years. He truly exemplifies the C.L.A. Motto of passing on the tradition. When John House stopped by and saw the knife he offered to create one of his great hand stitched Woodbury sheaths. It don’t get much better. We’re including a display stand so that the lucky winner can enjoy it for years to come.”
This Hershel House, John House and Joe Seabolt long knife rig is made especially for the 2015 CLF Fundraising Auction. We are grateful for their generosity and proud to present this extraordinary example of the best contemporary artists producing traditional art.