> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Jeff White French Trade Knife



Jeff White French Trade Knife

Here's something for the traditionalists out there. Hand forged blacksmith work, walnut handles, 5 1/4 blade length. At 3/32 thick, it's thin and slicey; batons through wiood with exceptional ease. High carbon 1095 blade steel - great stuff. Flat ground and arrived very sharp.

This model is patterned after the French trade knife from 1600-1800. Jeff White also makes an English pattern trade knife that is almost the same, but has a squared handle an the blade is 1/4 inch wider. In retrospect, I'd probably pick up an English pattern knife, but the photo for the French with walnut was the best of the lot. Alas, you the picture is different from the knife that actually ships.

Still, a very nice knife. The maker leaves a half the blade unpolished for effect, and I like the looks of it. Lightweight, good balance. A bit thin, at least compared to the knives I've grown used to, but it has proven sturdy in the use I've put it to.

My only complaint about the knife is the transition area from the handle to the blade - the razor-sharp blade begins right next to where your fingers rest, and it is conceivable that a finger or two could slide down onto the blade during hard work. This is a design issue with the trade knife pattern, not the fault of the maker.

One of the best parts--I got mine for $35 shipped, which is a bargain for a handmade knife, walnut handles and 1095 steel. It's a nice knife, but not so pricey that I'd be hesitant to put it to hard work.

These knives don't ship with a sheath, so you'll have to buy/make one. A maker by the name of R Jones makes leather sheaths for these blades. Around $20 shipped, come in a couple different patters. One of his crossdraw sheaths is pictured above the blade--sturdy construction and holds the knife securely, but the belt loop on my sheath is too narrow to fit on any decently thick belt. It will probably stretch out in time, but I've taken to carrying this knife as a neck knife, so it's not a big deal. Would probably go with a traditional straight-drop sheath if I had to do it over again.

Anyways, thought I would pass this along. Functionally, there's not a huge difference from a Mora, and some of the Mora designs will be more comfortable for long/hard use. But for under $60, all-in, you get a pretty nice looking handmade knife + leather sheath combo. Certainly would not be my primary choice for a hard use survival blade, but a good backup, neck knife, slicer or bushcrafting knife, or just something traditional to add to your collection.

Both are available on eBay - search "Jeff White Knife" and both knives and sheaths will come up.