> 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.



    I have made a few hand forged similar to this blade. Not as refined, mind you. For the price A. Wolf is talking about, I can almost guarantee that is the best deal you can find for this kind of tool. That price is insanely low. That's as cheap as they come, folks.

    Does Jeff make them himself here in the USA? China made at that price sounds right, but if Jeff is building them here, then hats off to him!

    1. Brannen CarterJune 30, 2014

      Jeff Builds all his knives right here in the US of A. I've owned a french trade knife of his for over ten years now. It's my workhorse\EDC knife. I'm a wildland firefighter and this is the one knife that I have, and will, trust with my life. Even used it to self arrest on an ice sheet to keep from going over a cliff. I would swear by Jeff's work.

  2. Looks sweet! Part of the drive to prep comes from just a drive to add to your "survival collection." Nothing wrong with having extra sweet looking knives when TEOTWAWKI comes.

  3. Heart be still!!! Alex, have you wandered into the dark side? Outstanding knife and price. I don't see how he buys the materials for that but more power to him...I'll bet he sells a bunch...Very Nice

  4. Nice looking knife, & a good price. If you have trouble with the hand slipping re grease & blood, I suggest you file some grooves in the handle. This is a traditional way of dealing with this problem.
    Regards, Le Loup.

  5. Fine looking work! Pretty authentic looking, too. Price - unreal. Total winner!!
    You know, I too have had a couple of wonderful knives which I loved, but which had the same problem of no guard, no real choil, and a quick transition from smooth handle to the corner edge of a very sharp blade. My solution, though some might scream 'heresy!', was to take a fine stone on my Dremel and put a deep finger groove and choil in the last inch of handle, AND to grind off the lower back edge of the blade, letting it taper as it went forward. I was very careful to cool the blade every few seconds to avoid ruining the temper in spots, but it worked out quite well.
    I can tell you from experience that having your first / index finger slide up the last half inch of a blood slick handle and clamp down on the edge of blade, is NOT a life experience that you want to ever repeat!

  6. Man that knife looks great! $30 for a handmade blade? Unreal! I'll have to try and acquire one. I might get an English pattern like you suggested.

  7. AnonymousJune 23, 2013

    These appear to be hand-crafted versus hand-forged. I have one of Jeff's Nessmuk skinners - Outstanding quality and value. I would recommend wholeheartedly.