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Old 21st October 2023, 05:50 PM   #1
dandon80
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Default Spanish(?) Machete Sword with horn grips

Good afternoon everyone,

For my first post here I'd like to offer up this interesting 19" (overall) machete type knife with horn grips and a fullered blade which becomes double edged. It's a quality piece with good steel and craftsmanship although its stitched leather sheath is not so reflective of that anymore!

Perhaps the most interesting quality is the stamped "K&F" trademark which is yet to be identified despite my efforts. Possibly a German blade on a Spanish Colonial Machete?

I have found similar examples here https://drouot.com/en/l/20070558
and here:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23439

Any thoughts and opinions welcomed, and thank you!

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Old 22nd October 2023, 07:23 AM   #2
Tim Simmons
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Has the look of a converted bayonet? Perhaps fashioned Ww1 East Africa by the look of the scabbard.
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Old 22nd October 2023, 11:36 AM   #3
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Hi dandon809. Welcome to the Forum.

I agree with Tim. This does look like a refashioned bayonet. Can you provide the overall length, the length of the blade, and the length of the fuller? That might help identify it.

We don't generally get into modern militaria and bayonets on this forum, but this example is more of a "what'sit" so let's see where it goes.
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Old 22nd October 2023, 01:47 PM   #4
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Welcome dandon. What does the other side of the blade and scabbard look like? And the spine as well. Tim if this is a bayonet wouldn't there need to be a scarf weld, or the blade of the machete would need to be supper narrow to create a full tang grip with a beaked pommel?
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Old 22nd October 2023, 04:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
Welcome dandon. What does the other side of the blade and scabbard look like? And the spine as well. Tim if this is a bayonet wouldn't there need to be a scarf weld, or the blade of the machete would need to be supper narrow to create a full tang grip with a beaked pommel?
Thank you. Here are some photos of the tang, the other side, and a closeup of the blade. Following up from my last reply it's worth noting that the grips are quite crudely pinned despite the blade being better quality.

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Old 22nd October 2023, 05:46 PM   #6
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It is difficult to be sure of anything with these pictures. The spine would help. The width of metal in the handle does seem to vary. Could be from a late ersatz version? Certainly has a bayonet look. Could the scabbard look like one of those Brazil / Argentine knives? It is far from a machete.
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Old 22nd October 2023, 06:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons View Post
It is difficult to be sure of anything with these pictures. The spine would help. The width of metal in the handle does seem to vary. Could be from a late ersatz version? Certainly has a bayonet look. Could the scabbard look like one of those Brazil / Argentine knives? It is far from a machete.
There is a book of facsimiles of old weapons catalogs from the late 19th early 20th century (publication date in the late 1960's I believe) that we used sometimes to help determine what we had and its original value. There was a section of old machete ads that, I think, had styles of machetes similar to this in several lengths. I have been trying to remember the title of this book for a year, if someone has a title for me help would be appreciated. But to the point I believe there were some machetes like this, maybe manufactured in Germany??? After twenty plus years my memory is a bit fuzzy on this.

Sorry for not being able to give a citation.

Is there is distinct distil taper in the handle section that would allow for widening the grip to create the pommel? Could that be done if the first step was upsetting the base of the tang with localized heats? There is not a serial number on the other side of the blade which I associate with former military items. I think I am leaning towards factory made tool/weapon as much as I would like to see a repurposed machete. Proportionally at around 18.5 in it seems too wide to be a bayonet.

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Old 22nd October 2023, 04:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Hi dandon809. Welcome to the Forum.

I agree with Tim. This does look like a refashioned bayonet. Can you provide the overall length, the length of the blade, and the length of the fuller? That might help identify it.

We don't generally get into modern militaria and bayonets on this forum, but this example is more of a "what'sit" so let's see where it goes.
Thank you for the welcome, and all the opinions so far I really appreciate it. Here are some measurements:

Overall 48cm
Blade - 36.5cm
Fuller - 17.5cm, closer to 17cm on the marked side (but possibly due to pitting)

Alongside ethnographic weapons I collect militaria and specifically cutdowns, and this doesn't strike me as one personally as there are none of the usual suspects I.E grind marks. If it is one it's a very clean example.

I will post some more photos of the tang and other side below. Thanks again!
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Old 25th October 2023, 05:27 AM   #9
Gavin Nugent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons View Post
Has the look of a converted bayonet? Perhaps fashioned Ww1 East Africa by the look of the scabbard.
Certainly a South American knife by design and dress... the exact name of the type eludes me at this moment.... there is a more specific form this hilt type is related to...

A similar sheath is seen within this article on the forum, others readily seen on google images.
http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/facon/criollo.html

Is Chris about, he'll nail it down pretty quickly.

Edit; Found the name I was looking for, Sorocaban, as was mentioned above by AHite.
The etymology section is interesting.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorocaban_knife

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Old 31st October 2023, 05:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post
Certainly a South American knife by design and dress... the exact name of the type eludes me at this moment.... there is a more specific form this hilt type is related to...

A similar sheath is seen within this article on the forum, others readily seen on google images.
http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/facon/criollo.html

Is Chris about, he'll nail it down pretty quickly.

Edit; Found the name I was looking for, Sorocaban, as was mentioned above by AHite.
The etymology section is interesting.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorocaban_knife
Good afternoon Gavin

Thank you very much for the info and references, after looking at them it does seem that this is most likely a Sorocaban or indeed a "Facon". Lots of Gaucho knives show up here in the UK so it does make sense.

It seems that my example is slightly unique with horn grips instead of the usual decorative silver. Alas the maker is still unidentified but I can at least start looking more confidently in the German direction.

Much appreciated!
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Old 1st November 2023, 06:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandon80 View Post
Good afternoon Gavin

Thank you very much for the info and references, after looking at them it does seem that this is most likely a Sorocaban or indeed a "Facon". Lots of Gaucho knives show up here in the UK so it does make sense.

It seems that my example is slightly unique with horn grips instead of the usual decorative silver. Alas the maker is still unidentified but I can at least start looking more confidently in the German direction.

Much appreciated!
Happy to offer some direction.

In the purest sense, what you have lacks the Sorocaban flair in what is essentially a unique pommel type. Yet when you read the etymology of the type, one can gain some direction.

This might be worth the read? It's a LOT to translate.

chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/http://www.cutelariaartesanal.com.br/downloads/Facas_Brasileiras_2a_Ed.pdf

Page 12, figure I-04 shows a cleaver with a similar grip.... way down on page 259 I think it is, you will see this image attached, being a newer version of what you have. I do not know where the photo credit lays for further insight.

Below that is from my collection, displaying the classic pommel type.
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Old 1st November 2023, 06:44 PM   #12
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I am going out on a limb here disagreeing with someone with the extensive knowledge of Mr. Nugent based only on a thirty-year-old memory which can at best be very faulty, but I think this knife was European made, and possibly made for Central America. Thought the scabbard does look to be South American. Btw dandon we never did see the front of the scabbard. I am 80% sure I have seen a late 19th century catalog picture of machetes for sale made in Europe and that this was one of the models sold in a few different lengths. It stood out at the time because while I had used machetes of different types and ages extensively, I had never seen a fullered model. The facsimile was a black and white line drawing of many different types of machetes with an item number relating to a description and a price. I am still looking for the book. It was in my grandfather's collection that my father now has. Many people in the Ethno Forum have said before "weapons travel during their life." The scabbard may be Brazilian but that does not mean that it started there. Therefore as to it being Sorocaban are we saying made in Sorocaba or a facao enterçado? To me the OP example being discussed differs from the enterçado in three key features. 1. handle profile, the OP item just seems to have a standard machete handle to me rather than the ottoman style pattern. 2. It has a fuller not a unadorned flatgrind 3. It lacks the defining feature of a riveted enterço. Or once again, are we just thinking that it was produced in the city of Sorocaba? Either way outside of the sheath is their providence linking this knife to that city or style, even to Brazil? I could owe Gavin a "you were right" at the end of this discussion.

I have two questions arising out of this discussion. I. Is this type of sheath always a horseman's sheath? I.e. carried in the back of the body, edge up, on the dominate side? II. A. The enterço or riveted ricasso joining the blade and the tang. Once again relying on my faulty memory is used in some Indian weapons. Was it used in Iron age Celtic blades as well? Anywhere else? B. Is it related visually, aesthetically to this style of ricasso decoration pictured below?

Edit: In the Abel Domenech article's picture as well as in in the horseman picture in the previous post there is a folded leather flap on the outside of the top of the sheath to the hold the sheath and it is carried under the belt. In the original post example, the sheath has a belt loop on the back of the sheath, meaning that it is carried on the outside of the belt.
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Old 3rd November 2023, 04:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post

Is Chris about, he'll nail it down pretty quickly.
Hi Gavin,

Sorry to disappoint, but I plead ignorance on this one as it could have come from anywehere, though it does have a Latino look about it, and your suggestion of it being a Sorocaban has merit!

Facons, large thrust oriented knives, were generally not tolerated on the cattle `estancias' as they were not working knives, and the size of this example, puts it loosely in the facon category.

Pampean gauchos were poor vagabonds, later itinerant station hands and gang-pressed troopers, and for knives and facons had to do with whatever came their way.

It could have belonged to a soldier from the many wars, improvised from a bayonet - or perhaps a `montonero', even a gaucho `matrero', in other words an irregular militia man or outlaw, but this is pure speculation on my part.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 3rd November 2023, 05:26 AM   #14
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Thanks Chris,

That's some great cultural insight and context with avenues for further consideration.


.

Last edited by fernando; 3rd November 2023 at 08:26 AM. Reason: Please do not quote entire previous posts, just relevant small sections when necessary
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