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Old 4th August 2015, 02:39 AM   #1
trenchwarfare
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Default Viet Cong Clasp Knife

Or, so I was told. Story was, a woman's father took this knife, off a Viet Cong soldier, who didn't need it anymore. I know, buy the item, not the story. However, this knife told me it's own story, in it's own language. And I listened. This piece shows many years of sharpening, and hard use. The wood, whatever it is, is beautiful. Looks similar to Oak, but has a more open grain, and is very dense. Blade is 5 5/8", with an overall length opened, of 11 3/4". The blade spine displays three notches, that are supposedly kill tallies. They are very irregular, and uneven to be an attempt at file work. Handle is one piece of wood, grooved on top, and bottom for the blade, and spring. I took these very bad photos inside. Will try to take better ones, in more favorable light. Any input, would be very much appreciated.
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Old 4th August 2015, 02:59 AM   #2
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The scales might be teak considering the origin .
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Old 4th August 2015, 04:32 AM   #3
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This does not strike me as a traditionally made knife from SE Asia. Is it a slip joint mechanism? If so, then it is not likely native to the region. Could be local scales on a knife originating elsewhere, or a knife "obtained" from a foreigner.

On looking closer at your pictures, there appears to be a clasp lock with a ring attached to release the lock. This type of securing device does appear on French and Chinese folding knives, and therefore could be expected in a Viet knife of that period (although I don't know that for sure).

I'm very wary of stories about knives taken from an enemy combatant.

Ian.

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Old 4th August 2015, 05:00 PM   #4
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Some little bit better photos. With the prevalence of clasp knives in France, I see a strong possibility one would be found in Viet Nam. Could be a hand-me-down, from the French colonial days. I don't think the wood is Teak. The grain is too open.
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Old 4th August 2015, 06:15 PM   #5
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ring pull locks on folders were common in germany, spain & france. i've got a couple... er, a few.

more recently they have been made under license in so. africa & even 'cold steel' has made a copy in more modern materials. (photo 1)

it is said the so. african one is responsible for more deaths there than any other.

they are a variant on the spanish ratcheting navaja's (photo 2)

someone once said that many a person's last heard sound was the distinctive sound of their opening.
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Old 6th August 2015, 01:59 AM   #6
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I used to have several Navaja, from Mexico. (similar to the one pictured) The blades, were extremely curved inward, Corvo style. It seemed, that the intended use, was for cutting the throat, from behind. One day at a show, I told my theory to an older Mexican gentleman. He shook his finger, "No, no, no." Then he motioned across his belly. Yikes!
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Old 6th August 2015, 02:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenchwarfare
I used to have several Navaja, from Mexico. (similar to the one pictured) The blades, were extremely curved inward, Corvo style. It seemed, that the intended use, was for cutting the throat, from behind. One day at a show, I told my theory to an older Mexican gentleman. He shook his finger, "No, no, no." Then he motioned across his belly. Yikes!
Yes, definitely to eviscerate someone. Same as for the corvo, although the corvo was used on the face also to disfigure but not kill an opponent.

Ian.
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Old 6th August 2015, 02:47 AM   #8
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There are written sources about the use of corvo during the Chile-Peru war; multiple accounts of throat cutting. Including a wholesale murder of Peruvian wounded during a raid on a military hospital. Charming people... Face marking was not high on their list of priorities, that was a customary practice of French apaches, Mafia and Camorra during their internal fights. Chileans went for the jugular ( pun intended).

The curved one in Post #6 is a very peaceful garden variety pruning knife. Google it, including images. These Mexican gentlemen have inflamed imagination: too much tequila and overcooked beans :-)))))

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Old 6th August 2015, 07:48 AM   #9
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yes, the extreme one looks like a pruning knife is it's primary purpose, but of course could serve a more sinester purpose.

the kerambit has has similar shape & is generally described as a deadly stealth knife used in a belly cut in a close up surprise attack.

opinel make a nice & cheap pruner, the blades tend to be thinner that we'd expect on a more 'tactical' knife, but opinel uses a good and strong steel.
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