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Old 25th October 2008, 04:00 PM   #1
Robert
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Default Re-hilted Bayonet?

Another item picked up at the local gun show. To me it has a Spanish look to it possible from Mexico or somewhere in South America? Looks like it could be a re-hilted bayonet but I have seen short swords that were quite similar. The big problem with this is that the seller decided to clean it before selling it. Blade has had a wire wheel taken to it leaving a lot of damage. He also polished the horn grip and brass fittings leaving the cracks in the grip filled with polishing compound. At least he left the guard alone. He said he had picked it up at a garage sale. There are no markings on this anywhere. Looking for comments on possible age and origin. Would sanding the blade to remove the damage caused by the wire wheel be a good idea or not?

Total length = 24-3/4"
Blade length = 20"
Blade at widest point = 1-1/8"

Robert
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Old 25th October 2008, 09:21 PM   #2
Gonzalo G
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It is a facón, a knife from Argentina. It is usually made with a discarded bayonet blade. Please see this article:

http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/facon/criollo.html

I would say from 1940 to 1960.

Regards

Gonzalo

Last edited by Gonzalo G : 25th October 2008 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 25th October 2008, 10:46 PM   #3
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Yes, sanding would help; but then you have to go through quite a few different grits to get a decent finish .
A figure 8 or circular sanding pattern will take the scratches out quickest; then finish with lengthwise strokes .
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Old 26th October 2008, 11:59 PM   #4
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Gonzalo, Thank you very much for identifying this as a Argentine facón for me as well as giving me an idea as to its age. Also my thanks for the great link that you posted which is not only very informative but also shows such beautiful examples of the different knives used by the gauchos.
Rick, My thanks for your advice on how to help restore the damage done to the blade on this. When I get time to do the work needed I will post new pictures hopefully showing it in better condition.
On another note, when I bought this the seller said that he thought that he had the leather scabbard for it and if he could find it he would call me. Well, he called today and is going to mail it out to me tomorrow.
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Old 28th October 2008, 03:06 AM   #5
Chris Evans
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
It is a facón, a knife from Argentina. It is usually made with a discarded bayonet blade. Please see this article:

http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/facon/criollo.html

I would say from 1940 to 1960.

Regards

Gonzalo



Hi Gonzalo,

It certainly would have fitted in with Brazil, Uruguay or Argentina, but how did you narrow it down to 1940-60? By that time facons were completely obsolete, unless as a film prop.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 28th October 2008, 08:58 PM   #6
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Chris, I said Argentina and gave a making period because of the style and the apparent age. Neverthless, the facones are continously made to this day, and people purchase them, and I don´t mean tourists, but argentineans. On the Armas Blancas Forum many bladesmiths show their new facones and puñales criollos recently produced. It seems that you have the idea that those argentinean knives are a lost tradition, but it is completely the opposite. I don´t know if they use this knives only on special festivals with their traditional dress, or as everybody says on Argentina, they still use them on some places to work, but the production of this knives has never been stopped. On the contrary, they seem to be very popular. Airon even make and sells bayonet-like blades in Argentina just to be mounted in the traditional ways by silversmiths and other professional "blade mounters". Some people still purchases old bayonets or make their own blades for this purpose. You should see the intense activity of traditional knife making in Argentina just looking the silversmiths and bladesmiths web pages and forums. Please see this recent thread:

http://www.armasblancas.com.ar/foro...de-gennaro.html

I don´t know if you can see the photos without registering, but you can register and look for yourself this activity.

Of course, the facon could be brazilian, but on the 20th Century the styles have been modernized and mixed from mutual influences, so you can´t be 100% certain of the origin, uness known provenance or the presence of markings which gives a positive identification. Today, any argentinean bladesmith can use any style they like (or to the customer preferences) to make a specific facón.
Regards

Gonzalo

Last edited by Gonzalo G : 28th October 2008 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 28th October 2008, 09:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
Please see this recent thread:

http://www.armasblancas.com.ar/foro...de-gennaro.html

I don´t know if you can see the photos without registering, but you can register and look for yourself this activity.


Thank you Gonzalo, very interesting! link works with most photos without registering, but secondry links to non directly displayed photos do require registration.

Spiral
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Old 28th October 2008, 10:07 PM   #8
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I hope the photo of the facón on page 2 of the thread can be seen. It is the third and last photo of this page.
Regards

Gonzalo
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Old 28th October 2008, 10:14 PM   #9
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Yes its visible. Its Hosted at Tinypic, Here...

http://i38.tinypic.com/2qdo7er.jpg

Its just the forum hosted pics that cant be seen without membership.

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Old 29th October 2008, 01:16 AM   #10
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Hi Gonzalo,

It is important to understand that the long facon, as currently defined, was a knife that was essential to the gauchos of old to hunt and slaughter the wild cattle and horses of the pampas, on which the subsisted. Because of its length and general shape, it had little or no application for more mundane tasks, left to smaller knives, as reflected by edicts of Rosas ( a long term ruler of Argentina to the mid 19th century) re banning facons from his estancias, but allowing the "puñal/cuchillo", a variant of the butcher's knife, because it was a necessary and thus legitimate tool.

Nomadic true gauchos, not the glorified rural labourers who later sequestred the name, those who roamed the pampas (flat grasslands) as free men and lived of wild cattle never amounted to a large population. Historians estimating that their numbers in 1797, in what is now the Buenos Aires province to a mere 8,000. To be sure the pampas took in more than that province, but even so, in their totality, they did not add up to more than a few tens of thousands. And outside of the pampas there were no gauchos.

So from this we can see that those who used and needed facons were few. And with the eventual demise of the wild cattle and horse population, absolutely essential to sustain the gaucho's life style, which was becoming evident by the early decades of the 19th century, if not earlier, the gaucho, his mode of living and facon were very much on the vane. After the revolutionary war of independence from Spain, the gaucho was outlawed, for practical considerations ceased to exists as a free man and was reduced to an agricultural labourer on the estancias of the oligarchy that ruled the land. Some became "montoneros" ( mounted gangs) and a few drifted to the remotest corners of the pampas to live on as before, but their era was largely over, and with it that of the facon.

From that point on, the long bladed facon was looked upon as a weapon, with no utilitarian application and for this reason rarely tolerated. In daily usage, it was replaced by the "puñal/cuchillo" and that was and is the knife most used in the region to this day.

Nevertheless, large "puñals" were colloquially often referred to as facons right into modern times, and this accounts for the mistaken impression that their use continued, which did not. We must remember that the strict classification/nomenclaturization of the various bladed ware of the region was something that was implemented in the 20th century and was brought about by historians and curators.

With the rise of the landed oligarchy came a need for status symbols and this accounts for the ornate silver furnitured bladeware that these days is attributed to the gauchos. Most facons, especially the better made and lavishly silver mounted ones belonged to estancia owners, their overseers, military men and leaders of montoneros - Though I hasten to concede that coarsely made silver decorated knives were owned by even the indians and not a few better heeled workers, especially in the second half of the 19th century.

From the above we can see that by the 20th century, the facon became a dress item to be worn of festive occassions and or being displayed as a conversation piece. Having spent not an inconsiderable amount of time in Sth America, I can assure everybody that anyone who would tuck a facon into their belt, save on dress parades and such like events, would be laughed off as a "fanfarron" (boastful poser), and this was true forty five yeras ago, as it is today.

In the 1940-60 period, the vast majority of traditional knives made in Argentina were either basic utilitarian or very ornate silver or German silver mounted "puñales/cuchillos" to be worn as dress accessories. To be sure, in recent times there has been a renaissance of traditional knife making in Argentina and imitation/replica facons are being made anew. But these are collectors items, very much like modern high end Spanish navajas, the blade shape and length precluding any practical application - We have to remember that wild cattle are no longer hunted from horseback in the old fashioned way with knives and lances.

Re Robert's knife: Not being an expert of bayonets, I cannot identify the age and provenance of the blade, though it appears to have been made in the 2nd half of the 19th century - Perhaps another forumite can help us here. Also, we have to remember that re-hilted bayonets and broken sword blades were not exclusive to Sth America, so this particular example could have come from other regions. However, the general appearance of the piece suggests a much earlier date than that of the mid 1900s.

Something else, a 20" blade is rather long for a facon, though by no means rare. Long facons were difficult and uncomfortable to wear in the traditional manner and as such were pinned under the saddle and thus commonly called "facon caronero" (saddle facon). To facilitate their carriage and drawing, they were generally mounted without a substantial hand-guard. So, a large facon fitted with a large hand-guard was definitely uncommon.

The handguard is untypical of those peculiar to Sh America - Its general shape fits, but not is construction which suggests having been cast or even forged, a mode of manufacture alien to the region until modern times, though not to Europe.

It may or may not be of Sth American provenance and if it did indeed come from the general region, who would have used it and for what purpose? Its rather elegant but Spartan appearance , is inconsistent with the typical silver embellishments that an ostentatious estanciero would have demanded, so that leaves us with perhaps a military man's sidearm. Of course, it could be no more than a curiosity made by a cutler for his own amusement, or as a film prop, out of bits and pieces - It is hard to say from the pictures, but the edge of the blade appears to have seen little use. And the handle appears more substantial than what can be generally obtained from cattle horn - More like Buffalo. So, to me it remains a mystery piece.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 29th October 2008, 07:46 AM   #11
Gonzalo G
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Chris, your assumptions are:
1-. The facón belonged only to the gauchos, to make certain jobs
2.- There was no gauchos time ago
3.- There was no need of facones and they were forbidden
4.- So, the facones dissapeared with the gauchos and the rest are false

But, to begin with, and as the specialists says, there were not knives exclusive to the gauchos, but for all the population who demanded or needed them. The general idea of a gaucho knive is one of the typical romatic ideas of an idealized figure, sustained by foreigners. The facón was also used to butcher all kinds of livestock and it is usefull for the same purpose today, for all the people which has small amounts of animals and kill them for their own consumption. It is also widely used to kill or finish off a hunt prey, as the traditional hunting of boars and other animals with dogs is commonly practised. And though the facón is not ideally suited for other tasks, it is also used to perform them. Today, the facon is not forbidden on the countryside as far I understand, but prohibitions never were a consideration for our peoples in Latin America, where the good politicians and government man were the first ones to break the law, and the insufficiency of police numbers was inadecuate to cover big extensions of land. Colonialism and neo-colonialism has not embedded a great respect for the law.

True, this facón is big, but this was not a rare thing among the facones, and the special way they were carried, crossed alongide their backs under the belts, did not impede movements. The facón can be on the limits of it´s size, but the caroneros were bigger, and made with discarded sword and sabre blades. Yes, curved blades. I suppose you read and saw the big facones on the Domenech´s article. Bayonets of this size were carried by many thousand of mens on foot on the wars all over Europe and America during decades. Yes, it can be an impeding weapon in certain circumstances, but neverthless it can be usefull.

I celebrate that you have learned so much during your travels to Latin America, as to make so many asseverations, but your idea is completely alien to the facts of our practices and traditions, as far I can see. For example, you say that the spanish navaja is not used anymore. Certainly, you are thinking in the big ones, more bigger than 30cm when open. But the spanish navaja is it not exclusively the big one. It is not defined by the size, but by other stylistic and constructive features. It came in all sizes and maybe is the source of all the actual folders. And it is made and used very profusely in this days, by many people. Me, for instance. You can check this point with the portuguese and spanish forumites, on this same forum. On other thread, you also said that the puñal criollo was not used anymore. I didn´t want to discuss your beliefs on that moment, but now I also tell you that the puñal criollo (and not gaucho), is often used by the argentineans.

It is not a matter of any revival. Maybe the war and other civil conflicts in Argentina have slowed the production, or the use, of some crafts, as they also slowed other economic areas. Military dictators are always paranoic and nervous about wepons on the hands of the civil population, even about kives. It is not a matter of order and public security (yet they use this argument), but fear of the people. And maybe your personal experiences comes form the times of the military dictadorship over there, when the things were completely different, I don´t know. But the production of this weapons has never stopped, and even if collectors purchase big caroneros, there are still other which are used, NOT in the saddle, as they do not use saddles, but recados. And why should they be called "replicas", if they are made in the interior of a national tradition, by argentinean mounters or bladesmiths who´s fathers did the same? Can we say that the modern bowies are "replicas" only to show and useless big knives, unconfortable to use and carry? In a certain way, they are, but still, they are also usefull, and a living and uninterrupted tradition. The same can be said of the khukri. There is nothing idealistic on it.

Re: Robert´s facón. The handguard is forged, typical of a facón made from the second third of the 20th Century. Not uncommon.
Spartan, as many serviceable and not ornamental facones. Not unusual.
With a dull edge, as it was common on the soft steel of a bayonet used many times. Or in a facón used to kill only with the point, as was usual in the killing of livestock and hunting prey, mainly form the countryside people.
Hilt made with horn, which is VERY common on the argentinean knives. The general form of the hilt is modern, I would say (and I can be mistaken) from the 40´s era. You can see many photos on new and not much old facones from the 20th Century made in this way on the same forum. Please see, read and check for yourself. And apart from Domenech searches, I can´t find any other published work valid on this subject, as other readings I have seen are not very well informed, contain false assumptions or idealize the gauchos and the argentine history, which is learnt from third parties and not from primary sources or direct experience.

Regards

Gonzalo
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Old 29th October 2008, 12:14 PM   #12
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Default Bayonet Blade

I agree with Chris Evans that the bayonet is probably from the 2nd half of the 19th century. It appears that bayonets with Yataghan blades were fashionable in many countries for several decades.

What I would like to know, is which bayonet. I started my collecting "career" with bayonets and had a very large collection. I still have a facination with them although I sold the collection many years ago. I retained all my books and have been looking through them to see if I can identify this blade. So far no luck. I am wondering if anyone else knows what it is.

Looking at the fuller, in particular the shape and the distance from the cross guard I don't think it can be any of the following:-
Austrian 1870, French 1842, French 1866, Portuguese 1885. The end of the fuller looks too square on these.
Possibly the Danish 1867, Turkish 1874 or British 1856 although I don't see how the first 2 would have ended up in South America. The Enfield 1856 may be more of a possiblity as there were a lot of them and they did travel.
Is there an american bayonet that fits? I never collected the older bayonets from the USA as they were not readily available in the UK.

I cannot recall any of the S.American countries using yataghan bayonets butno doubt someone will prove me wrong

Regards
Royston
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Old 29th October 2008, 01:42 PM   #13
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Yes, I´ll do it In Argentina was used the rifle Martini Henry with the bayonet named "Patent 1860", which had a recycled blade form older avant loaded or front charged models (I don´t recall the name of this kind of weapons). Even in latter replacements of this bayonet for the argentinean army, it was used a copy made by Alex Copel, who also made a replacement of the model named "Elcho".

But it seems to be a misunderstanding here. We are not talking about the blade of the bayonet, but about the facón made with this blade. It is not the same thing. The age of the blade only proofs that the facón was not made earlier, but not that the facón was made in the same era. The facones were made with DISCARDED bayonets, who were first used on the armies of Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay, usually models already discarded form european or USA armies when this Latin American countries recived them as new, and then when discarded in this countries, stored on the military warehouses for years, to be sold latter on wholesale, and latter in reatail by the new owners to the silversmiths and other specialist in mounting them.

So, the facones could be made with bayonets with several decades of age. Even today, very old bayonets are searched to make facones. Personally, I wouldn´t do it, as a bayonet is a piece of collection with it´s own merit, but the silversmiths can make a big deal on money mounting and selling them. It is their tradition.

Neverthless, I agree with Chris in one point: the main (but not exclusive, as on the Argentina´s northeast area it is still used as a weapon and a tool) use of the facón nowadays, is to show with the traditional dress. Sometimes also to show richness, as the best silver mounts could be very costly. And the best ones are mounted with the older and better blades available. We cannot criticize this practice, as here, the most searched swords are the most luxurious and ornamentated ones, showing the richness and power of the original owners.

You can see a discussion about the ACTUAL mounting of a bayonet-yataghan blade form the 19th Century, to make a facón, in this thread:

http://www.armasblancas.com.ar/foro...able-curvo.html

I´m afraid the photos can only be seen with a previous registration.
Regards

Gonzalo

Last edited by Gonzalo G : 29th October 2008 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 29th October 2008, 04:52 PM   #14
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Hi Gonzalo,

What strikes me immediately about this discussion is that the key terms used, namely `gaucho' and `facon', changed meaning in the course of history. A gaucho in the colonial and immediate post colonial period was a horseman who roamed the pampas sustaining himself with wild cattle and horses - But by the second half of the 19th century, any agricultural labourer who got around on a horse was also called a gaucho. The eventual differentiation between a "real" gaucho and an agriculural labourer became problematic, as recognized by L.V.Mancilla, which can be read in Domenech's Dagas De Plata (DDP) pg 22

The same applies to the facon. Right into very recent times, any sizeable knife worn by an agricultural horseman, indeed agricultural labourer, was so named. Yet we know on the strength of historical research and surviving specimens that there were significant distinctions to be made.


Quote:
But, to begin with, and as the specialists says, there were not knives exclusive to the gauchos, but for all the population who demanded or needed them.


If we are talking about knives in general yes, you are absolutely right - If on the other hand you are referring to what these days we call facons and the subject of this thread, then their use was more restricted, especially the longer ones..


Quote:
The general idea of a gaucho knive is one of the typical romatic ideas of an idealized figure, sustained by foreigners.


Agreed, but not just by foreigners only. The Argentineans themselves promulgated this notion first, as amply demonstrated by their literature. Borges for one - He is pretty careless when it comes to describing bladed ware.

Quote:
The facón was also used to butcher all kinds of livestock and it is usefull for the same purpose today, for all the people which has small amounts of animals and kill them for their own consumption. It is also widely used to kill or finish off a hunt prey, as the traditional hunting of boars and other animals with dogs is commonly practised.


The large facon, at first invariably made from discarded sword blades and later bayonets, was used primarily to hunt and slaughter wild cattle. A knife of large dimensions, actually more like a short sword, was required to cut the rear leg tendons of the animal so as to bring it down and afterwards to disptach it. For a more detailed description of this see Domenech's Dagas De Plata (DDP) pg 11 and for pics pg 111

This facon had little application for other rural tasks and once the gauchos ceased to hunting wild cattle, the facon became for most part a weapon and hence Rosas disdain for it. Domenech in DDP pgs 63 and 349 tells us that the facon is essentially a weapon - And that's what it became after the nomadic life style of the early gauchos came to an end with the depletion of wild cattle and horses, not to mention their being outlawed after independence.

Quote:
And though the facón is not ideally suited for other tasks, it is also used to perform them.


Agreed. However, with the advent of modern ranching in the first third of the 19th century, knives much better suited for day to day tasks became normative - Again, refer to Rosas and his attitude to knives.

Quote:
Today, the facon is not forbidden on the countryside as far I understand,


Nowadays agreed. But in the 19th century a different state of affairs prevailed.

Throughout the 1800s the gaucho, defined as anybody without fixed employement was arrested on sight and gang-pressed into the army or militias. During times of war, even regularly employed labourers were treated in a similar manner. The authorities had to contribute a fixed quota of recruits and they did so by enforcing the various laws, often harshly and unfairly. Whilst you are right in asserting that there was a general contempt for the law, which was often only oserved in the breach, nevertheless there was legislation re knives and their violent usage and this was enforced. Rosas mercilessly flogged any of his workers for knife related misdemeanors - He had himself flogged for a knife related pecadillo, just to set an example and to demonstrate that such breaches would not be tolerated from anyone, not even himself.

Quote:
The facón can be on the limits of it´s size, but the caroneros were bigger, and made with discarded sword and sabre blades.


This particular specimen, if it was used in Sth America, could have qualified as either an oversize facon or a shortish caronero.


Quote:
Bayonets of this size were carried by many thousand of mens on foot on the wars all over Europe and America during decades. Yes, it can be an impeding weapon in certain circumstances, but neverthless it can be usefull.


Of course a blade this long can be carried quite comfortably, but only if the sheath is suspended from the belt as a sword would.

Quote:
.... For example, you say that the spanish navaja is not used anymore. Certainly, you are thinking in the big ones, more bigger than 30cm when open. But the spanish navaja is it not exclusively the big one. It is not defined by the size, but by other stylistic and constructive features.


Navaja in Spanish means no more than a folding knife. However, as we in the English speaking world generally use the term, it refers to clasp knives that replicate those of old Spain, with blades at least 6" long or longer and whicht had serious potential as weapons. In my posts I always went out of my way to make this clear. This is OT here, though I'll be happy to discuss this subject further in another thread should you wish to do so.

Quote:
On other thread, you also said that the puñal criollo was not used anymore. I didn´t want to discuss your beliefs on that moment, but now I also tell you that the puñal criollo (and not gaucho), is often used by the argentineans.


I can't remember having said any such thing, and if I inadvertently conveyed such an impression, I'll happily retract it. I fact, I contend that the puñal so called, which is nothing more than a glorified butchers knife, is and was the knife most used in Sth America. As for the puñal criollo vs gaucho, you are repeating what I already said in another thread, and on this we are in agreement.

Quote:
It is not a matter of any revival.


Yes it is.

There were always `platerias' (silverware shops) that commissioned the manufacture and sold traditionally mounted knives, mostly puñales, but in the last 15yrs or so, there has been a definite resurgence of interest and manufacture of all manner of cut and thrust weapons. In my observation, this paralleled the HEMA movement in other parts of the world, but with the addition of a regional flavour, emphasizing gaucho inspired themes.


Quote:
But the production of this weapons has never stopped, and even if collectors purchase big caroneros, there are still other which are used, NOT in the saddle, as they do not use saddles, but recados.


Oh come on, lets not argue about the subtleties of the gaucho `recado'. The nearest English word is saddle, and in this context it surely suffices.

BTW. I am not sure if I understand you, but are you suggesting that facon caroneros are still used in earnest?


Quote:
And why should they be called "replicas", if they are made in the interior of a national tradition, by argentinean mounters or bladesmiths who´s fathers did the same? Can we say that the modern bowies are "replicas" only to show and useless big knives, unconfortable to use and carry? In a certain way, they are, but still, they are also usefull, and a living and uninterrupted tradition. The same can be said of the khukri. There is nothing idealistic on it.


This is a matter of semantics, but to me, and probably most people, the manufacture of any outdated implement is replication. For example nobody would call a modern rendition of a cap and ball revolver anything other than a replica, even if it was made by the same factory that turned out the originals 150yrs ago. Should you call such a revolver the manifestation of a living tradition, you would be implying that it is still being used in earnest, which would be disingenuous.

I hold that the facon, as defined by Domenech, fell into gradual disuse after the early decades of the19th century, save as a weapon of outlaws, and dress accessory/status symbol, having been replaced by the puñal/cuchillo - IMO, any recently made facon cannot be called anything other than a replica.

Quote:
Re: Robert´s facón. The handguard is forged, typical of a facón made from the second third of the 20th Century. Not uncommon.


As this knife does not bear any marks that identify its origins, we cannot be sure of its provenance. However, if you think that it was made in Argentina between 1940 and 60, can you direct us to similar examples positively identified?

Quote:
Spartan, as many serviceable and not ornamental facones. Not unusual.


On the contrary - Discounting perhaps very modern works, I would suggest that this specimen does not fit in at all with the trends of the time span that you suggest. Discounting working knives, the 1940-60 period, was characterized by lavish silver ornamentation.


Quote:
Hilt made with horn, which is VERY common on the argentinean knives.


I agree that cattle horn is very common in Argentina, but finding a solid piece of the size of this hilt is not that easy. But of course, if it was indeed made in the time span that you suggest, then the cutler could have obtained the horn from anywhere. The problem here is to prove that it was made in that time span. To me it looks like buffalo horn, but that's just from the photos.

Quote:
The general form of the hilt is modern, I would say (and I can be mistaken) from the 40´s era. You can see many photos on new and not much old facons from the 20th Century made in this way on the same forum.


I have yet to see one that is similar in detail to this one and which can be positively traced to those years. Again, could you perhaps give us some examples?

Quote:
Neverthless, I agree with Chris in one point: the main (but not exclusive, as on the Argentina´s northeast area it is still used as a weapon and a tool) use of the facón nowadays, is to show with the traditional dress. Sometimes also to show richness, as the best silver mounts could be very costly. And the best ones are mounted with the older and better blades available. We cannot criticize this practice, as here, the most searched swords are the most luxurious and ornamentated ones, showing the richness and power of the original owners


By north east you mean around Misones? I was there in 1990 and never saw a single facon. Plenty of machetes, a few smallish puñales and verijeros, but no facons. Same in the north west, in Salta and Jujuy, supposedly the centre of the modern "gaucho" revival. Couldn't even find a decent souvenier piece, only junk.

And what do you make out of Robert's other knife?
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5456

Cheers
Chris
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Old 30th October 2008, 08:57 AM   #15
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The changing meaning of the word "gaucho" is irrelevant. As I told you. those knives were not privative from the gaucho, but used by cattle or livestock workers, namely cowboys or sheperds, and NOT agricultural labourers. I´m talking about men on horses, who uses the facón to perform many activities related to the cattle, the horse and he´s own defense. If you keep linking the facón exclusively to the gaucho or the landowner, you are going to be trapped in concepts and will never understand the real use of this knives.

The size of the facón was linked also to the size of the bayonets available to make them. You know, this was not like choosing in a supermarket many available sizes to pick up the most desirable or apt, but to get any blade within their reach to make a facón, and to the II WW, almost all bayonets had big blades. You have to understand the historical context of the craft, the difficulties in getting steel blades of certain characteristics and the poverty of that people. I´m not talking of the rich silver mounted facones of the estancieros or hacendados, the big landowners, but of the working tools used by the ranch workers.

Yes, I know argentineans also idealized the gaucho, but one thing is the argentinean idealizaion of the gaucho, and another the foreign myth of the gaucho. The last one is more far from reality. Because at least, the argentineans knows that those knives were not privative form the gaucho. And, another thing: the caronero was not a gaucho knive. It was an outlaw knive, made to kill men. Not only some gauchos were outlaws. Many non gaucho men were outlaws, until the end of the 19th Century. Just in the same way many american oulaws on the west were not really cowboys.

I´m sorry to say this, but your spanish seems to be not good enough. On the page 11, Domenech mentions explicitly that the weapon used to cut the leg rear tendoms of the cattle is NOT the facón, but a kind of SPEAR with a half moon blade, and LATTER, when the animal was already on the ground, the gaucho, which is making temporarily the job of a cowboy, dismounted and finished off the animal with the facón. And it does not mention the need of a special size of blade to do the job. If this is the source of your theory to explain the lenght of the facones, I am afraid you are wrong. I point the fact that the northeast argentinean cattle or livestock estancias, on which cowboys are actually employed, still have some of this practices. I´m sorry that you couldn´t see it during your voyage. I suppose that if I go to Australia and I don´t see free greater bilbies or the leadbeaters in the countryside, this is not proof that this animals do not exist.

The facón was usefull in the time of Rosas, and Rosas did not disdain it. What Rosas was worried about, is for the continuos fighting of the cowboys with the use of the facones. The landowners were only worried about the preservation of their labour force, and Rosas, which was also a landowner, was also worried about the keeping of his "public order", as a good dictator. In some actual countries, as mine, alcoholic breverages are forbidden on sunday. They prefer to see the people on the church. And this is not because our politicians have a very high standard of morality (I almost laughed), but because they are colaborating with the business man who wants all his workers labouring on monday, and not absent and drunk. And also, in the same movement, the politicians have the gratitude of the catolic church, wich is a political force to be taken on account...do you see? All comes to economic interest and political power.

Other uses for the facón, apart from butchering, hunting wild beasts (finishing off wounded prey) and fighting still today? They make many things, from arranging the hoof and mane of the horses, cutting wire, making small wood for the fire, eating (yes, they use the facón to eat), cutting strips of leather to weave and so on. But as you said, gardually the big bladed criollo knive is completely displacing the facón, because is more confortable to carry and use. By the way, the puñal criollo is NOT a glorified butchers knife, but a knife rooted in a genealogy which goes to the mediterranean knife. Yes, also a butcher knife, as the bowie itself, but more a multipurpose knife. I find more butcher-lile the bayonet, which is made for the sole purpose to kill, and in the cattle-orientated north of Mexico, we use a knife similar to a bayonet to kill domestic animals, not as the criollo, but long, slender and with parallel edges. But you have to know about slaughtering to understand this uses.

Sorry, I don´t understand what do you mean with "HEMA movement", and I don´t know form what source do you speak of "revival" or about "mainly silver mounted knives on the period of 1940 - 1960", and other many statements you have made in so absolute manner.

If you define in english the "spanish navaja" for it´s size, I´m sorry, but this definition is not valid in the SPANISH speaking world. The spanish navaja is not only a folding knife, but have other unmistakable stylistic and constructive features, very differentiated form other navajas from all over the world.

Saddle in english, as on spanish, means the same thing. We call it "silla de montar" (mounting chair). The military and equestrian is an "albardón", and not a silla de montar (saddle). The saddle has also a very differentiated constructive features, completely alien to the recado. It consists on a rigid structures made of wood or hardened raw skins lined or covered usually with leather and integrated stirrups made with metal or wood, and sometimes also covered with leather. The recado consists of layers of blankets and a soft raw skin of an animal used just to cover, and cordage. Is more like a nomadic item. Not rigid parts, no horn, not an integrated stirrups and the lasso or lariat is not atached to a horn to pull or stop the cattle, but to the cordage. This is the reason we have a word for the saddle, another for the albardón, and another word for the recado. A matter of precision in the use of the words. I don´t know if you have an equivalent in english, but sadly, I don´t know it. How do you call the english style jumping and racing horse "saddle"?

The caronero is used only in festivities with the traditional dress, but only by a few people. When an item is outdated? Do you call the cowboy dress (boots, shirts, pants, hats and so on) outdated "replicas"? Or they are part of a living tradition? You know, the texan hats and boots, the texan saddle, the cowboy pants Levi´s style, the wide belts with special buckles...

I invited you to see for youself the facones from all ages on that forum, but if you want examples, please give us examples which, in your own words, "fit in at all with the trends of the time span". Because I belive that your knowledge of the facones is reduced to the silver mounted examples used by the rich people to make ostentation, and those are only a part of the production. You can´t fit this example because it is different. You talk about water buffalo horn from India an link me to a discussion in which I also find remarkable statements in this way. I´m not surprised the other facon also was not understood, and you, without no historical proof, said that it´s parts could not be made in Mexico, as if an advanced technology without our reach was required to. I´m not going to discuss the other knife, but I´m going to show you, for your knowledge, that this horn is NOT from water buffalo, but a common cow horn form Argentina, commonly known as black "guampa" or "asta". I expect this help you to understand this handles on the common working facones. Please see this photo, of a puñal criollo made with cow´s horn from Argentina:



Nice, isn´t it? I think it does not fit on your idea of the cow´s horn appearance. Maybe because you don´t have a direct knowledge of this materials. And there is more:



This is all the mistery of the "water buffalo" horns on the argentinean working facones. The metal crafting is an easy business in Argentina, or in Mexico. You should see the silverware from Taxco and Guanajuato in Mexico. The best repousee and filigree silverwork is exported to USA and Europe, though we don´t make knife mountings, but pistol slabs and machete handles. And also some adornments for the assault rifles, though I think this is distastefull.

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Old 30th October 2008, 01:23 PM   #16
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Hi Gonzalo,


1. Re Slaughtering Wild Cattle:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonzalo G
I´m sorry to say this, but your spanish seems to be not good enough. On the page 11, Domenech mentions


I never claimed that my Spanish was perfect, though your English appears to be even worse. I referred you to pages 11 and 111, which you obviously did not. As you haven't, I include here the picture that shows how a beast is brought down with a knife. Domenech describes both the methods with the half moon spear and the knife.

2. Re Use of Facons:

From Dagas De Plata pg 61:

Agricultural labourers (peons) shouldn't be allowed a facón, since it’s useless for work. They must use a knife (cuchillo), and keep it well sharpenned. This precaution could save their lives from the dangers inherent to their job, or that of a fellow worker.” From “Instrucción al Estanciero” by Jose Hernadez (a book filled with advice for land owners, published in 1882) who fought in the civil wars and also against Uruguay. He was intimately familiar with life in rural Argentina and wrote the celebrated story of the gaucho Martín Fierro,

So rather than go on with a dialogue that is becoming too broad and leading nowhere, I rest my case on the above.


3. This thread is about identifying Robert's knife and we are still waiting for pictures or a link to a knife that closely resembles it and is positively known to have been made in Argentina in the 1940-60 period. Until you provide us with such proof, I am afraid that all we are doing is guessing. And please do note that I am not saying that the knife in question wasn't made there, only that we don't know, though I do question the time frame suggested.

3.1 If the hand guard was indeed forged, as you suggest, then the dies would have been used to make many more and a number of such guards would have to be still in circulation on Argentinean knives, as 1940-60 wasn't that long ago. Shouldn't be hard to find on. Perhaps you can put it out one that Argentinean forum and see what they think.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 30th October 2008, 11:33 PM   #17
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To begin with, the page 111 shows the killing of a cow by two CRIOLLO cowboys, and it does not correpspond with the description of a single GAUCHO on page 11 killing a cow, which illustrates my argument in the sense that meanwhile cattle or livestock is taken care of by men on horses, namely cowboys or sheperds, the facón was a useful knife and not an updated item. Do you know the difference among "gaucho" and "criollo"? A criollo can be any inhabitant of the land descended from the original settlers and linked to the old traditions. A gaucho is a special kind of man, as described by the Domenech´s article on this forum.

Yes AGRICULTURAL labouresrs didn´r really need a facón, but the cowboys or sheperds did. Domenech´s quote is refering to the fact that the indiscriminated use of the facón by all the population on the countryside only meant the extensive use of this knife as a weapon to duelling, which the estancieros wanted to avoid to all cost, as it was not convenient to their interests.

About Roberto´s facón: yes, of course I did a guess based on my small knowledge of the argentinean knives, with which I have daily contact throught the Armas Blancas forum and argentinean collectors, and of course, my own books and articles. My guess is based on the items I have seem throught my life, and the fact that I have never encountered this geometric hilts and this thin metal separators between the pieces of horn until mid 20th Century. I believe the use of this small metal discs, which appear as metal thin lines, is something that could be alien to the traditional decorative uses in Argentina, although today are very popular, and I can be wrong in this point, but this is the best guess I can honestly make with my actual knowledge without any pretention. I don´t have any illustration on my hand, as I also don´t remember in which specific place I have seen many items, even from this Ethnographic forum. But at least I have a more precise idea of the origins, materials and styles of this weapons, not to be making wild guesses and speculations among countries, continents, materials, methods of production and so on.

The making of this guard is much simpler than the use of a die. Argentineans never used dies to handcraft their knives, and this guard, from Robert´s facón, is a very simple one which requires only to forge and the use of a file. The botones, pommels and handguards on the argentinean, uruguayan and brazilian criollo knives are always made in this way. They make even the most beautiful and precise spiraled adornments with just only files and sandpaper, still today. Just take a look on that forum and see for yourself.

Gonzalo
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Old 31st October 2008, 01:22 AM   #18
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This may have already been addressed. Too much to read here. But, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, all three issued yataghan style bayonets, from the 1880s till at least 1904. Any of which could have been the donor for the blade that started this thread. M.P.
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Old 31st October 2008, 01:55 AM   #19
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Hi Gonzalo,

Quote:
Argentineans never used dies to handcraft their knives,....... The botones, pommels and handguards on the argentinean, uruguayan and brazilian criollo knives are always made in this way.


Please refer to photos taken from Dagas De Plata pg 185 showing the forging of buttons with a mechanical hammer and die in Tandil, Argentina.

Quote:
I have never encountered this geometric hilts and this thin metal separators between the pieces of horn until mid 20th Century. I believe the use of this small metal discs, which appear as metal thin lines, is something that could be alien to the traditional decorative uses in Argentina,


Wrong!

Please refer to DDP pg 73 cat 1131 for facon with wooden&horn handle and two thin separators; Large dagger pg78 cat 1142 with horn and bone handle and thin separators. Puñal Salteño pg97 with four thin separators; Facon pg128 cat 1152 featuring numerous thin silver separators and horn disks; All of these are antiques.

The use of thin separators in handles by cutlers was almost a universal practice by the 19th century, be it for decoration or else to allow the use of material that was not of sufficient size to permit a one piece construction. The only restriction for this practice was the availability of sheet metal, in this case brass.

What truly distinguishes this handle is that it appears to be uniformly circular in its cross section, something that would suggest a lathe having been used to shape it - Though it is hard to say from the photo. A few measurements with a calliper would throw light on this. Perhaps Robert could help out.

Something else. How is the pommel disk attached? Riveted? Threaded? And was the pommel disk made from sheet or something else, like a slice from a bar, perhaps even a casting? An end on photo would be helpful.



Quote:
The making of this guard is much simpler than the use of a die.


This guard could have been made in any number of ways. It is very hard to tell from the photos though an actual hands on examination would quickly settle this question. It appears to be of ferrous metal, and Robert could confirm this for us by testing it with a magnet. It also would be helpful to have an end on photo of it, where it meets the blade. The things to look for are the nature of the surface blemishes, file marks, if any, and details of the grooves at the ends of the quillons.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 31st October 2008, 04:11 AM   #20
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I thank you all for your time and for all your effort on trying to identify this knife/sword. The grip is oval shaped, not round as if turned on a lathe. The tang goes through the grip and is then is peened over. I will post a picture of the end of the hilt and of the guard tomorrow. The overall shape of the hilt is very reminiscent of hilts of Spanish Colonial weapons. Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3404 Again I thank you all for your interest and help in trying to identify this unusual item.

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Old 31st October 2008, 08:20 AM   #21
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Hi Robert,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Coleman
I thank you all for your time and for all your effort on trying to identify this knife/sword. The grip is oval shaped, not round as if turned on a lathe. The tang goes through the grip and is then is peened over. I will post a picture of the end of the hilt and of the guard tomorrow. The overall shape of the hilt is very reminiscent of hilts of Spanish Colonial weapons. Please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3404 Again I thank you all for your interest and help in trying to identify this unusual item.

Robert


I think that now we may be getting somewhere. and thanks for that link, a most interesting piece.

Until now I didn't want to drag in the Philippines as a possibility, but some time ago, in Australia, I was shown a double edged sword with a very similar handle and it was said to have originated from there. It is easy to forget that the Hispanic influence was pretty strong there too.

The part that has me most intrigued is the handguard, and would appreciate as much detail as you can spare with your time. Gonzalo could be right in that it may have been entirely hand made, as it definitely could be, but it would be a challenging task to get it all even and so symmetrical. From the photos, it appears to have some surface markings that could give us a clue as to how it was made. One of the quillon ends seems to have been slightly flattened and I wonder how. And how were those grooves cut so evenly? Perhaps you could run a calliper over the quillons and and check them for roundness.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 31st October 2008, 10:35 AM   #22
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Maybe philippines? a mix between a spanish machete of the Fabrica de Toledo mod. 1881 and a new hilt.
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Old 31st October 2008, 09:09 PM   #23
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Chris, I´m talking of hancrafted knives, not of industrial processes, as I clearly stated. The photos from the Tandil manofacture are completely modern and they only make the botones with this dies, and NOT the guards. Neverthless, the fact that a die process can also be used, even by hand, does not make proof that this one was made on a die. And the link provided by Robert, shows another guard made in this way...or, do you think that the other piece was also forged with the use of a die?

The thin separators on this photos are in weapons who´s age is not established on the book, so we cannot say in which period they began to appear. Anyway, I said explicitly a combination on reasons to believe the possible age of Robert´s facón, and I mentioned that the separator feature "could be alien to the traditional decorative uses in Argentina", so it only an idea about the original decorative features on the facón handles, and I am talking explicitly only about the thin separators, as the argentinean knives often have instead wider metal bands, sometimes laminated and chased.

The horn pieces are shaped by hand, as Roberto already said, and I have no doubt that the guard was also made by hand without dies. I see constantly guards made in this way in the actual time by argentinean artisans, even in a more perfect way, this is not something new.

The weapon on the new link, denominated colonial spanish: it is another example of the handwork on the quillons, from the spanish tradition, aready found on the spanish rapiers. The handle clearly is more old in it´s style than the facón on this thread, in my opinion. Looks more traditional. How can this weapon can be validly linked to the Phillipines? On which grounds? I don´t have a background of the wepons made in this style on the Phillipines, and this is the reason of my question. Mexico is independent form 1821. Unless the weapon is dated in a previous period, this is not a colonial spanish mexican weapon. If dated in the beginning of the 20th Century, it is not far from the time proposed for the facón.

My original statement, much discussed without contributions to the ID, and instead, with many unnecesary disgressions, every time with a new irrelevant subject once the last one is refuted, is that this is a facón, and probably form the 1940´s or forward. Please check this information. I can be wrong about the age, as I can´t be sure when certain stylistic features began to appear on the making of this weapons. You can check with a real expert on this kind of weapons (because I´m not and I don´t pretend to be), also, the relevant details of the materials and the possible handmaking of the quillon. I don´t think to be very far in my guess, and I would appreciate if you share with me the opinion given by other persons, as this is also my interest to have a more precise idea about this item.

I also don´t see the reason to continue this discussion, unless new information is found to make more light on this subject.
Regards

Gonzalo
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Old 31st October 2008, 11:17 PM   #24
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A few new pictures. I hope these help. I could not get a decent picture of the pommel cap where the tang is riveted over. Will try again later when the sun is less bright. The guard is either steel or iron. Hammer marks as well as file marks can be seen on the guard, unfortunately very little shows in the pictures. The quillons have flat spots on both ends and on both sides. Could this guard have possible been cast? You can also see on the one picture where the person that I got this from hit the guard with the wire wheel when he CLEANED the blade. Again let me thank everyone for their help.


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Old 1st November 2008, 07:30 AM   #25
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I don´t think it was cast. Casting over sand in this primitive way could leave some typical imperfections, as pores. And, casting would not be as economic and easier as forging, since the grooves would need filing anyway. A blacksmith can make very cheaply and easily this type of guard on the anvil, and casting iron or steel requires more equipment availavility and expense just to make some guards. The chiselled ir filed decoration and the rough form also suggest a forge work, IMHO.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 04:39 AM   #26
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Hi Carlos,

Quote:
Originally Posted by carlos
Maybe philippines? a mix between a spanish machete of the Fabrica de Toledo mod. 1881 and a new hilt.
Best regards


Good point and quite a possibility. Any chance of a pic? What did the hand guard of this model look like?

IMO, a military provenance matches this piece better. We do know that the a large number of machetes were made and issued during the Spanish-American war.

And whilst Gonzalo thinks otherwise, to me the hand guard is more likely to have been made in a factory.

Cheers
Chris

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Old 2nd November 2008, 05:05 AM   #27
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Hi Gonzalo,

Quote:
The thin separators on this photos are in weapons who´s age is not established on the book, so we cannot say in which period they began to appear


Now you completely perplex me. In the "Catalogo" section, on pg 376 Domenech clearly attributes Cat 1131 to the 19th century and Cat 1152 on pg 380 to late 19th century.

Quote:
I don´t think it was cast. Casting over sand in this primitive way could leave some typical imperfections, as pores.


Well, for it to be cast, the metal would have to be something non-ferrous, or else cast iron, which is too brittle for a working knife. And Robert tells that it is ferrous. If made in modern times, perhaps SG iron, but that is unlikely. So, I agree with you on this.

Quote:
A blacksmith can make very cheaply and easily this type of guard on the anvil,....


Having some expertise, in metal work and knife making, I know that I could make a similar guard from either bar-stock or hammer forging a lump of soft iron and then fishing it by filing. But it is quite a complex shape on account of its tapering and curved quillons and would take me a while - Also probably would ruin one or two before ending up with a good one.

Because I do not consider this to be quite as easy a you suggest, I am not at all surprised that I have not seen a single example of a similar complex shaped hand guard on historical Sth American hilted specimens, their being invariably made from a flat strip of metal, either straight or bent to shape.

If it was made by hand, the cutler would have had a lot of practice in getting his sequence and technique right, meaning that he would have had to make quite a number before becoming proficient.

The other possibility is that its rough shape was forged with dies in a factory and afterwards finished by filing, which to me is more likely, though I am not adamant on this point.

It is because of these considerations that I consider the guard so important in identifying this piece.

Cheers
Chris

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Old 2nd November 2008, 05:22 AM   #28
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Hi Robert,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Coleman
A few new pictures. I hope these help. I could not get a decent picture of the pommel cap where the tang is riveted over. Will try again later when the sun is less bright. The guard is either steel or iron. Hammer marks as well as file marks can be seen on the guard, unfortunately very little shows in the pictures. The quillons have flat spots on both ends and on both sides. Could this guard have possible been cast? You can also see on the one picture where the person that I got this from hit the guard with the wire wheel when he CLEANED the blade. Again let me thank everyone for their help.


The similarity between the two hilts is too strong to ignore, suggesting a common provenance.

I found the post by Carlos very promising.

As for the hand guard, have a good look at the underside, where it meets the blade and look for some tell tale signs that could give us further clues re its manufacture, such as slight hollow surface imperfections, some with metal oxide hammered into them and perhaps traces of a seam where forging dies may have met. I won't repeat here my other thoughts on the guard, which I posted in reply to Gonzalo.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 2nd November 2008, 06:59 AM   #29
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Hi Robert,

I think that Carlos could be spot on. I did a Google and found a number of Spanish 1881 model military machetes. here is one interesting link in Spanish: http://www.catalogacionarmas.com/pu...istintivo-3.pdf and
http://www.catalogacionarmas.com/pu...-machetes-2.pdf

But where is the maker's stamping?

However, the hand guard is very different and this brings us back to the re-hilting. I looked around and did not find a single hand guard with quillons featuring those two groves, yet your other dagger has them, so there is a commonality that is hard to ignore. Not only the quillons, but also the pommel cap/disc and the general appearance of the handle.

Could be as Gonzalo suggested, that the hand guard was made entirely by hand, but reflecting a well practiced regional style.

Cheers
Chris

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Old 2nd November 2008, 08:40 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Now you completely perplex me. In the "Catalogo" section, on pg 376 Domenech clearly attributes Cat 1131 to the 19th century and Cat 1152 on pg 380 to late 19th century.

Having some expertise, in metal work and knife making, I know that I could make a similar guard from either bar-stock or hammer forging a lump of soft iron and then fishing it by filing. But it is quite a complex shape on account of its tapering and curved quillons and would take me a while - Also probably would ruin one or two before ending up with a good one.



I perplex myself, Chris. Yes, you are right, I forgot for a moment the catalog descriptions at the end of the book.

I don´t think that the latter guard is more complex to make than the facón´s. In fact, it was made more rough. You have only to forge-weld a ring as an extra, but the flatted and ornated form on the guard where the facón´s tang passes, is also an extra job, more time consuming than a weld (if you know how to make this job). Making tapers on the forge is very easy over the anvil´s horn, and the grooves maybe were made by hot chiselling and latter finishing by file. The point of the quillons could be made by hammering and then finished also by file.
Regards

Gonzalo
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