Bachtel’s Bowie With A Pedigreed Background

Nick Bachtel studied 19th-century great Michael Price's work to create a faithful reproduction of a Price-style gentleman’s bowie.
Nick Bachtel studied 19th-century great Michael Price's work to create a faithful reproduction of a Price-style gentleman’s bowie.

A study of Michael Price’s work, Nick Bachtel’s reproduction gentleman bowie has the looks to wow.

Bladesmith Nick Bachtel has parlayed his fascination with the knives of 19th-century great Michael Price into a faithful reproduction of a Price-style gentleman’s bowie.

Nick studied every Price knife and other like ones of the genre he could find online and elsewhere to help arrive at the way the 19th-century cutler constructed the gentleman’s bowie. However, it was when he saw a picture of a Price knife in BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame® member Bernard Levine’s book, Knifemakers Of Old San Francisco, that “a light went off.”

Nick noticed that the handle had three pins so the knife had to have a full tang, not a hidden tang as he had previously thought, so he forged the knife, heat treated it, fit up the guard and forged the tang wider.

“I call it a captured-guard full tang,” the 24-year-old said of the method that apparently originated among bladesmiths in Ireland, Price’s native country. “It’s such a weird, unique, almost comical way of making a knife—and difficult to do as well,” Nick observed, “but boy, did Price make it!”

Nick Bachtel calls the construction he used to make his reproduction of a Michael Price Gentleman’s Bowie “captured-guard full tang.” For the style to work, it must be forged, Nick stressed. He said another way to do it would be in a frame handle construction and a tapered tang, though a Price aficionado would be able to tell the difference. (SharpByCoop knife images)
Nick Bachtel (inset) calls the construction he used to make his reproduction of a Michael Price Gentleman’s Bowie “captured-guard full tang.” For the style to work, it must be forged, Nick stressed. He said another way to do it would be in a frame handle construction and a tapered tang, though a Price aficionado would be able to tell the difference. (SharpByCoop knife images)

The icing on the cake for Nick was ABS journeyman smith Jordan LaMothe’s story, “How to Make the Price Guard” in the December 2019 BLADE®. As Nick noted, “The Price style is the pinnacle of the traditional forged blade.” What better style is there for a young, up-and-coming bladesmith to explore?

For more information contact N.M. Bachtel Forging Co., attn: Bachtelforgingcompany.com.

Gentleman Bowie Spec Check
Knife name: Michael Price
Style: Gentleman’s Bowie
Maker: Nick Bachtel
Blade length: 5 7/8 inch
Blade material: 52100 carbon steel
Handle: Elk antler and nickel silver
Overall length: 10¾ inch
Sheath: Traditional center-seam vegetable-tanned cowhide w/frog stud
Maker’s List Price For A Similar Knife: $1,100(includes sheath)

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