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History of knives. The Fascine Knife in the 18th century

Updated on July 29, 2011

What is a Fascine knife?

A good example of a Fascine knife that may have been carried during the 18th century by a soldier is posted below. The Fascine knife was not only a tool used for cutting brush, sticks and small sized trees for strengthening trenches (making fascines) but was also easily used as a weapon.

These were made in different fashions some were very long straight back blades, others like the example below had a curved bill hook type blade and were often called "bill hook". Some were dramatically hooked even more than the picture posted below. Most of which were very stout larger sized blades ranging in length. Fascine knives were sometimes very wide as well with a protruding back edge (were the spine of the knife would be) or double edge at this portion of the blade to be used as extra cutting tool.

What is a Fascine?

Fascines were basically a bundle of wood lashed together. During ww1 fascine bundles were carried by tanks and used to fill an obstacle perhaps such as a trench so the tank could easily pass over the the trench without a problem.


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    • mlesniewski profile image

      mlesniewski 4 years ago from Upstate NY

      Bob, Thank you for posting the information and your thoughts.

    • Bob Burgess profile image

      Bob Burgess 5 years ago from Heytesbury

      Just obtained a copy of Newmann, and I am looking at his images of fascine knives. 57K is Italian (possibly Austian/Hungarian/French) - the blade markings are indicative of those found in all of these countries; 58K is probably English, as is 59K (the No 3 denoted the blade size, which probably dates it later than Newmann c 1850 to 1900), and 60K is Portuguese or possibly Spanish (this shape is found in northern Portugal and western Spain). 58K may well be from the Revolutionary War period, but almost certainly was made in England - personally I would date it to early to mid 19th century if I had no other provenance. The way the ferrule is made will give a good idea of its age...

    • mlesniewski profile image

      mlesniewski 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Thank you..Glad you like it.

      I can tell you as far as I know these were carried

      by infantry and artillery..Most of which were carried by the British as some were stamped with british markings. A good book to get for original examples of Fascine Knives as well as original swords, axes and more is

      "Swords & Blades of the American Revolution" by Geroge C. Newman. Sharpening stones werent issued as far as I know. A smooth rock will work to sharpen a blade especially if it were iron or carbon steel, as stainless steel wasnt present at the time.

    • KMattox profile image

      KMattox 6 years ago from USA

      Interesting Hub! The subject matter made me want more. I love history and you've sparked my interest with this one. Do you know if there were specific knives for enlisted as opposed to officers? Or if the calvary carried different knives then the infantry? What company did the government contract with to buy the knives? Are there many examples of these knives left? The knives would have to be very sharp to cut trees and brush, how did they keep their edge? Did the soldiers carry sharpening stones with them? If so, what type? I voted up and interesting.