Classic Blade: Craftsman Bowie Knife Made by Schrade
Russ Chastain 11.16.20
(Photo © Russ Chastain)
Here’s an interesting old blade. This Bowie style knife was gifted to me by the widow of an old friend who used to hunt with us, and although Jim only ever killed one deer and this knife may not have been used on it, it was still his and that’s cool. And I used it myself on a big whitetail doe I recently shot and shucked.
It’s a big fixed-blade hunting knife, with a 7″ blade and an overall length of 12 inches. One look at it and the handle told me it was probably made by Schrade, and that appears to be the case according to what I’ve been able to dig up online.
For many years, Sears, Roebuck & Co sold all kinds of things bearing their brands, and rarely made any of it. Their knives are no exception; this is a Craftsman knife, but it was manufactured by Schrade.
According to info I’ve found here & there, this model seems to be a Craftsman American Eagle 166, and the sheath is apparently original. It came to me with plenty of green crud on the brass bits, as you can see. The rivets and (broken) snap on the gaucho style leather sheath definitely need some attention.
This is definitely a working-class hunting knife, and one that’ll do the job from now on. The leather sheath has a cool brushed finish or stain which almost gives it a wood-grain appearance.
Working class or not, there’s clearly a collector desire for these old Craftsman knives; with some digging I found specimens of this model recently sold online for $53-$150. It means more than that to me because it came from a friend, but I really had no idea it was worth much of anything.
Unfortunately, the brass snap for the sheath’s flap is broken. I don’t see myself wearing this thing on my hip, but it would still be nice if it snapped securely. Oh well. I guess that’s not bad considering it was probably made in the 1970s.
The only markings on the knife are in the typical spot near the handle, on the right side of the blade. It simply says “CRAFTSMAN U.S.A.” in two lines.
The pic was the first time I drew the knife from its sheath. Mucho green stuff!
It’s a tough, rugged knife – and it holds an edge well.
The “false edge” on top of the blade isn’t even remotely sharp.
I’m glad I got to try this old cutter on a deer, even if its original owner never did. He enjoyed hanging out with the guys and going to hunt camp, but after his first deer he lost his desire to shoot them.
I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this nice old hunting knife with me. High-class custom knives are cool and all, but a good run-of-the-mill knife like this one can sometimes be just as good — and you don’t mind actually using it.