I am looking for information about the big Hundson Bay Camp Knife. There used to be a large discussion on here about it, but I can't find it now. I had started reading it, but never finished it as it was many, many pages. I would like to know some dimensions, thicknesses, and time period/history of these and where to get one. Has anybody owned the Condor version? If so, what are your thoughts? I can get one of those on Amazon for around $40. I would appreciate any and all pics of these knives. It seemed to be a big topic in the past.
"...having Providence for their founder and Nature for shepherd, gardener, and historian."
I have one of the Condor Hudson Bay Camp Knives (HBCK). Form what I have seen and read about the originals, the Condor version has the correct blade dimensions and tang shape. However, the tang tapered in thickness on the originals and the Condor tang is uniform in thickness. The Condor version has walnut scales fastened with simple rivets of some kind of white metal (maybe aluminum?), while the originals typically had either three iron pins with brass washers around them, or two iron pins with brass washers and a sheet-brass bolster. The Condor HBCK blade has a hammered finish, which is purely cosmetic and unnecessary. The leather sheath that comes with the Condor is functional but not authentic.
In hand, the HBCK is a beast. Bear in mind, "camping" in the furtrade era might include dismembering a buffalo, using your knife to dig a rifle pit in a hurry, or cutting some serious firewood. I have used mine some, mostly for breaking up campfire wood. I find that I prefer a hatchet and folding saw for this chore, and a smaller sheath knife for making shavings or splitting kindling. The HBCK is sort of overkill, from a practical standpoint.
However, the Condor version seems to hold a good edge and it is solidly built. If you are handy with tools, you could probably modify the tang and re-haft it with proper fasteners to make a more authentic replica. It is a good value for the money, but it is a big, heavy knife.
"Should have kept the old ways just as much as I could, and the tradition that guarded us. Should have rode horses. Kept dogs."
from The Antelope Wife
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