The Bladder Knife
by Frank Trzaska
Typically when the new edition of Knife Magazine arrives in the mail, I immediately flip to our good friend Bernard Levine’s column, Whut Izzit, and enjoy learning new information. It never fails to teach me something about this hobby I did not know or had long forgotten. To me much of the enjoyment in collecting knives is in researching the history of them. Learning about the role they played and the time they were used is part of the allure. Other items I am specifically looking for are clues to the mysteries I am in the process of researching. Is there a connection to something Bernard is writing about, will it help in some search I am on? In any case finding “new” information is indeed my first stop in the new issue. You see, I am always on a quest for information.
One pattern that has perplexed me for years, decades actually, is the curved bladed “raft knife.” This one has been a mystery since I first saw one drawn in Cole’s Book IV on page 191. What is it and why? It was written up as a life raft knife but it can’t be found in any survival books or how to manuals. It doesn’t fit in any survival / rescue kits I have seen or am aware of. It is an oddly shaped knife with a strange sheath as well. I tried to find the answer for years but discovered nothing. It just doesn’t fit the profile of any other raft knives. For starters, it has a point.
This article appears in the May 2022 issue of KNIFE Magazine. Premium Online Members can read the whole thing by clicking the blue button below.