Harry K. McEvoy made only a handful of “Classic Bowies” with cross pieces. Stephen McEvoy, the current owner/operator of the Tru-Bal Knife Company was aware of only 5 such “Classic Bowies”: 1) The original and personal “Classic Bowie” is owned by Stephen’s brother. 2) Stephen owns an additional “Classic Bowie”. 3) There was this one, custom made for C.W. Dux (pictured below on the bottom). 4) Stephen remembers watching his father make one with a copper cross guard instead of brass, which Bobby Branton came to own, and eventually sold to me (pictured below in the middle). 5) Joe Darrah acquired one that had “Mountain Man Bowie” written on the sheath by Harry McEvoy, and eventually traded it to me (pictured below on the top).
The last three are now in my personal collection and are being offered for sale here on this web site. These three knives were all “special orders” when Harry made them.
Here’s what you are purchasing…
C.W. Dux “Combat Bowie” with Brass Cross Guard
It came with a very interesting origin story that says it was made for the controversial martial artist figure, Frank Dux of Bloodsport fame that, unfortunately is just not true.
It’s the biggest of this style known to exist with an overall length of 17″. The blade is mirror polished and measures 11-1/2″ long by 2-1/2″ wide and 3/16″ thick. The handle has three brass rivets where normal Tru-Bal knives have only two, making it even more unique. It weighs 2 pounds 1.5 ounces. It has a brass cross-guard in a teardrop shape on both ends. It has a custom sheath where Harry wrote on the back, “Handcrafted exclusively for C.W. Dux by H.K. McEvoy Sept – Oct 1970.” in his flowing cursive signature.
The C.W. Dux knife is a “Classic Bowie” style but is overly large for the typical “Classic Bowie”, and is the only version that large. It has three rivets attaching the handle and that method indicates that this knife was intended for combat use, which is why it has been referred to as a “Combat Bowie”. The “Classic Bowie”, the “Combat Bowie”, and the “Mountain Man Bowie” are all generic names for these designs. They never actually offered a “Classic Bowie” model in the Tru-Bal line. That is one reason that this style of knife is so valuable as a Tru-Bal collectible today. Only a very few knives were ever produced with brass or copper cross guards. Harry was reluctant to make this style of knife because you could not effectively throw this knife style without damaging the cross piece, and he was really all about throwing the knives he made.
Harry K. McEvoy made this large, three rivet classic style combat bowie with a brass cross guard for C.W. Dux (not Frank Dux) in the 1970’s. Regardless of the original owner of this knife, the item is very collectible. This is a one of a kind “Classic Bowie” combat variant, very collectible.
Bobby Branton “Classic Bowie” with Copper Cross Guard
The overall length of the knife is 15″. The blade measures 10″ long by 2-1/2″ wide and 3/16″ thick. The handle has two brass/steel rivets. It weighs 1 pounds 9.5 ounces. It has a copper cross-guard. It did not come to me from Bobby Branton with a sheath but I suspect that it originally did have one.
I purchased this “Classic Bowie” directly from Bobby Branton when he was parting out his large collection of throwing knives which included a lot of unique Tru-Bals. The most unique feature of this knife is that the cross guard was made from copper instead of brass. As far as anyone knows, this is the only “Classic Bowie” with a copper cross guard.
Fred Dye “Mountain Man Bowie” with Brass Cross Guard
The overall length of the knife is 15-1/4″. The blade measures 9-3/4″ long by 2-1/2″ wide and 3/16″ thick. The handle has two brass/steel. It weighs 1 pounds 7.2 ounces. It has a brass cross-guard. It has a custom sheath where Harry wrote on the back, “For my good friend Fred Dye — with Warmest Regards, from Mac The Knife (Harry K. McEvoy) June, 1985.” and “TRU-BAL MOUNTAIN MAN BOWIE — for Throwing.”
I acquired the Fred Dye “Mountain Man Bowie” from Joe Darrah. He may have told me who he got it from when when we traded for it originally, but we have both forgotten now. It was purchased by him in a mixed-lot of several other knives from someone, mostly of the fighting style. He and I made a trade for an original Ralph Bone throwing knife I had obtained back in the ’80’s.
BONUS KNIFE: Bowie-Axe with Red Handles and Cross Guard
I have also acquired a Tru-Bal Bowie-Axe that has red handles (which Harry used occasionally) with a (nickel or steel) cross guard but I have not verified whether it was put on by Harry K. McEvoy or added by someone else later.
I am including this knife with a Maxpedition case as a bonus when you purchase the other three!
Are there any more?
Stephen also has an “Arkansas Toothpick” (one of a kind) made specially for him when he was a teenager. But my Bowie-Axe (above) and his Arkansas Toothpick are not considered to be in the “Classic Bowie” style, they just have the unusual feature of being one of only a handful of Tru-Bal knives made by Harry K. McEvoy with a cross-guard.
With the three models that I have, and the others that Stephen and his brother has, we can account for all that he knows of. However, I think I saw at least two more in pictures of a large collection a few years back but I was unable to acquire them at the time. I wish I knew where they were today.
It would be a surprise if there would be many more “Classic Bowies” out there, as Harry really did not like to make this style of knife. It was much extra work, and not recommended for throwing but for the right price you could custom order one from him.
Stephen is sure Harry cautioned the intended owners of these knives that they should not be thrown. He said he knows this because Harry cautioned him several times that he should not throw his cross piece models.
Even though the provenance for the C.W. Dux “Combat Bowie” that I received with this knife is not entirely factual, I will be including it with the purchase along with copies of my emails with Stephen McEvoy as we discussed the origin and history of this knife. I will also include three Maxpedition knife cases to store these treasures in.