The Scagel Knife

Handmade Scagel knife made in the 1920's

Bill Scagel (1875-1963) was perhaps one of the most influential knifemakers of all time. Scagel style knives have been admired and copied for nearly 100 years. Bill Scagel began making knives in the early 1900s while working at a lumber camp and later at a railroad. Sometime around 1920 he settled in Michigan, built a shop and began his long full-time career of making knives, axes, whimsical metal artwork, cookware, and boats.

For a brief period in the 1920s Bill Scagel sold his knives through Abercrombie & Fitch of New York and some of their subsidiaries. He made a wide variety of knives including camp knives, hunters, bowies, bird and trout knives, fighters, axes, folders, utility knives, kitchen knives, filet knives, and even some miniatures. One of the rarest and most valuable Scagel collectibles is his hunting knifes with a folding blade in the handle. He made only 12 of these and if you could find one today it's value would be well over $25,000.

Scagel had several friends who worked at the nearby Brunswick Pool Table and Bowling Ball Company and they kept him supplied with ivory, rosewood and Michigan hardrock maple that he used in his knives. He was also fond of using stag and leather in his knife handles. A Scagel knife was the inspiration for Bo Randall to start making knives after he purchased a handmade Scagel knife in 1937 that was being used to scrape paint off of a boat. Scagels influence can be seen in many knives made today by well-known knifemakers who pay homage to Bill by continuing to make his style of knives.

Bill Scagel was the true pioneer of modern day handmade knives. The flowing lines of his knives and his characteristic use of stag handles with leather spacers have become trademarks of Scagel style knives.

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