Vintage Find: J.A. Henckels Sodbuster

Henckels Sodbuster.jpg

Here is a new category for SatchelStuff we’re gonna call “Vintage Find“. A couple weeks ago I made my way into an antiques/junk shop and found quite the treasure for a mere $7. The old boy has a beautiful wood handle, the markings “Zwillingswerk Solingen Germany” I wasn’t yet familiar with, and what looked like the popular Henckels twin logo. I remembered as a kid my dad telling me that German steel was among the best out there for knives (this is not meant to start a holy war on “best blade steel”, just rekindling a father son memory). In fact it is an old J. A. Henkels pocketknife with a real nice carbon steel blade.

As you can see in the photo,this one resembles a sodbuster or “peasant knife”, having a single, plain-edged blade, with a straight-backed profile, drop point and locking backspring. I have no way to determine the age, so I’m gonna go with 1930’s-40’s (if anyone reading this had a clue please add a comment).

I found this comment very helpful on BladeForums: “The term peasants knife comes from the roots of the sodbuster type of knife, from central Europe. It was a popular pattern among field hands, tradesmen, and general working class. The pattern goes back hundred of years, so its very well established as a “traditional” pattern. It was brought to this country durring the great influx of immigrants in the late 1800’s.”

I couldn’t be happier, after some time on the sharpening stone it has become my EDC pocket macho (replacing my Benchmade 522 combo). This kind of vintage feel and natural patina can only be earned over several decades.

Modern versions include the Case XX Sod Buster and Sod Buster Jr., Böker RangeBuster, Kissing Crane and Eye Brand.

Sodbuster makers Mark closeup.jpg


2 comments on “Vintage Find: J.A. Henckels Sodbuster

  1. Steve says:

    I too have this knife. It was my grandfathers hunting knife ( pheasant hunting in Kansas and Colorado mostly). It is of the utmost craftsmanship. I cherish it every time I get to use it

  2. Brian says:

    Hello, I have been looking for VINTAGE ZWILLINGSWERK WOOD HANDLE FOLDING KNIFE & seen yours that you sold in Oct. I have one just like it but I can’t close the blade. It’s in good shape with no rust etc. I just can fold to blade. Is there a special way to fold back down? I have pushed as hard as I can, even put on some hard & nothing. Just wondering if there’s a special way, either to lift up somewhere, bend the blade back or forth?? Any advise or help you can share would Greatly be Appreciated!! Don’t want to break it, maybe let a knife person look at it. Thanks, Carol

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