47 thoughts on “The South American Gaucho Knife

  1. Heron Vandroy says:

    I'm a Brazillian, and yes I can attest these knifes are very popular over here even to this day in some more rural communities. As another commentary here said, we generally call these types of knifes a "punhal" (or puñal like it was said) which is a wordplay for "punho" or "fist" in english. The term "Gaucho" is actually associated to southern communities of Brazil, mainly composed of cattle ranchers and very similar (to an extent at least) to the frontier western north america.

    Most of the people from those communities in southern Brazil still carry modern versions of these punhal, as well in most of the center and center-south rural communities over here. Nice video as always! Cheers!

  2. Graham Parr says:

    I get quite confused, I watch forged in fire and have heard them say they are making a spear point Bowie, but I thought that the Bowie was an iconic knife with a more or less set design.

  3. Eduardo Sperb says:

    Schola is my favorit channel/program in any midia, and he knows now the existence of my culture..
    You must know, one day, when I'll be paying you for classes, I'll make you the best 'churrasco gaúcho' you will ever eat. And I know I could not pay enough hard work or love to retribuit every minute I gained listening to you.

  4. RTP says:

    During WW2 some Brazilian soldiers used to fight Germans with this kind of knife (and some others common utilitarian types from all over the country, specially the "peixeira", that is a very simple and rustic kind of knife)… and ONLY the knife… against the German with a rifle or machine-gun… and it worked. A lot of Brazilian soldiers found to hard to use the standard battle rifle (mostly the Garand or the Springfield, with some M1s) because they were used to do knife fight and found it more useful inside the trenches.

  5. Mariano Maimone says:

    In Argentina it's called a Facón, gaucho is the person who uses it… That and the horse are the two most important items in a gaucho life, they usually carry two knifes, one small, about 15 cm long Blade to use in detailed work and a 30+/- cm long one to do more brute work and fight…

  6. theeddorian says:

    The earliest "Bowie," the one made by Clift at Resin Bowie's request was described as straight backed, effectively a large kitchen knife in appearance. And kitchen knives really are not to be ignored, especially the large bladed forms known as Chef's knives these days. In essence it would have looked a great deal like the piece Matt shows.

  7. Andrew Eden says:

    The pre-Bowie period of American knives, especially the 18th century, is very interesting, yet very problematic in terms of dating, and determining stylistic trends and "genres" of knives that correspond to the period. Nonetheless, I would love to see you cover it!

  8. Felipe Payssé says:

    Uruguayan follower from several years here. These are called “facón”, from the Portuguese word “faca” (knife). The “ón” part is an augmentative, so facón would mean “big knife”. Many have antler or silver handle.
    Cheers!

  9. T0mN7 says:

    It may interest you that there's a whole fencing "system" that the gauchos used. It may involve a poncho used in a similarly to a cloak (like in cloak and rapier). And also many other oddities, such as "chain mail" belts or sashes to avoid being gutted and much more. I can recommend some literature if anyone's interested.

  10. dundschannel says:

    Hey Matt, you ever heard of "Sorocabana" knives? They're very similar to gaucho knives but are linked to some specific regions in Brazil. Look up "faca sorocabana", guess you'll like them!

  11. abaddonpaladin says:

    Thanks to goodness! Yes, its still a very popular knife in south America. In fact, it's still like a gifth to the young males to accept them as a grown up adults (because it is used in family and friends dinner like barbecues "asados") and its certainly a status symbol.

    If you 'd like, you can google "esgrima criolla" or "Jorge Emilio Prina": he is an argentinian expert about these knives and argentinian martial arts. He is awesome and a great friend of mine. Cheers!

  12. Luks00 says:

    Hi from Argentina! Always wondered if you knew about south american knives. Love to se it in the channel!
    Modern manufacture ones are more commonly called criollo knife rather than gaucho/puñal/facon knife, at least in Argentina. Cheers Matt!

  13. Cl Lyman says:

    It looks like a good steak knife. But then, you have no idea where good steak (carving knife with a narrow blade) end up around the house or elsewhere. One of the best general purpose knife patterns ever. More persons are attacked and killed with kitchen knives than with the fancey "criminal" knives (switchblades, big Bucks, "Bowie" etc)

  14. L B says:

    Very interesting! I'm curious about the purpose of the bit of the blade that overhangs. It looks blunt so I guess it could provide a little hand protection (at least to the index finger) but it does seem odd none-the-less. Anyone know?

  15. Leandro says:

    Hi Matt,
    I am from Argentina, so I was hopng you would talk a bit about these in your channel, especially since you showed a couple from your upcoming auction.
    Indeed that type of knife is still being made in large quantities and they are in use here today. They come as simple or as ornate as you can imagine and it's a traditional object with a lot of cultural value.
    They were and still are used in the fields as multi-purpose knifes, and they were certainly used as fighting weapons (not only in the fields and not only by gauchos).
    Interestingly, some of these knifes had hand guards of various shapes, the most distinctive being an S shaped guard (although U shape guards were also used) and you can see them from small to huge sizes and everything in between, with this particular kind of blade or with a straighter style of blade more like a dagger (both single and double edged).
    If anyone is interested I can share a lot more about these and I can even help you buy them.
    Take care, and good luck with the auction!

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