Harry Bosman

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  • I have a number of knives from Harry Bosman in my collection. He was a knife maker from Durban; I believe he started in the 70s. I really love his work, which is often branded eccentric. He also made some beautiful sheaths. I would really like to know more about him and would appreciate any info that you can share.

    I've included a few pics of some of the knives I have in my collection.

  • - there are some stunning SA makers that have come and sadly gone. I've not seen Bosman's work before - thanks for sharing.

    Maybe bump into you at 2017 Guild Show in Jhb - that will blow your mind.


    ...anyone who rides a bike and loves nature, can never be poor, we will always be happy, no matter what
    Gunther Muller

  • - there are some stunning SA makers that have come and sadly gone. I've not seen Bosman's work before - thanks for sharing.

    Maybe bump into you at 2017 Guild Show in Jhb - that will blow your mind.

    I will definitely try to attend if I am in SA at that time. I have seen the pics of the 2016 and previous shows and SA has some exceptional talent. :)

  • - ja, and hope you saw our tribute thread to the late great Rob Brown..?

    Thanks for the link, I haven’t seen it before. Rob made some superb knives and I am lucky to own a few. I also met two of his apprentices, Deon Nel and Jonny Kable at the show. They are continuing his work and legacy, which I think is great for the SA knife making community.

  • I knew Harry for over twenty years...
    He was a friend of mine...

    He was tall and had had an interesting life...
    And very helpful to any one who wanted to know how to make knives...

    I have one of only ten folders that he made, and a very thin skinning knife...

    I believe that he has died recently, but no other details...

  • Stuart, thanks so much for your reply. I spoke with Peter Bauchop as well as Piet Grey, both of whom knew Harry and recalled some fond memories of him. He is generally not known amongst collectors, which is a pity given the lovely and interesting knives he made. He also had an eye for design and detail. I have a very large knife that he made, with excellent balance and Piet Grey commented on how Harry incorporated the large handguard and pommel to balance the huge blade. Piet also recalled how he asked Harry to join the SA Guild, but without success.

    I'd love to hear anything else you can remember of Harry. When he started knife making, which designs he loved best, who made his sheaths (I've always assumed he made it himself), how many knives he approximately made, what steels and materials he used and preferred, what did his early knives sell for etc. Anything you can remember would be helpful.

  • I met Harry in the early 80’s at his workshop in Mercury
    lane, near 320 West Street.

    I did not see him again until he moved to his next last
    workshop in 25 Cato Street, above the Durban Battery Centre.
    Small workshop,
    but out of it, wonderful knives oozed out.
    He liked making big knives, because
    he had big hands, but he was equally capable of making caping and bird knives.
    He never felt that he was worthy of being in the Guild, and
    he wanted his knives to be used.

    He used whatever he could get, and most of his stuff was 440B, 440C and D2, and later on, N690, which was the equivalent of VG10. 12C27 as
    well for smaller stuff, because it was only available in 2.5mm.

    Handles were Micarta, Pakkawood, natutal woods and horns. He loved used Buffalo Horn.

    Grinds were mostly hollow, on a 14 inch wheel, but flat grinds were done if you asked him nicely.

    Mostly pinning and peening for scales, and stainless and nickel silver for guards and bolsters.
    Swords, Bowies, skinning axes/hatchets, and knives of all sorts and sizes.
    If you could draw it, he could make it.

    I last saw him in 1999, he was around 72.
    Since then, his wife died, and he sold all his gear and moved back to his first wife in Bloemfontein. He has since passed away.

    I will write a longer post about him at some stage.

    I miss him and his wisdom and wit.

    Mooi Gaan, Meener Bosman.

  • Just for you, my Bosman. My main focus is early KGSA members, so he's a bit of an outsider, having decided he wasn't in that league and never joined. So I only keep one example
    But of course his quality was great. Odd choice of engraving/scrimshaw on this one, being fantasy. A dragon and some other mythical creature. Quite a large knife, but he did prefer them big. Not your typical handle material either. Enjoy

  • Thanks for sharing the pic. Looks similar to the one I've posted on top, albeit with the dragon motive and upswept blade.

    Re him "not being in that league", I would disagree with that. IMHO he was and in fact Piet Grey invited him a number of times. :thumbsup: