Schrade Uncle Henry 227UH Folding Bowie Knife
By Chuck Hawks and Rocky Hays
Photo courtesy of Taylor Brands, LLC.
The Uncle Henry knife line was named in honor of Cutlery Hall of Fame member Henry Baer. Henry's brother, Albert Baer (also a Cutlery Hall of Fame member) headed a group that purchased the Schrade Cutlery Company in 1946, when it became a division of Imperial Knife. In 1985 the Company was renamed Imperial Schrade Corporation and they were the largest knife manufacturer in the United States.
Schrade was founded in 1904 by brothers Joe, Lewis and George Schrade in Walden, New York. At its height, the Company had around 600 employees. It prospered until the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks, when knife travel bans and cheap Chinese knock-offs of their designs eroded profits. In 2004 the Company went into receivership.
Produced for 100 years in the USA, there are still millions of Schrade knives in regular use. The top of the line Uncle Henry knives had stainless steel blades and mechanisms, while Schrade's Old Timer line used 1095 high carbon steel blades and mechanisms. Old Timer scales (handles) were Delrin and Uncle Henry scales were usually Staglon. These are actually the same material, but they look different. As the name implies, Staglon looks like a genuine stag grip, but is more durable.
Genuine Uncle Henry knives were hand cutlered, 100% hand inspected and came with a lifetime warrantee. There was even a one year guarantee against loss. (The warrantee, of course, is no longer honored, since the Company closed its doors in 2004.) Uncle Henry knives are high quality implements, highly regarded by those who own them.
The Uncle Henry 227UH Folding Bowie was introduced in 1973 and remained in the line until1986. The 227UH's longest blade is a 4" Bowie style clip point useful for field dressing game and general cutting, while the slightly shorter blade (by about 1/8") is a straight back skinning design with more curve at the tip. The latter, however, is not as curved as many skinning blades and can also serve for general cutting. If you prefer only one blade, the Uncle Henry 127UH is essentially the same knife with just the clip point blade.
The 227UH is a large, heavy knife measuring 5-1/4" long when closed. With the clip point blade open, it measures about 9-5/16" in overall length. Too big for regular pocket carry, a leather belt pouch (sheath) was included. There is a hole in the rear bolster that can be used for a wrist thong.
Priced at about $42 in 1986, its last year of manufacture, the 227UH was an expensive folding knife for the time and it looks the part. The blades, springs and (concealed) blade hinge pin are stainless steel, while the bolsters are nickel silver. The liners and scales pins are brass.
At first glance, the 227UH looks rather like the previously reviewed Uncle Henry LB7 folding hunter. However, the LB7 has large brass bolsters, while the 227UH has smaller silver bolsters and a more curved handle. The clip point blades are similar, but not quite identical, in shape and the 227UH blade is a bit longer. Unlike the LB7, neither of the 227UH's blades are hollow ground.
The 227UH handle shape is comfortable. The handle is as thick as 0.763" in the middle, tapering slightly toward both ends. It feels good in the hand when cutting, especially when using the clip point blade as, when closed, the skinning blade protrudes less from the handle.
Both blades have a big nail notch for opening and are easy to manage. There is plenty of spring tension on the blades when open, making inadvertent closing unlikely. However, any blade held open by spring tension can fold during use if sufficient force is accidentally applied to the back of the blade, so use appropriate care when cutting. These are big, sharp blades that you really don't want folding across your fingers. There is a lot of spring tension keeping the blade closed, making inadvertent opening functionally impossible.
We found the 227UH blades easy to sharpen and they hold an edge well. Schrade+ stainless is high quality cutlery steel. Both blades are well shaped for a variety of cutting chores. In the unlikely event you were to break one blade in the field, you have a back-up of equal quality and approximate size.
Unfortunately, you can't go to a retail store and buy a new Uncle Henry 227UH, at least not an original. The Schrade and Uncle Henry brands (but no Schrade existing stock or parts) were purchased by Taylor Brands, LLC (www.schradeknives.com) after Imperial Schrade went broke. An imported Uncle Henry 227UH model is offered in 2013 that looks just like the original, except for the absence of a thong hole in the rear bolster. (See photo at top of page.) This new 227UH comes with 7Cr17 stainless steel blades and Staglon scales. The 2013 online retail price for the Taylor Brands Uncle Henry 227UH is $32.95 (not including shipping). All of the Taylor Brands Schrade knives are made in Red China.
Copyright 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.