My hubby carry's this knife on a daily basis..This is his birthday, so I wrote a little article about him............

It is a Case 1970 5383,this whittler was the best he could find for the money we could afford at the time. When he found a better specimen to keep as a collector item he chose this knife to use and carry.  I tried to find some history on the whittler and real schematic diagrams doesn't seem to be in the surfing at the present. I did find the following that might be of interest to others.

This pattern is 3 1/2" medium sized whittler that is often called a balloon whittler, or swell center whittler.  It has been manufactured with both a saber ground master clip blade and a flat ground master clip blade.  The second and third blades are usually short clip blades, but some have been manufactured with coping secondary blades and rarely file bladesl.  These knives were introduced by case sometime prior to 1915 and were later discontinued in the early 80's.  They have since been reintroduced in 1999.  The newer version has a slightly wider frame.  


Sometimes known as a split back or split-backspring whittler. Some whittlers have three springs and are referred to as three spring whittlers.

Any knife that uses a split-back spring construction falls into the whittler category.   The split-back design uses two springs that support a large single blade on one end, and two smaller blades on the other.  The larger blade uses both springs, and each small blade rides on its own spring.  All knives that work in this manner are referred to as whittlers regardless of the shape or design of the handle.   This allows for many different styles of whittler knives with numerous names.  Some include balloon whittler, seahorse whittler, equal end whittler, sleeveboard whittler etc.  There is more work that goes into their construction than almost any other styles of knife.  They have always been very collectable patterns. Case's most well known whittlers include the following patterns: 08, 80, 83, and 55. A few whittlers have three springs and are usually known as a three spring whittlers.


     Three bladed knife designed for carving or whittling wood has a Large Master Blade on the pocket end and two smaller blades – usually a coping and pen blade on the opposite or cap end. Generally the Master Blade falls in between the two smaller blades when the knife is closed.

The Whittler ('83) is a three-bladed Pen configuration with a large blade on one end and two smaller blades on the other. This type of Whittler is often referred to as a Split Back Whittler. The two smaller blades are always the same size and are usually a small Clip and Coping blade, although there is sometimes a Pen blade in the mix. This pattern frequently has two springs with each of the smaller blades bearing on one of the springs while the main blade uses both springs. The most distinctive feature of a Whittler is the master blade which is thicker than normal in the tang area due to the thickness of the two secondary blades. Most whittlers have a center divider (split back) that separates the tangs of the two smaller blades and the two springs for part of their length. 

Different views from different knife collectors , all is good and INPUT INPUT !

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Great old whittler, Sue.

Best definition and discription of whittlers that I've seen in a long time.


Tell him Happy Birthday!!  That knife could tell some stories LOL.  It is nice to see one so well loved by one person for so long.  As collectors and traders sometimes we all forget about a knife we used to carry and have put up.  When we come back across that knife it slips into the old pocket just like a long lost friend.  Nothing feels better in the hand than a truly loved knife.

That is a really good discussion on whittlers Sue. Its a great story too. Thanks for posting it!

This whittle is still in daily use...saw it cutting boxes and stripping wire the other day....hard to tell what he does with it at work...lol

a link to an EYEFULL of the Whittlers


I like doing the Google walk, Sue. Noticed one of Jans on page 3 and one of mine on page 9 and another on page 10. Each a link back to iKC.

me too....I like the google image pages best ....leads to lots of interesting places

J.J. Smith III said:

I like doing the Google walk, Sue. Noticed one of Jans on page 3 and one of mine on page 9 and another on page 10. Each a link back to iKC.

well, just a follow up on this EDC...Hubby asked me the other day"Have you seen my knife"....Of course my first response..Nope Why?  Well it was missing again for the umpteenth time. It has been through the washer and dryer on several occasions..Comes out looking like a newbie...Well this time it did finally show up in a pants pocket in the laundry basket..But oh well, I am sure it will continue to take its trips from time to time. He really misses it when it is out on one of it's ventures....

Of course the world here stops till we find it, like losing an old friend....lol

The 83 is a good three blade alternative to the Stockman. 

That is a great description of the whittler and a beautiful old knife Sue.

"The most distinctive feature of a Whittler is the master blade which is thicker than normal in the tang area due to the thickness of the two secondary blades."

This is my interpretation. The thick master blade tang and the two springs supporting the master blade have a very specific purpose in this pattern. That is, producing a much more robust design for hard cutting by the master blade compared to a similar sized knife with one spring e.g. stockman. This then allows for the inclusion of smaller blades on thin springs at the other end for fine cutting.

Also, at the risk of being somewhat pendantic, the very early whittlers had split back springs. That is, one large spring cut half way through to form a Y. The vast majority of whitlers in the last 130 plus years have two back springs. Some have a dividing wedge, usually brass, and some do not. Split black, but not split back spring, seems the best description of the former IMO

This is my understanding and I hope it stimulates more discussion on a fantastic pattern.



Maybe we need some pics of those split back springs?.....

Well the whittler took a vacation for about a month....he couldn't find it AGAIN...so he carried this one.

Now I that ole whittler in the walk in closet...it was under a pair of my shoes?.... weird huh!....so the copperhead goes back to rest and the "83" is back in his pocket. It was funny after I found it...I waited till he laid down his wallet knife and keys and the I just layed that old 83 right in the pile....he found it hours later and said"Where was it"....lol

Lol, Sue..that knife has some great stories.  The adventures would make a good read

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