Barlow Knife

Back to Stringband Class Source Music FALL 2013

Barlow Knife – Source MP3
From John Salyer of Kentucky

–> Click here for a Recording of Barlow Knife Played Slowly by Sophie

KEY OF G: Fiddles tuned to GDAE, Banjos tuned to gDGBD



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Whole Band

Whole Band – Slow


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–> Click here for a Recording of Barlow Knife Played Slowly by Sophie

Fiddle – Slow


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Here is a simple tab version:

Barlow Knife Banjo Tab

Banjo – Slow


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I’ve been working all my life
And all I’ve got is a Barlow knife.
Buck horn handle and a Barlow blade.
Best darn knife that ever was made.


“A barlow knife is a type of folding pocket knife that features double or single blades that open at one end only. This pocket knife was manufactured in Sheffield England specifically for export to the States from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century and is known as a “Barlow” after one of the earliest and most famous makers.”(Kuntz, Fiddler’s Companion,

The knife was made by Luke Furnace of Stannington, which in the eighteenth century was a small village on the outskirts of Sheffield. Luke Furnace’s name occurs in the Sheffield directories from 1774 and 1787, but not in the 1797 directory, so he was presumably dead by then. He probably adopted the mark “1760” because that was the year he obtained the freedom of the Cutler’s Company. The original Barlow, after whom the knives are named, was working in Sheffield at the same time as Luke Furnace.