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Fàirreathaí


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April crept up faster than I thought, and now that the KITH has officially begun, I whipped up a quick concept for my entry. I am doing a pair of Celtic blades, the EDC based off of one of the only styles I could find that had any historical relevance. The other is a hemispherical food prep knife I have seen few times and wanted to give a try.

 

The sketches are about as rough as they come, and are by no means close to finished, but I wanted to get something on the drawing board so to speak and hear your thoughts. Details will come later, and the final shape, etc. will come together.

 

Thanks for looking, and any comments and criticism welcome.

 

 

John

Celtic EDC_2.png

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Thanks for that, I had no idea what it was called, or where it was from really.. I think they might have also been used by some south americans (incans?) , but as far as I know nowhere in northern europe.

Now, do I scrap the ulu and make a different knife, the edc and make a different pairing, or would it be alright to keep the two even though they would not be historically seen together?

 

John

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I think the biggest problem with the theme is that they're both generally considered knives in their own right. I don't really have a problem with it, but I think the idea is that one should complement the other.

 

I like both designs, though.

 

-Ethan

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I think the biggest problem with the theme is that they're both generally considered knives in their own right.

 

Yes, that sounds about right. I think I'm going to scrap the ulu for later...

Here's the knife I designed the other one off of:

PortKnifeScanFromBook.jpg

I'll play around with it and see what I can come up with as I try and figure out a pairing for it.

 

John

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The only info I was really able to locate suggests that this is from the late Celtic era as excavated in the The Celtic Port of the Wight. I think it was some sort of EDC, certainly ring backed, although anything beyond that is a mystery to me. At first I thought it might be some sort of skinner, but I don't think the shape is quite right. A skewer, perhaps. Any thoughts from the archaeologists and historians in the house?

 

John

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FYI; The "hemispherical food blade" you have drawn is an "ULU."

 

The ULU is an Alaskan Native blade, used by Alutiiq people to slice salmon and whale meat.

 

It has been turned into a cheap tourist trinket in the last few decades. You can buy them by the dozen at cheap tourist trap markets in Alaska all Summer long. Most are made of cheap stainless steel and coarse grained wood with coats of varnish slapped on the handle.

 

It is, however, a remarkably efficient and effective blade design that was informed by centuries of use. It's a proud blade. It's utilitarian as opposed to a weapon, but it has a history as long as many of the historical blades we recreate.

 

It would be great to see a good blade made with this design. I have to admit, I have such a distaste for the "marketing" associated with this blade shape that I can't quite bring myself to make one. The tourist industry in Alaska makes me sick. It seeks to take all that is pure and raw about my home and coat it in plastic and shiny gloss for pretty commercials.

 

Okay, done with my rant now. Sorry.

 

Grins,

 

--Dave

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It has been turned into a cheap tourist trinket in the last few decades. You can buy them by the dozen at cheap tourist trap markets in Alaska all Summer long. Most are made of cheap stainless steel and coarse grained wood with coats of varnish slapped on the handle.

...

I have to admit, I have such a distaste for the "marketing" associated with this blade shape that I can't quite bring myself to make one. The tourist industry in Alaska makes me sick. It seeks to take all that is pure and raw about my home and coat it in plastic and shiny gloss for pretty commercials.

 

 

I could not agree more. I find the tourist market to be one of the worst things whenever I travel, knowing that a rich and colourful history was virtually destroyed in an effort to bring in a profit. Mostly, to me at least, it shows an enormous amount of disrespect for the true nature of the crafts they reproduce.

If I can really capture the spirit behind the Ulu, I might give it a try, but I don't think my skill level matches what I intend to create. Someday, hopefully, but alas, I don't think I'm ready quite yet.

 

Do you know if the Ulu also appeared elsewhere around the world? I presume it existed in Canada to some extent given the geographical proximity, but I could have sworn the one I have is from Peru (but then, it could well be just another marketing scheme)...

 

 

John

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I might suggest a fire striker as a companion? That said I have absolutely no idea what a contemporary (to the chosen knife) might look like. Strikers are a much overlooked tool in my opinion with a giant range in shapes and sizes from culture to culture.

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Hmmmm... strikers... I like where this is going. I have an idea of how it might fit into the sheath alongside the knife. I'll see what I can come up with to fit the period.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Peruvian one you're thinking of is called a Tumi, and it's a blade for human and llama sacrifice, usually made of gold, sometimes copper, silver, or bronze.

 

Tumi

 

Can't help with the celtic thing, just remember no forks until the rennaissance, except for a few Roman ones. ;)

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The Peruvian one you're thinking of is called a Tumi, and it's a blade for human and llama sacrifice, usually made of gold, sometimes copper, silver, or bronze.

 

I'll see if I can find a picture of it, but I don't remember it being that long. The blade is quite a bit wider, too, and if I recall correctly, the handle is bone or antler. It's certainly sharp enough for a sacrifice, though. I remember cutting my thumb on it once from barely touching it!

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Here's the ulu (and yes, after seeing it again I realized that it is actually from Alaska, not Peru as I so adamantly believed <_< ). I'm not sure why I was so convinced that it was from Peru, sorry about that.

Anyway, I'm probably still going to abandon the ulu for this project and steer towards the celtic route. Thanks for your help through my stubbornness.

 

John

ulu.png

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Do you know if the Ulu also appeared elsewhere around the world? I presume it existed in Canada to some extent given the geographical proximity, but I could have sworn the one I have is from Peru (but then, it could well be just another marketing scheme)...

 

 

John

 

I believe it was in use across the north of Canada and went as far east as Greenland, Though is goes by a different name there. A friend of mine used to live up north and said the locals made them out of just about anything.

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I've been thinking this over quite a bit, and I decided that I don't really like the ringbacked blade all too much. As a knife, it gets the job done, but there's nothing spectacular about my design, and I can't seem to make it any more interesting. Whatever I decide to do with it, I thought of the pairing (mayhaps) to go with it. I don't really know if it qualifies, so please chime in.

 

Instead of doing a fork or skewer or striker or something, circumstances willing, I am going to turn an old piece of horn into an ale horn. A little carving, a stand/handle, possibly some brass accents.

Thoughts?

 

 

John

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An ale horn would most definitely be cool. :)

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Don't know how accurate this would be , butI saw the same blade shape on CSI Miami , and they said it was a cuban cigar maker's tool .

Dave , the southwestern indian tribes are just as bad about the tourist crap , about enuf to make you sick . But they're poor as all get out so I guess they have to do whatever they can .

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i really like your ring back design (though i think your ring should be a little bigger) - in terms of jazzing it up, i've always figured these would have had interesting handle wraps - for some reason i suspect woven textiles may be an option (i think some of these blades are found along with simple looms) but leather, cord, raw hide etc are all options. and of course it's a nice wide expanse of blade for a cool hamon (bloomery steel fully quenched in water from a low enough austenitising temp to avoid cracking should have produced some interesting hamons without clay and the blades were probably polished with loose abrasives which would have made it at least partly visible).

 

as a celt i really like the idea of a drinking horn along with it - another option would be a quaich - a ceremonial drinking bowl - here's one made by my friend Garth Duncan:

 

Quaich.jpg

 

but a google image search will turn up some simpler designs.

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Jake, you have inspired me to keep this one alive. Part of the reason I had for dropping the ringbacked design was lack of an idea of what to do for the handle, and I can see a wrap of some sort working nicely. A hamon, too, would add quite a bit of the character it currently lacks. I'll revisit the original design and see what I can come up with.

The quaich is interesting, and after reading what wikipedia had to say about them, I think that might be a better compliment than the horn. Pending what I come up with for the horn, I'll sketch up some quaich designs. Reading that they were sometimes made of stone, I might give that a try. I already have a few ideas brewing!

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Here's the product of the ringback revisit. I enlarged the ring a tad, raised the tip a little, added a poorly drawn hamon, and an attempt at a wrapping for the handle. The handle I might have overdone, and I'll look at it again, but it uses some sort of cord (probably leather) woven around the handle.

Thoughts? Better, worse?

 

Thanks for looking.

 

 

John

Celtic EDC_3.png

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John that cord pattern is cool. Very complex I can't wait to see the end results.

 

Kip

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Had some time in the forge this morning, and hopefully quite a bit more over the next couple of days. I decided to go ahead with the ringbacked design (keeping in mind that I might abandon it later...). The idea of putting a hamon on it makes it appeal visually quite a bit more than it did before, so hopefully it'll come out alright. Went for 1095, using the same piece of stock as I did for the persian dagger I've been working on lately.

 

In any event, here's the start of the progress. I'm pleased so far, and I had a fun time keeping the blade from curling up as I forged in the bevels. I will probably have to build a Godzilla type device to get the ring end right, but that's a problem for future self. Sorry for the blurry pics, my hand was a bit unsteady this morning.

 

Thanks for looking, and as always, comments and criticism is welcome.

 

 

John

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More progress this afternoon. Man does it feel good to have some solid work time!

 

I was too excited to have a few hours in the shop to waste it, so I used the cross peen side of a hammer to start guillotine the part for the ring, which did not turn out too badly, although it still needs some work. After that, I cut off the blade from the bar and drilled a small hole in the part that will become the ring. Drifted it open a bit using progressively larger drifts, accidentally made it a little lopsided, widened it a bit more, and made it a little more lopsided. I'll fix that up tomorrow when I can make another, larger drift, but until then, I'm off to dinner.

 

 

John

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