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I have made many knives, in most disciplines and styles. I have looked at thousands of photos of knives, made a careful study of those that had something of interest, but not one knife I have made or photo of a knife that I have seen compares to this:

Bushman+knife+handle+closeup.jpg

The only similar workmanship I have seen are on tsuba. After handling a couple of textured tsuba I finally knew what I have suspected for a very long time: that there is more to fine workmanship than sanding to 2000 grit and buffing to a mirror, or fitting parts so the gap can't be measured in microns. That how an object feels in the hand and in the spirit, that the message it transmits is of greater importance than any other criteria.
Prior to carving the San figure and the eland I gave the handle (sans blade) to some friends to look at. Without exception they would look into far places as their hands caressed the hollows and ridges of the steel. Some said it reminds them of a rock surface, one thought in terms of worn and cracked leather. Not one of them parted with it willingly.

Here are some more photos:

Bushman+knife+open2.jpg

Bushman+knife+open1.jpg

Bushman+knife+handle+r.jpg

Bushman+knife+handle+l.jpg

Bushman+knife+handle+bottom.jpg

Mild steel handle, 1070 blade. Handle length: 115mm

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I really enjoy looking at your creations; this one's no different. I agree with your sentiments about the feel of an object. Texture seems to be one of the things that speaks to our senses and can take us any number of places to remind us of things/people/places. I think there can be an inherent difficulty with making objects like knives and incorporating some of the things you have in this one. We chase "fit and finish" and it is commonly seen as a sign of quality and capability on the maker's part. Which is true. Yet I enjoy your willingness to take a step beyond the typical and show us how quality craftsmanship can coexist with a more unique look like this. Thanks very much for sharing.

 

Jeremy

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I am particurlarly (got no idea how to spell that..) impressed with the texture that you manage to produce on your piece, or rather pieces. Not just this one. A polished finish on a blade or handle is an easy way to get people to be impressed with ones work.

 

But I prefer this :-)

 

//DQ

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Miles, I have to put it up for sale at some point. :(

 

Jeremy, you raise a very valid point. To break the rules one first have to know them intimately. I made hundreds of very conventional knives before I had enough confidence in my skills to start "pushing the envelope". And even that is a slow process as I am learning new techniques as I work.

 

- The process must be repeatable to be valid: My very first knife, made way back in 1987, is one of the most pleasing knives I have made, but I can not make another, because I have no idea what went wrong (or right) in the forging / heat treating process. The blade is covered by a fine spiderweb of surface cracks, none of them fatal to the blade, I carried and used it through a year of national service in the SA Defence Force.

Happy accidents have no place in a skilled craftsman's repertoire. Randomness and seeming accidental features have to be planned for and realised through the skilful application of technique.

One of my favourite books, "The unknown craftsman" by Soetsu Yanagi, states that it is tradition that allows a craftsman to do effortless work. Not only the tradition in which one work, but the many years of working in that tradition allows one to come to a point where technique becomes instinct and the concept and actualization the challenge. As long as the technique remains the challenge one can forget about doing work that is a true reflection of the self.

 

Alan, thank you. As with all things that evolve this is taking time. I find myself swinging back and forth, new ideas applied with older techniques, and new techniques allowing me to reinvent some older ideas. The first folder of this type, which I made about three years ago, had a simple mild steel handle with a punched texture.

 

Daniel, I am glad you like it. Be not be blinded by the seeming ease of making a polished knife. I can't do a mirror finish on anything, and I spend about two years trying with every knife I made. If you ask me if it can be done, I will tell you that it is IBP. Im-bloody-possible! I tried every technique in the book. As far as I am concerned, a high polish on a knife is magic, and everyone knows magic does not exist outside of fairytales. :lol:

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"The process must be repeatable to be valid"

 

This is a very interesting statement and one that I believe tells us much about you as a craftsman. The fact that nothing on this knife is an "accident" is likely why so many people are drawn to it. I believe it would be a very different finished product and thus different reactions to it, were your process more haphazard and lack the conscious effort put into the design beforehand. I look forward to more of your creations.

 

Jeremy

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Of course i had to see this on my way out to the shop! i need to think outside the box, but it is hard to remove modern filters from your sight. good stuff bud!

 

Johnny

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