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I've started my first yakut, and as is my normal way, I've bulled through without much thinking. 

I was hoping to get a few answers to some questions. 

Firstly, are there any standards for the depth of the groove or how much of the length of the blade it should occupy. I only have a vague sense of the advantage of the groove so I'm not sure what I'm trying to accomplish when forging it in. 

Second, what bevel angle should I aim for on the convex side? Is that side wholly convex or is there a flat above the bevel?

Lastly, is the chisel side completely flat or does it have a bit of convexity too?

I've read that these knives are made a bit soft. It would make me feel better making it softer than normal since it appears these blades' edges are pretty acute. A hard chisel edge feels too unsupported to not be prone to chipping. If I temper it like normal I feel like I should be adding a micro bevel to the chisel side to combat this...so I'd appreciate thoughts and advice here as well...is a micro bevel unnecessary even at upper 50's RC? Or should I temper it down more than normal?

 

Thanks to all!

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77109326-0BE4-4BF8-A31E-A41A2D0D307B.jpg

This is what I've done so far. It's left handed. The groove is smaller than I intended and I put a flat bevel on it before realizing it should be convex. 

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7D645975-1B46-4756-87DF-C3BD157C226E.jpg

Fixed the grind. It's now convex. Heat treat is done. I took it to an almost purple straw. I'll get a handle on it tomorrow and put it through its paces. Hopefully that'll help me figure out what I'm doing right and wrong. 

This thing got wicked sharp though. Should be fun. Hopefully the edge holds. 

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Casey...Yakut (an offensive Russianism,btw,so from here on out Saha,as that's what these people are called),have practiced ironworking for a Very long time.Possibly introducing it to the many tribes inhabiting Sibiria.

Thanks to the internet,and the Russians following in the footsteps of Western knife collectors and bladesmiths,Saha knives became a fashionable subject,hype you may say.

MOST of what you find on the internet is out and out horse$hit,pardon my French.So,IF you're seeking after any degree of authenticity,you must be very,Very selective.

First,i'd recommend that book just published by the Smithsonian,where they show the collections of Valdemar Johelson(i've no time to dig for links right now,but can later if you'll have tough time finding it,it'll have connections with Jesup North Pacific Expedition).

There you'll find the many different types of Saha knives.They each have a name,and are built for very different jobs.But very roughly one must at least learn to distinguish between the narrow-,and the wide-fullered ones.

(The fuller,btw,was never left nasty.That is one of the silly emotionally-based takes of the uninformed on the style.It was scrupulously finished(as was the entire knife-Extremely well thought-out+executed).

Secondly,here's the one maker who does not take any silly liberties with the original shapes et c.

Watch as many videos by him as you can.He does speak some English,and may answer some of the questions,his name is Aleksey.

And very briefly:Yes,the back is totally convex,and the front-flat(for sharpening).The convex back gets corrected at sharpening,but minimally.

All that is important.Afterall,you're copying a cultural artefact(and an iconic one at that;imagine if some Saha dude was trying to paint a Coca-Cola bottle,and ad-libbing at it in a funny way:).

Best of luck.

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  Nice video  So Jake, why should we call the knife Saha, when the video you posted and praised, was titled "Yakut knife with narrow Fuller. Part 1" 

 

 

Edited by Gerald Boggs
what to why

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Well,Gerald....Saha were occupied,and ruthlessly oppressed for going on 500 years....I won't go into politics,but will just say that when i talk with Alexey i avoid this subject,for even though ethnic Saha himself(and a speaker of the language),i still don't know what is ok for him to say (or think...).

But when we communicate it's always Saha,and appreciated,and is just a decent thing in any case.

The plight of the indigenous people in Mordor today is dire.Recently,their representative to the UN was detainedtaken off the flight to the New York Congress of the Indigenous Tribes,and abused in a number of ways.And though ultimately released,had to emigrate and ask for political asylum elsewhere....So it's not an academic issue,but a real-life bummer...

And yes,he's a scrupulous craftsman,and attempts to study the history of Saha metalworking,and experiments empirically.Other videos by him are also of a good quality,some where he even shows every heat.

The study of all this is Not made easy or simple by the ambient dysfunction there.Museums missing materials,or they're mis-labeled,the level of professionalism in archaeology,ethnography,et c. falling like a rock(even as compared to the USSR levels).  

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17 minutes ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Saha were occupied,and ruthlessly oppressed for going on 500 years.

Sounds like my Irish ancestors.

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Very much so,only perhaps the Irish got a bit luckier with their occupiers...But still,an event of that magnitude causes much complexity,not the least of it is the oppressed oftentimes becoming enamoured with their oppressor(effect described as the Stockholm syndrome).

So communicating with anyone in Mordor today calls for a bit of a delicacy,put it that way,as people there recently have not only been given prison terms for posting things (some in their private,Closed communications),but also for even re-posting.

So all questions of the kind i simply avoid,when talking with Aleksey or someone else there.

In any case,the language IS, officially, Saha,and the place Saha Republic:)...

But it's not for the sake of political correctness that i bring this up.The work by the local,indigenous craftsmen there is often markedly different.It's not always eas to put your finger on the "why" of it,it's often subtle.But VERY apparent.

So,a questing craftsman like Casey would be much better informed and served in general if he didn't have to wade himself through that sea of low-quality Russian(and lately other) commercial,or just lacking talent and skill,imitations.

The real "Yakut":) knives Are kick-ass,guys,seriously so!:)

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 I am in love with his Anvil. Could fullering like that be done to both sides of a blade I wonder 

Edited by Charles du Preez

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2 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

In any case,the language IS, officially, Saha,and the place Saha Republic:)

Now my interest is up, how about a link to read more?

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Darn it,Gerald,wish that i was a better/more organised computer user....:(..AND kept the important links....:(

 

Can you try this here:

 

http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/handle/2246/138

 

(btw,did you mean more about Saha culture/history in general,or Saha knives?)

Edited by jake pogrebinsky

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....But in any case,both may be read about in this book that just came out,

Material and Spiritual Culture

of the Peoples of Yakutia in World Museums

(17th-early 20th centuries)

 

amnh1.jpeg

 

amnh2.jpeg

 

anhm3.jpeg

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2 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

btw,did you mean more about Saha culture/history in general,or Saha knives?

Anything actually.  I've searched google for both Saha and Saha Knife and come up with nothing. 

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Darn,Gerald,i'm sorry,i'm not sure that i can help.

I'm lousy at searching,i just tried and failed.(Try spelling it with a K,Sakha,i may've mislead you with that.

See,i have that dubious priviledge of being fluent in Mordor...and did all my reading mostly in that...(and that gets pretty weird...in the middle of something about ancient history or description of artefacts,suddenly,there's this quote from Engels or Marx,"just as immortal Friedrich Engels always wrote about the economics of ..."

Again,your best bet for English would be something related to NMNH Smithsonian Institution,and the "Jesup 2",or the "Jesup North Pacific Expedition" 1897-1902...And some of it's participants such as W.Jochelson,W.Bogoraz,Franz Boas(to give you some searchable terms).

See,there wasn't too awful much before that(A.F.Middendorf,who only wrote in Russian and German,i think(but you may try him too)),and not long after there was the Iron Curtain...

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Thanks everyone. I finished the knife but missed the mark on the handle and have a thread started in Design and Critique to that effect. 

I made a right handed one today and increased the size/proportion of the groove, but pretty much left everything else the same. 

Jake, thanks for all the info. I'll start watching those videos. 

8538EFF0-C455-47D6-99B6-25E565F3A464.jpg

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Casey,sorry to be a bit over the top with the info...

 

About the handle(might as well stay here,let other folks answer in "Design&critique".)...It'd look better if:

1.It was longer(remember,it's ass-chapping cold(the coldest place on Earth,in fact...),and your hand may be mittened,or just stiff.

2.That smoothed-over,oblong shape is also misplaced.Most knives like this were used in butchering greasy game,and cattle,and fish.You want that straight-sided,comfortably large handle,to ease the strain of gripping a slippery knife for sometimes large leverage.

(note how on originals the handle is larger in dia.than the ricasso,by a large margin).

Also for the cold and the ease of gripping the handle was made of a "warm" material,birch or even better stacked birch-bark.

(the handles were rarely decorated,sheaths-more often(blade itself-never;occasional decorative(-looking)notching that was the maker's coded mark).

3.These knives were suspended single-point like,Scandinavian style.Again,it's cold,the knife needs to dangle outside the uttermost of your outer gear.So the handles needed to wedge themselves into the throat of the sheaf and stay put,and in the same time release easily with one hand.

So that's why they're often tapered,towards the blade,so to wedge themselves into the sheaf(and keep the snow and chaff out).

But tapered very slightly and strategically.

And lastly,tradition has it that in their cross-section the handle is an egg-shape,quite defined.That's for an automatic registring of the knife in your hand,even in poor light working inside a big animal,or in a fight,where the handle sends a direct signal to your brain,you don't have to think which edge the blade is on...

 

I do hope it helps,Casey,the very best of luck with it.

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Great video, Jake.  Even though I don't read or speak Russian I could follow everything that  he was doing.  Love the way that he put a curve in the side of the blade to be able to file the fuller.  I'd be a little too slow to figure that one out on my own.

Doug

Edited by Doug Lester
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