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Aiden CC

Source With Lots of Pictures of Old Swedish/Sami Knives

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Since I haven't had much time for knives or access to many tools for a bit, I've been doing more research, and getting more interested in historical authenticity for my knife designs. When you go to make a knife in a certain style, it's easiest to modern pieces, which perpetuates a cycle and often leads to knives that don't look much like the originals. There's nothing wrong with this, and I have seen some modern takes on classic knives that are absolutely beautiful. However, I have recently been making my effort to base my work on originals when I make a historic style, which can prove tricky. I recently found this source here: https://digitaltmuseum.se/search/?aq=topic%3A"Lapska föremål %3A Personlig utrustning %3A Knivar"&o=0&n=560 which contains almost 200 pictures of old Scandinavian (many of them Sami) knives, so I thought I would share it here.

A few of the pictures I liked:

NM.0251191A-C.jpgNM.0254083A-C.jpgNM.0262359A-B.jpgNM.0194190A-B.jpg

I also did a bit of poking around in a search of "knivar" from the website's home page, and it looks like you can find a wide variety of things, including some archaeological finds as well. Hopefully this is the right part of the forum for this, and that maybe someone else can get some use out of all the information that's there.

 

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This is awesome.

I am by no means attempting to make "authentic" knives, and this definitely proves that to myself. I do love seeing the older techniques and comparing them to the modern versions. It also makes me feel somewhat better about my engraving, some of the more modern makers do incredible work with virtually unattainable precision, but these knives have just as much character because you can tell they were made as working knives with what was available to these people.   

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That is one of my favorites.

Thanks!

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Good find!

I love those antler sheaths.

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On 3/13/2019 at 12:32 AM, Adam Weller said:

This is awesome.

I am by no means attempting to make "authentic" knives, and this definitely proves that to myself. I do love seeing the older techniques and comparing them to the modern versions. It also makes me feel somewhat better about my engraving, some of the more modern makers do incredible work with virtually unattainable precision, but these knives have just as much character because you can tell they were made as working knives with what was available to these people.   

Glad you found value in it! The originals lie on a wide range of function vs. ornamentation, with the two originals I'm lucky enough to have falling at different points of that spectrum:IMG_4290.JPGIMG_7048.JPG

I've found that I'm most interested in the examples representing knives made to see use, I think I want to try making a larger knife with an all wood handle, since it seems like a decent number of the ones in this collection were built that way, which makes sense as it is hard to get pieces of antler that big from reindeer (I've seen examples where people used moose antler though).

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Posted (edited)

Sorry I didn't chime in earlier, but I fell down the rabbit hole! What a great resource you found. Thank you for posting.

9 hours ago, Aiden CC said:

I think I want to try making a larger knife with an all wood handle, since it seems like a decent number of the ones in this collection were built that way,

This one is one of my favorites,  just because it looks considerably larger than the others, like it was used for serious butchering of large animals (walrus maybe?) or self defense. The handle has some nice ornamentation too. Looks like an antler crown to me.

Sami Chopper.jpg

 

Edited by Joshua States

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These are stunning examples! Are there any tutorials on how to make an antler sheath? They look like they were split in half, hollowed out, and riveted back together somehow.

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47 minutes ago, Wesley Alberson said:

These are stunning examples! Are there any tutorials on how to make an antler sheath? They look like they were split in half, hollowed out, and riveted back together somehow.

I don't think I've ever seen a full on tutorial, but that's exactly how it's done. Glued and pinned. The hard part is they are usually made to "click" into the sheath, or the top is leather, so that acts as the retainer...

An antler sheath is on my someday list too, I just need to find and process more antler.

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These are pretty. While the modern made exceptionally finely finished examples are beautiful, the more free hand formed and decorated old ones have their own charm. Plus I can do that easier then a perfect fit and finish ;)

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53 minutes ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

These are pretty. While the modern made exceptionally finely finished examples are beautiful, the more free hand formed and decorated old ones have their own charm. Plus I can do that easier then a perfect fit and finish ;)

It seems like the parts of fit and finish people focused on were different. In these examples it seems like the handles/sheaths received a lot more attention than the blades (though that could just be from rust/resharpening). I like making knives like this too, but there are some cases where I will take some license and clean things up to my own personal standards, mostly relating to blade finish. 

Its interesting looking at the originals because you notice some ways the ones people make are different now. One big thing is that essentially all of the blades have most or all of the forge scale removed, while leaving it on the flats of the blade appears to be modern. Additionally, the handles all have simple, relatively large shapes. Its hard to tell, but it also seems like the big knives are a bit thinner than the modern leukus a lot of people make, though that could be because these are from Sweden and I'm used to looking at Finnish leukus.

Also, speaking of Finland, I found another site you can search for more picutres like this (although I found fewer results). Here is my search for "leuku," the Finnish word for a Sami stuorniibi ("big knife").

 

9 hours ago, Joshua States said:

This one is one of my favorites,  just because it looks considerably larger than the others, like it was used for serious butchering of large animals (walrus maybe?) or self defense. The handle has some nice ornamentation too. Looks like an antler crown to me.

 That one is pretty neat! It seems like getting that much antler in that big of a size and that good of quality would have been difficult (it certainly would be now), even for a reindeer herder. It might have multiple crowns in it, and some if it may be from moose, though I'm not sure. Those sheaths with a two part liner are really cool too.

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