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Northern Knives WIP


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16 hours ago, Aiden CC said:

This is wood I harvested from a birch stump and two worm holes I thought were separate ended up being connected, but I filled it with resin and I think it looks ok. I've been trying to work around the insect damage in this wood, but I may just leave it in and fill in the holes like I did here (I won't be selling these knives anyways). That would double or even triple the amount of handles I can get out of the material. The finish is home-made pine tar.

 

That's some beautiful wood.And not only that,but getting it yourself is an extremely valuable lesson/training/meditation on Physics of it all.

Same goes for your admirable experiments with tars and resins and all that stuff.

 

I really believe there's a Huge amount of validity in your pursuing these paths.It's basically going back to the Source,a real education that is based on the solid foundation of previous experience,as any advanced knowledge must be.

Without it it's easy to loose your way.

Moden knifemaking is following a bunch of rabbit-trails that i think will end up being dead-ends,those cold,slippery,heavy handle materials,plasticised wood,all that will drop off i think as an unviable,idea-based stuff only.

Things for us humans must be rooted deeper,in that they'd appeal to deeper more basic neurological processes.

The looks alone of an "interesting" handle materials(i'm thinking of all the oily tropical exotics) is not enough,it don't "satisfy" on the more complex levels.

Like it or not our brains process the incoming information based on more than mere ideas,it needs to be more solid than that.

Yes,even that smell of resin is yet another important factor-maybe it tells our brain that this compound is a bacteria- or bug-repellent...I dunno,and it's not necessarily about any rational deconstructing either.

I just think you're hitting some important neurological signifiers with this work,AND doing a very good job of it as well.

Respect.  

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1 hour ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

I just think you're hitting some important neurological signifiers with this work,AND doing a very good job of it as well.

Exactly.  This is elemental stuff, here.  NOT elementary!

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38 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Exactly.  This is elemental stuff, here.  NOT elementary!

 

Yes,very much so.

Now,i'm sure that the similarity between these knives and seaxes is not lost on you,Alan,of all people!

 

Leaving the history and technical details aside,i'll go ahead and say that these Are the actual archtypal seaxes.

 

That universal appeal  the seaxes have,everyone tries to find their own path to that.I think that Aiden's choice is very wise-strike at the very ancient,the subconscious,the ethnic memory,if you will.

 

It helps build and strengthen immunity to much of the trite,the formulaeic,the distracting influences of all the hollywood-ish imagery our information landscape is so littered with.

Any maker needs that to remain creative.

Afterall,a good shaman must be good at accessing  the Lower world,directly!:)

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On 4/12/2020 at 6:32 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

Excellent job on both of these,Aiden,congrats.

You've done a great job translating original designs into this REALLY clean lines+finish of your responsible,modern process-Not an easy thing to do,either to envision or to execute.

So the best of both worlds,i think,the beauty utility cool-factor of originals preserved,and indeed improved upon in modern materials.

Doesn't get much better.

Thank you very much! You have definitely helped me a ton to learn about these knives. Reliable, relevant information is buried somewhat too deep for an English speaker without any direct ties to the place/culture. For these few, my approach to authenticity was to take the "what if this knife had been made in my shop" angle. For knives inspired by the old masters, this approach makes something that looks much like the original (the big one is based off of an original Aleksey showed in a video which appeared to have very clean lines and surfaces). When applied to knives made in the field/by non-professional knife makers, the result looks somewhat different than the original. At some point I may make some knives from the angle of "what if this knife had been made by me, in the setting where it came from?" which I'm sure would have different results.

 

On 4/13/2020 at 11:19 AM, jake pogrebinsky said:

That's some beautiful wood.And not only that,but getting it yourself is an extremely valuable lesson/training/meditation on Physics of it all.

Same goes for your admirable experiments with tars and resins and all that stuff.

 

I really believe there's a Huge amount of validity in your pursuing these paths.It's basically going back to the Source,a real education that is based on the solid foundation of previous experience,as any advanced knowledge must be.

Without it it's easy to loose your way.

Moden knifemaking is following a bunch of rabbit-trails that i think will end up being dead-ends,those cold,slippery,heavy handle materials,plasticised wood,all that will drop off i think as an unviable,idea-based stuff only.

I think the fact that in general people don't use knives now nearly as much as in the past has a big role in some of the design changes in knives, especially ones designed for mass-manufacture. Whenever thinking about a piece of technology, the context that created it is important (maybe that's just my humanities-heavy engineering education talking, but I've found it helpful). Modern knives are designed for a modern eye, and a modern person who (with exceptions of course) will probably not use them often (or maybe ever, especially with pieces like swords). The well made ones excel for their purpose; beautiful lines, nice materials, excellent fit and finish, etc. In the past, on the other hand, knives were made to be used first and looked at second (this, of course, has exceptions too), which resulted in knives that were often not as clean, symmetric, or ornate. They also, however, were ergonomic and excellent cutters; it was their job after all. This is not to say that there are no modern knives that are effective tools, in fact many good knife makers bring together the best of both worlds. It's just that many knives are meant to be looked at first and used second. 

 

I don't think I made a knife that really cut well until I started using my own knives extensively. Making kitchen knives was a first step at that, and starting to collect/process my own materials was another. I made a handful of Skaha knives with the modern look; deep forged fuller and the thick convex grind that results in. I took them into the woods and they just didn't cut well, now they are all collecting dust in a drawer. In comparison, I made one with the early 20th century design (half rhombic with a filed groove) and it's been my go-to fixed blade for heavier work for more than a year.

 

On 4/13/2020 at 12:28 PM, Alan Longmire said:

Exactly.  This is elemental stuff, here.  NOT elementary!

That's a nice way of putting it. These knives are very minimalist but there still isn't one I've gotten entirely right.

 

Anyways, I have some more progress on the Evenki style knife.

IMG_8377.JPG 

This is the forging, super simple. No bevel-line, one side is flat and the other is slightly convex. It's about 14cm long.

 

IMG_8378.JPGIMG_8379.JPGIMG_8380.JPGIMG_8381.JPG

Here is the groove-making process. I started with a cut-off disk, then a grinding disk to hog out some of the bulk. Then I scraped in the groove and polished it out to 220 grit with sand paper. I found that leaving the blade thick and cutting the groove deep them grinding until I liked the profile was way easier than trying to cut it just right from the start, especially at the ends. Tomorrow I'll cut in the shoulders and harden it. I'm not sure if the handle should be a piece of birch burl or regular birch with some carved ornamentation (I think both would be too busy. I'll also may start on some sheaths soon.

 

 

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Man,that fuller is looking great,totally controlled,deliberate looking fuller,that.Fantastic.

I presume that you used the cut-off disc and grinder both free-style?Nice job on the use of all these tools.

That cutter looks even better now that i see how thick it is.Very good decision with the inline handle orientation,my experiment with transverse handle was a poor solution.

 

Brilliant move to reduce the thickness afterwards,too.

 

Great work,Aiden,thanks for sharing your knowledge and skills and ideas.Very inspiring,tons to learn and to think about!

(LOTS of good stuff above on design,modern and not so,thanks;very much worth taking some time to mull it over).

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  • 1 month later...

Between online finals, my KITH knife, and a commission for a handful of knives, I kind of fell off of this project for the time being, but I did get the handle on the small Sakha knife shaped and treated with tar. B2493148-939C-41DE-9D95-31DFCA5B7E75.jpegFDE24B0B-3AC6-4896-B087-E61BF6A3A489.jpeg
 

I’m really happy with how this piece of wood turned out with the tar. I’m going to be away from my shop for at least three months, but I have a list of all the supplies I want to order and a reminder of the projects I’m working on. It may be in a while, but I do plan on coming back around to make sheaths for these knives and probably making a few more. 

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Aiden CC,   Wonderful work.  I'm especially inspired by indigenous blades also.  Have been working on Puukkos and Leukus lately.  I have also used the soft steel for better peining of the tang end as well, but I learned from my knifemaking mentor to silver braze the soft iron to the blade.  The joint is as strong as the steel if done correctly, and heat is more isolated, and no large grown grain as in forge welding, however it's not period correct for older knives.  Common nails are an easy source for almost pure iron, less carbon than mild steel.  Nice work.

 

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