'Knifemaker,' or not, it's still a rewarding pastime

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Mankind has depended on its most ancient tool since the first caveman found a sharp rock.

The knife is an essential tool for which man has found no substitute. Over the millennia, however, he has worked hard to improve and refine it.

A man's, or woman's, knife nearly always has been a treasured possession. During the Stone Age, knives were made of flint and could be scaled to shape and re-scaled for a sharper edge. Later, technology brought copper, bronze and the iron, or steel, blade knives.

Various countries have a knife related to their culture and history. Perhaps this is one reason why knifemaking and collecting became increasingly popular. Whether it is the bolo knife of the Phillipines suited to cut sugar can and brush, the Gurka used by fighters from India or the South American machete used to clear a jungle path, knives are renowned as are great firearms.

Also like valuable firearms, the popularity of making knives and/or collecting them continues to thrive.

What exactly, however, constitutes the skilled craftsman called a "knifemaker?" Must he forge, or knapp, his own blades to be considered more than a hobbyist?

Or, can an individual who buys blade blanks, and even handles, and hafts them precisely earn the title of knifemaker? The answer is subjective. In either case, the end result is the same depending on the skill, talent, experience and resources of those who craft knives.

When needed for culinary purposes, many people reach for "their favorite knife" in the kitchen utensil drawer. Like other leisure pursuits such as golf or bowling, some people yearn to try knifemaking. It some cases, it's not that difficult. In others, it requires years of dedication, knowledge, and the best materials and equipment.

Generally, the craft begins with blade selection.

Knapped or steel, those who make knives for their own enjoyment select a blade with a style and size that appeals to them. Modern mankind prefers a handle on tools, so a decision on what material to select is made.

Some favor reliable wood while others choose antler, horn, a covered steel tang or even stone. In any case, the blade and handle must be compatible. Since many consider the knife an art form, they also select two components that compliment the appearance of each other.

It's great that FirearmsTalk features an "Other Weapons" forum. There's something special about whipping out your favorite knife for others to admire. Indeed, guns and knives are partners. The knife can be a bayonet, but is equally needed for self-defense and to field dress wild game harvested by firearm and archery.

Let's accept both the hobbyist and professional knifemaker.

They both have an equal appreciation for continued refinement of the sharp rock that was the envy of other cavemen because it could kill game, and cut hide, meat and vegetable while others had to beat, or eat, it to death.

As today, we're certain those first tool users also found the knife highly beneficial for their own defense and protection of others.

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1 COMMENTS
Posted: 
March 9, 2014  •  03:33 PM
Excellent article!

One small nit to pick it is a kukri not a Gurkha, a Gurkha is the person weilding a kukri. ;)
 
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