Montag, 23. Dezember 2019
So, folks, it has been quite some time since you have read anything on this blog, and chance is, you already lost patience with me. I had been meaning to write for quite a long time now, but alas, life got the upper hand on me. I lost my day job earlier this year and am still more or less unemployed. A brief hope of working for a sustainability project in Schwelm failed due to... well... let me put it that way... HUMANS! Then my beloved mother got severely ill with liver cancer and died on December, the 8th, after 85 years of making this world a better place. So you can bet I had other things on my mind than writing, and I had to orienteer myself and put a load of things into perspective. For instance, I had to learn the hard way that friends are foes who attack from behind. At least some are. Others simply pop up and help you out when you least expect it. Still others might not yet be called friends, but help you out anyway.
Anke, Marcus and their kids are of the latter stamp. So, we did a knifemaking tutorial for them on their little estate in the countryside.
We forged some semi- integral hunting / bushcraft knives with a rattail tang with the adults.
Willy gladly agreed to come along and did as great a job as usual, also forging with kids.
We forged in pairs and I let the folks do a bit of work, too.
Here you can see we burned the tang in. While it can be done without pre-drilling a hole, we drilled a tiny hole in first. This helps to center the red-hot-tang and minimizes the chance of the wood splitting or the tang bending. You might need several heats to get the tang through. The advantage of burning the tang into the handle is that you get a very good fit, which is important if you use rozzil (cutler´s cement) or natural resin. We used yew wood for the handles. If using yew, make sure, the workplace is well vented; it might not be very good for your health to inhale the fumes! If the wood starts to burn, you can simply blow off the flames or quench it in the bucket. The wood must be completely dried out for the procedure to minimize cracking!
If you forge in pairs, make sure you stay in rhythm. It might be best you make appointments concerning the "smithing language", or else there might be some dangers involved. When doing this with kids, you also might want to keep your stroke somewhat lower than that, also to minimize danger.
Anke had provided us with some delicious pulled pork from the dutch oven and some quality beverages. When we called it a day to commence again come January, we had a hearty and outright delicious meal and a beer... and a chat with really great people. It was not just a tutorial, but a ball and a party to us, and real good fun. In a shitty time of my life, I really look forward to part II of the tutorial, where we will to the quenching and tempering and grinding stuff and mount the handles.
And I promise not to keep you waiting THAT long again. ;-)
Mittwoch, 11. September 2019
https://www.youtube.com/user/Taschenmesserbuch/videos?view=0&shelf_id=2&sort=p&app=desktop), which might open your eyes. I simply like the atmosphere of the knives. They invoque images of sitting by a creek and whittling away or having a snack with grandpa. They are a really proven design and offer a versatility few other tools can offer, but they are a bit more handy than a multi-tool plier. Also I have grown really fond of the new models with walnut scales and have used them now extensively for several years. For example, the second from right is my own Vic forester, which virtually rides in my pocket every day. The effect on the wood you can see when compared to the knife of the magic troll on the far right, which is a backup and finds its place in her EDC rucksack. The huntsman on the far left is the second knife in my pocket, because it offers some additional shears, a hook, a small blade for detail whittling and more useful tools like the awl and saw, corkscrew caplifter and can opener. My newest addition is the New ranger, which is the successor of the Wenger New Ranger. An interesting fact is that, as Wenger went bankrupt after the 9/11 incidents and the following judicial mayhem, Victorinox took over the Délemont facilities and all employees. Also they have a policy that the management must not get more than six times the salary than the lowest fee. But, fact is fact, and fact is that the New Ranger is one hell of a knife.
The corkscrew is a nice addition which also makes it a valuable addition for a nice picknick outing with a bottle of wine and some good cheese and suasage... which I admit I am a more than a bit partial to... ;-)
That video is in German, but it really transports the spirit of this kind of knife. Enjoy! For some reading into the topic, look here:
There are a lot of cool books on the topic, and a lot of nice projects to make, especially with kids.
There are a lot of cool books on the topic, and a lot of nice projects to make, especially with kids.
Montag, 2. September 2019
This video is somewhat important to me... the magic troll and I just sat in the woods and looked at the sunlight through the leaves. Now the magic troll is absolutely ace when fibres are concerned, and fact is, I had somewhat a hard time getting to terms with cordage-so this little really agreeable outing helped a lot. The language is in German, but I guess the pictures tell a story of their own, and will help people trying to figure out one way to do it as much as that session helped me myself. And, of course, one thing is crucial: Don´t make a big fuss, just get out and try it. Make it sustainable, of course, but don´t be shy, just try! ;-)
Sonntag, 30. Juni 2019
Some of you might ask, what´s up with that old fart Fimbulmyrk doing advertising now? And those who know me know that I am not off my rocker for anything that does not fit my bill. This does, and I do this because I am convinced of the quality.It has always been a pain in the arse for me to see all these seaxes on reenactment fairs with more than modest quality. And of course you might say, K!, that guy´s cutting a bit of paper, so what, I have to cut through deer ribcages all of the time and need a knife for that. But these knives come checked for Rockwell hardness, and the Khuks come with 55HRC ABOVE the edge. If you know how a Khukuri is tempered, you know that the edge will be a lot harder still.
Also, both partners are working hard ona sustainable partnership and fair shares for both parties. I am convinced, and I hope to be able to get myself one soon for testing. So,even if I am a bit behind schedule with my blog this year (apologies, folks! ;-) I have been through somewhat of a rough time...) - watch this place, this story is to be continued!
Dienstag, 25. Juni 2019
I feel very privileged to have made the acquaintance of Ambar Bahadur Bishwokama, a very accomplished swordsmith and knifemaker from Kathmandu and owner of KC Nepal (https://nepalkhukurihouse.com/). It´s obviously that I have developed a fascination with Nepalese cutlery and with the hard-working craftsmen who are able to create beautiful knives with next to no equipment. This is an inspiration to me, and this is what "Tribal Knifemaking" as we Westerners call it out of a grave misunderstanding, is all about. We tend to see this as romantic, but it is not. It is the way these guys make a living. And in my opinion, they can be very proud. It is not about the fancy tools, it is in the skills that make the knife.
Coincidentally, I also feel very privileged to have made the acquaintance of some Ms. Janet Fischer ;-), owner of www.nordisches-handwerk.de, retailer of fine Scandinavian and bushcraft knifes, materials and fine art in Germany, and chance is, they had a design for a seax lying about don´t doing anything. Some PMs on facebook later and we had a collaboration going, not always easy, but a communication no less (message included for a mad world). In fact, Ambar went outright enthusiastic about the knife and forged away in no time.
The knives are made from high-carbon spring steel. And next time you whine about not having the equipment to start making knives or tools better shut up- this is how they do it the traditional way. Those are exactly the same tools common in Europe in the viking age. So, while the design of the knife might not exactly be period, the manufacturing process is actually nearly the same as they might have done it in the viking age.
Safety boots? Quit whining! Roughing out the tang... fullering tool? What you need is a hammer and tongs-and skill.
The handle roughly hewn...
...would not stay that way for long!
The finshed product surely does not fill the bill of some showcase viking, and of course it would not do for museum reenactors. Taking some liberties, you could see it as similar to some Anglo-Saxon types (See: Wheeler Seax typology)
But keep one thing in mind: In general, you can get a lot of knives for reenactment camp chores. And a lot of them are crap. I am meaning no offence, but there are a lot of smiths on reenactment frairs around thes parts who are better at drinking than at smithing, so to say. This knife is made like a Khukuri and quenched in the same manner. I hope to be able to provide you with a video of a brutal test soon. As far as I can say for now, I am very intrigued by the knife and that does not happen easily!
You can get them soon from www.nordisches-handwerk.de in the shop or you can write them an Email at kontakt [ätt) nordisches minus handwerk dot de.
Mittwoch, 6. Februar 2019
And find their website here: www.nepalkhukuri.com
Also take note that I am not getting paid to say this, even if some of you may sense a bit of fish odour ;-). But these folks do it with a passion. They burn for what they do, they work hard, under circumstances most European smiths would mock at. People make fun of me because I use salvaged spring steel and other materials and not some heebie-jeebie-goobalahbah unobtanium steels, and they mock at me for using my hammer, my tongs and not much more, they laugh at me because I do not have hundreds and thousands of money to spend on tempering ovens and wuptity controllers ;-).
Fact is, it´s true. I don´t have the money, of course. But that is not all there is. It does not matter. If you don´t understand the passion, the fire and the fierce desire to always get better, you will not understand. I am fascinated by these guys, not because they are the "significant other". Not even by the quality of their knives, nor the bargain prices they offer. Even if I have little money, I would pay more for their work.
I am just a mere hobbyist, an amateur. But these guys do this shit for a living... and still yet, they burn with a fierce passion for their work. Even if I work with simple tools... I cannot even compare to them. It is not in the equipment, it´s in the mastery of the equipment you have.
Those who know me and have followed my blog know that I don´t just do "Tribal knifemaking" as a mere fashion fad (oh, yes, there ARE people around like that), but had the privilege to have had, one must sadly say, several "true" "tribal" knifemakers (they would whack me if they knew I called them thus) as tutors, the late Mielenko Bednarcz from St. Petersburg and Viktor Paukow, a smith from Kazakhstan, who was a tutor of mine from 2004 until 2014, both of which taught me a lot with sparse words, some brawls, a bit of Vodka and a lot of making me watch in awe.It was definitely no formal training I received. What they taught me, first and foremostly, is respect.
And thusly, it is not that I would not, with a bit of time and preparation, be able to make a knife that would do similar things. It is not that it is about the "product". It is a matter of respect and modesty.
I don´t like the words, but for me it is part of Bushido. I don´t like the words, because they seem not to apply. Maybe you can see it that way: We live on a planet, and there are several different kinds of human beings on it. Some do what they want, some do what they can, and some do what they must, some do whichever is force-fed to them.
I do not want to define them, because, even if I have the privilege to call Ambar a friend, even though we have never met in actual and most likely never will, which tells a story in itself, I know that we might have many similarities, but that there are differences, too. But this is exactly the point.
Sometimes I feel a bit ashamed of my fellow Westerners. I mean, while of course there are loads of guys and gals doing a really, really great job with so-called "modern equipment", most of the blades they produce go to fatcat, overweight nocturnal predators who would rather cut their own head off with a knife than peeling an onion. A knife somehow has become sort of a fetish, to be polished and admired, but not for actual use, for the rich. And then there are some of those knifemakers, mostly amateurs like me, who as I said sneer at a lack of equipment.
Try this, BSTDs... I doubt most of them would be capable to make a knife like this with modern equipment, let alone with the traditional setup. Don´t get me wrong... there is nothing romantic about forging that way. It´s back-breaking labour.
I know how it is to forge that way. I know how a herniated vertebral disc feels like. Tried that, tickles.
And this is why this will not be the last you have read about KC on my blog. Because they make excellent knives. Because they burn with passion for what they do. And because they fucking deserve it!
Donnerstag, 24. Januar 2019
So some of the technical trails, which, to be honest, have deteriorated much by the weather and have become more difficult to ride, are sanitized in a such a way that they are little better than fireroads.
If I, personally, have my doubts about whether it´s a good day for that off-camber, do-or-die trail, I have a simple solution.
Stick to the fireroads. Do not move rocks or "invent" new shortcuts that make you seem faster-on paper or instagram. It´s the woods, and they are in a balance. Instead, go to the forest bureau and offer your help in trailcare. That´s an altogether different matter. So, rant over and out. I am a chickenshit, and I know. I don´t jump on that radical bandwagon. And I don´t want to better than anyone. I want to be better than I was last season. That´s a difference.
But then I have ridden down this trail for some 25 years now. I shredded down it, raced it with my buddies, I rode it in deep snow, in frost and blazing summer heat. And I politely asked this numbing fear to bugger off, and kicked my arse and dropped in. The fuckers that want to bring me down don´t know what it is that drives me... they cannot know me. And they would laugh their arse off if I would let some numbing fear spoil my trailriding. Not with uncle Fimbulmyrk... ;-)
This was a triumphant feeling. For the fun and the skill simply blasted that fear into oblivion.
It is all those moments, all these times. And maybe I do not have direct access to them all anymore. But they are a part of my character, my personality. They make me blast my numbing fears away, and they will always give me strength.
Most people these days are literally weak of body and character. At this place I learned a lot that gave me strength, and I always wanted to share. But they did not want it and haunted my days and nights instead with mobbing and bashing and shaming. I did not strike back, for you do not strike at the invalid or the weak.
But I also learned to be hunter and a warrior as well as a farmer there, if this pathetical speaking be allowed for once. I just cannot find any other words.
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