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Freitag, 14. November 2014

An old knife revived - Fimbulmuk....

Now this is an old knife I have somewhat revived these days. I just cleaned the blade a bit and did some stropping. I had shared it some time ago, and I find it appropriate to share some thoughts with you.

First and foremostly I want to say that I searched for it for some time until I realized it rode on my belt. I guess that tells more than thousand words. I use it hard. Every day. It´s a good kitchen knife, it cuts meat and skin and chops bone and antler, opens boxes, letters and destroys analog spam. I had to fix the scales a bit for they came a bit ajar, but nothing that could not be mended with a drop of epoxy and a gentle tap with a peen. I like the blade´s offset a lot, and the simple spring steel has never seen actual sharpening, just a bit removing of scale due to a fit of aestehtics;-). By the way, the lanyard bead is by my lovely magic troll... ask politely and she´ll make you one, too;-). (I know she will whack the good out of me for that, but it´s worth it;-)) Contact her via her blog:

I will try to enhance the design in a further knife, but it will be hard. Why do I rant about this here?

I made this knife from scrap steel and antler from a flea market find. I use it hard for years now. There´s a message... I daresay you can find it.

Tribal knifemaking rocks!!!!

Short introduction of a very traditional knife - The Otter Hippekniep

 At my recent visit to Solingen I also dropped by the Otter knives booth. Now they were very persuasive;-) and I got this beautiful traditional knife with a history.

Now it is very interesting that these knives are called "Hippekniep" in Solingen, and there are many theories concerning the origin of this name. I take it to be cognate with the "Hepchen" or "Hippe" knife, a knife wiedly used in farming. It might go back to gothic *havi = hay, *Haviknapi would mean "Hay-biter". In either case, the "Hippe" was a scythelike tool but with no offset, similar to the "Falcata Illyrica" or "Falx", a billhook weapon used by the Illyrians in their fight against Rome. Another theory is that the handle looks like a goat´s leg (in  Niederdeutsch, a Saxon stem of German quite similar to Anglo - Saxon "Hippe" is a female goat) or that it was used to shorten goat´s hoof horn. In Solingen it was sold as a "Taschenschlachtmesser" (emergency butcher pocket knife). In France it is famed as a "mineur", because it was common amongst coalminers there where it was a do-it-all utility tool and more often than not a last defence against the ever-prominent tunnel rats. As a "sodbuster knife" it is known in the USA. Germany, however, is the first place I came across where it found production.  First examples date back to the early 19th century.

This one is an excellent piece of craftsmanship. It comes with a razor - sharp C - 75 blade, 95 mm long and tapering from 2,5 - 1,2 mm in the tip. Blimey, this is a razor! The handle is beautifully finished Grenadill wood that is polished to a high lustre. A great addition in my book is the pivot, that is a simple rivet peened over a brass disc on either side. Apart from it being quite a feat of craftsmanship to do this properly, by that way play can be adjusted by gentle taps with a ball peen should it ever occur. The blade has a stiff slipjoint spring with enough stay to withstand moderate spinewhack testing. The opening was a bit rough, but nothing to be ashamed of. Also included is a lanyard for faster access. The brass bead aids in drawing and counteracts the cool design with a warm golden colour... beautifully made.
Tolerances are virtually non - existent. It is an excellent knife for everyday work, for snacking and whittling the odd stick, and it is simply a sight to behold. It does everything a knife is supposed to do, it has a friendly appearance and it is beautiful. Plus, it is one of the very few folding knives where I do not miss  a locking mechanism.

Go to their website here:

Review of a KatzeK55K special run knife

 I am very proud to give you a short review of a knife you will not see that often... up until now, there are just some 10-20 pieces worlwide. Let me tell you its story. Readers of my blog know that I am somewhat acquainted to Mr. Morsbach, a very experienced knifemaker from Solingen and of ancient Solingen grinder nobility, former head of corporation to Otter knives. At the "Messer-Gabel-Scherenmarkt" expo we met again, and he had these on display I coveted ever since I saw them on Jagd und Hund expo in Dortmund in February (I reported about it). So, the time was now, and I had a closer look. While it loosely follows the lines of a very classic Solingen Jagdnicker design, that´s all about tradition. The knife has an extremely well - made convex bevel with a moderately thick spine at some 3 mm. The scales are rough-ground Micarta, which is a good thing, for they offer a load of grip. The blades is some 90 mm long (ca.) making for a great EDC, and the edge geometry makes it fiercely sharp. This is enhanced by the choice of steel: It´s made from 1.4153 Böhler steel, which is stainless and quite similar to 440C or AUS - 8 with one important distinction: It is alloyed with Niobium, hence its nickname "Niolox". The Niobium content makes it capable of taking an extremely fine edge for a stainless steel. I was surprised by its sharpness, which is really up to par with a good carbon steel. And the best thing is: For mere mortals it comes at a price of 65 €.
 The scales are a bit refreshed by beautiful red liners. Craftsmanship is very solid, albeit not high lustre. But it is a workhorse I have now used so far for a lot of tasks and that always rides in my pack these days.
The sheath is of good quality, although it makes for a bit toip - heavy carrying and I do not recommend leaving the button open. It is a priority for me to make a new one, but for the price, the sheath is well enough.

And it might be, just thinking, if Mr. Morsbach receives enough questions  concerning the topic, he will make more of them ;-). Contact him via his website

Freitag, 7. November 2014

The buzzard that fell from the sky

Through the darkening autumn woods I broke in a feeble attempt to free myself from leaden time. Was it when or thence or just last week that I went out again? The winds were singing in a violent wind, and within the wind there was a space, and within this space there was a nest, and within this nest a secret curled, unfurled like a wisp of smoke upon the wind. A cry sounds in the woods by mystery enchanted, but was it real?
Those are just the same woods I visited so often and so long a time I have spent under the trees, alien to my kind.
And an aetherical scent, a smell upon a secret stench arises, musk and shadow from the rich, dark soil.

Onwards it led, the trail unseen, and scent and sight and sound  did guide me through the maze of trees.

What was that cry, a cry unheard, or was it real? What was that rustling in the leaves? Is this a dream or just an essay about things that were and things that are?

Insanity is the poet´s bridge. Damnation is a canyon on either side, and like a knife, and like its edge is the shallow arch above the abyss. What was that dream, the cry unheard, so wild above? Is this a sprite, or that white bird of dusk I have seen so often before a storm?

Thus grow the trees and from their seed of seeds firmly they tread their root into the ground, deeper, deeper, even when autumn passed and winterstorm comes.

Death is reigning, and from his hand the secret still unfurls like a mossy carpet. Deeper into the rich and musky soil I go to agnize the cry of mycel and sky; the lament of the land.
The song of a lunatic is this, but it is bane to love a poet, to fight a poet, to be a poet, and deeper, deeper still into halls unseen, into a dream forlorn, an oath and a spell. I go. I walk the pathway on and on, under a leaden sky, on a flight from a world well trodden into a hidden place.  
The buzzard that fell from the sky,
The dying fruit of the ever-prospering mycel,
The fallen tree still sprouts beside the well, all sing the song-the lament of the land.
Fly well, my spirit, my buzzard that fell from the sky, fly high amongst the song of life. Of death we sing, but is it truth? Is it dream or fancy?
The golden light now goes to rest behind the woods, the unending realm and the treaty of being.
Sleep well, behind  the doors of midnight, my friend, and sing your cry into the dream.

And far beyond the sinking sun I see the path untrodden;
and far behind the sinking sun the silver bridge arises to realms afar beyond the yonder, to times where the trail was straight and true.

Fly well, my song, along the road of dreams.

I admit it.... I´m a fan, too.;-)

Having read his works "The name of the wind" and "The wise man´s fear", and, most recently, "The slow regard of silent things" I must admit that I have developed quite the habit towards the writings of Patrick Rothfuss.

Here is a link to his blog:

Copyright by Patrick Rothfuss and Shutterstock

While I am not agreed with him on some topics like gender mainstreaming and the like, and agreed on some other topics, and fond of his engagement, and not fond of some of his weird jokes;-), his books are poetic works of art about characters "slightly akilter" (The slow regard of silent things), and, most refreshingly do not try to be a LOTR or Harry Potter remake, even if they share characteristics. His language designs could be a bit more thorough, but all in all his is a very developed world that takes you in and does not let you go, and there is something very rare in contemporary fantasy novels: The feeling underneath that there is a sublime truth behind it all, a secret hidden in secrets of secrets, a hint, a scent of something wild and untame hiding inside. Read them at your own risk.;-).

Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2014

A hike to the Zee Aylienz annual season´s out - party

 This year again Zee Aylienz had invited to the annual season´s out BBQ, and smiths and vikings listened. We listened carefully and grinned. And met for a hike to the wonderful site of the BBQ. No looting and pillaging was allowed, so we offered help instead, to help Karo, who organized the whole thing a bit to get things running smoothly. Nick and Kathrin, and Michael and myself also met beforehand for a little bimble beforehand to smell the roses, so I packed my gear, and off I was to take the bus into the green, green woods. At the railway station I nearly bounced into Michael, whom I nearly missed... But no harm done, we arrived at the rendezvous point together and had a bit of strange conversation during the ride. The thugs on the rear bench nearly fell arse over tit when he took out his Mora to show me he´d sharpened it;-) made my day. Anyway, we met with Nick and Kathrin, and off we were.
 Into the rocks....
 Kids will be kids, I guess...;-).
 There are eagle owls nesting in the rocks, so we tread carefully and were relatively silent, except for the ruckus;-).
 Turns out Michael missed his rock climbing a lot....
 But soon we had other things to do... the terrain became a bit demanding.
 "You sure that´s the way?" "If you could tell me the way?"
 On top of the hill we had a cuppa coffee (thanks, bro!) and a cuppa tea, and a chat, basked in the sun and simply enjoyed great company.
 Then the road went ever on, we had some time to make, for rendezvous time was 1 pm at the Ranger´s station.
 Ever seen something like this at the end of October?
 Then we hit a piece of road, and, crossing it, went down into the woods to get to the forest ranger´s station. Now I know Mr. Knaup, who runs the site, which is more of a sustainability centre these days, since I was a kid living in the woods, and I was looking forward to meeting him. When we were on top of things, my bloody cellphone ringed. It was Karo, who was a bit desperate for the firewood was soaking wet and she could not get a fire started. I reassured her we would be there in no time, and we arrived well early still.
 And, I can tell you what, it was hell of an effort to get the damn fire this far! The wood was soaking wet, the tinder did not work at all, and, even if we first wanted to make a challenge out of lighting the fire with flint and stone, we simply gave in and took the cigarette lighter instead. We had little time left, before the goofs would arrive, and hungry nerds are not a good sight;-). But it was a great experience, since we worked together like a good team. Soon it was roaring wildly, and noone could complain there was no fire hot enough to roast sausages on. We will learn, however, that this is not an insurance against Aylienz complaining.;-)
 Martin is Karo´s man, and we gave him a short tutoring on how to whittle a stick. Some of you might laugh and make fun out of someone not knowing how to whittle a stick, but let´s keep things straight: It´s not commonplace anymore to know this. You have to know how to use a computer and a cellphone, not how to cook on open fire. We hope we have kindled some interest towards the topic, and I personally find it great if someone who did not know the how-do beforehand goes home content in knowing he had learned something adventurous. I hope the knowledge serves him well!
 Karo and Stevie. Stevie brought his little one, and both of them enjoyed themselves.
 This is wet timber, see?

 Then Nele arrived with a tray of beer and the goodies...
 And the goofs and Jan came in one by one after a hard ride. Jan relaxing in the sun and enjoying and "altogether too hot fire".

 No kidding, they complained the fire was too hot!;-)
 Nele having fun with a pumpkin.
 The guys and gals getting nice an toasty;-).
 Everyone was having a nice chat and sharing some tall tales.

 We got on with some cooking, and made steaks, pumpkin slices, potatoes, pumpkin stew, stuffed mushrooms and mushroom soup from the forage we brought with us, one sorry boletus and some nettles and yarrow.;-)
 The others enjoyed sausage and home-made salads.
Suddenly the mountainbikers were off towards home, but some few remaining, but in a steady trickle the were off, too. Then Olaf, Burkhardt, Tim, and the absolutely pain-resistant blacksmith hound Marie came by. We had a good time, and shared a lot of stories, both hilarious and sad, we had a beer and shared great food. The stars came out, and Nick played on his didgeridoo for us. Suddenly the world was an enchanted place, and everything made perfect sense.

All too soon it was time to say goodbye, and under the stars the last embers burned down. NIck, Kathrin and myself made for the hike down into the valley and towards home, since the last bus was gone. In the next village I simply took a taxi,  and when I was home, I went to bed with a warm feeling in my belly and my heart.

Thank you, folks, it was a great meeting!

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