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Dienstag, 7. Juli 2015

New hadseax with treasures of the deep

 This is a very special knife with a strong historical background. The blade is made from crucible steel I found in the woods and a middle layer of 100Cr6 ball bearing steel, 90mm long making for a great everyday companion. The ferrule is from the new knifemaking supplier in my hometown, Hennes & Mauritz. Oi there, give me a break, was that H&M?

Yap, it was, the ferrule is a fashion jewellery finger ring made from actual bronze.;-) I was quite enthused to find it and had that idea nagging at the back of my brain the whole time. The handle is made from bog walnut from the lake I lived beside for most of my life. The dam had to be repaired, and when it had dried out, I found the wood of a WWII 98k carbine´s stock. After trying to give it to three museums in the vicinity, I simply kept it, and since it was gravely damaged I decided I´d do that swords to plowshares - thing and make a knife´s handle from it. 
 Into the pommel I fitted a blood agate I found myself on the banks of the river Rhine in Cologne. A bit too much glue still...
 The blade has a severe taper from some 6 mm to zero.
 Here you can see that I still have a lot to learn how to forge a three-layer-laminate. To me it is an absolute challenge, even more difficult than to forge Damascus, because it is quite hard to get the symmetry right. Also, when forging Damascus, you can drive out any impurities in the weld in the process, but with a three-layer laminate it has to be right on first try.
Having tested it, I can safely say it´s one of the sharpest blades I have ever forged. The tip got a bit too hot when grinding, so I had to cut off a mm or so, but now it does what it should and more.

What I like best about this knife, while it does the cutting, it is also a constant reminder to me of several things. When I look at it, I remember the moon over the silent lake, the hooting of owls, the flittering of sun on the waves and ripples. I again see what I have first seen in my life-treetops of the pines and furs gently moving in the summer wind, I smell the smell of resin and mould. But I also smelled the stench of gunpowder when I worked on it. The gun it once held had fired a lot and got hot in the process, so much in fact that the smell became a part of the wood. This wood had once been a walnut tree swaying in the breeze. The gun had presumeably taken a lot of lives. When the alliance came to free Germany, the soldier who had used it threw it into the lake. Dark and still, it guarded its treasures and curses of the deep. It is safe to say that the soldier who threw this gun into this lake had been not a big-term Nazi functionary, and if he performed any deeds of heroism, those might well be those of an everyday sort. Might be he killed with a feeling of guilt. Might be he killed with a feeling of purpose. Might be he just tried to survive as best as he could, as most soldiers did and still do. The dark and deep abyss has kept the secret. The secret is a part of the wood, as is the secret of walnut leaves swaying in the wind. There are stories in the wood of children scooping up the walnuts or might be a farmer and many farmers or might be it was harvested on an industrial scale, which is most probable. And just like the wood, the stone in the pommel had also been washed up by the stream, secret in secret and  stories and tales. This is the real power of this knife. It is a weaver of nets, of webs, of dread and dreams and joy, a teller of secrets. It is a key to hidden doors of copper on an iron hill with a golden lock. It remembers the abyss and its secrets but it now lives again, not as a weapon in the first, but as a companion for a dreamer.

And last night when I went for a short stroll into the woods, I heard the cat-owl hoot.

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