Mittwoch, 24. Februar 2016
I know I am a lazy bum... but be patient even if I tend to forge a lot and complete little... in any way I threaten to keep you posted!;-)
Labels: damascus, Knifemaking Tribal Smithing Bushcraft Survival Mushroom Hunting, train wagon leaf spring steel
But now this is somewhat more of just a plain review. I own several Puukkos and I always wondered why it is that they offer so much atmosphere and function. First and foremostly it might just be that they are just following an ideal shape for a blade. The general layout makes this style of knife very dexterous for woodcarving. The blade is in line with the general working direction of the hand, and yap, the ergonomics are spot-on because there simply were hundreds or even thousands of years of refinement in the layout. Knives from the Finnish Viking age look no different from nowadays´ blades for a reason - because they work. But there is more to it. As with every nation I have so far encountered, the Puukko also had some ethnological and mythological functions... I am planning to do a feature on that soon. Just have to find this bloody manuscript ;-) in my attic again to give some real references...
In the meantime, I should say I will try to make myself a real one, maybe with a Damascus blade or stuff... I´ll keep you posted!
The Puukko has fascinated me as an everyday tool, but also as a cultural aspect, and I hope to be doing more on the mythology and history of this great style of knife.
Donnerstag, 18. Februar 2016
The trails, however, have nothing to do with this. They are not an illusion. The way I ride has changed altogether. While I still like to do some technical trails and get some airtime in, it is not that important anymore. It is the silence and solitude of the forest that I so dearly need, and in order to get there cheap I use my bike.
But since my body´s worn out a bit anyway, it´s not something that I should miss that much. But I realized I actually do miss it. I have ridden down the Dalco trail with an almost rigid bike (there was no suspension other than 35mm of rubber eraser in those days). I have ridden down sheer cliffs in the Alps and I was able to fly. I rode with the gods of mountainbiking and had fun with them. I miss the flying and the carefree shredding, I miss the mountainbiking scene as it was.
Casually floating through the woods is what I need now, but I realize my life has changed a lot, and while a lot of things are really cool and one could not expect that everything always stays the same, I also must admit that I would not want to be the same idiot I once was. So I actually accept that my life is changing and has changed. But as life is generally and all over the world changing for the worst of the worst, and my life´s not THAT crappy to date, I guess I can´t complain.
But thoughts occurred to me unbidden, as if in meditation. It feels somewhat weird, and sometimes I ask myself if it really did happen. It was a bit like a fairy tale, and most people look at me as if I was telling tales when I, well, tell the tales of my life. I grew up in a world that can and shall not be real, and the rulers of our world strive to annihilate even the memory of a lifestyle like this. They do not want self-reliant, they want human resources. They do not want you to make your own gear and relish in fruit from your own garden, and most certainly do they not want you to have encounters with real live animals, with fox and hare and deer and wild pig and badger and learn from them how to live wild, to kill and die and not be afraid of growth and passing. This is what teaches me even now and has taught me: All things must die, and I am no better than our cat was then which one day just went into the woods for dying in dignity. I do not want to be less than the cat I loved then as a companion, and the change that has come upon my life is a part of dying. Death is my brother who walks with me, and it is like you walk over the dark grounds of earth, and a booming step goes with you, beneath. I certainly fear death, but I am not afraid of it. I look into the face it has now, and it wears the mask of the change. But the sickle does not hit the twinkling sun that shines through the frost-enchanted branches and twigs of a forest that is, was and will be. The badger does not smile-but neither is he afraid of death or hates. He knows fury, but no hate. When he lives, he lives, when he dies, he dies. Fox hunts hare and the wolf hunts its prey, but this is a natural order. I grew up with it. Many people say I am a dreamer and this growing up of mine is a mere fancy and has never been.
I rode those figures again... but the feeling was not there. I looked towards the house... but there were no lights lit. I looked into myself... and all was there where I left it.
And while all things must come to an end eventually, there is no end to anything.
Martin arrived on Thursday night, well, actually well into the night, because flight was all messed up. We had a chat, and were off to sleep, for we wanted to be at the smithy early - for a TV film team had announced their venue. I´ll spare you the entire story, just in case, you know;-) and might do a post about all that happened if they mess up;-). On the other hand, all was good, the weather was being fine, and we were doing a lovely hike to a great place to meet some friends and forge weird stuff. Martin was planning on making a straight razor for a good friend of his, who is a hairdresser, and a San Mai Damascus for another friend and customer of his, with crucible steel we found in the local woods around my place as a cutting edge. I showed him a bit around the place, and our senior blacksmith introduced him to the tools. For the Damascus he cut up an old sawblade and we had prepared some file steel to go along with the crucible steel. In the meantime I took care of the folks and showed the TV crew around.
Michael was there and did some forging of some very ambitious projects... and I am quite astonished at his progress at the moment. He does some sophisticated projects and while sometimes he gets frustrated and is a bit eager, he does some amazing stuff!
Currently he is finishing off a Damascus boot knife and working on a project that is secret still, but knowing what he´s about, I can say I am pretty fond of it... I hope to be able to keep you posted!
While I was showing Martin around, I found this carpenter´s axe lying around in the shed that I really wanted to share with my trusty readers;-).
You can see the offset and the forged socket-way cool, if you ask me, and one day I hope to do something like this!
Martin prepared the billet for tacking together and was off for the welding.
Then Martin was ready for the welding and drawing out and he apparently liked our power hammer;-).
Henning dropped by and did some forging himself. Apart from being one of the nicest guys I have met, he quite certainly has a lot of talent. He did a hardy tool from an old railroad screw and did a very great job at it. Nick lent a helping hand. While Nick might not be the best blacksmith there can possibly be and often simply refuses to listen when he is being tutored by Kai or myself, he is a very important guy to keep things running smoothly. He keeps everything together with good humour and patience, always has a big deal of empathy for everyone´s problems and does a great job with kids. And of course, he is one of my best friends.
Then Friedhelm and Bernd came by with a friend of theirs, Gunther the boar. Gunther was not feeling that well that day and had a laydown while Friedhelm did some first aid to dress him up for dinner;-).
...and suffered from a severe hangover;-). Kidding aside, Friedhelm, who is a hunting instructor and game warden, gave us valuable insight into the bureaucratics of hunting in Germany and dressing techniques. We learned a lot by simply watching, and toasted to the dead animal. For even if we did some wicked jokes on that, that´s not to say we had no respect. I can´t explain that to a veganist, but I daresay my trusty readers know what I mean when I say so.
There´s a difference between hunters and shooters, so to say, and Friedhelm quite certainly is one of the former variety. He simply loves his hunting ground and cares for it because he´s been growing up there and understands each and every rock in the forest. He knows and loves and therefore cares about his hunting area.
Martin suffered several mishaps, unfortunately, but in general, we made do and had a ball with it. The crucible he originally brought was too brittle, but I had some left that was processed already. Then the billet burned off, but I had some Damascus billet left that he could use. Unfortunately, Bernd had ordered a hunting knife, and we were kind of eager to get all that stuff together... but when you get eager, you get problems. So the San Mai did not quite weld in. Martin, however, is not one to do it the easy way and tried a traditional Japanese technique instead of just tacking the billets together and then welding it all together. When all runs good, everything is good, but with this technique everything must be perfect and there´s no room for errors... turned out the edge steel fell out constantly, so he called it a day and made the straight razor instead from a piece of Damascus he had brought.
I look forward to the next sessions! It is just perfect that while having fun you can do a good job keeping something alive. I also learned a lot from Ernst, our senior blacksmith. who gave me a good tutoring on the power hammer. I always find it amazing that he can do that delicate a work with the machine, and slowly begin to realize that it might be possible. I like this last picture, by the way. It tells the story of how I see this stuff. At the moment, everything seems to be very dark everywhere. But there is a smithy lit, and the flames of the forge are roaring violently. That which cannot be mended is welded in the forge; and by doing so we slowly start learning from each other to agnize the name of steel. There are people from 8 to 77 years old at the smithy, girls and guys, Germans, Irishmen, Saami and Swedish people, and we all learn from each other and cover the ground we stand on. It makes me proud to have a part in that. It is a beginning. Not an end.
Mittwoch, 17. Februar 2016
Then I went on to visit the birds of prey which were displayed in area 3A. There were also the children´s programs going on there.
This is a case of YOLO...You Obviously Love Owls;-)...
This fellow actually did not like me much...;-)
The areas were well visited, but on Tuesday it was not that crammed full. Still, there were a lot of people around...
www.siljan.se who make very practical Mora designs, including the famed Wasa knife. Now Gunnar´s a great guy. Once I worked for him, and I can really appreciate his being cool under pressure. He certainly knows how to work hard, but is also very laid-back and super-friendly at the same time. When we got there on Sunday, he gave us a huge load of weekend project Scandi blades out of three-layer-laminate steel, just to promote our beginners!
www.rg-knives.de. We had a chat, but then I cleared the space because he had a customer...
www.afk-knives.com. Well worth a visit!
www.schmiedeglut.de). Nandger is a self-made man autodidactic knifesmith...
I daresay it was a bit of an eye-opener to Martin, who is currently starting his own swordsmithing business to see the prizes (which were not THAT expensive given the quality!) at the DMG booth.
www.messermagazin.de), and I daresay it will be a rave review...
www.katzek55k.de) is one of the last qualified grinders in Solingen, and it shows. Apart from this, he also is a knife-nut always open for something new. I have a deep respect for him and the things he does, and have learned a lot from him.
Then all of a sudden all was over, and we were heading home with hearts full of pleasure and a truckload of goodies in our pack, and looking forward to 2017!
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