I am sure that you have already read Luke’s crossbow post, about the time when we went and made our very own crossbows. Well, guess what, We went back and did knife making as well. We were in the same place but with a different craftsman. The metal was old steel that came from vehicles that nobody wanted. The handle was just made of wood. It was really hard work; at least for the guy who was teaching us to make them. Technically what we were doing is called “mostly watching another guy do all the work while we watch and do some work.” We actually did quite a lot of work on the handle and we all pumped the fire up quite a lot, but the master craftsman did most of the hammering, and let me tell you from experience. It was really hard work.
Pumping the fire was the easiest job of all. We had to keep it really hot so the metal would soften and we could hammer it into shape. What we basically had to do was turn a handle round and round to make a fan spin and then the air from the fan goes down a long metal tube and into the fire. It was really clever contraption that they made themselves. Eventually you would just trade off with another person and go do some other various job in preparation for the knives. sometimes we were told to stop pumping for a minute so the, because if the fire got to hot we would melt the knives and then have to start all over again, and trust me, we did not want to have to do that.
Like I said, the expert knife maker did most of the hammering, but we did some of it, but we got breaks, he didn’t. We had to hit up and down, making sure we didn’t do it at an angle.One of the things that made it harder. We did, but the hammer was so heavy but luckily we had to put it back in the fire quite often so it didn’t break.
Handle making was probably the hardest job we did. We had to hack away at a short, slightly small log until it was about half it’s size, While keeping it smooth! It was actually a lot harder than it sounds. In the middle I accidentally cut myself with the knife that I was using. It wasn’t very deep but it hurt like crazy. Then a guy took my handle, cut it down a little bit more and then gave it back to me. When everyone was done with their handles, a guy got a red hot poker and burnt a hole in the top. We were then given pieces of sack to stuff in the hole. You would think that there wouldn’t be enough room for the blade but it had just come out of the fire and so it mettle the sack and the wax from the melted sack held it in place.
Knife making was supposed to be only four hours, but it actually took about seven. I’m not complaining-it was really cool- but it did take up most of our day. At least we got to have some cake! I am glad we did it and now we have knives that we (sort of) made!