Mittwoch, 27. April 2016
Mittwoch, 20. April 2016
You might ask, why is this guy THAT weird? ;-)
Let me try to shed some light on that. Ever since I was a kid I had those dreams that some kids often had once upon a time.
Let´s say I found a mythical sword that would be given to me and then I would be like the heroes of Yore, or whatnot. I dreamt about having a Balmung, Mimung or Escaliburnus (Excalibur) sword. Very early, however, maybe at the age of seven, when I forged my first knife with my father, I realized I did not want to just have it. I wanted to own it for sure, but I then realized I´d rather wanted to be able to make one myself. At the age of some nine years, I then realized, okay, that could provide some difficulties... so to say;-). But being that stubborn kid I was (and am) I decided to make myself a knife out of that steel.
What steel? What was it that made those swords that special?
So I started to read literature not commonly read by nine-year-old slightly overweight kids. Made me a bit weird, and most of the kids at school did not quite like the fact that I spoke Middle High German, Gothic and Old German and my heroes were not Take That, Milli Vanilli, Nena or whoever, but rather Sigurdr, Parzival, Erec, Thidrek or Dietrich von Bern, or especially Volundr (Wieland, Weland).
I made knives from every piece of scrap metal I could find. And I was always looking for steel in the woods, for that made sense to me. All these adventures took place in the woods, and where else should I look for steel for a mythical sword (or knife for that matter). Always there was one element missing. I completed school and was off to work... suffice to say, this did not turn out too well. I learned the metalworking skills I refined okay, but okay, suffice to say I went to the University to study literature. I learned a lot there, and it was that idea of a sword nagging at the back of my brain all of the time, or, more realistically speaking, to make a knife that sang. And while some of my tutors gave me great insight and really promoted my thirst for knowledge on that matter, others even mocked at me while denying me a rational or even academical reason to stop studying it, even when I asked for it.
Okay, zoom into the year 2016. I still haven´t found the ideal sword, at least not as a blade. The lady of the lake has not yet offered me Excalibur, because -as I understand now- that´s not how it was offered. Not in that manner, because this is metaphorical. I wasn´t strolling through the woods and there it was, the elven sword stuck into a stump shining in just one ray of moonlight.
No, I haven´t found the magical sword. I have made a lot of knives (and some few swords) that sing, and some that chant. Some sit on my shelf, some I have given away, some have been buried in the forest.
But on some strolls through the forest I found some steel. Some special and rare steel with properties that in the time of those legends would have been seen as legendary. The fact that you can easily explain these properties with simple metallurgy does not lessen the magic, as does the fact that you could produce a good blade, maybe even close to the "magical" properties of Yore with junkyard scrap steel.
Yeah, as any human I know deep in my heart that I will die. Nothing I do will prevent this. But I hope to leave some positive impacts and traces on this world. Fact is, we live in a shitty world that has disenchanted itself into a state that is more similar to a manmade hell. They have told us a whole pile of rubbish, such as "no progress is regress", "innovate or die", "constant growth is the motor of social welfare". They are telling us lies and shit and the sorry thing is, they believe that crap themselves. We can´t make heads nor tails out of the idea of the sword. It´s the tank, the whip and the credit card we live by. We don´t worship God, or the old Gods. We worship Mammon, the God of money and the underworld, Mammon-Pluto. No wonder the world he rules looks like hell. But it´s not his fault, it´s ours.
The "magical" steel I have found in the woods actually is crap. It is junk discarded in the woods, for the woods are not sacrosanct either. They are to be exploited, and according to human reception, it is a mere coincidence that they still are a place where the "aventiure" can take place, the adventure, or just some breathing and peace are allowed, a place where serenity still reigns. It is never as important as making money. I like to test Christians by asking them, if their employer would ask them to dismiss religious service in favour of a Sunday´s work (with extra payment and the alternative of losing their job), what they would do. I asked maybe a hundred people who claimed to have a strong belief (and of course trying to pick at the splinter in my eye) that question. Not one of them did NOT ask me if I was insane, and of course they would go to work, and dismiss religious service, for you HAVE to make money. Spirituality is for wellness and leisure and BLAH.
My boss once made fun of my spirituality. She did that exactly ONCE. I still work for this corporation.
No, a "magical" sword would not make a shitty world right. No, violence is not an option. To really understand the spirit of the sword, you have to make it. You have to handle it. And then, with the spirit of the sword you will be able to destroy the idea of tank, whip and credit card in yourself. This is why I make knives and swords.
The lady of the lake will not reach out from the water to hand me over some flimsy chi-chi blade from these Hollywood movies. But there is this lake in the South of Germany, where a "kingdom was smitten" (The lay of Sir Gawain). In creeks and the lake itself you still find meteoritic ore and Fullerene crystals which at the time of Yore were used to forge weapons of excellence. This is where I am headed.
The Nessmuk is a myth come true... but it is but a waystone on the trail.
Donnerstag, 14. April 2016
In the Roman empire, a lot of styles of blades were imported from all over the empire. The Sica, hailing from the Dacian people´s realm, and the sickle knife of the cisalpine Celtic people, and some Semitic styles blended into each other to form a knife that saw a lot of use as an everyday knife.
But as empires as totalitarian regimes always have enemies within, there was a group of people named the "Sicarii", back alley cut-throats and murderers who set out on Roman executive. The Sica thus was getting a somewhat sinister reputation. Roman knife - laws banned non-native inhabitants of Rome from using knives longer than one "palmus" (roundabout 76 mm blade length). Suffice to say that back-alley murderers just hid their sicae in their flowing tunics and cloaks. Assassination of Roman executives reached a soaring height afterwards. So much for the efficiency of knife-laws.
While I am not at all agreed with any assassin and believe that violence can never be a solution, but in fact poses a problem, the very shape of the blade is an expression of all things wild. Following the line of a golden ratio spiral, it exemplifies one of the ways life is sprouting from the forest´s soil that is so rich with secrets and life. And like a fern´s sprouting sapling rises from the dark, steel that has long been lying submerged under scales of flaking rust, is reborn into the light. It reaps the herbs and due to its very origin, it is a talisman to me. It speaks of life and death, and its ambivalence is that of the forest´s sic et non. While the line of the edge points forward like a whiplash, the triskell points into the other direction to calm the dynamics; the phallic line on the blade itself goes back into the notch that serves the same function as the cho on a Khukhuri. The meanders on the handle again work into the other direction of the triskell.
While things do not fall against gravity, so to say, there is a way magic works. It works its way from root and grain and soil and soul-into the world.
It was an outing that let me utterly forget about what insanity does to us every day.
They cannot win. Not at all. Even if they destroy this world... the universe is far too big to destroy for them. They are alien to life and they are the bringers of doom; they are prey to the grey god, and, while evil, they are to be pitied.
The woods are alien, strange to mankind, and the animals shun those who are legion. When you rediscover the wilderness within your soul, you will be alien to man; but the forest will slowly, and silently embrace you.
Montag, 11. April 2016
Mittwoch, 6. April 2016
On a recent bimble I came across this lovely piece of pine wood and thought to get some whittling practice in. Now many people argue you can´t do delicate stuff with a bushcraft knife... but it´s always the swimming pants if the peasant can´t swim (as we say in Germany...);-). So I thought I´d make a bear´s head. First I removed the bark
Futhark runes to carve the name into the integral bolster. By the way, the blade is forged from an old HSS chisel I found in the woods. The piece above is reindeer antler carved with a meander pattern. The handle itself is desert iron wood that will see some carving, too.
The other day there arrived a package from Nordisches Handwerk, a supplier of knifemaking goods, knives and bushcraft gear in Germany whic...
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