Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Tool shed Thursday: three knives.
Years ago, my future mother-in-law gave me a Swiss Army knife, the camper model. It has 2 blades, an awl, a saw blade which I have used once, two openers, one for bottles, the other one, reminiscent of the military P-38, opens cans. Those two blades have wide and narrow screw blade tips, respectively. Also included are a useless tweezer, and a frequently disappearing toothpick. The last one is deep in the bowels of the driver's seat mechanism in my car. It also has a corkscrew, perhaps the most used part. It has become my default cork remover, even in the kitchen. Why bother rummaging for one of several 'screws when there is one an arm's length away? My knife has become second nature, like my bottle of nitroglycerin. It is in my pocket all the time, except for rehab. If I am wearing work clothes, it is there; if I am wearing a suit, it is there. Tucked deep inside the checked suitcase,it travelled to Italy. Came in handy once or twice. People are sometimes surprised when I am wearing a suit and someone needs one of its functions and I bring out the knife. "You can take him outta the working class, you cannot take the working class outta him".
The second knife today has only one blade, but it's a pip. It is a Forschner Victorinox Fibrox 8-inch chef's knife. It is my go-to knife in the kitchen, used daily. It holds an edge well;it needs honing less frequently than my 7" Wusthof Santoku knife. The second advantage of the Victorinox is Fibrox,the material the handle is made of. Very non slip, even wet or oily. Finally, the clincher for me was the price. Amazon was selling it for $25.00 yesterday. A great value for an excellent knife.
The knife in the photo is a mystery. It was given to me by my father; he called it a "wrong way knife". And it is. It can only be held in the right hand, as it is designed to cut, no, pare, on the pull stroke. Obviously home made, I'm thinking American Indian or Inuit because of the handle, and the way it works. The blade was originally wider.The first 1.5" of the blade has been ground into a working edge. The rest of the blade is also sharp, but not cut to the same angle.There is a tight curl at the tip. The blade maker's name is stamped just above where the tang enters the handle. A loup would help to discern the maker's name (maybe Sheffield: I see an "..ield" and an "Eng.." below it),truncated when the blade was ground a couple millimeters narrower. The handle is bone,with two rivets through the bone and tang. It is still a sturdy fit. Is it a flensing knife? Nah, the curl at the tip would snag. I googled the heck out of it, and was frequently led to the familiar two handled draw knife of woodworkers. This knife has a very specific task, unknown to me.It would be good for carving a cavity in a flat surface, and that is about it. Any ideas or theories would be appreciated.