Saturday, 1 September 2007

Another Bone Knife

Bone knives are excellent for tasks requiring a more sturdy edge than stone normally is. For example, while cutting true tinder fungus with a stone is a pain, shaving it off with bone is easy. Bone is also sharp enough for cutting non-fibrous vegetables, gutting fish and skinning small animals. In the latter task bone has the advantage of not normally being sharp enough to slice through the skin, especially if you have a rounded tip on the knife. Though I prefer to work with fresh bones I have been in short supply of bones for a long time since last hunting season so in this case I had to use an old sheep leg bone I found in a field.

Start by sawing halfway into the bone at the lower end margin of where the blade is supposed to be.

Score around the sides and top so that the front piece is freed from the rest without cracking the rest of the piece. Score almost all the way through. Using water will help a lot.

Split from the top and break off the waste. This waste piece was made into a small chisel. It might not be of very great utility, but I'll try it on green wood.

Afterwards the blade was ground thinner and pointy. For cleaning fish I would ideally want a thinner tip, but I want a stronger edge on this one for broader application.

I already had a birch bark sheath from a now broken knife to reuse.