"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Ya ever seen my house?

Ya ever seen my house?
Neither have I Ted! You douchebag.
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, July 19, 2009

'Nanner Knives


Of course I mean "bernanner" knives.
"Banana knife" is a term I've blithely stolen from the sadly, defunct keenjunk.com.
Someone had posted a pic of what he described as "his first, non-banana knife".
I'd never heard the term before - or since.
But it was immediately obvious what he meant - a knife shaped like a banana - or a bernanner as Billy Bob would say.
This glaring evidence of your newbiehood will come about as a result of your being so blown away by the fact that you're actually getting steel to move around for you that you don't pay attention.
You completely overlook the side-effect.
Simply put; as you dutifully thin down the edge, the resultant expansion of the metal causes the blade to flex backward.
It's not rocket science.
Damn you, Isaac Newton!
Again, you're so taken with your accomplishment (You made a knife! A KNIFE, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!) that you can go a long time not realizing that the awful secret of your previously undisclosed newbiehood will be exposed the second anyone in the know recognizes your pride-and-joy as... a banana knife.
We can tell... all of us.
No worries. The banana-curve is a nice accident. It works as far as comfort goes and it's certainly functional. To quote Chester Cornett, "It don't hurt no more than it helps".
Besides, everyone's first knives are bananas.
There's even a genre of knife that's popular now, called a "Nessmuk" which is essentially just a down-sized banana knife.
It's simply an extremely useful design.
Banana knives rule.
But I digress; pictured above; my very first Bowie. It's sort of a banana knife. Mostly though, I just like it.
Handle scales from a long-dead, Yakima, Washington yard tree.
About a million years ago (1992) I'd had my shit together enough to get accepted into the Northwest Folklife Festival.
I sold/traded some stuff.
As far as money went, the weekend was a "learning experience" other than a guy approaching me about a trade involving some black walnut that had come from his father-in-law's yard in Yakima.
Parleys were parlayed, wood changed hands. From my side came an oak gun-cabinet and an oak rocker. From his; 280 bf of gorgeous, black walnut.
When the tree was cut, the father-in-law, when asked how he'd like the wood from his tree cut, had said "...about yay long... short enough to fit in the stove."
This of course horrified the son-in-law who intervened, had it milled... stored it in his shop for eight years.
And then, it was mine.
Anyway, nowadays, my scrawny old butt sits in a chair made from the remains of this old tree while the only other chair made from the walnut belongs to my big bro. Left.
Back slats of waney-edge dogwood (Horizontal; they're called "slats". Vertical: "splats" This is important).

Now, that's a banana knife.
First some background: I moved back to Montana in 1979 and set my sights on a career as a "handyman".
In the process of tooling-up, I went to my Grandma's house and while there, I high-graded the late Granddad's tools.
At one point she picked up a 24" pipe wrench (Stillson Pattern - see here).
"Can you use this? You'd probably have to pay ten dollars for one."

I've since realized that, in the event you find yourself seriously considering the use of a large pipe-wrench (18"+), then you simply haven't been managing your life properly.
It (the wrench) was a Walworth,"Genuine Stillson". Walworth, just for the record was the first manufacturer of pipe wrenches of any kind. Prior to this, plumbers had used serrated tongs.
The above knife, another of "my early work" was forged from the upper jaw of said wrench. Other knives were forged from the handle, one of which appears below.
Of the two other blades made from the handle, one sold on E-Bay (My second sale) and I gave one to Bob.
I'd put up a picture of it but it's lost somewhere in nine-year-old land.
Back to the one above; it's got the banana thing going on but I'm proud of it for other reasons as well.
The guard was forged from an old four-way rasp that, once I'd recognized the resemblance to reptile scales in the way the teeth behaved when pounded upon, became... a snake.
I also cut the choil (knife-geek term, one that I'm proud to say, I never use) scalloped - as if the reptile in question had taken a bite out of the blade.
I'm so darling.


This next knife was put up on E(vil)-Bay three times and no ever even bid.
Idiots. Their loss.
I had the old girl out chopping at the the blackberries just the other day.
I like the squared-off end to the clip.
I ought to do that more often.

I was into big Bowies back in the day I guess.
Finally, the first knife I ever sold.
Forged from rail steel.
Now, this banana knife thing has to be in aid of something.
Below, a recent custom job, a "Cephas Ham Bowie".




















Now, who the hell was Cephas Ham - and what kind of a name is that?
He was played by Chuck Connors (The Rifleman) in two episodes of "The Adventures of Jim Bowie".
This series was over (1958) - right about the time we got our first TV so - never saw it.
Anyway, Mr. Ham was a friend of the Bowie Bros and was supposedly presented with the knife pictured below, by Rezin Bowie.

Rezin, you dog.
You made a banana knife.

2 comments:

Stacie said...

Cephas Hamm was my great, great, great grandfather......and it's a fine name!!!!!

Big W said...

These old "banana" bowies are really something. I love the clip point and squared off false edge on the blackberry knife! W

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