Sunday, 30 September 2007

Traditional Crook knife

We've all watch Ray Mears in his series Bushcraft making a beautiful Birch bark caneo and we've all heard Ray praising the crook knife for its ability to carve wood to a plain shavingly smooth finish.

Well recently my mate Frenchy made me a traditional crook knife for me to play with - and mightly impressed I am with it too.

Its my belief that the Native Americans first obtained crook knives from the early pioneers and european settles in trade - logic tells me that the natives wanted steel tools but the whites fearing giving them proper cutting tools which they could easily use as weapons traded old farrier hoof knives with them instead and this is what Paul has used for this tool too. The blade is a frost mora farriers blade so (excuse the pun) it comes from a good blade making stable!

To this paul has attached a fist sized lump of antler which fits my hand perfectly. Remember the crook knife is designed to be used in the draw method of carving so the handle needs to fit the hand backwoods (if that males sense)

Anyway slightly dull from the packet I sharpened the blade (sharpening only on the flat unbeveled side and soon had it razor sharp and ready to carve with. I carve a spoon from start to finish with this fantastic looking and aesthetically pleasing tool with no problems what so ever - all it took was a little time to accustom myself to gripping the tool in a different maner to that which Im used to.

Overall very pleased with it - I found an old sheath for it and now its my only carving tool - well after my main knife of course.

If you'd be interested in obtaining a hand made - unique - beautiful yet practical tool like this please contact Frenchy direct ..........remember to mention Bearclaw when you do and he'll ensure you get service and a tool second to none - contact

Among our anglosaxon forebears no tool was as import than the SCRAMASAEX - (scramseax, scramsax ) Indeed so important was the tool that the people were eventually names after it - the SAEX or Saxons. The AE are known as ASH and are prounced AA - so SAEX reads SAAX's

Ths tool was their camp knife, butcher knife and weapon in the press of the shield wall when the warriors came to Briton and banished the Celts to its rocky fringes. Indeed it could be argued England would not exist if not for the Scramsaex.

But enough history lets look at the tool.

Pictured above is the prototype saex which I have recently had the pleasure to trial - and it has been a great pleasure indeed.

The SEAX itself comes with a 4mm thick 8" bearing steel blade which terminates in a slightly clipped point. The overal design follows the artist and practical lines of the BFK making it a real users tool witht he balance being at the termination of the scales and the cutting edge. This excellent point of balance means that though a big knife it can be used for both chopping and heavy chores while still remained agile enough for feather sticking or fine carving! The scales shown are horn a traditional material of the Saxon peoples and are good in the hand withputht e risk of slippage in use.

The sheath (pictured) is made of two leather sleeves the outer is laced together and sits snuggly in the laced belt loop - but is not attached to it - means we can wear it left or right handed and change it to suit or needs (truely ambidextros) The inner sheath is a siliconized leather which protects the blade and is removed for drying if wet ....................but this is the prototype remember and its been decided that we aregoing to folow a more traditional sheath idea which was used by our Angloseaxon ancestors, instead of the silicon leather all bushcraft Seax's will have a more traditional sheep skin liner, the sheep skin (real sheep skin not PC faux crap) will do several things most important of all imparting lanolin to the blade which will naturally protect it!!

Once ready I think this will be the Rolls Royce of bushcraft knives .......

I can see your appetite is wetted watch this space for more details as the trials continue

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Whats new?

Sorry I havent been updating the blog recently but we've had a busy old time at bearclaw.

So whats new?

Firstly my mate Frenchy is now producing some cracking traditional crook knives - Mora blades mounted in the materials of your choice and designed to be used in the traditional manner as a draw knife. With a little practice they can also be easily adapted for use in spoon carving - one knife for the whole job cant be a bad think!!

Also were pleased to announce that in the waning months of last year we contacted Fjallraven and suggested they make a 45 litre version of their 20 litre Vintage sack (a excellent sack which is the choice of the whole bearclaw team!!) - anyway the guys at Fjellraven took this on board and we are pleased to announce they will be arriving/released in Feb 2008 - this is excellent news as these really are the best sacks I've every come across!

I'm working on a couple of articles too - one about Knife and cutting tool care - the other is a picturial on the classic rabbit stew cooked over the fire.

Hope this brief update has wetted your appetite - see you soon.