Medieval Knives Doubled as Erasers?

Medieval knives
When writers in medieval times made a typo, they reached for knives.

Nothing brings back grade school memories like those big, pink erasers. However, medieval students used knives instead of rubber.

From Atlas Obscura:

The job of a scribe was to copy the text from an existing manuscript using a quill pen and an inkhorn. When they made mistakes, they had to scrape the ink off the page with a sharp knife, a painstaking job that could easily ruin a piece of parchment.

Read the full article and see an example of such a knife here.


Video: How Well Can a Wooden Knife Perform?

How well can a knife made out of wood perform? Pretty dang well.

This video details how a man in Japan, identified only by his YouTube channel Kiwami Japan, shaped a knife from a wooden blank using sandpaper and whetstones. 

Here’s the video, featuring a few cutting tests:

The key is the lignum vitae wood the man used. It’s “the densest and hardest wood known,” according to the Forest Legality Initiative

Lignum vitae is regulated under Article II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species. That means you’re not doing to pick this type of wood up from Home Depot. Still, it’s another admirable example of creativity meeting craftsmanship.


New Hollywood Steak Restaurant Will Feature Knives Made In-House

Adam Perry Lang gained renown for running a barbecue smoker outside the studio of Jimmy Kimmel Live in Los Angeles. Now, Lang is set to open a steak restaurant with something sharp on the menu: knives made by the chef himself.

From Variety:

Walking into Lang’s man-cave/test kitchen, the first thing you spot is the double-barreled smoker rig that Lang tows to various barbecue events. The next thing is the forge. Glowing at something like 2000 degrees, the renowned pitmaster heats a piece of vaguely knife-shaped raw steel until it glows bright orange, puts it on the anvil and gives it a dozen or so good thwonks with a mallet on the way to making a sharp edge. Making Damascus steel knives by hand is just one of his clutch of obsessions — and APL diners will be able to slice into their aged steaks with Lang’s own carefully-forged blades.

Read the full article here.


Knifemaker Turns Out Blades with 14-Year-Old Grandson

The Tribune-Review out of western Pennsylvania recently profiled a grandfather/grandson combo keeping the tradition of bladesmith alive. The article was originally about a heart attack the grandfather experienced, but to BLADE that’s second to the fact a multi-generational pair was pounding steel in the first place.

From the article:

After his heart attack, Eyth had three stents placed in his major coronary artery. But, he said, “It didn’t stop or slow me down much. They wanted me to take it easy for a month or two.”

The pace of production at Eyth’s forge has slowed some, mainly because his son doesn’t participate as much, he said. But his 14-year-old grandson, Joe, has stepped in to help fill the gap.

“We’re still turning out 120 to 130 knives in a year,” said Eyth, who puts some of his knives to use when he hunts deer.

Read the full article here.


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