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Hand method only.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by sm, Jun 25, 2008.

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  1. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    I am not a knife maker.

    My experiences include apprenticeship, where I had to learn to do things by hand, before I could use any power tool.

    This was way before Dremel, and to this day I have never owned one, or used one.
    Foredom Flex shafts, with a slipper shaped rheostat and carbon plates ( now solid state, and not as good) and electric motors we did have.

    I could not use those, until I learned to do by hand.

    I used hand tools, carbon steel, tool steels and these had to be sharpened by hand.
    There was no way to have a jig , or any other doo-dad to sharpen these.
    We also made a lot of our tools, as sometimes one has to make a tool for task.

    So in essence, I did make knives.
    Apprentice, and learn to do by hand.
    Others did the heat treat and the like, my role was to design what was needed in a knife, do the work by hand, it was heat treated, and I finished it out.

    Now back in the day, folks used a treadle to sharpen axes and knives.
    Well they had smaller versions of these as well.

    I will try to explain.
    Most folks know what a bench grinder is.
    Well watchmakers, use a buffing machine, electric motor, to polish watch cases and the like.

    The Standard was a two speed motor with 3450 / 1725 RPM
    Most folks use too much RPM.

    Motors were geared down to 1725/862, 862/ 431, and even 431/ 215 RPM

    Back in the day, pocket watch and wristwatch crystals were made of glass.
    A watchmaker would buy blanks, and cut these blanks to fit the pocket watch and wristwatch.

    You don't flip a motor on at 3450 RPM and put glass to a stone...

    These stones were various grits, most were the color of Norton India, and ceramic as found in the old gas heaters of the day.

    The round wheel went slow, and it depended on the glass, as to how "slow a fast" needed to be to do the fine fitting of glass to the bezel this glass fit into.

    There was a sponge under this stone to keep it moist.
    Basically an electric treadle wheel.

    Watchmakers were not the only ones, just most folks might relate to these craftsman.
    Those that fitted glass for other things, used the same methods and skills sets.

    No power.

    Well many craftsman learned by apprenticeship, as that is how it was done back in the day for many trades, and crafts.

    I am going way back and over to the Swiss.
    One group made cases, the other movements, and when the weather cleared, the pocket watch
    was completed.

    Remember that electric motor I shared earlier?
    Well they too did everything by hand, and had little treadles with smaller wheels they used like "buffing machines.
    Foot powered, or even hand cranked, and besides the stones, they used various "buffs" from cotton muslin, chamois leather and the like.

    Back in the USA.
    Well many watchmakers and others worked out of the house.
    Electricity might go out, and many were such craftsman, paying attention to detail, they did not always want to use electric power.
    They had these little treadles as well.

    Mentors had me make some of my own buffs that worked on these little treadles I powered by foot.

    So make knifes, by hand, without these treadles.
    Everything by hand, including a mirror polish finish.
    Or if they wanted a lined satin finish, or a hand checkered finish, or...
    Yes, I/we took carbon steel, tool steels , heat treated and actually cut other metals.
    Just like engravers use carbon steel gravers to engrave guns.

    See, one graduated from sweeping floors to using a file.
    I found out real fast, how not using a handle as Mentors did, allowed one to be in touch with the work.
    To this day 99% of the time I use a file without a handle.

    I did my knives, they were heat treated, then I did the handles and finished them out by hand, including sharpening.

    Then I got to use the treadles.
    Folks speak of belt sanders.

    Well I "could" use the foot powered belt sander I help make, but my "knack" was using hand tools and the treadle with the stone, kept wet, like one cut and fitted a watch crystal - I did edges, and swedged and shapes.

    Right off the bat, I found a stone that was "me".
    I never used it wet.

    We free hand sharpened tools, and 99% of the time used a dry stone.
    I looked at the Mentors, and stated my case, this little treadle did not need Lubricated, at all, not even with water, when doing metal.

    They looked at me, and then each other and "by golly, you are correct!"
    It was no different using this foot powered treadle than free hand sharpening.

    On glass, I even used it dry, which really went against the norm.
    Water assisted in polishing the glass.
    I just had "knacks" including being a rebel and not always doing the norm.
    Funny thing was, I was the apprentice, and I could use a dry treadle stone, where some mentors could not, when I messed with glass for a picture frame, or whatever else challenge come up.

    Sorta neat to have mentors that really believe one never stops being the student.

    Wheels , from ceramic, India stone like, some so fine and smooth they felt like glass, and would leave a polished edge on glass, or steel or whatever else.
    to muslin , various leather, chamois leather, cardboard and other buffs buffs.
    I had to make some of these by hand to "appreciate and respect".

    These were from 1/2" diameter to 5" diameter.
    Running joke, as I prefer odd numbers and would not do a 6" one.
    Just change out the leather belt pulley as needed for the wheel and how "slow" it needed to be.
    Actually control, as one gets a rhythm going.

    Still with me braced, wearing a head loop magnifier, I was "nose to the grindstone" putting on edges and all.

    I was real happy to get the holes in the handles drilled, using a hand drill.
    Trust me, you can tell if one haa taken out the temper or not, real fast!

    I had to make using brass or nickel my own handle rivets, or screws.
    So tap and die to make threads for when I chose to use screws.
    Handles were fitted to hand, so the deal was, when the tool finally wore down, remove the steel, insert a new steel and therefore screw allowed for this change out, with a handle that fit me, or whomever the handle was fitted to.

    This was my "free time" if you will.
    Darn tools had better pass inspection and work, because doing more lessons meant I had to have these tools actually perform and work.

    Treadles were neat, and so were the electric when I finally got to where I could use powered tools.
    Still at 431/215 RPM, I still had the knack.

    Funny thing is, mentors and I still did a lot by hand, by choice, instead of powered.
    Time was money, and there is a balance in doing it correctly and not losing time by going to fast making mistakes by power.

    Power tools, especially those going too fast, will ruin something in a heartbeat.

    This has been ~ 40 years ago when I started apprentice.
    I made my first wood handled, tool steel knife, akin to a whittling knife with a 1" blade at age 13.

    I have not done so much of what I used to in years.
    Still I remember, and some would come back once hands on, apprentice does that, it tends to instill things.

    I respect those with talents and gifts, and I know many that do use power tools, learned to do by hand.

    Hey, I still have not sharpened that SAK Classic I am using for EDC.
    It'll be there when and if the mood strikes me.
    I feel like I sorta earned the right to carry a dull knife.

    Mentors did, made me sharpen theirs or on purpose did not sharpen.
    Earned right to do so, which I better understand now I am older, like other things I understand since getting older.

    Re: Axes.
    One mentor used to make itty bitty hand axes.
    The smallest with a 1" edge, medium 2" and large 3" cutting edge.

    I'd hunker down and put edges and sharpen using little treadles.
    We did most by hand.
    Neatest little axes.

    We'd get caught up and bored and use these cut the thorns off the roses the gals had in a flower vase.

    Still handy little axes, we did all sorts of stuff with them.
    One gets odd looks sharpening a pencil, or cutting celery, or carrots.
    Still these would chop wood, some cabinet makers used to use these, as did some carvers and whittlers.

    Everything always comes back to correct basic fundamentals.
  2. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Madison, WI
    It is gratifying to see the members here at THR take a keen interest in knives, sharpening and now knife making. And it seems to come at a time when I sense the industry is ready for "the next big thing."

    And sm touches on a very important aspect of cutlery. On my sharpening forum, we often make a reference to a little unsung guy in history--who probably has more to do with cutlery than you can imagine. We call him, "the bent little man with a bucket of red mud," or simply BLMBRM for short. He's the guy that carried buckets of Japanese river mud to his forge, washed it down to filings and helped build the finest steel on earth.

    And he did it by hand.

    In fact, in studying Japanese sword polishing, I saw polishing masters rely on strips of stone and rag used by the tip of a finger, pumice and paste, strips of wood and brass burnishing tools. The beauty of their work is breathtaking.

    I have often said that I was a "sharpener" until I stepped back in time, not forward. Why are some blades locked in museums sharper than anything we can make now? Why is a bent little man huddled over a wet rock able to make edges most Americans cannot believe?

    My personal opinion is that speed and machinery have taken us too far away from the important matters at hand. Yes, CAD design and CNC machining make knives so efficiently that we can use them as disposables. And many folks think that idea is somehow "the way it is." Says who?

    As with most Americans in my craft, I am an untrained tinker. I am not a polisher, nor do I pretend to have those credentials. I do use polishers tools, along with modern renditions, and I read a book now and then.

    Now, with that thin a background, I hear something everyday, and people say it with amazement. "Tourist, I didn't know knives could get that sharp."

    If you open my sharpening cases, you will not find any power equipment. And not in my home, either. Who can think with that scraping sound?

    You will find stones, nagura, glass, paper, paste, shims, brass, a tinker's hammer--it looks like a toy makers junk drawer. Yes, an Edge Pro is a more modern method of edge alignment. But if you look at a traditional Japanese polisher, he used wedges to raise and lower the blade, and he clamps the tools in place with a treadle. His entire bench and body is an Edge Pro.

    Not bad for over eight hundred years old.

    And BTW, my first chore in sharpening a blade is repair. No, I'm not trying to make you a tree-hugger who goes antiquing, but I've found a world of info waiting to be found in studying how things fit together.

    Here's a story on that idea and it's true--indulge me, it's important. I was working at a dental clinic doing their collection and purchasing amid one of Madison's most sweltering summers. The building had been remodeled so many times that the A/C could not reach "dead zones" in the office. One afternoon while unloading supplies, I saw a dusty 3'x3' window fan shuttled off into the corner of the basement. The plug had been crushed.

    I cleaned the thing, checked the motor which needed no service and bought a $0.49 generic plug at a hardware store. After about 30 minutes of sweat equity and a splice, I had my own office fan. That's not the story, that's just the set up.

    I came to work the next morning and the fan had been stolen by another employee. Most likely a person who walked past the junked fan every day of her tenure.

    If I had to offer a reason for being a tinker, that idea might be my core belief. I use the same knives you do. I buy my tools and pastes from people you know--and if you don't know them, I'll get you telephone numbers. The ideas are not new, you can study any Japanese history book. And if you can get off of the break-neck pace we foolishly believe is important you'll even have some quiet time to think.

    Perhaps the best part of your future is hidden in a dusty corner.
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    0 hrs east of TN
    We've made tamahghane and wootz at hammer-ins.

    Dirt to steel in 2 days.:D

    While a power hammer helps, the billets can be hand forged and the basic blade can be forged by hand as well. That's another few hours.

    Quench and heat treat take a day.

    Then the real work begins. :evil:
  4. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

    Jan 2, 2005
    0 hours west of NC
    Very eloquently stated fellows.

    In an age where doodads are too often duct taped into the place where practiced know how used to be, it's very much a truism that you can still take the time to learn how to be very good or even masterful at something- whether you live on a cul de sac in the burbs, in a high rise, or way out in the sticks.

    And, if you do take the time to learn, you'll not only learn what you read but also the things that are written between the lines.
  5. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Yikes, ain't that the truth. I've often said in jest that every decent tinker I know is probably a wanted fugitive from another state.

    The love of a craft is a very powerful driving force. The action of shedding a former life is also a factor, of sorts. I do it. Talk about "re-inventing yourself," I re-invented a whole new premise for work, morality and redemption.

    I just don't sharpen, I have to sharpen. It's my own personal confirmation that I am not now, will not be, and will repudiate the actions and sins of youth. And there is regret. I'm not stupid, but why, oh why, did that take so much time to learn?

    I have knives in possession that are "my knives." I doubt that they are of any great interest because they are still laying around here. Without a doubt, they have been cosmetically polished and sharpened way beyond what a sane man might call 'normal.' And I do it for one reason.

    I would rather look in the mirror and see a good tinker than a lousy human being. I would rather be a craftsman people seek than be avoided as that lying, angry, self absorbed hedonist who would cut your foot off if he suspected you were standing on a nickel.

    There are times I've been scared in my life, but as any sufferer can tell you, cognitive dissonance is really the ace boogie man. And it's loss, it's shame and it's a realization that your life is an empty suit of armor.

    "Can you sharpen this for me, Tourist?"

    Yeah, I can do that, and you'll end up with sharp, useful tool. I think I get the better deal in the long run, however.
  6. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    I grew up being mentored - period.
    Just when one is a wittle kid, they don't always know they are.

    At a very young age, a wittle kid is "getting attention" , "no, you are not in the way", or "want to help?"

    It is sad to me, that kids are not encouraged to curious , this is being a free thinker.
    Everyone is in a hurry going nowhere, and kids are in the way, or impede the parents/ adults "me, me, me" attitude.
    And it is just faster if a kid does not help, so an adult can be a couch potato and click a remote control, or go do something selfish.

    Schools are for babysitting, and how dare they not have school today!

    No. Not on my watch.

    A kid might grow up and be interested in other things the parents, mentors are not.
    The kid has a right to be a kid.
    Kids have rights just like big people, as nowhere in The Constitution does it say a kid has weigh so much, or be so tall, before they can get on the ride, called The Constitution.

    Officially I started apprenticing at age 13.
    One started out with a broom and then graduated to files, and then graduated to _____, and repeat.

    Unofficially I was doing things toward those I would be doing under apprenticeship.

    Oh yeah, toss me a worn out file, scrap sandpaper, broken whetstone, hammer, ... and I had a good time fixing trees, metal fences, spare tire mounted on a truck, rocks, a good spoon or knife from the utility drawer...

    I had a PhD by the time I was age 2. Yep, It did not matter what knife, fork or spoon I got out of the utility drawer, it was always "the good one".

    By age 3 I had a PhD in "How in the hell did he do that?".

    Say what you want, still I figured out if you stick a utility knife into a can of varnish, use clothes pins and sticks to keep just the handle in there, then remove it, and let it dry under the porch (AKA official work shop and hiding spot) hanging over the coffee can ...

    I had the neatest coffee grain handle you ever did see.
    Grippy, looked really neat with that "Hills Bros Brown" and umm, I even put a edge on that knife too.

    "This knife is slippery and won't cut this!" Grandma had said.
    Being the wonderful grandson I was I "fixed it".

    Well if grandma has left the empty coffee cans where I could get them, I would have had to use the can with coffee still in it...

    This leads to walking with Grandma to the little mom and pop store to buy coffee, and my wittle hand digging deep into my wittle jeans pocket to help buy coffee.

    So I guess technically the first can of coffee I bought was a can of Hills Bros with varnish in it.

    I had my wittle broom and wittle mop , just my size to clean house...I got to clean house when we got back.

    I get to officially apprenticing, and have graduated from broom to file to "learning how to fix stuff".
    Well I had a knack on figuring out stuff.

    My uncle comes in and has this white skinny, but long box.
    "Hey Young-un, I need to see if you can repair this" - he says.

    Boss man, Mentors are sorta quiet, and are pretending to not be paying attention.

    I open the box and there is that "Hills Bros Special" I had fixed for grandma when I was around 3 or so.
    I am now age 13 or so.

    Yes, the darn place erupted with laughter, then everyone got real quiet and respectful.
    Grandma had died when I was 5 , and her only son, my uncle had that knife.
    Everyone knew this was sentimental.
    Uncle could have fixed this, but, he had held onto it, knowing someday I would need to see this again, recall fond memories and all.

    This was just a typical Community stainless steel utility knife, that comes in a typical 8 pc place setting for everyday use.

    Lessons, always a lesson, and this knife was a lesson for sure.

    There are items that cost a lot of money, and there are items that are real sentimental to folks.
    So in being responsible for these in manufacturing, or repairing , and maintaining there is some "pressure" in doing so.

    Pressure is increased when that item is something of value to you, and in this case sentimental, to me and my uncle.

    Well...when I was age 3, or 4 my handiwork looked pretty good.
    10 or 11 years later, my handiwork just did not look quite the same.

    By hand, I "fixed it" and while I could have obtained new stainless to match the original.
    Uncle wanted me to keep this all original , just smaller scale.
    He left one of the knives for me to go buy.
    I cleaned up this one first.

    By hand I filed, shaped and ended up with it being about 2/3 - 3/4 scale.
    I had really gone to town on the original, and I had to remove metal.

    Uncle was no hurry , and figured when it was finished , it was finished.
    I had a deal about disguising packages and using the comic strip to wrap packages in.

    Not this time.
    I had been Mentored in "presentation" and I wanted this special.
    I made a wooden box, stained it, and made a brass plate. Since I could not hand engrave, I asked a hand engraver to put my Uncle's initials on that plate.
    Green velvet lined the box, with brass hinges.
    One of the ladies I knew, made me special slip, like sterling knives are kept in.

    I obtained the best white cotton box there was and expensive wrapping paper , ribbon and bow.

    I just went into where Uncle did his business stuff in his shop and set it down one day.
    We doing something, and he went into his shop to get something and time passes.
    He just stood in the doorway and motioned me in.

    Whatever we were doing, was just not important.
    He hollered at his wife, his daughter and said " we gotta see a man about a dawg", and we fired up the truck and ran out to the cemetery were his mom, my grandma was buried.

    "Ma, Young-Un fixed that knife up, like I told he would some day, take a look!"

    Grandma had this laugh she did, and we just knew she did that laugh, and her other things she did at times like this.

    Heck grandma and uncle are both gone now, so are the mentors I apprenticed under.
    They may be gone, but not forgotten and won't ever be, as long as I pass forward.
  7. The Tourist

    The Tourist member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Madison, WI
    Boy, I hope we are successfully doing that here. I believe a "craft" is in reality a life lesson. I hope that someone looks at us and decides he's going to sharpen a tool, and along the way learns everything else.

    Of course, it is humbling to acknowledge that my contribution is clearly defining a "bad example.":D

    "Yikes, if he can become a tinker, I can certainly succeed!"
  8. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

    Jan 2, 2005
    0 hours west of NC
    Yeah, you have to learn it and then pass it on.

    A couple of weeks ago we had a family gathering at the better half's parents. I was sitting around having the usual chit chat with the people when one of the teenage nephews busted in all excited that he had killed a snake, and wanted to know if anyone could i.d. it.
    I got up and went outside to see the snake in a shovel and still writhing the way reptiles do. It wasn't a venomous snake, just a little mouse eater.
    The nephew had some buddies with him, and they were gathered around the snake poking at it in an excited way. Same way I used to do when I was 13.
    So, I looked at them and asked "You boys want to know how to skin a snake?"
    Of course, they were overjoyed at such a gruesome job full of the wonder of guts and bones and the downside of scaly skin.
    So, under the grimaces of mothers and aunts and even some of the menfolk, I asked who had a pocket knife (I had one, but wanted to do it with one of theirs).
    I used the dull knife of a 13 years old boy to get it started and listened to them ooh and ah as they watched me skin the little snake out, their eyes wide and brains set on record.
    One of them started to beg for the skin as it came off, and I just handed it to him and gave him a smile, then told the owner of the knife to go and wash the reptile off of his blade. After that little job, they all understood why the knife needed to be sharp and it was no longer an abstract idea. The knife went from being something like a talisman of manhood to a tool that would help take them on grand adventures.

    After the knife got cleaned up, I grabbed the stone and the steel from the kitchen and showed the boys how to sharpen their very dull knives to at least a useful edge. They soaked it up like little sponges and were very proud of what they had seen and learned that day.

    Turns out the kid who claimed the skin had lost his Father the year before very suddenly. He had been in a pretty deep depression and taking part in something so simple had made him smile for days. Something his Mother appreciated when he got home and kept on smiling.

    But, I think I got the most out of it. I'd been in some sort of odd race with myself to become a very serious person, forgetting what I loved about knives and guts and the outdoors. Those boys helped me find that again.

    Don't keep all that savvy to yourself.
  9. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    I hang with tight bunch of single ladies, single moms, kids, teenagers and a few grandparents.

    One of the four year old girls has gotten into collecting SAK Classics, her mom started this project when she was age 2.

    Just a fun mom and daughter thing and not expensive.

    Well she was excited about her Edelweiss one she had gotten and then became frumpy.
    Here all the "big people" were using traditional knives from Case Peanuts, on up to Trappers doing things.

    Her knife was "too small" and not like everyone else's
    We were getting ready to do a fun outdoor cook out the next day.
    So 'taters were being peeled for 'tater salad and bacon and onions for baked beans and ...

    She crawled up in my lap showing me her new knife and had those big frumpy eyes and that lip with a pout.

    "You have the perfect knife to do things, can I use your knife and we both do stuff?" - I asked.

    Her eyes got big, and I got that smile.
    Yes we could use her knife, just not her new one, as she did not want it getting "un-new".

    I might be the Adopted Uncle, that does not mean I get to use the new knife.

    She has more than one red one and yellow one and since my Peanut is yellow, we were supposed to use a yellow SAK.

    Four year olds know about stuff like this. *wink*

    One is supposed to make sure the knife is sharp, and we had to strop it first - don't you know?

    We tightened a screw on a cabinet in the house, the screw on a door knob, and then once outside, made sure the screws on a BBQ were snug.

    Humm, that was fun, still we have not "cut" anything yet.

    "We will need to spread mustard you know?" I said.
    She informed me her little knife would not reach down into the jar, but, but they have mustard in squirt containers.

    Mustard tastes better out of a glass jar I informed her, plastic is yucky!

    [This explains why her mom had to make a mustard run, and get mustard in glass jars, forget the fact she had already bought plastic squirt ones - Adopted Uncles do stuff like this...mom's really appreciate some things we adopted uncles do...*ahem*].

    One has to have the "right" stick.
    So we found one and made a mustard spreader.
    Whittled one with the yellow SAK

    This is just too neat! We made more of these.
    Especially after I mentioned there are peanut butter spreaders, ketchup un-doers...

    Mom also had squirt bottles of ketchup, plastic is yucky - remember?
    So mom gets with other mom's, and a list is made of "Whatever else ideas that idiot puts in my daughter's head, and any other kid around here".

    I come in handy ? *yep*.

    Four year old learns the practiced art of getting ketchup out of a glass bottle.
    This requires a "ketchup un-doer".
    We made some of these.

    "We will need skewers and hot dawg forks and ...".

    She is wondering if we need to strop , or sharpen - yet.
    I know what she is up to.
    She is soooo proud of her very own stones.
    Mom got her a Norton 3" India combo coarse /fine, and Case hard Arkansas - just like Uncle 'teve's.

    Like I said, I come in real handy sometimes...

    I kid you not this kid is sooo proud of these, she does not play with them, is really careful when she hold them, and will just sit, not touch and look at them.
    She had not used her stones yet, she still wants them to look new.
    Mom has some like these, she uses, so it makes sense to dirty up mom's since she does use them. *kids*

    Her mom comes out to see what we are up to.
    Everyone else is doing stuff in the house, or up near the back of the house.
    Four year old and I are sitting in the bed of my truck, doing all this important stick making stuff.

    "We need to get stoned" she tells her mom.
    Oh yeah, this will get a mom to look at a Adopted Uncle funny, but not let on so a kid picks up on it.

    "Sweetie, use Uncle 'teve's and keep yours clean and mom's too".
    I knew gals passed on to each other, just I actually witnessed one of them rare moments guys wonder about.

    Her mom had a new bottle of water, and when she opened it, the plastic ring did not come totally off, and she cut herself .

    While mom snagged a paper towel out my truck, and my stones, I trimmed that little rough spot, and for the heck of it, used the nail file to smooth it.
    Four year old watching real close, and taking this all in.

    Her knife did not need touching up, still she wanted me to touch it up on a Hard Arkansas stone, just like her stone.
    2 7/8" sized one in the little plastic case.

    We kept doing all sorts of stuff with her little yellow SAK.
    Other kids, were cleaning the house, and other chores.

    Four year old thought it was pretty neat, getting to help me, and not having to clean the toilet or bathtub, as is one of her chores.

    She informed mom since we were doing some real important stuff, mom could use her little toilet bowl brush and stuff for cleaning bath tub.

    [I might have whispered this to the four year old].

    Now it was a really big deal, using her SAK to cut stuff and put on skewers we made for Shish-ka-Bobs!

    WE looked better than the Galloping Gourmet putting on a show fixing these up while others watched us.
    We even had on matching Tabasco Aprons...*style points*

    Next day, we had our shin-dig.

    Four year old was having a good time!
    Her little yellow SAK Classic, around her neck on a beaded key chain, inside her shirt.
    Which came out often and put back as "so much stuff" was done with her little knife.

    Skewers, hot dawg forks, mustard spreaders, ketchup un-doers, Shish-ka-Bobs and...and...

    Chocolate Fingernail Polish.

    I might be a dumb old southern boy, but I ain't stupid.

    Gals outnumbered the guys... this a survival skill.

    I took a stick, it takes the right one, still you take this stick and make the end like a fingernail polish brush.
    Apply Hershey's chocolate syrup to a four year olds finger nails.

    Yes, moms and other other ladies will think you are plumb nuts, for about 2 seconds, seeing you do this , until the four year old sticks fingers mouth and "ummm good!".

    This is the part where guys watch gals whip out pocket knives and in record time make finger nail brushes for their kids, and them selves and fight over the Hershey's chocolate syrup to put into the little doo-hickeys I had for this.

    The other fun deal is to tie cord around a larger bag full of various chocolates, toss over a tree limb, and the cord was tied to a big , heavy rope.

    This rope is "barge rope" that big heavy thick rope.

    They should make this an Olympic event.
    The gals have to use their pocket knives to cut that rope to get the chocolate to come down. *evil huh*

    Adult gals cutting, smaller ones flailing hands "hurry up moOM!" , or "sister, sharpen your knife up some more!".

    Just make a note after the little ladies are out of ear shot, older gals will have something to say, little ones should not hear, or repeat to guys. *sure do*

    Just passing forward as passed me is all...

  10. James T Thomas

    James T Thomas Member

    Sep 15, 2005
    Pittsburgh, PA
    hand and eyes

    I wish I could remember this better, but years ago, I became interested in a public TV documentary made in Germany. Perhaps 1950 to 1960.

    As I watched, young men were in what appeared to be, what in the USA is called trade school. These men were to become machinists, but before they could use power equipment, they had to undergo what was an entire year of training with manual tools. Metal files!

    They had projects to make from drawings, out of steel, and the shapes were intricate, and the precision was...well exacting -German!
    It was amazing to watch these men file away with progressively finer sets of files, and in many shapes and sizes.
    The craftmanship they learned was superb. I envied their skill.

    One other admiration I hold was for an old Italian shoemaker who had a shop in my neighborhood. This old guy was so talented that should customers need custom shoes; he could make them from scratch out of blocks and sheets of leather. Now "Sam Korea" did have power equipment, to sew, etc.
    But when ever I saw him using those, it was for repairing of existing shoes.
    He had such skill of hand in creating shoes that people who needed specific type shoes for medical foot conditions would go to Sam for their shoes.
    Sam passed away along with so much of the unique and fastinating things of that era, but today, I still remember haveing seen such skill demonstrated, that I will remember always.
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