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About Moosetrot

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    Onalaska, West Central WI

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  1. Figured I would give you guys a short update...Surgeon had a cancellation and offered it to me. Yesterday I had a very successful hip replacement and he was able to even out the length of my legs. Came home today and will be looking forward to making a lot of sparks and antler stink! Moosetrot- the Beat-Up, Weary, but Very Happy
  2. Well, folks, digging up that resource on ulu is taking a little more time than I had thought. My hip took a serious turn for the worse. I am now in a wheelchair and can barely get around. Hip got so bad I had to see a reconstructive Ortho specialist at Mayo in Rochester. He says he can do it and can rebuild my hip and restore my left leg length to match up with the right with a surgery scheduled for August 7. Best news I have gotten on this in a long time. Once I am able I will dig out that resource and post the title, etc. on here. It is an amazing pile of info for anyone who has an interest in ulu. Till then old Moosetrot will just be dreaming about the day I can make sparks and smell grinding antler and bone. Thanks for your patience on this! Moosetrot
  3. WOW! My hat is off to you! Beautiful gift for your Dad. Moosetrot
  4. I have already been touched by the Dark Side. Bill Fiorini was a buddy of mine. He taught me to blacksmith, I taught him to duck hunt. Really sad to see all that talent and knowledge pass. Lost a good friend. My son, who was very little at the time used to hunt with us. I got him going in blacksmithing quite a few years ago. He is currently expanding his shop but is putting out some very good, clean work. He gave me a set or grilling tools for Father's Day with great design and clean craftsmanship. I was happy to tell him "Bill would be proud of you!" Spent all day at the trapper's meeting. Will do some digging in the bookshelf in the next couple days. Moosetrot
  5. Will need to dig it up. It is a portion about ulu taken from what must have been a much larger, probably very remarkable study of natives in the High Arctic. I found it, purely by luck while taking a look at ulu on eBay. It's time for me to take a look at it again anyway! Moosetrot
  6. Thanks, Frosty! Ulu really are a very useful and durable tool and have been around for a loooonnnggg time. Years ago I got lucky on eBay and found an original reference book (at least most of it) from 1892 that studies the various ulu styles and construction across the Arctic. It has great drawings and is truly an inspiration of how the Inuit, Aleut, and others were so adept at using what was around them to create these useful tools. I am glad that I have gone to the single bevel not only for tradition but for better use in skinning, etc. Folks down here are so accustomed to everything having the double bevel and they just did not understand the efficiency of the single. I am at the point of my life and knifemaking that I want to stay as traditional and efficient as I can instead of moving volume. I have been collecting reference photos and tooling as soon I am going to be doing some effigy handles for them. I think it will be fun and my wonderful wife puts up with the antler a point. Good talking with you! Moosetrot
  7. I think I did it! These are a couple pictures of some of my very early ulu. They were all from the first 4 dozen I sent to Alaska.They are all double bevel. Kind of a variety of antler handles. I now spend a lot more time shaping, refining, and buffing the handles. I also make some from the antler burr that look really cool but most likely wind up on a bookshelf somewhere. Once I get rolling on them again I will post more pictures now that I know how. Kind of at the tail end of a very painful year-long hip saga that has prevented me from working in my shop. Setting the date for a replacement this coming Thursday. Thanks for the help with the pictures! Moosetrot
  8. Slag-While I would love to be living in Alaska, at least the town in Wisconsin I live outside of is close.....Onalaska. It was supposedly named after Unalaska but things got changed somewhere along the line. I have spent quite a bit of time up there. I have some pictures of my ulu and will try to post them here. My computer abilities are about at the level that if someone handed me an Etch-a-Sketch and told me it was a new laptop I would be happy as a clam at high tide. Will try, though. Frosty-Sorry but I was not in Fairbanks last year. I talked with the Aleut woman on Kachemak Bay along the Homer Spit. When needed she would give her ulu just a little touch-up on a beach stone. Neat to see in these days of diamond stones, ceramics, etc. Reinforced my belief in keeping things simple. There were also others cleaning Halibut up at the cleaning station. My son and I were just talking tonight about how fast and efficient they were with the ulu. I got the opportunity to participate in an archeology dig on Chugachik Island in Kachemak Bay, I think in 1981. It was a 2,000 year old Aleut hunting site. Found some really great stuff but it all had to go to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. The archeologist leading the dig was Dr. Bill Workman. One of my best finds was a slate ulu blade in perfect shape. Maybe that's what spurred my interest in the ulu. When I first began making ulu I made them with double bevel, primarily because a lot of folks don't understand the simplicity of a chisel, or single bevel, especially down here in the States. In the last few years, though, I have had the urge to stick to tradition so have been making them all single bevel. Chip Hailstone and others have pointed out to me that the single bevel is a lot more efficient for skinning game and it's true. The single bevel kind of pushes the fat and meat away from the skin better than the double does. Well, folks, I could sit here and talk ulu for hours but these old bones need some rest. Will do my best to post some pictures in the next couple days. Moosetrot
  9. Well, I have been making ulu out of old handsaw blades for many years. I learned how to use one from an Aleut woman cleaning salmon on shores of Kachemak Bay in Alaska. For a few years I was shipping 4 dozen of them a month to a dealer in Alaska who sold them to tourists but also natives in the Arctic. They liked my ulu because I made them with the good handsaw steel in a very traditional style. I have also sold a ton of them to trappers, hunters, and others that generally display them up on a bookshelf. I put handles of caribou, moose, elk, or deer antler on them using some epoxy (yes, cheating) and pinning them with brass. The only steel I use is from handsaws from the late 1880's. At one point I had about 200 of them hanging in the basement. I cut them cold and grind them cold on the belt sander with bare hands and never let them get hot. If they don't give the high carbon spark they are thrown away. Pure stock removal. They take and hold an edge beautifully and are great for skinning bear, beaver, and deer. I de-rust and clean up each blade, and sometimes I get lucky and find the sawmaker's touchmark before I cut through it. Those look beautiful when centered on an ulu blade. I don't get all uptight about the hardness of the blade as long as it sparks right, and I don't think the traditional Inuit did either. They take and hold an incredible edge and that is just fine for me and anyone who has ever used one of my ulu. Not something I will ever worry about. They cut, and cut very well. I have a pile of the logging saw blades and am soon going to start in on them, making kitchen and skinning knives. I am sure I will have to learn some new tricks with them but as someone on here already said, you can get a lot of knife blades from an old saw that only costs $5-10. I plan on keeping everything simple like I always have. I prefer making primitive-style knives, and as long as they are sturdy, cut well, and take and hold a good edge, that's just fine by me. Moosetrot
  10. My buddy, Bill Fiorini. He taught me to blacksmith, I taught him to duck hunt. The metal working world lost a great one when he passed. I know I will never even come close to his art/craftsmanship/skills, but every time I pick up a hammer or make sparks on a grinder I think of him. I have a few things he made, but would love to get one of his hammers to pass on to my son who is setting up his own smithy. Moosetrot
  11. A couple weeks ago I picked one up very much like that at a garage sale. Hate to even say what I did/didn't have to pay for it. Brought it home and my wife instantly snapped it up. She's been buying a lot of mini-vises and has them all on a bookshelf in the living room. Yes, she's a great wife. Moosetrot
  12. I was once taught there is a formula or ratio for figuring out what length a rivet should be so it can be properly peined. That was about 25 years ago... Now I finally have a need to use that info and for the life of me can't remember what the formula or ratio was. Being at the age where I can hide my own Easter eggs, I would appreciate any help on this one. Thanks! Moosetrot
  13. I believe Frosty was the first one to welcome me here. I am not a religious man but wish he and his family my strength. Moosetrot