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Bob123

First Attempt at metal removal making a knife

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I was looking at knives used by Indians for centuries and came across one called Ulu, made by Inuit Indians.  It looked interesting and i decided to make a version of one.  I think i bit off more than i could chew.  LOL  Anyway hear it is.  Blade is about 3.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches from top to bottom.  Blade is about 1/8 inch thick and has a one sided bevel.  Handle is Maple with copper wire for pins and a simple food grade butcher block oil for a finish, to make it food prep safe.  I am glad i only had one bevel to contend with as it almost kicked my butt.  But with many hours of hand work managed to get it sharp.  Not scary sharp but sharp enough that it cuts and chops vegies well.  Will work some more on the edge.  I welcome all comments good or bad as i am new at this hobby.  As a newbi (only one year at the hobby) and only 70 years young as of yesterday I need to start learning.  LOL  Here are two pics one of each side.

 

 

Picture 526.jpg

Picture 525.jpg

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Nice first effort, particularly the curve of the Ulu edge and the matching bevel.  As this is your first project I hope you won't mind some, hopefully, constructive criticism:

  1. The radius of curvature of the Ulu edge seems a bit small.  I expect you would get a more effective chopper (and easier project) if you made the radius significantly larger and the blade width shorter (unless it was designed to coordinate with a specific chopping bowl.
  2. The handle design does not seem very ergonomic to me.  I expect a long ~1" wide slot running the length set half way between the blade and outside edge of the handle might help, or just making the handle less wide in general.
  3. It appears that you made this knife exclusively with stock removal, but likely used some kind of belt grinder or sander.  What stock did you start with (circular saw blade?), and did you address heat treating the steel in any way?
  4. Do the pins penetrate the metal of the blade at all, or just the handle?  If the latter you may have issues in the future with the handle remaining on.

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Best way to get a list of improvements is to use it a lot and then make the next one to deal with the issues seen with that one, repeat until people are hammering at your door in the middle of the nights begging you to make them one!

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Happy Birthday Bob123... and looking at your Ulu it looks pretty good for a first attempt. Lattinico addressed the issues well.  You may be able to put a finger slot in the handle, depending how long the tang is.

Your thread will probably be moved from this (Anvil) sub forum to the knife making one so you will get more knife makers looking at it with good feedback.

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7 hours ago, Latticino said:

The radius of curvature of the Ulu edge seems a bit small.  I expect you would get a more effective chopper (and easier project) if you made the radius significantly larger and the blade width shorter (unless it was designed to coordinate with a specific chopping bowl.

That prompted me to look up some photos of old ulu knives.  The radius variations are rather broad but a lot did have tighter radii--especially the old polished slate versions.

Remember, these were essentially "skinning" knives used for many aspects of butchering--and meat tended to be cut from the bone in smaller "eating size" pieces/strips rather than large roasts.  A tighter radius would probably be of benefit for that use.

For a standard kitchen, I'd agree that larger radius would probably be more workable---and there were several "western" versions of that made years ago.  I have 2 commercially made "antiques" that are double (parallel) bladed to use as an arm powered meat grinder basically.  Very sharp and thin bladed.  Handy for home made sausage.

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Ulu have many uses, shapes and have been used for at least 4,000 years.

For uses,

"It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food, as a weapon and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo "

The Wikipedia ulu article shows a number of different types, shapes and methods of attaching the blade to the handle.

try,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulu

The Italian mezzaluna and wooden bowl combination, has a similar shape and arrangement. But it is primarily used  for chopping vegetables and meats. It is an excellent kitchen tool that I highly recommend.

The English chef Nigella Lawson uses one in all her cooking. You can see how it is used by watching any of her videos.

SLAG. 

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Here’s one from the village of Anvik, Alaska, made from a chunk of my great-grandfather’s crosscut saw. 

474B8337-DB96-4E4F-8C16-3BEEE9BCFA4B.jpeg

This came to me without a handle; I added the cork. 

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5 hours ago, Daswulf said:

What's the bevel like? Got a pic of the other side? .. Just curious.. 

The other side looks pretty much the same. I couldn’t get a good picture of the bevel (trouble focusing the camera on my phone), but it’s symmetrical, slightly rounded, and comes back about 5/16” from the edge. 

The steel is about 1/32”-3/64” thick.

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 8:59 AM, Latticino said:

Nice first effort, particularly the curve of the Ulu edge and the matching bevel.  As this is your first project I hope you won't mind some, hopefully, constructive criticism:

  1. The radius of curvature of the Ulu edge seems a bit small.  I expect you would get a more effective chopper (and easier project) if you made the radius significantly larger and the blade width shorter (unless it was designed to coordinate with a specific chopping bowl.
  2. The handle design does not seem very ergonomic to me.  I expect a long ~1" wide slot running the length set half way between the blade and outside edge of the handle might help, or just making the handle less wide in general.
  3. It appears that you made this knife exclusively with stock removal, but likely used some kind of belt grinder or sander.  What stock did you start with (circular saw blade?), and did you address heat treating the steel in any way?
  4. Do the pins penetrate the metal of the blade at all, or just the handle?  If the latter you may have issues in the future with the handle remaining on.

JHCC

After cutting it out I wondered about the radius and then decided that I would have to make a cutting board with a cup in it just for the Ulu.   The cutting board will be another project and I will have to dust off my skills as a wood worker.  LOL  I haven't used enough to know if it will be very tiring or not but feels good to my hand and the wife seemed to think it would be alright.  Will keep your thought of a handle in mind for the next one.  Yes I used a sander and grinder to work it to a rough shape and then files and sandpaper.  The pins go all the way through the metal so hopefully the handle will not work loose.  The metal was a salvaged diamond crusted blade used on a gas powered saw and is about 1/8 inch thick.  I did heat treat it a brand new file just skated on the blade when I finished so I assume that it is quite hard, only time and use will tell.  I thank you for the comments.  As old as I am I am still able to learn and love all the help I can  get.

 

Bob

2 minutes ago, Bob123 said:
On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 8:59 AM, Latticino said:

Nice first effort, particularly the curve of the Ulu edge and the matching bevel.  As this is your first project I hope you won't mind some, hopefully, constructive criticism:

  1. The radius of curvature of the Ulu edge seems a bit small.  I expect you would get a more effective chopper (and easier project) if you made the radius significantly larger and the blade width shorter (unless it was designed to coordinate with a specific chopping bowl.
  2. The handle design does not seem very ergonomic to me.  I expect a long ~1" wide slot running the length set half way between the blade and outside edge of the handle might help, or just making the handle less wide in general.
  3. It appears that you made this knife exclusively with stock removal, but likely used some kind of belt grinder or sander.  What stock did you start with (circular saw blade?), and did you address heat treating the steel in any way?
  4. Do the pins penetrate the metal of the blade at all, or just the handle?  If the latter you may have issues in the future with the handle remaining on.

JHCC

After cutting it out I wondered about the radius and then decided that I would have to make a cutting board with a cup in it just for the Ulu.   The cutting board will be another project and I will have to dust off my skills as a wood worker.  LOL  I haven't used enough to know if it will be very tiring or not but feels good to my hand and the wife seemed to think it would be alright.  Will keep your thought of a handle in mind for the next one.  Yes I used a sander and grinder to work it to a rough shape and then files and sandpaper.  The pins go all the way through the metal so hopefully the handle will not work loose.  The metal was a salvaged diamond crusted blade used on a gas powered saw and is about 1/8 inch thick.  I did heat treat it a brand new file just skated on the blade when I finished so I assume that it is quite hard, only time and use will tell.  I thank you for the comments.  As old as I am I am still able to learn and love all the help I can  get.

 

Bob

oh oh   sorry about that latticino used the wrong name  

On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 11:02 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Best way to get a list of improvements is to use it a lot and then make the next one to deal with the issues seen with that one, repeat until people are hammering at your door in the middle of the nights begging you to make them one!

Thomas Powers

I don't know if I want the world to beat down my doors at my age.  LOL I do however take all comments to heart and learn from them;.

On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 11:57 AM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

Happy Birthday Bob123... and looking at your Ulu it looks pretty good for a first attempt. Lattinico addressed the issues well.  You may be able to put a finger slot in the handle, depending how long the tang is.

Your thread will probably be moved from this (Anvil) sub forum to the knife making one so you will get more knife makers looking at it with good feedback.

Sorry Clay I didn't realize that I was in the wrong thread.  will look closer next time. 

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On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 4:27 PM, Kozzy said:

That prompted me to look up some photos of old ulu knives.  The radius variations are rather broad but a lot did have tighter radii--especially the old polished slate versions.

Remember, these were essentially "skinning" knives used for many aspects of butchering--and meat tended to be cut from the bone in smaller "eating size" pieces/strips rather than large roasts.  A tighter radius would probably be of benefit for that use.

For a standard kitchen, I'd agree that larger radius would probably be more workable---and there were several "western" versions of that made years ago.  I have 2 commercially made "antiques" that are double (parallel) bladed to use as an arm powered meat grinder basically.  Very sharp and thin bladed.  Handy for home made sausage.

Kozzy

you know you have inadvertently given me a challenge.  LOL I remember in the dim (and I stress dim) recesses of my mind I recall seeing what you have mentioned.  I think my grandmother had one like that.  If you read this and will tell me the distance between blades I would greatly appreciate it.  Maybe even a pic?    If you haven't read between the lines yet I am begging. LOL  I have a couple of knives in the works from the same piece of steel they are going to be an attempt at making a skinning and gutting knife.  Will post when I have a little more completed on them.

Thanks

Bob

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On 11/13/2017 at 7:03 PM, SLAG said:

Ulu have many uses, shapes and have been used for at least 4,000 years.

For uses,

"It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food, as a weapon and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo "You can see how it is used by watching any of her videos.

SLAG. 

thank slag

visited the web site and it is now in my project favorites

Bob

19 hours ago, JHCC said:

Here’s one from the village of Anvik, Alaska, made from a chunk of my great-grandfather’s crosscut saw. 

This came to me without a handle; I added the cork. 

Wonderful pic JHCC

I like how elegant it is.  Simplicity at its best.  What is it about 4 or 4.5 inches at the widest part of the blade?  If you don't mind I would like to replicate it.

thanks for sharing the pic

Bob

Stop  all the excessive reposting of everything

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Bob123,

I forgot to mention that the ulu bear a strong resemblance to the leather worker's head knife.

Check the Tandy leather site for pictures and descriptions of various styles of such tools.

They are extremely useful for leather working and I have used them for decades.

SLAG.

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On November 14, 2017 at 3:26 PM, Bob123 said:

Kozzy

you know you have inadvertently given me a challenge.  LOL I remember in the dim (and I stress dim) recesses of my mind I recall seeing what you have mentioned.  I think my grandmother had one like that.  If you read this and will tell me the distance between blades I would greatly appreciate it.  Maybe even a pic?    If you haven't read between the lines yet I am begging. LOL  I have a couple of knives in the works from the same piece of steel they are going to be an attempt at making a skinning and gutting knife.  Will post when I have a little more completed on them.

Thanks

Bob

Here ya go.  There are 2 double bladed versions and one single that were commercial "antiques".  The double bladed blades are .030" thick on one and .027 on the other.  The single is .08" thick at the fat end.  All were made quite sharp...one still has the plastic tape on protecting the edges that I never got around to removing.

257jdyo.jpgrhjz84.jpgmttitv.jpg

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I really like the one in the last pic, Kozzy. Really leaves me scratching my head as to how i would have put that handle on like that lol. 

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WW,

The "ulu" depicted in the bottom figure reminds of the classic arrow puzzle. It has a wooden arrow head with a large diameter tail and head with the middle portion, (the arrow shaft). encircled by a slim diameter ring of metal, or glass, or plastic.

The  dried wooden arrow is compressed then put through the narrow ring. Subsequent soaking of the wood swells the head.

That method could have been used to get the handle end through the metal portion of the depicted food chopper.

SLAG.

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It's hard to tell without seeing the underside of the handle, but to me, the blade and the ferrules on the handle look like separate pieces. I'm guessing that the ferrules were pressed on first, and that a tang at the end of each vertical part of the blade pierces each ferrule to lock it in place and secure the blade to the handle. Seems like a simpler solution than what @SLAG is suggesting -- sort of like an "Occam's Ulu".

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My life is greatly enriched participating in a forum where a term like "Occam's Ulu" gets used!   

Must be a Friday....

Perhaps it's simply a non Ulclidean construction?

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32 minutes ago, SLAG said:

WW,

The "ulu" depicted in the bottom figure reminds of the classic arrow puzzle. It has a wooden arrow head with a large diameter tail and head with the middle portion, (the arrow shaft). encircled by a slim diameter ring of metal, or glass, or plastic.

The  dried wooden arrow is compressed then put through the narrow ring. Subsequent soaking of the wood swells the head.

 

Here's one video of something similar for those who might need more information.  I am intentionally displaying it only as a link for 2 reasons:  For one, they tend to make large clogging posts and this is not that important.  Also, I noticed a lot of videos with similar tricks as the youtube "suggestions" and some of those might also be interesting to people.

Definitely in this case the blade tabs project into the handle.  A handle that rotates even a little on one of these would be a nightmare to use.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi43JA2ULKc

 

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