River Grass Knife, Reworked

December 3, 2010

River Grass Knife was the first blade that I forged.  Made in 2004 from high-carbon steel, its blade and handle have the graceful curves that develop naturally as the steel is hammered thin on one edge (for the blade) or drawn out (for the handle).  At the time, I had no belt sander to speed up the polishing process, so after removing the firescale with a wire brush, I left it “as forged” and wrapped the rather rough looking handle with thin brown leather.  I added beads and ornaments to the simple loop at the end of the handle.

River Grass Knife OLD

It is a good ritual knife but I also used it for hacking through woody prickly pear stems.  But most of the time it hung protectively on the wall of my room with the blade facing the door.

I recently removed the worn leather wrap, polished the handle and the spine of the blade on the belt sander, drilled and carved three decorative holes in the handle, and sharpened the blade.  The holes and the polishing helped to reduce the weight of the handle, and the knife now balances much better and feels good to hold.  The surface of the blade retains the pebbly, shallowly pitted texture that it developed while being forged.  The only ornament is a simple square-knotted hemp loop with tassel.  The hemp is a bit rough but it matches the very primitive look and style of this knife.  The knife is 17 inches long and the hemp ornament is 9 inches long, and is now for sale so I won’t be cutting any more prickly pears with it.  (UPDATE:  SOLD on 12/06.)

River Grass Knife NEW


4 Responses to “River Grass Knife, Reworked”

  1. woley said

    I don’t know if you’ve ever tried tablet weaving Lorena but I’m going to learn it in addition to the weaving I’m doing on my new rigid heddle loom. My aim with the tablet weaving is to eventually use finer threads for drawstrings and straps on bags or necklace bases, or pair it with regular weaving.

    It strikes me, since it is an ancient art, that it would look very apt as accents on your metal work. You can hand dye threads too to get the look you want.

  2. ironwing said

    I’ve done bobbin weaving (an English kiddie tradition, not much used in the U.S., especially since the demise of wooden spools), inkle loom weaving, and briefly considered making kumihimo cords for some of my jewelry…but the bottom line is that I’m not that much of a fiber person (making my own clothes absorbs most of my enthusiasm for that sort of thing) and it’s a very expensive hobby compared to metalworking. And with 12 cats to care for, my daily shop/studio time is already spread too thin, between too many different projects and media.

    The tassel is plain old macrame square knots, made with doubled cords (2-3mm hemp) with a wrap to secure them. Loose ends are all knotted. It’s stiff, strong, and heavy.

  3. woley said

    I love macrame precisely because it is plain and you can see the texture. I made some lovely earrings with ceramic Chinese beads on a very fine black cord of half knots.

    Someone just sent me some foam kumihimo disks so I’m going to try that with the cord I have for macrame which is just under 1mm thick.

    I couldn’t afford an inkle loom, I understand what you’re saying about the expense of it all!

    I saw a woman at a forum with 3 hallways stuffed with yarn from her “stash” and she was still buying–thousands of dollars just sitting there. I just like enough to be able to have a colour palette to choose from.

  4. Lorena,

    watching your iron artworks, I feel much similarity
    with mines.
    It really makes me happy every time I see it when I’m googling.

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