Monday, November 19, 2007

Spines and Backs

I was processing some pine roots yesterday and using the back of the knife for scraping of the bark. It made me realise that the back, or spine, of the blade has a fair few functions of its own.
Not only can it be used for scraping but it is the target for the baton when you are splitting using this technique. the knife also needs to be braced against the back when you are using the knife as a rigid blade and moving the object past it. Check out this video to see what I mean

The back is also used as a handle when the blade is used as either a plane or draw knife and it is important for it to not be sharp when you need to choke up towards the tip.
When cutting meat or something else which is not that resistant it is not uncommon to point a finger along the blade to guide the tip through it.
The back of the knife is also the traditional place for striking sparks either with a natural flint or a firesteel rod.
All of the above are things I've either tried or used though to be fair I'm happier using a dedicated scraper for making sparks from a firesteel. I'd be interested in hearing if you've got any more ideas or uses for this part of a blade.


Pablo said...

I find that the spine of some knives can't make sparks from the fire-steel so well. Not sure whether this is because the steel in the knife is too hard or too soft. One or t'other.
I use the back of the knife for scraping maya sticks. You can get really fine material (if that's the right word) for use as tinder.