What’s your life game? I discovered long ago my life plan involves knives. Folding knives, fixed blades, pocket knives, survival knives, tactical knives, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as it has an edge, I’m interested. Join me as I write about life, knives and the things seen from the knife edge.
There are few simpler activities
that are as rewarding as whittling.
I don’t mean carving.Carving is an artistic endeavor to create
something appreciated by both the carver and observer.It is purposeful.I’ve seen carved birds that I swear would
take flight as I approached them.People
carve spoons both as a functional tool and as an object of art.
It's just cutting to enjoy the wood and the edge
As a whittler, the best comment
you will receive is, “That’s a nice pile of shavings.”
But we whittle for
ourselves.The feel of a sharp knife
shaving long graceful cuts in wood is superb.As the wood is removed, grain and color reveals themselves, often to the
complete surprise of the whittler.It’s a
sweet sensation to discover the simple joy of exposing wood that is so fleeting
it vanishes with the next cut.I once
cut into a pocket of amber colored wood that cut perfectly from any angle or
direction and just as suddenly it was gone, now shavings at my feet.
Little goals present themselves
to the whittler and we can challenge ourselves to achieve them.How long of a single shaving can you cut?How smooth of a surface can you achieve?Can you erase that little nub where there was
once a second branch?Can you cut four
square sides simply because you would like to?
It is a very Zen experience.There is no Yoda commanding ‘do or do not.’ There is just perfect harmony of being.
Whittling basics: Wood, Knife....
The tools are very simple.A shady spot is selected.You need a knife, preferably sharp, but any knife
will do.Then you need a piece of
wood.A stick will do.Size matters only to ease of handling the
stick and how long you want to whittle.There’s no rule requiring you to finish this activity with a single
stick or that you can’t save the stick for another.
Approach the task with a stick in
one hand and blade in the other.Decide
where the edge will first bite into the wood.Perhaps the blade and wood fight each other.Simply select a new beginning.Perhaps the one or the other feels wrong to
you.Make a change and a new beginning.Tomorrow they may seem right to you.
As you stop to admire your pile
of shavings you will discover all thoughts of bills, the boss, your sick aunt
Fanny, which pre-school gives the twins the best shot at Harvard, and any of
the other problems that plague you were momentarily forgotten.Do not be surprised if you discover you have
a new perspective on all of these as well as the noise society throws at us.
It is the best way to kill a half
an hour or more and it doesn’t require a battery.