Woolly mammoths, meteorites and crocodile bones

Blade – Farrier’s rasp 12.5cm Handle – Hind leg of 4.5cm Saltwater crocodile 10.5cm

No self-respecting Finnish carpenter goes to work without a knife hanging on his tool belt. It is as essential as a hammer.  Perhaps this is where my brother got his love for well crafted knives. That, and the passion our father had for them. He had an impressive collection of knives that are now spread between various male members of our clan.

Since retirement my brother, who now lives in Darwin, has hand crafted many beautiful knives. They truly are works of art created by a master crafstman. Self taught in the main. With a collection of knife making products that are mind boggling.

There are blocks of wood for handles that have been collected far and wide. Some donated. Some begged, Some traded in return for a knife due to their uniqueness. This also applies to the hunks of stone that will one day be turned into things of beauty.

The above knife has a  crocodile bone handle. Of course. He lives in Darwin. He know people. And there are lots of crocs up here.

The row of knives below have tiger eye handles and I believe one of them is a local NT granite handle, the same that graces the floor of the parliament house here. My notes were not so good, so I’m not now sure which one it was !

Some of the blades are made of 440C stainless steel. That’s the shiny ones. The ones that look grey and motley are called Damascus steel. Now this is where it gets real technical. Damascus steel is a bit like the puff pastry of steel. It is created from two pieces of steel that are forge welded. Then stretched. Then folded double. So two layers become four. This process is repeated until the blade has over a hundred layers. Any more than that and it begins to lose its unique effect. Then it is acid etched.

Please bear in mind that I am a mere babe in arms when it comes to knowing anything at all about this world of knife creation.

                                                                                                     All blades 12cm ; handles range from 16cm to 18cm

The piece de resistance is this one. It is absolutely unique. And stunning. Ready?


                                                                                             Blade 10.5 cm                               Handle 11cm

The blade is iron meteorite from Muonionluota in Sweden. It is north of the Arctic circle, at the border between Sweden and Finland.

The handle is fossilised tooth of a woolly mammoth. The colours are all natural, having formed from the soil as it was fossilising.

I had it in my mind that while we were holidaying here, I would ask Erkki to help me craft a knife of my very own. Having given it due consideration, he agreed to grant me temporary permission to enter the hallowed halls of secret sacred male business. So I entered the man cave of knives channelling my inner testosterone yesterday.

My knife is in the process of being birthed….

©  Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace
appreciate beauty in all its forms


16 thoughts on “Woolly mammoths, meteorites and crocodile bones

      1. I bet you’d get a kick out of visiting the dinosaur park in southern Utah where they’ve found all the dinosaur bones and skeletons.

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