One of the little personal treasures stolen from my collection of memorabilia and mementos in the Great Donga Burglary was a beautiful hand crafted pichok knife made in Samarkand, the legendary ancient city in Uzbekistan on the historic silk road.
My knife looked very similar to this one:
It is unusual looking enough that I still have hopes of it turning up some day, though I won’t hold my breath. It was one of several ‘favourite’ knives I lost in the robbery. The only one I cannot replace.
I have never been to Samarkand. It is one place I would very much like to visit. My pichok knife was a thoughtful gift from a colleague and friend who was in Uzbekistan working for the UN in the 1980s after his stint in Solomon Islands, where we met.
I have always had a thing for knives, and this was a beauty. Sharp and comfortable to use. With that indefinably satisfying feel that comes from holding and using something crafted by hand in a centuries – old tradition.
A short while ago a Facebook Friend posted a picture of a knife he had made, using a billet of Damascus steel. Folded 256 times.
I thought that was pretty impressive. I tried to make a knife once from an old file. It is not easy. My effort was barely functional. So when Andrew casually mentioned that he would make another one for a price I took him up on his offer. Though I have been telling myself it is time to stop collecting and accumulating more stuff, I could not pass up the opportunity to have a handmade knife. Especially one made of such beautiful metal. I have paid a deposit and he has ordered a billet of teardrop Damascus steel, which is a modern version of the traditionally famous steel the technology of which is no longer fully understood.
Here is the billet from which it will be crafted;
With luck the knife will be ready in time to be a birthday present to myself.