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.

Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

2 thoughts on “Knives”

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