Knifemaking: fear, flaws, and the Precedent

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Ah fear.  What I’ve learned about fear is that, contrary to what Mr. Herbert says, fear makes one human.  Fear means you are feeling the proper spectrum of emotions.  Fear helps you to think through things rather than blindly charging into them.  Fear keeps you alive.

The real mind-killer is resistance to fear.  Not doing what you know is right because you are afraid.  In my life this resistance is what keeps me feeling stuck, keeps me going in circles, and keeps me from loving at my full capacity.  It is this resistance that leads to patterns of negative thought, that fear is wrong, and that at the bottom of it you are somehow wrong or flawed.

The idea of being flawed is something that operates on a deep level.  A flaw by definition is something that is marked as a fault or imperfection.  In my own life I tend to find the flaws in things.  Maybe I am am looking for validation of my own flaws.  Lately I have been pausing with this and I find that I can reframe it into something else.  As long as I can operate from the level of my heart I find that I am not flawed, that what I perceive to be flaws are beautiful little signatures of being human, of lessons I am still learning, of ways to move forward.

When one gets to the bottom of what they find their flaws to be and sees the beauty in them this provides a springboard to move forward.  It doesn’t mean that the fear is gone.  There is fear of making mistakes, fear of failure, fear of letting people down, fear of letting yourself down.  This is all ok.  I breathe all of that in and step forward.  This sets a Precedent and is the inspiration for this blade.

Part of moving forward was to order a bar of O1 Tool steel.  I found this bar in itself was rather exquisite.  As far as steel goes he is soft and forgiving to work with.  He can be hardened up to be very strong and tempered to be flexible.  It’s not a stainless steel.  He can rust so care and love are a requisite.

I wanted to make a knife that I felt would cut through the resistance of fear.  I found this to be a microcosm of my being at the moment and my intention was to remove from the bar everything that was not me.  It came out looking like this:
I found some plans for a filing setup to help guide me in making a clean grind.  It is a slow process but also a meditation.  Slowly removing that which doesn’t need to be there and finding the beauty in that which is slowly revealed.  Often I find myself counting the strokes of the file….
This where the blade is planed level by drawing a file across.  Here is where I find out how even my grind is.  What I’ve learned is that if I hurry through filing on the jig then I spend that much more time draw filing the blade level.  Best to take that extra time counting file strokes on the jig and spend less time draw filing.
After that comes sanding to polish up the blade before heat treat.  I’ve found that I don’t mind a rougher finish.  I like seeing rogue file blemishes and the grind on the steel.
So here is the Precedent, ready for heat treat (which is a lesson I’m still learning….)

The lesson of the Precedent is to find courage in your fear and beauty in your own human condition.

2 thoughts on “Knifemaking: fear, flaws, and the Precedent

  1. Pingback: Knifemaking: The Precedent Epilogue | groundedinfire

  2. Pingback: Knifemaking: fear revisited, and the Precedent Mark Deux | groundedinfire

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