Knifemaking: The Saj Epilogue- embracing the unexpected

“Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure…

Face your life
Its pain,
Its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.”

Mrs. Owens, from Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book

(you can find the initial crafting of the Saj here)

This is another blade that sat on my bench unfinished for months, made from the same bedframe steel as the Spellcaster.  I ignored him for a long time.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to say with him.  He’s different- a thinner blade that has a good flexibility, Eastern and exotic in function and very gentle in the hand- you hardly know he’s there.

I could see a lot of my earlier mistakes in him.  Scratches I couldn’t get out, unevenness in the bevel and a really quirky handle shape. 

Sometimes you have conversations with people where you aren’t entirely sure what to say.  Maybe it’s someone important- your boss, your future boss, a figure you admire, someone upon whom you’d like to make a good impression.  Maybe you go into it with an idea of what you want to say, points you may want to hit, things you’d like to work in.  As the conversation moves forward, the energy and flow may start to feel trite and contrived- forced, even.  Trying to put things in a place where you feel they should be, even though there is another being present who may have a different idea of where things should be…   

That is where I was with this knife for a long time.  Trying to manipulate the conversation and getting nowhere.

These are the moments to let things play out as they will.  This is easier said than done, especially if you are someone with varying degrees of control issues and anxieties…

I have a notebook full of sketches of knives that never make it to fruition.  This one was spontaneous and just sort of happened.  There’s a reason for that I think- those are some of the best things once you accept the idea that things will happen whether you plan them or not.  That relationship with someone you wouldn’t have expected, the job you didn’t plan on taking, even the recipe you may have botched but turned out more wonderful than you imagined. 

Sometimes those unexpected things don’t turn out in a way you would like.  That’s ok too even though it may not feel like it.  These are the times when it’s best to have a drink and think about what you are going to do next.  That part about leaving no path untaken applies to both the easy and the hard paths.

I went back and fixed my mistakes, knowing a little bit more than I did when I started this blade.  I let it be what it was.  When I found myself trying too hard, I stopped.  I worked on other things, sorted other things out, and felt my anxieties.  It’s important to be patient…

…then sometimes you just have to dive in

Some of the scratches were harder to remove than others.  I let those be.

     I have a cousin in Texas who’s a woodworker.  A really wonderful gentleman.  He sent me some Pecan wood that he milled himself.  I was really excited to work with it.  The state tree of Texas:

IMG_2025

As anxieties eased, I began to really feel the beauty of the process and not so worried about the outcome…

IMG_2038 IMG_2039

The figures are really quite lovely…

      I ended up being rather enamored with the wild elements and rugged bits of this blade…       The nature of life is you really don’t know what will happen.  Try to relax into that.  I’ll try to do the same.

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