Knifemaking: gentleness, boundaries, and the Maiden

“I was only fifteen years old and full of fire
I was a half a pound of bacon and an egg on the side
She got all the good looks, and I got all the war
She was everything I asked for, and a little more”

Francis Dunnery, Give Up and Let it Go (The Gulley Flats Boys)

This blade was a commission from a very good friend of mine.  I’ve known him and his wife for quite a few years, worked for his company, and spent much time with his family.  He lives in Maidens, Virginia, so coming up with an idea for this blade sort of took care of itself.

The inspiration for the Maiden comes from most all of the women I am close to.  Elegant, beautiful, strong, full of love, and most definitely not having any of your shit.  Or put another way, immaculately clothed but with a sword hidden beneath beneath their cloak.  Or sun dress.  Or whatever houndstooth scarf or coat is in season.  You get the idea.

No man is an island.  Sometimes it’s really healthy to have someone to tell you “hey, see that stupid thing you’re about to do?  Maybe think twice about that- you don’t need to impress anyone.” Or,

“Hey, it’s time to stand on your own feet.  No, I’m not going to carry you through this.  Don’t worry, you’ve got this.”  Or even,

“Whether you fail or succeed, I love you.”

These are strong statements but they are held by a gentleness that we don’t often give ourselves, or at least I don’t.  I’ve been known to on occasion, when left to my own devices, done that stupid thing to impress someone insignificant and not stood on my own feet and felt like love was conditional on whether I failed or succeeded.  Because whether we like it or not, at some point or another we all have moments of neediness and insecurity, self-doubt and self-sabotage, and the story-hour from hell where we ruminate on our screw-ups.  As social creatures it’s important to hear these things from others close to us.  This doesn’t necessarily mean there are dependency issues at play.  It means that we are human.  And whether we are aware of it or not, we are often giving the same support to those who help support us.

To me, these statements also represent strong boundaries- saying what is felt without expectation or condition.  Without (or in spite of) fear of a negative reaction.  Spoken not to coerce or manipulate an outcome but to help us to be ourselves.

That is the lesson of the Maiden- an elegant tool that is close in good times and the rougher times, beautifully dressed with no fucks to give.  I’ll drink to that….

I designed four of these lovely ladies and had my friend pick which on he liked best.  These three didn’t quite make the cut and that’s ok.  I went with a drop point blade- the right balance of tip strength, belly, and piercing ability.  Good for farm work.

  finish sanding

The Maiden: 1095 spring steel with an acid etch, Curly Maple handle, and brass hardware.


I also made her a sheath.  Wet formed for a snug fit.

I actually made two of these- in case I screwed up the finish on the Curly Maple.  This is the first one, with a satin finish.

2 thoughts on “Knifemaking: gentleness, boundaries, and the Maiden

  1. Pingback: Knifemaking: gentleness, boundaries, and the Maiden | Brittius

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s