Knifemaking: prayer, calm, and the Snowjumper

“Blessings always beg for calm
In spite of their silvery arms”

Maritime- Calm

I pray a lot.  I really started about a year ago.  Growing up I thought it went along the lines of “Dear Jesus, please give me a pony.” I didn’t really understand prayer until pretty recently.  You can pray to Jesus, or whatever divine being you have faith in so long as it is bigger than yourself.  I talk to the Universe.  I didn’t talk to the Universe for a long time.  I found that I really needed help with the simple things.  There was little help in books, on the internet, or from people (books and internet both come from people, and nobody REALLY knows what’s going on).  So I started asking the universe for help.  This has never been easy for me because I try to do everything myself.  Instead of powering through everything, I would try (the operative word is try) to be quiet and still and ask.  The first thing I asked the universe for was guidance.

“Universe, please give me guidance.”

A week later I lost my job.

You have to be careful what you ask for because if you are expecting something specific you are probably going to be disappointed.  Once I got over the shock I tried to find more quiet spaces and ask for more simple things that could help me.  Universe, please help find peace.  Universe, please help me to trust.  Universe, please help me to know strong boundaries.  In certain situations I kindly ask the Universe to help me not fuck up.  And so on and so forth.

Most recently I have been asking the Universe for calm.  And the Universe has given me calm but something hasn’t been quite right.    The calm is there, I can project it, but I don’t feel it in me.  In areas where I find the calm but don’t feel it, I gently ask the Universe to help me to accept it.

None of this is overnight.  There is no flash of enlightenment or instant nirvana.  So I ask the Universe to help me find patience.

A few weeks ago we had a giant snowstorm.  There was somewhere between 12 and 18 inches.  I love snowstorms.  It is calm embodied.  Everything slows down and gets very quiet.  Many people stay home, the city shuts down, and nothing has to happen.  It happened on a Friday and all of my work got cancelled.  My girlfriend and I decided to get snowed in together.  We went to the store and stocked up on supplies and then headed to her place to batten down the hatches.  Then after a little while we noticed the heat wasn’t working.

I love this woman deeply.  I love how she makes things nice.  I love how she plans things.  She is talented and good at many things I am not, and will help me with those things.  She owns every bit of herself.  She is vulnerable and I see how empowering that is.  She is kind to my various maladjustments and occasional dysfunctions and the other parts of my being that I don’t love so much.  It’s far from perfect but it continues to bloom and makes me a better man.  Throughout all of this she is exquisitely beautiful and profoundly elegant and quite often gives me butterflies.  There are also things I am good at that help her.  Situations like heat and snowstorms are two of those things.

Back to the heat.  It was a full on snowstorm and it was glorious.  We went and picked up a kerosene heater from the warehouse where my workshop is.  We helped a couple of people get their cars unstuck.  We saw how beautiful everything was.  I have a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder with good four wheel drive and strong heat and we slid around a bit.  I found it to be very calming.


I have a friend who does heating and HVAC work and he is a great guy.  He is also a workaholic.  I gave him a call to see if he could talk me through troubleshooting the system and he was actually up the street working.  He said he would be right over.  His wife must be a very patient woman.

Sure enough he got the furnace fired up.  I asked him what his price was for coming over and all he asked for was a couple bucks for gas.  That didn’t feel right so I offered to make him a knife.  He was down.  He likes to hunt and seems rather unfazed by the elements so I designed a skinner and named it the Snowjumper.  It is a winter blade.  I found some spalted Tamarind, which is a bright wood.  I used tin spacers: they are nearly the same color as the steel of the tang and are concealed in the way that the snow conceals the earth.  I also used steel rivets to match the spacers.

1095 spring steel:



Spalted Tamarind:  Those dark lines are actually where a fungus has eaten it’s way through the wood.

Time lapse of the handle fitting:

The Snowjumper:  1095 spring steel with a phosphoric acid etch, Spalted Tamarind handle, tin spacers, and steel hardware:


  Hidden tin spacers…

Be careful what you pray for.  Calm may come in a way you least expect it.  Accept it.

This is the lesson of the Snowjumper.

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