Knifemaking: a little bit at a time and the Scout

“Ready or not
I hear a clock tock ticking away
Though I’d asked for those hands to stay in place”

Correatown- “Everything, All at Once”

I wake up most mornings and wonder how I am going to get everything done.  I think about all the things I need to do, the things I want to do, and feel a little bit of shame over the things I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t done yet.  There is this mental space where I run through my entire life- where I’m born, I live, and I die, all before I even get out of bed.

At the bottom of all of the mental chatter there is a gentle little voice that says to do it a little bit at a time.  It also says that there is plenty of time.  Sometimes it gets drowned out but I know it’s there if I listen for it.  This is what gets me going.

For the past ten or so years I’ve taken walks in the woods.  As things get busier I don’t get out there as often as I’d like.  It’s an exercise in not trying to do everything all at once.  You walk the woods a little bit at a time, and the notion of trying to do anything other than that feels rather asinine.  I try to approach the things I have to do in this fashion.  It doesn’t always work and I get frustrated a lot.  A lot.  Sometimes the feeling of there not being enough time screams at me so loudly that I have to go home and take a nap.  Most times I’m not able to do that, in which case I try to take it back to the forest.  In being with that feeling I find that there usually is enough time.  If not, I try to remember that I am human being and not a human doing.

Attempting to do everything all at once is a sort of self-defeating behavior.  This type of all-or-nothing thinking tends to overwhelm and makes the idea of quitting into a rather attractive proposition.  Buying into this thinking gets you regret and remorse, but only after it has robbed you of your precious moments and there literally isn’t enough time.

This is the lesson of the Scout.  To walk your forest one step at a time.  It’s easy to get pulled off your path.  There are a thousand things that demand our attention and can pull us off of our center.  We can’t always give what we love the attention and care we would like and sometimes it’s easier to give up.  Don’t give up.  Do it a little bit at a time and it will all get done.

I wanted to make something that reminded me of this little area where I like to walk:


I started with O1 tool steel and bushcraft style design with a handle that winds like the stream above.  I usually use 1095 because it’s cheap and I have a lot of it but I like using O1 for the Chromium in it- it polishes up nicely


FullSizeRender 8

Sanded.  Not too shiny because he is built to be used:

Here is what I used for the handle- quartersawn white oak, olive drab g-10, and brass.  It was a bit of an undertaking and there was some improvising because some things didn’t go as planned.  One step at a time…


Glued.  This came apart soon after.  I tried to keep the brass cool when cutting it but it got too hot and melted the epoxy.  More steps, keep moving…


Glue is set.

Rough shaping.

Cleaned up.  Now to sand…

The Scout:



A little bit at a time.  Keep moving, even when it feels like everything is impossibly slow and it will never get done.  Challenge that, and walk your forest.  There’s plenty of time.

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