Old tools; new tools

I’m staying in Norway with my folks-in-law. I’ve finished all the leather pieces that I brought with me, and so I’m carving some spoons from a birch log.


I haven’t brought any carving tools, but my partner’s father, Alf, used to make knives when he was younger, and many of his knives are still around the house.

A year or two ago, we brought him a spoon carving knife made in England by the smith Nic Westermann, and I have it out now to carve this spoon bowl. The rest of the carving I’m doing with a lovely sloyd knife that Alf found me. It’s probably about half the width it would have been when it was forged – it has been sharpened many times, who knows how many? And who knows how many knife handles it has carved?

This knife, he tells me, he had from the local man who taught him how to make blades and knife sheaths. That makes this knife blade certainly about 50 years old, and quite probably older. Alf says he used it for all his own carving.


It’s a humble looking thing, worn down, with a functional handle. But just a little sharpening and it cuts beautifully, and is lovely to use.

It’s nice to use these two tools together – a lovely shiny new blade, barely used; and an old workhorse.