LJ friends and gifts. #40: Friendship and Knifes travelling the oceans - the SPRAD knifes

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Blog entry by mafe posted 08-12-2019 09:27 AM 2671 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 39: Old Mora sloyd knife got a new life - a gift from a friend Part 40 of LJ friends and gifts. series no next part

Friendship and Knifes travelling the oceans
the SPRAD knifes

Once upon a time there were a man called Dave in the wild wild West, he originally came all the way from Poland, Dave imported wonderful laminated carving knife blades from Sweden and Birch bark from Russia, that came over land and over oceans to his workshop in America, where he with his bare hands and teeth’s created two knifes (not sure if he used his teeth’s, but I liked the sound of it). Well once he was finished he jumped on his horsepower and went to the Federal post, where he shipped it pf to Denmark. I’m not really sure from there, but either a noisy bird or a ship brought it over the Ocean to Europe, home of the Vikings, that once discovered America, in their beautiful ships. In Denmark it was delivered to an old grumpy Viking, former master builder and a playful set of hands. He cut up a cow (or at least some skin from it), then shaped and made it into sheaths, so the knifes should not go bare or freeze at night (come on MaFe, you are loosing it)... Ok, back on track, once the sheaths were made, MaFe could ware his on one of his many hammock tours into the forests of Denmark and on his way there, he went to deliver the other knife to the Danish postal service, so they could send it back over the ocean, to Dave (who now we are waiting for it to arrive).
They were both so happy for the story and so they SPRAD (past participle of spread) the word, of how wonderful it is, to be kind to one another, from time to time.
Big smile.
(If you did not get it then look at highlighted letters in the text above).

Here they are, the SPRAD knifes.
Fine knifes with laminated Swedish steel, Russian bark handles.
The one on top is Daves, he like a good grip on his knifes.
Under is mine, after I reshaped the handle to fit my hand, but keep the shape of Daves.

Mine before reshaping.

Knifes, knifes and another knife.
(Last one laminated steel and made by me here in Denamark).

As you can see this is a good fit in my hand.

To my surprise Daves knife is really comfortable too, the bulky handle will make it easy to carve for hours without getting tired.

In the pack from Dave, I also found some fine wood and a wonderful kind letter.
Thank you Dave.

I had the luck, to borrow our LJ buddy Kærlighedsbamsen summerhouse and the first thing I did, when I got there, were to start sketching ideas for the sheaths.
I had to make a design, that would fit both shapes and that were in Scandinavian tradition, so it would make sense I made them here in Denmark.
So I decided to go for the traditional back sewn sheath type, with a cone shape.

Sitting on the porch, looking at the workshop.

As always, I’m working on several projects at once, when doing leather work.

In Ty’s workshop, leather roll, longbow, meditation stool, pipe tobacco, some of my tools, a mouse trap bucket and finally the wonderful atmosphere Ty has created here. What more can a man wish for?
(My girlfriend came on and off, to visit).

Looking out into the garden.

On the top of the sketch you can see the name idea taking form and also sketches of shape, before the final one.

And yes, the knifes now good short wooden sheaths.
This is so I can shape the leather to the right form, since I want that cone shape and this is also a traditional way of making Scandinavian sheaths.

With pieces of paper, the shape is found and made into a template.
Just folding it around the knife and adding some for sewing.

Time to cut.
Hopefully not a toe…

Leather cut to shape.

Protecting the blades.

Vaseline are put on the parts than can rust.

Wrapped in plastic wrapping.

Leather is soaked, so it gets soft and workable.

Gatherd on the back side.

Edge marked.

Sewing line found.

Holes for sewing are made.

Sewing time.
The little antler thing, is a tool I made and use to compress the leather, this is a process, where you keep going over the whole sheath, compressing the leather again and again, as it dries, like this you get a sheath, hard as wood (huge work, but well worth it).

Some classical music, tobacco in the pipe and time fly.

Impossible not to smile here.

Daves knife.

I think I pulled the shape off, it suits the bulky handle.

The back is cut to desired size and all edges get a tour with the edging tool.

While the knifes are drying, it’s time to start working on the belt loops.
Strips of leather cut.
Same as the sheaths, so notice how the texture and even color changed, after working the leather.

Three holes are made on each side of the stitching.

The Devil is in the detail.

Loops are soaked and braided into the sheaths.

Like this.

Loops in place, stich holes made.

Yes this will hold them in place once dry, no glue, just friction.

MaFe punched into the leather.


And still working the leather, from time to time, with the antler tool.

Tadddaaaa, three sheaths made.
The one on left, is without the internal wood sheath.

Time to die…. dye I mean.

Just a light brown, to add life to the leather.

Even I’m a wee worried, since the extremely warm weather makes the leather dry out too fast.
This can lead to the sheaths getting too small, and then it’s all over…

Last step, is to apply leather fat and wax, this might help to hold some moisture.
Finally a polish.
It worked, the sheaths did get a wee tight, but I took a little of my handles thickness and then it was all fine again.
Also the closure on the back opened a wee, so that was glued together and the disaster was avoided.
Happy monkey here.

So back in my own workshop.
Notice there’s a cardboard box on the table.

Let’s zoom in…

Yeps, it’s a box, that will now travel back to America.
I will pray to the Ocean, that it will arrive safe.

Thank you Dave for making this little blog possible and for putting some magic into life.
Thank you who reads this, for sharing our joy.

You can see the knifes here on Daves post about how they were made.

Hope it can be to some inspiration and to see that SPRAD joy is the biggest joy off all.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

21 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6014 posts in 1468 days

#1 posted 08-12-2019 09:41 AM

A wonderful story, Mads! I look forward to seeing the knife and sheath soon, and hope you get many years enjoyment from yours!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Schwieb's profile


1912 posts in 4347 days

#2 posted 08-12-2019 10:16 AM

Great story. Nice knives and sheaths. Looking forward to meeting you soon,

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19727 posts in 3453 days

#3 posted 08-12-2019 11:14 AM

I need to try that belt loop attachment. As always, you’ve sparked some imagination.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View PPK's profile


1802 posts in 1695 days

#4 posted 08-12-2019 12:11 PM

Really neat! Thanks for the great story, as usual!

-- Pete

View HokieKen's profile


15158 posts in 2024 days

#5 posted 08-12-2019 12:17 PM

Great story and well done to both you and Dave for your collaboration in creating some nice knives and sheathes!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View lew's profile


13197 posts in 4641 days

#6 posted 08-12-2019 12:18 PM

Thanks, Mads, for allowing us to ride along on such a marvelous experience.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25344 posts in 3991 days

#7 posted 08-12-2019 12:28 PM

Great story Mads and masterful work. you are truly a master craftsman.

cheers, my friend…..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1348 posts in 2599 days

#8 posted 08-12-2019 12:54 PM

A good story about sharing and cooperation across borders. And great to see what you made while in my workshop. It looks a bit bare without the usual tools but (of cource) you brought a lot of you own

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3681 days

#9 posted 08-12-2019 07:10 PM

Very well explained and photographed project. Thanks for sharing Mads.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View pottz's profile


11725 posts in 1870 days

#10 posted 08-12-2019 10:05 PM

another wonderful journey youve takin us mads,i always love all the photos you show us.those are some real cool knives and i love your friends workshop,i could spend many days their creating.thanks for taking the time to share this.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View socrbent's profile


1017 posts in 3155 days

#11 posted 08-12-2019 11:20 PM

Thanks for the most enjoyable story, the knives and sheaves.

-- socrbent Ohio

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19702 posts in 4561 days

#12 posted 08-12-2019 11:44 PM

Nice post Mads. Thanks for showing us the way. As always, very informative.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View swirt's profile


5577 posts in 3857 days

#13 posted 08-13-2019 01:12 AM

What a great story. Nicely written as well as the sheaths.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Brit's profile


8185 posts in 3728 days

#14 posted 08-15-2019 05:52 AM

Beautiful knives and wonderful blog. What a great way to start my day. Thank you Mads and Dave.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6014 posts in 1468 days

#15 posted 08-15-2019 09:49 AM

I wrote up the project post for the knives this morning if any of you are interested in what came before Mads story.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

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