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Thursday, 17 March 2016
A pagan ritual knife handle, carved in oak with a Viking-style wolf's head decoration
It was really enjoyable to do some carving with my Opinel knife recently, when commissioned to make a new handle for a pagan ritual blade. The oak came from a tree that originally grew near Nether Stowey, on the Quantock hills in Somerset.
The Norse-style wolf's head at the end was modelled on an example that the person who commissioned me already had on some jewellery, although I adapted it for the carving. I wanted it to have the look of an object that might have been carved by a Viking carver and to be very comfortable to hold, as well as beautiful.
The end of the handle is drilled to fit a 10mm (0.39") tang.
This image shows the handle against a tracing of the rest of the knife, so that you can get an idea of the scale:
I must admit that I liked the appearance of the carved handle before any finish had been applied. The patina of use would have looked good on it...
...but the finishing gave it a more 'antique' style. A woodworker in the neighbouring workshop said that it looks like it was finished at least ten years ago, rather than two days ago. For the finish, I used pure tung oil (extracted from a kind of nut) and then a mixture of natural waxes. Using natural finishes seemed more appropriate for this particular carving.
I really like the thought that this piece has another, deeper meaning to its new owner than the purely decorative. I hope that you have enjoyed seeing it too.