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Digital Subscriptions > American Survival Guide > July 2019 > DEDICATION TO RESTORATION


Putting an edge on this old draw knife didn’t remove any of the character from the blade

Some people like old firearms; some like old vehicles. I like old tools, especially old bladed tools. I’m not a “bright and shiny” kind of guy. As an outdoorsperson and historian, I like things that tell a story. Tools do just that.

Among most indigenous people, it is believed that a tool holds the spirit of the person who either made it or used it. Believing that, when I pick up an old axe or knife, I feel that spirit and wonder about the stories the tool could tell.

Where I live, I am known for sharpening bladed tools. I also work to restore neglected blades, bringing them back to life. I am really fond of carbon-steel blades and admittedly do not really like stainless steel. Tools made from carbon steel are tools of history; they hold an edge and will last forever…if they are taken care of.

If there is a drawback to carbon steel it is that it rusts. The good news is that with a little work, in most cases, carbon-steel tools and blades can be brought back to “life.”

Recently, a good friend brought me a knife and asked if I could do something with it. It was in rough shape and badly rusted. It was so bad, in fact, that I almost didn’t take it on.

Then, I heard the story behind the blade: My friend’s brother carried this knife in Vietnam.

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American Survival Guide July 2019, How-To : Fire Protection 101, Decoding The Signals of Civil Unrest, Hydration Filtration + Suncompass Solar Nav, And More...