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14859(Again) Zen and the Art of Knifemaking

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  • medit8ionsociety
    Apr 22, 2006
      Pictures 83 and 84 in the Photo section
      show a newly finished Bowie knife that
      is made from 1095 steel and has a brass
      guard, brass and nickel/silver pins and
      a Desert Ironwood handle. Just about all
      that could go wrong with its construction
      seemed to happen in every step of the
      process. The steel itself arrived in
      a bar that had a bend in it, and it warped
      when it was sent out for heat treating,
      causing a 3 month delay in getting it back.
      Several files and sanding belts broke and I
      got many cuts and bruises during the making.
      It took 3 tries to form a guard that fit.
      The glue overflowed and I still have some on
      my hands that won't come off (be careful if
      you ever use Gorrila glue!!!). The wood
      scales (handle parts) took days to get right,
      proving Ironwood's reputation as one of the
      hardest and most challenging American woods
      to work with. But the glue did come off of the
      knife and handle. And Jerry Rados, the master
      knife maker who did the heat treating, did get
      the warp in the blade straightened out. And
      one guard finally did fit, and the scales did
      turn out well. And finally a useful tool did
      emerge that may be of use for many years to many
      people. And all of this is very similar to the
      process/progress that a meditator goes through as
      they find that their mind is not cooperative, that
      their body is distracting, and that their emotions
      bring frustrations as well as soothing. But in the
      end, making an effort to face up to the inevitable
      challenges brings about the possiblity that a
      better tool for the service of humankind will be
      the end result. And of course, if you don't persevere
      and deal with the hurdles one will always encounter,
      there is a great probability that nothing sharp and
      useful will ever come about.
      Peace and blessings,