Slate knives

During the excavation of a stone age dwelling near Vuollerim, here in Swedish Lapland two different examples of slate knives were found.

The first is this crescent shaped knife

ulu-vuollerim

which is called an “Ulu” by various indigenous people living around the Arctic Circle

ulu-lapland-vuollerim

An ulu  (translated means “woman’s knife”) is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by cultures around the Arctic Circle including; Inuit, Yup’ik and Aleut women. It is utilised in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child’s hair and cutting food.

This particular knife has a blade made of locally sourced slate, which has been inserted in to a piece of wood.  The blade is held in place using ”Resin glue” – Resin from Pine or Spruce trees is gathered, heated and then mixed with crushed charcoal to form a primitive glue which was very much used by native people around the Arctic Circle at that time (and still is).

https://naturallore.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/spruce-pitch/

The second knife is a little more like knives we use today.  Unfortunately we do not have a copy of this knife, so I was asked to make one, based on drawings and text.

slate-knife-2

I’m very pleased with the end result.  The original was bound with Moose hide, but as I did not have any, I used Reindeer leather.

slate-knife-1

One thought on “Slate knives

  1. Amazing. I never thought much about the Ulu, but now i know its origins can be found as far away as Scandinavia.. I have one here at the house I use daily and its very useful. Here in Alaska though you’d think they are indigenous only to Alaska! (sales propaganda!)

    Thank you kindly for this informative post

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