Group Carving Knives

Discussion of specific projects
Richard
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 6:05 pm
Re-enactment Group Affiliations: Black ravens / Company of the Staple

Group Carving Knives

Post by Richard » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:55 am

Not long ago we discussed the possibility of acquiring a set of group carving knives. Now that I've got my forge back up and running, my leading project once I've finished exams is to hammer out at least one... possibly more.

What are we looking at in terms of size, shape, handle style etc? Does anybody have any research, or preconceived ideas as to what this thing should look like?

Alternatively, if it was just an 'up in the air' idea, I can look into doing my own research once exams are over.
Last edited by Richard on Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Elden
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:27 am

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Elden » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:54 pm

MOL knives and scabbards is almost certainly the first place to go, along with manuscript dining scenes (not to scale!) and any extant C14th carving knives people might know of.

There might also be something handy in Brears.

Richard
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Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 6:05 pm
Re-enactment Group Affiliations: Black ravens / Company of the Staple

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Richard » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:40 pm

I have been looking through various books and manuscripts in pursuit of images of kitchen and dining scenes. Sadly the desire to draw meticulously detailed pictures of kitchen and table implements seems to have been slightly lacking in the mind of the 14th century artist.

The best images I've been able to find are below, first prep/kitchen scenes, followed by dining scenes.

(A) - A Butcher / abattoir. Theatrum Sanitatis; Described only as "14th Century Italian"
(B) / (C) - Kitchen scenes from Luttrell Psalter; English, around 1320 - 1340.
(D) - Butchering Pigs; Late 15th century woodcut, 1490.
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(E) - Français 12399; French, 1379
(F) - La Bible historiale complétée - Genesis - Psalms; French, 1357
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The most notable difference in this small selection of drawings, is the shape of the blades; Those in the prep scenes are typically broad and rectangular, while knives at the dining table are more.... "knife shaped...?" This trend also exists in other drawings not shown. Of the knives described as "mid" and "late" 14th century in the Museum of London "Knives and Scabbards" book, the larger blades also tend to be more rectangular in profile, in contrast with the triangular and leaf shapes of the smaller ones. MOL also gives blades matching the profiles of those in (B) and (C).

With regards to making a set of kitchen knives for the group, what are peoples views / suggestions? I can easily make a set of the form shown in (B), as this straight rectangular style seems to persist throughout the MOL finds, as well as numerous pictures from a wide range of dates.

Hugh
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:14 am

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Hugh » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:40 am

I think you may be onto something - though it's hard to tell with so few depictions of kitchens in illuminated manuscript. One area of research that I've never considered is whether kitchens were for the most part receiving carcasses whole and butchering in-house (so butcher = slaughterer, and maybe cuts animal it up into major pieces), or whether butchers were indeed doing the buchery, and hence most kitchens wouldn't need butchering knives. Not sure what impact that has on knife shape either for carving knives and cooking knives.

I'll have to have a look through my references and get back to you depending on whether I can find anything to add.

Roxy
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Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Roxy » Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:41 pm

For me, I'd like a knife capable of cutting a lamb roast, ham hunk or a loaf of sour dough bread that's a couple of days old.

We already have small knives that look like the ones in E and F so I would like to see the club buying a couple of chunkier knives like in the B picture. Any chance we'll get them by blacktown/ winterfest?

Richard
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Re-enactment Group Affiliations: Black ravens / Company of the Staple

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Richard » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:26 pm

As I said before, knives such as those seen in (B) should be relatively straight forward to make, and there's still time before BT.

I've been holding off starting anything because I've been waiting for (1) fire bans to lapse, and (2) some kind of consensus here as to what people thought were suitable, seeing as its a group thing.

Roxy
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:16 am

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Roxy » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:53 pm

Well if you want better pictures of extant examples, here are some pictures of 14-15th century knives that I found at http://larsdatter.com/cutlery.htm

The last link is an early 15th "set" that was found with a sheath (1406). I believe Frodo's made a copy for himself before.

So it does look like the rectangle knives are fairly common, with all the big knives in the below pictures looking like mini machetes. I reckon that two knives like the two biggest knives in the last link would be awesome. Elden agrees. So there you go. Consensus! I look forward to seeing the rectangle knives once you have time to work on it after the fireban. :)


http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/se ... /170004194

http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/se ... /170003359

http://www.insecula.com/oeuvre/O0007826.html

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/hi ... heath.aspx

Roxy
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Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Roxy » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:05 pm

Aaron Schnatterly made some 14th century knives based on MOL's book plus some other sources

http://www.metalartistforum.com/maf/ind ... ry-knives/

Archeological find of an iron knife found in Shropshire

http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/65557

Another rectangle, dated at 1300-1350 in Yorkshire
http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/67498

Richard
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 6:05 pm
Re-enactment Group Affiliations: Black ravens / Company of the Staple

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Richard » Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:45 pm

Lit the forge today. The blade is quite a bit shorter than planned because the steel cracked and had to be cut back. Still managed to salvage something serviceable though.
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I intend to use Maple for the handle, as this is the second most common handle material in the 14thC MOL finds.

Roxy
Posts: 99
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:16 am

Re: Group Carving Knives

Post by Roxy » Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:00 pm

Need to take a photo of finished knife.

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