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Hunting Tools from
Peter B. Janes at TreeEater Farm
The Hori Hori
Translates from Japanese to “Digging Digging”: The small farmer’s belt tool of choice: with a sharp knife edge, a saw edge and a slightly concave troweling face it can be used for digging, mixing, chopping brush, sawing and prying out roots and brush and harvesting and vegetables.
Heavy horis are shaped from spring-tine cultivator blades. Light horis and knife blades are cut from reclaimed antique high-carbon 2 man crosscut saws (The 6 foot long type). All are hardened and tempered but generally finish softer than modern industrial stainless steel standards. This makes then dull faster but conversely they are much easier to sharpen. I make all tools and knives with full length and thickness tangs. Handle leafs vary from batch to batch, my choice. Right now i’ve using Ash. The last generation was big leaf maple. Solid copper fasteners: two rivets and one eyelet for easy hanging.
The sheaths are made from Denman Island hunted deer whose hides go through a traditional european tree-bark tanning process. First the hides are fleshed. Then they are de-haired using a wood ash solution. Tanning is accomplished by a multi-month graduated soaking process in Hemlock and Douglas fir bark tea. The process is finished with oiling and currying (softening), generally with on-farm lard and my own elbows. Sheath styles change with time. Right now i’ve settled into a combination i’m heavy nylon thread and small solid-copper rivets. All sheaths have 2″ belt loops “stitch protection”. ie you cant cut the stitches with the tool.
Option 1: The Heavy Hori. Literally twice the thickness and weight of the Light Hori. Blade is very thick: 1/4″. Total Length: 12 1/2″. Blade Length: 6″. Weight: 18 oz./510g
The Heavy Hori is extremely robust. $195/piece with sheath
Option 2: The Light Hori. Blade is around 1/8″ thick (Total Length: 12 1/2″. Blade Length: 6″. Weight: 8 oz./225g). A similar thickness to the commercially available versions out there. Easy on the wrist and pocket (literally) for smaller bodied users. $185/piece. Shipping is $22 with insurance. $26 express with insurance within Canada
Peter’s version on the classic Yukon hunter/skinner. Tempered to “Bronze” for reasonable edge retention without any brittleness. Fully sharpened and honed. 3/16″ to 1/8″ thickness. Total length 8 1/2″. Blade Length 4″ Weight: 4 oz/100g
Yukon Hunter with sheath is $185. Shipping is $22 with insurance. $26 express with insurance within Canada
Gulf Island Deer Knife
An exaggerated take-off of a traditional skinning pattern. Tempered a little softer to “blue” for easy sharpening. 3/16″ thickness Total Length: 9 1/2″. Blade Length: 4 1/2″. Weight: 4oz/100g
Deer Skinner with sheath is $185. Shipping is $22 with insurance. $26 express with insurance within Canada.
I work in a cluttered dirt floor shop with a coal forge fashioned from scrap steel. Within arms reach is an antique hand-crank blower and two 100 year old anvils. Other essential tools include an angle grinder with cut-off wheels, a bench grinder, a stationary belt sander, quench buckets, post-vice, drill press, traditional shaving horse and various hand-tools. I make each tool in small batches, usually of 6, and take them all through the various stages together. They are all a little different form each other. Leather work is a completely different task and takes place in the house with a different set of tools.
The Pointed Hoe – Currently Sold Out
2 lb. Bellotto Brazilian drop forged steel head on local Maple handle. $55/ a piece
The handle is custom-trimmed at point of sale to proper shoulder-height length.
I’m using the Japanese hafting method that involves a perpetually adjustable aluminum wedge. As the tool ages and/or drys and the head loosens the user can tap the remaining wedge in to tighten it up.
The long handled pointed hoe is the ultimate peasant’s tool: it will quickly replace your reliance on shovels. Not only can it do more jobs than a shovel, it saves your back and arms while doing so. The leverage of the long handle allows for perfect posture and generates huge chopping force, pulling force and reach. I called my first pointed hoe “the rototiller”. These tools can break up virgin sod, turn over soil, mix amendments, make furrows and ridges, hill potatoes and even pull materials from the back of the truck.
The beauty of a long handled digging tool is that the tool does the work. Keep your back straight.