Hunting Tools from
Peter B. Janes at TreeEater Farm
The Hori Hori
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.
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
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 $165. 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 a 100 year old anvil. 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: each sheath is one of a kind.
The Pointed Hoe –
2 lb. Bellotto Brazilian drop forged steel head on imported hickory handle. $80/ a piece. I was using local wood for years (fir and maple) but i find the only species that stands up to the test of time is black locust and it is scarce as hens teeth.
The beauty of a long handled digging tool is that the tool does the work. Keep your back straight.