Cutting Room Floor

I have owned and used probably more than my share of ritual knives and athames in my time, some of which have even tasted my blood. Today, however, I made my first ritual blade from scratch.

The assignment was a hatchet made from a railroad spike. I carefully straightened and measured and marked a first one, then, while that was heating, picked out a second just in case.

While I progressed with the first one, I started hammering out the second. It was pretty rusty and not in as good a shape as the first one. As soon as I started working on the tip, I decided it wasn’t going to work as a hatchet anyway.

It did, however, look like the start of a half-decent knife.

So in between heats on my official project for the day, I bashed away at the blade of a knife. I’ve seen railroad spike knives several times online and the basic premise is pretty straightforward. I dedicated it to Ilmarinen as I worked, though I didn’t do anything fancy – I was in the classroom and sharing a forge, after all. Once I had the blade shaped and the edge ground, I decided to put a decorative twist in the handle.

And then I burned myself with it. I put a hole the size of a silver dollar in my favorite shirt, and when I checked out the burn, I was missing a piece of skin the size of a dime and the wound seemed to have conveniently cauterized itself.

It doesn’t hurt, precisely – well, unless I poke it – and I cleaned and dressed it using the first aid kit, and again when I got home. I’ve gotten worse burns in that class already.

I have to say that I’ve never had a ritual blade that wanted my skin before, but I’m not going to argue, either.

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