Yakut knife – The national treasure of the Sakha people along with mammoths, diamonds and khomus. The traditional Yakut knife bykha, the design of which has not changed much over the centuries, is widely used to this day in all spheres of economic activity of the people. He is focused on the convenience of long and painstaking work in everything and is simply created to separate the meat from the bone, to cut frozen fish, to repair broken sleds.
The blacksmiths, Alexander Danilov and Alexander Protopopov, agreed to show and tell how this legendary object was made.
I met the masters at the exhibition of achievements of professional skill of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) “Profi Expo-2015? in Yakutsk.
A few hours later we started the manufacturing process.
Alexander Danilov was interested in knives since childhood. At first he began to cut on wood, and then he became interested in a jeweler, which subsequently went into work. Knives began to try to do just like that, for myself. I bought blades for planes and gave them the shape of a knife. Then he began to strike.
Alexander has been manufacturing the Yakut knife for twenty years, eight of them dedicated to reviving the traditional cheese ore smelting.
The blacksmith Alexander Danilov demonstrates the kritsa, made in the traditional way from iron ore, from which the Yakut knives are made in his workshop.
Since ancient times, the Yakuts have developed mining and processing of iron ore, as well as the art of blacksmithing. Moreover, according to the testimony of the Russian Cossacks, in the XVII century, they entered into a collision with the Yakuts, the quality of the iron obtained from the ore by the Yakut blacksmiths was not inferior to the best foreign models.
Blacksmiths use alloyed tool steel of various grades for the manufacture of the Yakut knife.
Exclusive knives are made from ore.
Even in ancient times, people collected valuable ore along rivers and made weapons from it.
The preparation of such ore takes a lot of time. It needs to be burned, enriched, crushed and then only smelted metal. Of the 20 kg of ore usually comes 10-11 kg of the required metal.
Coal must also be harvested independently. It is much cheaper for blacksmiths.
It usually takes 2-3 days to make one knife.
Knives can be gift and work. Most workers take – they are used in the kitchen, hunting, fishing and in everyday life. Gift items are made to order, as a rule, decorated with engravings and other decorative elements.
Alexander continues to equal the blade. The first feature is the asymmetry of the blade profile. It is sharpened only on the left side (if held with a handle to itself), which differs from other knives with an asymmetrical profile, which, as a rule, are sharpened from the side of the working hand, that is, on the right side of the blade. The sharpened side of the blade of the Yakut knife is slightly convex.
These features have their own explanation. For Yakut, the main material for processing is wood. The bulge on the blade facilitates the removal of chips, giving the necessary effort, the master accurately and easily adjusts the depth of planing. In this case, the knife turns into a kind of high-precision multifunctional plane. In addition, it is easier to cut meat or fish (including frozen), as well as cutting animal carcasses, skinning animals and making them. This greatly simplifies the process of sharpening the tool.
Next, the blanks fall into the hands of another master – Alexander Protopopov.
He grinds and grinds the workpiece.
On this machine, the workpiece is already taking the form of a traditional knife. The Yakut knife is sharpened on one side, the burr is just removed on the other. It is easy to sharpen materials at hand, for example, on the river pebbles.
The right side of the blade is not equipped with a dale, which is called Yos in Yakuts. This is another feature of the Yakut knife. According to one of the exotic versions, this detail is present from the time when the knife was entirely made of bone sawn along, and Yos is nothing but a bone marrow channel.
The flat, not hardened side of the blade on the right side is called “byhah haptahaya”. This facet plays a special role: it makes the blade section close to a quadrangular shape. This enhances penetration, for example, for piercing thick skin (for example, when sewing clothes) or drilling shallow holes.
Alexander Protopopov worked as an excavator for 30 years, retired at 45, and since then began to make knives. At first it was a hobby, then work.
– I still have a teacher – Vinokurov Semen Vasilyevich. I show him my work. It seems to me that a person must learn all his life, ”says the blacksmith.
Craftsmen also make Damascus steel knives. This process is so complicated that it is impossible to pass it on with a couple of sentences.
– The oil is cooled and quenched in a furnace. Oil can be heated to harden. Carbon steel is hardened at 780-1000 degrees, the oil will catch fire at that temperature. The oil is cooled, it provides a quick and uniform cooling, which is very important for carbon steel, so that it does not crack, cool rapidly, – says the technologist.
The handle of the Yakut working knife is traditionally cut from a single piece of birch burl – very strong wood with a rich texture. It is flat, devoid of any stops and quite long. With a long handle, it is more convenient to work in the cold in mittens, and the knife’s sharpness increases due to the elongated lever. In cross section, the handle resembles an egg. This form is chosen so that during some work the knife does not rotate in your hand. An interesting way to mount the blade in the handle. First, a wide central hole is made and the pointed shank is driven into the handle. Then soft-wood chopikas are inserted at the sides of the blade. They burst, and they clamp the blade in the handle. In order to protect the wooden handle from moisture, it is impregnated with special oils.
The sheaths of these Yakut knives are simple and functional. They are made of a oxtail, removed by a stocking, and a wooden liner inserted into it. The knife is embedded in the leather sheath on 1/3 of the handle and fixed there by friction. The blade hangs freely in a wooden liner inside the scabbard.
This makes it possible to freely insert and take out a knife with a blade, on which blood and fat freeze when cutting game in winter. By the way, the Yakut knife can be removed with one hand, resting your thumb on the mouth of the sheath. The sheath is worn on a belt, on a free suspension from a leather strap in a position from oblique to horizontal.
On the blade of the knives of Alexander Danilov there is a stamp bearing the image of an ancient eagle pattern.
Grinding the scabbard.
Decorative items on the table at the wizard.
The sheath is sheathed in leather.
The skin is made in the neighboring ulus.
Now you need to properly glue the skin and flash it.
While you can sharpen the knife itself.
The handle is covered with stain.
To dry faster.
The knife is ready.
Here is the blade of the damask.
And this is already at the exhibition of achievements of professional skill of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) “Profi Expo-2015? in Yakutsk.
Prices for knives from blacksmiths from 5,000 to 70,000 rubles. It all depends on the materials and the complexity of the work.
The Yakut knife is a simple and understandable tool for working with wood, hides, leather, and of course, it has no equal when working with meat and in the preparation of planed. Compare and confuse it with nothing. In order to understand all the charm and convenience of the Yakut knife, you just need to take it in hand.