Donnerstag, 10. August 2017
Mittwoch, 2. August 2017
The book arrived via postage from www.wieland-verlag.de in a nice and sturdy package. It comes with a hardcover that is neatly bound. The paper is sturdy and offers some lovely matte design graphics and will withstand even multiple reads. The foreword and the register give a good overview of the contents. Each chapter concludes with a sensible summary of contents.
The book is directed to an audience with no broader knowledge of the topic. All the topics are explained very coherently and with an easy, yet eloquent style of writing in a very comprehensible manner. This is complemented with diagrams and sketches of knife typology. Special tools like saddler´s knives, knives for bookbinding and leatherworking tools are treated separately and with a very good and detailed background knowledge. there are also very informative chapters about the culture of wet shaving and Japanese and Chinese knife culture.
Tactical and combat knives are treated with separately but, refreshingly, without the romantics that so often obscures the view upon their reality. At the end of the book there´s a very knowedgeable glossary of knife terminology and a steel chart with just about every steel variety on the planet. Even this chart would render this book worth buying! Also there are chapters on care and maintenance of knives and their use.
The book is also written with a passion for the topic and full of remarks that make the read all the more enjoyable for a not-so-dead-serious approach. I especially liked the chapter on Japanese kitchen knives that provided even me as an absolute knife-nut with new information. The pictures are of the best quality imagineable and depict knives with a history, not just the latest paraphernalia. To me this is a refreshing and inspiring approach.
I can recommend this book to my German readers most warmly, but even if you´re not a native speaker, there are still enough diagrams and pictures as well as the steel chart that might make it a worthy buy. Get it at www.wieland-verlag.de. ;-)
For my German readers (The book is in German), here´s a German version of my review:
Oliver Lang-Geffroy schickte mir liebenswürdigerweise ein Exemplar seines neuen Buches "das große Buch vom Messer" mit der Bitte, es zu lesen und etwas darüber zu schreiben. Um ganz ehrlich zu sein, bin ich vielleicht nicht ganz objektiv, denn ich bin ein großer Fan seines Schreibstils und seiner Einstellung zu Messern generell, aber ich werde mal mein Möglichstes tun.
Zunächst mal mein erster Eindruck: Die Post vom Wielandverlag war sorgfältig eingepackt und gegen die Unbilden der Reise gut geschützt. Das Buch selbst kommt als Hardcover mit einer schönen Bindung und einem sehr ansprechenden mattglänzenden Druck; es steht zu erwarten, dass es auch wiederholtes Lesen und Blättern gut überstehen wird.
Vorwort und Inhaltsverzeichnis geben einen guten Ausblick auf den Inhalt des Buches. Die Gliederung ist übersichtlich, an jedem Kapitelende gibt es eine Zusammenfassung der besprochenen Inhalte.
Das Buch richtet sich ganz klar an Menschen, die noch nicht so große Erfahrung mit Messern haben. Diesen wird mit leicht verständlichen und aufbereiteten Diagrammen alles Wissenswerte über Klingen nahe gebracht. Dabei werden auch Spezialmesser wie Sattlerwerkzeuge, Buchbindermesser und Erntemesser behandelt. Eigene Kapitel befassen sich mit feststehenden Messern, Klapp- und Kochmessern sowie Rasierkultur. Ein großer und von profundem Wissen geprägter Abschnitt letzteren Kapitels befasst sich mit japanischen Kochmessern und deren Terminologie, Verwendung und Pflege. Ein weiteres Highlight ist der Abschnitt über Klingengeometrien, deren Besonderheiten und Pflege, über Schliff und Stahlsorten. Gut gefallen hat mir vor allem, dass Tactical Knives, Selbstverteidigungsmesser und Kampfmesser zwar einen ihnen gebührenden Platz im Buch haben, aber nicht übergewichtet werden und auch auf diese bezogene Romantik, wie sie mitunter dieser tage so gern propagiert wird, gar nicht erst aufkommen gelassen wird. Sehr gut hat mir ein Passus gefallen, in dem ein Test aufgeführt wird, wie man feststellen kann, ob man ein Gentleman- oder ein Tactical-Klappmesser sein eigen nennt: Beobachtet man auf einer Festlichkeit im gehobenen Ambiente, dass die Gastgeberin vergeblich versucht, eine Verpackung zu öffnen, und reicht dieser ein Klappmesser, und erhält dieses danach mit dem Kompliment, es handle sich um ein schönes Taschenmesser, zurück, handelt es sich vermutlich um ein "Gentleman"-Taschenmesser. Erhält man danach keine Einladungen mehr, war das verliehene Messer wohl eher der Kategorie "Tactical" zuzuordnen... ;-). Das Buch ist reich an derartigen nicht ganz bierernst gemeinten Anmerkungen und bietet eine erfrischende Alternative zu gängigen Veröffentlichungen, versteigt sich aber auch nicht in Albernheiten oder Sentimentalitäten.
Am Ende des Buches findet sich ein Glossar von Fachbegriffen sowie eine tabellarische Übersicht aller modernen Messerstahlsorten.
Auch ich habe noch was lernen können. So war besonders der Abschnitt über die japanischen Kochmesser sehr informativ. Die Fotos sind natürlich von allerbester Qualität, aber die abgebildeten Messer haben augenscheinlich auch zumeist eine Geschichte, die auch mitunter erzählt wird. Wenn man mich fragen würde, was man verbessern könnte, würde ich lediglich mit einem Augenzwinkern vermerken, dass der eine oder andere Abschnitt bereits einmal im Messermagazin zu lesen war... ;-). Der Qualität der Information tut das hingegen keinen Abbruch. Ich kann jedem, der einen fundierten Einstieg in das Thema sucht, das Buch nur ans Herz legen. Aber auch erfahrene Nutzer und Sammler finden ein schönes Buch mit einer erfrischenden Perspektive auf ein vielfältiges Thema und Abbildungen von Messern mit Geschichte. Um ganz ehrlich zu sein, sind es diese, die mich am meisten inspiriert haben.
Erhältlich ist das Buch unter: https://wieland-verlag.com/buecher
bzw. unter www.underwood-publishing.de
zum Preis von 29,99 €.
Dienstag, 25. Juli 2017
The knife´s now in for a spoon and fork and awl to go in a pouch.
Overall the knife design is surprisingly complex and handles a lot of tasks quite well. Lacking any scales or handle materials makes it easy to clean as well as really sturdy. It also does not stain as fast, even if it gets a patina. It is suited for eating, snacking and camp cooking as well as lighter to heavier bushcraft tasks, and the handle is big enough to offer you a decent hold on the knife. The downside is of course that the handle gets hot quite easily and cold as well... but you could easily tie it to a stick to use it as a makeshift harpoon or for harvesting leaves or fruit from a tree. Also it looks pleasing to my eye at least... I like it and want to work on the design more. I will keep you posted!
Donnerstag, 13. Juli 2017
Was it or was it not that only recently an elderly person in the small town of Breckerfeld had died or do I confuse fact and fiction? Has all this really happened or is this but a dream? Dreams come and they wither, fade and go... and some are truth made lie and some are dream and some are true and some are lies... they fade like the seasons, fade and blend into each other even now... This elderly man had been a blacksmith, that much is known. His wife had died long before, and he lived a life in grief and sorrow and inhabited a small flat with two rooms. He was beaten and broken from a hard life, but still he got along and was too proud to ask for help; and as mankind often does, his fellow citizens sneered at him, for he was poor and took no longer much care of himself.
One day he was found dead by his caretaker, a nurse who came to look after him once a day and to change the compresses on his necrotic leg. He had no family, and so his posessions were disposed of. One of the workers clearing the household yet beheld an old book of strange countenance, and within the book, which was written in strange lettering and, apparently, in the ancient language of the region, he found two pages with the design of a knife on it, which bears close resemblance to depictions and originals of the "Brekkersfelders dehhen".
From what seems to be legible on the handwritten pages, a story is told in a very archaic Nether German that incorporates some alien idioms, that relates to the local legend as well of the Volme valley as the Ennepe dale. Having tried to translate the lettering and the words, I can say that while appearing strange and outlandish at first, the "runes" bear a striking resemblance to hieratic writings as well as the archaic "Sytterlin" lettering system which was once common in Germany. It also seems that in the manuscript a local legend is represented, which is centered around a mythical figure of the Volme valley, the "Smith Of The Lei", and the associated kingdom of the dwarves of Finking. Now the Volme valley is in close vicinity of the community of Breckerfeld, and it is plausible that the legend somehow transpired into local folklore. In the manuscript, however, a direct connection is suggested, as a prophecy is uttered by this aforementioned "Smith Of the Lei", and directed to a swordsmith and bladesmith in Breckerfeld, who was depicted as an ally and friend of the "dwarves" that if his offspring ever needed a refuge, they should make a rondel knife close to the design depicted and the crags should open to them - should they utter the "words", I might add.
Had I just envisioned what journey lies ahead!
Oh, yes, always had I been different... all of the women in my family had been spookseers (spökenkiekers) and soothsayers apart from living a simple and strenuous peasant´s or blacksmith´s or locksmith´s life. I had not envisioned what lay ahead no less.
For beneath the darken crags of Hohenstein, there still they lie: The most ancient halls of Haukrinnar Stainns, the "Rock Of The Hawks", most ancient domain of Dúrathrond, king of Janpárardal, as the dwarves called it (the dale of making), deeply shrouded by the forest´s twilight, by twilight spell and magic of the mind, by trick of vision and curse of sight, by cunning and veil and magic work, by a cloak woven from moonlight and starlight and shadow and cobwebs... by song and chant and spell and curse, by iron, by steel and slag and fire, by tree and root and rock. There it is that truth fades into dream and dream withers and prospers and therefore it is that truth is born from lie. This magic cannot be circumpassed and not transgressed: Too strong are the spells that are sung into this fabric, the cloak of hiding, woven into the forest´s twilight and made thereof. It is hard to describe and harder to find; this finely woven silver thread.
Once upon a time, in a time, when time was but a mere word, there lived a folk in the crags of Haukrinnar Stainns. We humans like to call them "dwarves", and think of tiny-minded creatures of small stature, and we are quick to laugh and think of garden gnomes.
Let me give you a sincere warning: Nothing can be farther from the truth. And beware: They are often friendly and generous in giving, but their anger is kindled as quick and as fiery as their mirth and joy. Man has belittled them in order to feed his own arrogance and soothe his fear and awe in the face of the true rulers of woodland and mountainside. We tell tales of little beings labouring for man´s industry, but do not understand their gifts. Rarely has ever one man seen a blade made by the folk of the mist, as they prefer to call themselves. Ulfperchto was but apprentice to their mastersmiths, and yet it needs the skills of a master to even recreate his apprentice pieces. He has not given any of his works to humans for a long time and has long refrained from the beliefs of man. Man he once was, but no more... he has lived long now, but still his works improve. I have not met the Smith Of The Lei in person, but have been shown his works. The Niflungar they call themselves, those of the mist, and of the mist they are. They kill stealthily, and stealthily they tread: So alwas keep in mind the warning. Man and these beings are like spirit and water. Spirits burn, water does not. We forget this at our own risk.
Anyway, it was long, long ago, when first the folk of the mist came to the Ennepe valley, which then was not called by any name that is still known to man. They were the exiled survivors of an ancient race fleeing a war that had devastated their land, which some say was found in the "high places" in the South-East of the world. They came to the lands of the far North, and for a long time, settled there in a land of volcanic fire and mountains of glass. Had they been a people that lived in the woods and mountains in domed houses and huts before, they now settled in mountains, where they built workshops, forges and temples in the dark heart of the mountain and ramparts of green glass. There they went into hiding, for they feared a terror that had been wrought by their own people, the "Stone of the Dhuodhai", which some say was an all-powerful weapon, but a weapon it was not, but a sort of artificial focus. One part of their people had worked up a magic that is now all but extinct, for the powers they evocated could never be called upon afterwards; it was a spell that erased their individual reality while enabling them to become virtual. One of their master craftsmen explained it to me that way:
Assume you want to forge a knife. There is a picture in your mind beforehand, an idea, and then you go ahead and make a drawing of this idea, enabling it to become paper. Then you have an image of your idea. It does not incorporate everything the idea had, but still shows close resemblance to it. You draw other pictures, in order to catch the idea, which becomes actual, when you go to the smithy and forge that knife in actual. With creatures theybelieve in a similar process. There are infinite ideas, and, upon being born, from these ideas it is that the being springs to life, and it is rare and seldom that this being remembers what its idea was in the first, and even more rarely it remembers the multitude of ideas. Upon being born, and upon dying, beings lose consciousness. The living normally cannot remember the multitude, the all and the void, and the dead in a similar manner cannot remember life in one shape, for they see all of it and more. What part of the folk of the Dhuodhai now worked into this spell is that they sacrificed their actual bodies in favor of the ability to transgress void and life. Had they been masters of the "dance in the iron wood", their martial arts, before, many say that they became invincible by this act of magic. They did this to protect their loved ones from a threat that brought man to this world as well as endangering the whole of the planes of existence. It was not Evil, as many say, but just a race that was part of the universal multitude as well as their own, but this they only understood after becoming the folk of war. They rampaged among their enemies as a wolf amongst sheep afterwards, for they were not existent and could not be fought, and the primitive people they fought against, the Oreamm, the folk of fury, could not fathom their presence, for present they were no longer, but fictional. In fact, they were their own personification, and the spell was actually and originally a curse they had willfully inflicted upon themselves and altered and cunningly reforged like to the proces of refining a blade. In fact, they transformed into something that became synonymous with Death, and one of their favourite weapons became an attribute of the reaper, the "sickle of blood" became the scythe of Death. But all the killing and the terrors of war and the curse they had inflicted upon themselves had changed them, so that their own kin shunned them, and again those who remained unchanged fled. The stone they feared, the essence and magnifying focus of the bodies of the Dhuodhai na nCaláidhÍrenn, remained a terror that haunted their dreams at night, and who can say if it were not their actual kin? There are rumours that this terror was soothed when they found the heart of darkness, the light of silence, which plays an important role in their rites and culture.
Into hiding they went, and grew ever more subtle of stature, and over the times and eons that passed became a different race, although some say it be in the halls of Wórahhall, the red hill in the vicinity of Haukrinnarshall (which sometimes, by the way is also called "Janpararshall", but do not mention this when talking to one of the Wórahhall, for the meaning of Wórahhall is similar to Janpararshall, but Janpara is a word in the elder language of the "dwarves", and therefore a word of higher status, while the Haukrinnarshall-kin are less powerful in the eyes of the Wórahhall-kin, for they trace their ancestry back to Dúrinn Dúrinnssonar Dúrinnssonur Dúrinnsson, who is said by some to be the "father of stone" of their race and therefore holds a higher status amongst the folk of the mist) that scrolls are kept that state the race of dwarves was born from stone. The folk of Haukrinnarshall is different still; they are more swift and slender and less educated, but wilder than their more civilized kin from Finking or Wórahhall and are more akin to elves than "dwarves", and some of their men even clip their beards or even shave them off. Often, they get taller than their kin, and less muscular, and some are of a stunning, albeit disturbing beauty and irritating grace. One of the first and most disturbing erotic experiences I ever had was when I met a woman of the Janpara kin (which is, in fact, one of their oldest kins) in the woods during my adolescence, collecting herbs nearby an old iron mine ignorantly dug by humans near one of their entrances to an enclave of their kin, I never got over it, and I must admit my taste for female countenance amongst humanity has been changed forever by this encounter. Typically they have a high brow with high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes, sometimes slanted like a cat´s. Their ears, by the way, are NOT pointed, and they are well aware of the bullshit humans talk about their race. They have a little less curved arc on top of their ears, but the disturbing feature of their countenance is not that they look so different from us. They are typically very small in stature, but not in a way you would notice, say, in a railway station´s hall, and in fact, some of them amuse themselves by walking amongst us unseen and unnotices, making fun of our blindness. Their humour is typically very broad and swiftly kindled, as well as their anger, which is terrible even for the toughest human. But they like to laugh and sometimes their jokes are very gnarled, so to say, and sometimes very strange and deep. They are said to be immortal, but they can be wounded and they most certainly also die a natural death, like ourselves, but they are extremely long-lived, and due to a lot of exercise and certain foods not commonly available amongst men, they keep their health up into very high ages. Some of their folk are most certainly over 9000 years old, but since those are mostly not skilled in speaking a modern human language, and I am not good at speaking the elder tongue, this might be a misunderstanding, for they also believe in the concept of reincarnation, and I can only warn you to go boasting with this assumed knowledge. I have been given free permission to spread the little knowledge I have in order to maybe further understanding between our races-you have not. The Janpara-kin, as I like to call them, for the difference is very stark to the folk of Wórahhall, as I cannot cease to emphasize (and it annoys Grábak who is just now throwing his pint at me;-). But then Grábak is from Wórahhall, and dresses up funny with that camouflage pants and chainmail shirt he so much likes... ouch... :-D), anyway, the Janpara-kin is, as I said, one of the oldest clans in Haukrinnars-Stainns Hall, and they reign supreme over the other clans of the Haukrinnarshall kindom. I take their word in that they claim they first settled in the valley and lived by the creek until the first humans pressed in. At first they helped them a lot, and the first human settlers, who really toiled to make a living, profited from their help and prospered. Those first settlers never forgot to put bread and milk into the stable or on a window sill for the "elves", and both races lived in relative peace. It was with the advent of the new belief that the good relationship was deteriorating and the peasants and local smiths tried to exorcise them, which made them a laughing stock amongst the folk. Still, they retreated into the rampart within the crags and started expeditions in order to play cruel jokes like upturning the milk and disease and storm and havoc. When humans started burning their own, mostly those who had stayed friendly to the folk, they shook with disbelief. Still, they did not want to harm those who had been kind to them, for they did not understand that they were so short-lived that those who wanted to harm their kind were not the ones who had been friendly to them. And they recognized the frenzy of the self-pronounced priests and judges as madness and pitied them for it, but then humans have ravaged the nearby Kindom of Klauti-Radshall by their presence and driven the folk away with ruckus and litter. They have now fortified their remaining ramparts with even more spells of deception and a veil of mist and obscurity and withdrawn even farther into the twilight.
But still, they stick to their friends...
And sometimes, in the twilight, in the mist under the moon, when it rises from the dale, you might hear an eerie pipe or a low tune sung in the woods. Stay respectful, and do not insult them!
But you might obstain from sleeping under the hawthorn tree-you might become like me. ;-)
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