A fun little project this afternoon:
Almost 10 years ago while living/traveling in South America, I bought a gaucho knife from a knife maker in a little outdoor market in El Bolson, Argentina. All that the maker could tell me was that the blade was made from an old leaf spring, and that the handle was made from ñirre, a hardy South American beech common in Patagonia. I continued to use the knife for the rest of the trip, but since then, it has pretty much languished in a drawer.
Not sure why, but today that knife popped into my head and I decided to dig it out. The leather was dry and neglected, so the first thing I did was give it a couple treatments of Montana Pitch. Then it was time to bring the edge back to life, which took a fair bit of effort, given it never had the most even grind to begin with (but being old, high carbon steel, it will take and hold a wicked edge quite nicely). And then I rubbed a little linseed oil into the handle, and an old traveling friend had returned.
Length overall – 8-1/4″
Blade length – 4-3/4″
For those unfamiliar with these knives, this is the one knife that a gaucho would have on his person and use 24/7, stuck into his belt, for just about everything from cutting rope to splitting kindling to his “meat knife” at the day’s end ‘asado’ or BBQ. My example would be on the smaller end of what is often carried: