Know your Knives: The Yakut knife of Russia

inside_draft_blade

The Yakutian knives feature an extremely pronounced fuller on one side of the blade.

The Yakutia region of northern Russia is home to a unique style of knife. Developed by people who carve an existence out of the frozen tundra, these knives are the end result of centuries of refinement of use by people who depend on them for their survival.

From SiberianTimes:

In Yakutia, they call these knives the ‘third arm’ of local herders and hunters. They’re used to kill bears, cut wood – and shave – based on a technology that has been tried and tests through many centuries.

Alexander Gogolev, 41, spoke as he forged his latest creations, deploying methods handed down through time.

‘Our knives are manufactured in line with old traditions, we forge the blades in such a way that no one can copy its shape,’ he said. ‘People understand why this shape of blade is good but cannot figure out how we make it.’

He explained: ‘Our knives are made in the old tradition. They are forged. Previously, there were no machine-tools, so everything was hand-forged with small hammers.

inside_forging_2

The fuller is created one punch at a time

The most noticeable feature is the extreme fuller on one side of the blade. It is flat on the opposite side, with a single grind. This leads to very low surface contact with the material being cut, and thus extremely low resistance. The smith says the steel is not hardened to a particularly high Rockwell rating, for ease of sharpening in the field.

If not for the fuller and single grind, they seem similar to the blades of Scandinavia. There is something about a compact blade such as this that is ideally suited to life in the woods of northern Europe.

The photography in the piece is very well done and if you have a couple of minutes, it is worth a read.

 

h/t James

comments

  1. cmeat says:

    so, it’s like a scandi grind on one side?
    seems like the blade’s fuller (new term for me) is encouraging fingers to choke up for detail or scraping work.
    again a reminder of the correlation between size and latitude.
    excellent read, i really enjoyed that.

    1. sagebrushracer says:

      that crude I beam shape adds a huge amount of strength while saving weight and reducing friction while cutting. Elegantly simple.

  2. Jason says:

    That’s a very interesting knife. Thank you.

  3. PeterK says:

    I love this blog.

  4. bastiches says:

    So it’s a giant blood groove?

  5. Sam L. says:

    Thanks for another good one!

  6. Anchampion03 says:

    Great read but they never touched on the one thing that really sticks out on the blade, the massive groove
    What function does that serve? A massive blood channel?

  7. Guys, it is not a blood groove. That is a misnomer; the feature has nothing to do with blood. That is like calling a certain type of rifle an “assault weapon”… it only serves to make something sound scarier than it actually is.

    Fullers have traditionally served one purpose… making the blade lighter. Reducing surface friction, as in the case of the Yakut knife, is a new one to me, and something I had never considered.

    1. AW1Ed says:

      Rather like the scalloped type blade one sees on certain chef’s knives. Less surface area, less friction. Genius.

      1. sagebrushracer says:

        More like a skeletonized cheese knife, same idea. less surface area, less resistance. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.

    2. Anchampion03 says:

      Just wondering, I’m 100% ignorant when it comes to this type of blade, I was just taking a stab at guessing

      1. As are we all (ignorant). I like finding these “Know your Knives” posts.

        I always learn something writing them and they are typically well received.

  8. Alex says:

    Greetings, knife lovers.

    If anybody is interested in purchasing yakut knives from local (yakut) blacksmiths – message me: frstrm100[at]gmail.com

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Know your Knives: The Yakut knife of Russia

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