A Damascus knife: Needful thing or object of art?

Every year around this time, I start thinking about what I’m going to buy myself for my birthday. I start early because it always takes awhile to come up with the perfect item. Even once I determine what it’s going to be, it takes awhile to find the perfect specimen.

It’s always something that I’d never permit myself any other time of the year.

It’s usually something that is a little on the pricey side — and WAY on the cool and luxurious side. In recent years, it’s usually had something to do with writing. A hand-tooled, leather covered journal. A fantastic pen. Luxury papers. A leather-bound book. A leather case for my writing tools or a leather cover for standard composition books that turns the ordinary into something extraordinary. High quality inks. A watercolor set. Art papers. A engineering-grade mechanical pencil.

It’s not that I intended to do the pen and ink path… it just happened. But this year, I’m going to break away from that.

This year, I’m going to attempt to locate my perfect daily-use knife. I love my sterling flatware pattern. I’m spoiled and hate to eat with stainless. I like MY fork. (Eccentric, perhaps, but true.) I prefer my spoons to any others. And the sterling knife that goes with the set is great for spreading butter… and little else.

I need a real knife, one that can slice through a medium-rare slab of steak as easily as it would slide though Jello. I want it to be sink-washable, beautiful and a pleasure to use. I don’t want anything that’s run-of-the-mill.

This summer, at a Renaissance festival, I saw my perfect knife. Unfortunately, it was not for sale. S’ok, though, the one at that same booth (that was not as pretty) was over $600. If it had been for sale, I wouldn’t have bought it. I’m eccentric, not crazy. (Not rich either.)

It wasn’t terribly decorative or overly fanciful. It was beautiful in its simplicity. The blade was artfully marked Damascus steel with a nice, hefty full-length tang and a hand-polished bone handle. It was balanced and ideally weighted. The handle was neither too long, nor too short. It was perfect. And it is responsible for starting my knife-lust. (Dang it!)

So now, I’m searching.

I’ve found some fantastic examples. Some are more art-knives than knives intended for daily use. Many of the really pretty ones are “folders” and I really want a standard “fixed” blade knife. But, with that said, here are some pretties for you to view:

http://www.gallagherknives.com
http://www.stamascus-knife-works.com/ (check out the custom engraving work on some of these!)

And if you are richer than Midas, and want something that is an amazing work of art, you can bump around over on this site: http://www.engravingarts.com for works like this engraved knife and this one or maybe one from a different site, like this one. Wow, eh?

A pen may be mightier than a sword… but is it prettier than these knives? (Now, my pen is really pretty, but I don’t think it beats out these beauties!) I may not find my knife this year… but I’ll be looking for it now. Eventually, I’ll find it.

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