Happy Birfday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday, but I just now got a gift from Rick (I was crashed when he got home last night, and we’ve been very busy all day), and wowsa, was I surprised. And beyond pleased, to say the least. A couple of years ago, I got Rick a machete. Guess what I got? Eeeeeeeeeee. Overall length is 19.5 inches, blade length is 13 inches, Damascus steel. Click images for full size. It has a fine hand fit, is fairly light, and very well balanced. Excitement! Thank you so much, Love.




© C. Ford.


  1. blf says

    That’s also not going to work on peas, and whilst perhaps more effective & fun than the Venetian stiletto when used on horses, is still only going to annoy them.

    The mildly deranged penguin says it should be very effective lasso for herding dust bunnies. Just swing it around and around until all the dust bunnies have been blown away by the wind yer generating, or else pulverised. She suggests first eating all the cheese you don’t put in the armoured vault.

  2. says


    Just swing it around and around until all the dust bunnies have been blown away by the wind yer generating, or else pulverised.

    Good idear. :D

  3. blf says

    Damascus steel.

    Not the real stuff, which no-one now knows how to make. According to Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge, the process was probably lost c.1750 (I must admit my recollection is the knowledge was lost rather earlier than that).

  4. says

    Well, if the cops grab you at least they won’t have to do a cavity search to find it. ;)

    That is a really really sweet chopper. He must really really like you.

  5. says

    (and congrats on another successful orbit of The Sun, at insane speeds, as we’re exploding outward into the universe and swirling into a supermassive black hole! It’s disorienting, I know, but we’re small enough it’s really no bother)

  6. blf says

    Yes, it is [Damascus steel]! Lovely work, that blade. It’s a Gary Cox.

    Apologies for the cold water which follows…

    Not the real stuff (Damascus steel), which has not been made for over 200 years.

    And there are plausible claims that “Gary Cox” knives are made by a factory in Pakistan or China. I’ve certainly not been able to locate any evidence there is a knifemaker called “Gary Cox”, but such knives are indeed advertised in bulk.

    At one point in time, there was a Gary Cox who was Scotland’s head of alcohol and knives licensing. I’ve not looked into this gentleman or that office any further.

    As someone who doesn’t know anything about knives, I admit it does look neat. But I suspect is it largely a fantasy. Sorry.

  7. Raucous Indignation says

    That is incredibly lovely; happy birthday! I have a Damascus steel Santoku and chef’s knife. They are too beautiful to chop mere vegetables. I don’t really know what to do with them. Maybe the centerpiece this Thursday?

  8. Desert Son, OM says


    How are you? It has been too long since I visited to offer greetings and wish you well. And Happy Birthday! What a fantastic blade!

    I have been working on completing my doctorate, subsumed in task and turmoil.

    I have thought about you this year. As I read reports about the actions of life by the water protectors of Standing Rock, I thought of you. As the toxic horror of the 2016 Presidential election unfolded, I thought of you. In moments of back pain I thought of you.

    Each time I would think about how much you have taught me, or about a photograph you have taken, or about Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day), or about stitching you have carefully crafted, or about a scampering rat, or about a horse in winter sunlight.

    Now is pain for friends and loved ones, for health, for water and air and earth and food, for diversity and decency, for education, for art, for love, for listening.

    Now is pain for a nation and for many nations and for all the nations including all the nations that were here long before this nation, all the nations that are still here in this nation, all the nations that know this pain is not-at-all-new, not even remotely, just ask around . . . .

    I have heard some say, “Now, more than ever,” and wonder why more than ever? Simply “now.” Simply “now” that acknowledges “now” without diminishing the “ever,” for how can we attend to “now” without understanding the “ever” that gave way to “now?”

    Scared, angry, sad, frantic, sleepless, lost, puzzled in this nation—this nation in its entitled tantrums, its blazing brilliance, its race to horizons, its chilling fear, its myths of purity, its sense of hope, its rush to arms, its crushing waves, its vast geographic beauty, its maximum sound volume, its Civil War, its wrathful economic god, its rampancy, its addictions, its technological seductions, its desire to own, its fantastic foods, its places of subtle quiet, its melanin fear, its moments of intersection, its moments of insurrection, its multiple colors and sounds and shapes and sizes, its tremendous complexity, its curiously desperate leaps to simplistic answers, its desire to punish, its contempt for women, its moments of caring, its place on a tiny mote of debris hurtling through the most inhospitable environment ever.

    I spoke encouragingly to others about the election and events and implications. I sought and read voices of women, of people of color, of varied gender-identity, of diverse sexuality, of the disabled, of artists, of scientists, of teachers, of the curious, and the compassionate, and the struggling. I voted for Hillary Clinton and down-ballot Democrats in a deeply conservative county in a deeply conservative state packed to bursting with guns. I had optimism about the outcome because of some of the things I read.

    And days later I find myself still among a demographic consumed by a wretched and cruel vision of history as something to be conquered, instead of seeing it as a canvas to be beautifully painted by countless hands; instead of seeing it as lovingly shaped pottery strong enough to hold vital water, and yet fragile enough to shatter under rage; instead of seeing it as stitch-work entrusted to all of us that we might map limitless threads in celebration of unnumbered lives.

    I melted down the Wednesday after the election, a little after 7 p.m., alone. Since, I return to the work of trying to do better and trying to build better, just as crucial had she been elected.

    So, once again, from one point in a network of electrons,

    *stands with*

    Just a few hours ago I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation after a long and fraught journey. I pause now, reflecting on the brink of another long and fraught journey, realizing it’s actually the same road, portions of electrified hydrogen and carbon, 43 years old, 200,000 years old, 4.5 billion years old, 13.7 billion years old.

    I wanted to contact you and give you something beautiful: a word, a song, a hope, a bright jest, a clever rat, a lifetime supply of threads and yarns, an environmentally-friendly-modified Mini Cooper with hefty suspension and heavy-duty tires for winter mud and some sort of cool system that augments your agency getting into and out of the driver’s seat and maybe a totally devastating set of sunglasses. Something. But I regret I don’t have any of those things. I have only profoundest thanks. After years of studying with leading scholars and outstanding instructors—for whom I am grateful—I still readily and proudly consider you among the mightiest and most important teachers I have ever known.

    I am sorry it has been so long since I said hello. Happy Birthday, and thank you.

    Still learning,


  9. says

    Marcus @ 12:

    That is a really really sweet chopper. He must really really like you.

    He does. I really, really like him, too. :) I haven’t been able to test it yet, but Rick has, on a couple of young elms, said it went through them like a hot knife through butter. I did give it a good backhand, and it’s beautiful on the backhand, lots of strength.

    Raucous Indignation @ 15:

    I have a Damascus steel Santoku and chef’s knife.

    Ooooh, that sounds fantastic! I’m a bit jealous.

    Desert Son @ 16:

    I am sorry it has been so long since I said hello. Happy Birthday, and thank you.

    One of the very best gifts I could ever be given, you gave to me, and that’s hearing from you. You make my life better, Robert. You make my world better. I’d hug you to pieces if I could. Thank you. And congratulations on your successful defense! That is wonderful news.

  10. Ice Swimmer says

    After a bit of Wikipeeding, I’ve established that I’d call that thing a “väkipuukko” (seax, literally power or strong knife) or “hukari” (which is cutlass in Finnish, the name comes from Swedish hugga, to strike).

  11. says

    Happy birthday!

    I was musing lately if you would consider a hand made knife a form of art, and I got my answer without asking :)

  12. rq says

    Happy birthday, Caine! A cutlass, eh? Very piratey, very appropriate.
    I sure do love that patterning on the blade. Like someone mixed up smoke and water and made it solid and sharp. Happy … uh, chopping? :)

  13. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Happy birthday!
    Looks like the puppet mistress and you share a love of sharp pointy things !
    (In her case folded-steel Japanese kitchen knives)
    Lovely design!

  14. says

    Thank you! There’s nothing like a good machete for tackling a mostly feral, um, garden. I hesitate to call what we have a garden. A wildness, maybe. :D

  15. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Very nice blade. Happy birthday!

    I love blades of all sorts, but can’t really afford the collection I’d like to have. I currently have a couple of blunted practice weapons (steel, and some resin wasters), a 16th century cut and thrust style blade, a very nice 16th century (replica) dagger, a throwing axe, and a very nice Viking hewing spear (the blade is the size of a short sword!), also a recurve bow, and a really nice blowgun.

  16. says

    Thank you both!


    I love blades of all sorts, but can’t really afford the collection I’d like to have.

    Oh, same here. We both just groan when another Museum Replicas catalogue shows in the mail. I’ve been eyeballing the Maldon Seax, among many others.

  17. dakotagreasemonkey says

    Desert Son,
    Thank you for your post. I have not read a more eloquent opinion of what’s happening at all the camps at Standing Rock. Lila Wopila! When you have time, please voice your opinion here, it will be much appreciated. Worldwide.

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