Auction #12 and #13 for Freethought Blogs Legal Defense Fund

This for the FtB legal defense fund. See [go fund me] for details. Rules are below:

Grim wins #12 for $43
Eric D. Red wins #13 for $43 Thank you both for supporting FTB!

The upper (slightly longer) of the two is Auction #12 and the lower (shorter and wider) is #13.

These are “kiridashi” – Japanese-style box cutters. They’re also favored by gardeners, woodworkers (as marking knives) and just about anyone who needs a knife that can sit on a workbench or desk and score, open, or poke things. As you can see, they are chisel-ground and you’d be excused for thinking “that looks mighty sharp” because they are. Right now they need a touch-up on the edge but I photographed them with the coffee-etch blackening un-messed-with.

You may notice something that looks like a crack on the tip; that’s actually just a stain from where the tip of the blade was leaning against the bottom of the etch tank. The edges are fine.

These are made of low layer-count twist damascus of 1095 high carbon and 15N20 high carbon steel. First, I made a couple of chunks of the twist and then I welded those onto a base piece of 1095 to make up the edge. The transition-line is clearly visible, but only because I etched them to bring it out visually. It may look like otherwise but after all the welding, hammering, and grinding, these are single pieces of steel.

Speaking from experience, kiridashi are not fun to drop on your foot. I’m just saying.

In Japan some master-work kiridashi fetch “collectable” prices but mine aren’t like that; these are basically scraps. It took me about an hour to make each of them, compared to the days or weeks a more complex knife requires. So don’t get carried away by the “oooo! damascus!” lure and don’t bid these up very high. Traditional Japanese kiridashi are tamahagane (hand-smelted iron sands steel) and Hitachi blue paper #1 steel (the finest high carbon steel anyone makes) – the materials that go into a high-end kiridashi cost probably $30 just for the steel, which is heinous.

A Request: If you already have a blade by me, please refrain from bidding on these so that other people who don’t can have a chance to pick one up, cheap.


You can bid in the comments, or bid by emailing me [link]. If you email, I will assume that you wish to remain anonymous and will post a comment in the bidding section that reads: “Anonymous bid in the amount of $___”

Whoever bids the most for whichever kiridashi wins it for $1 more than the second highest bidder bid. For example, if I bid $75 and Joe bids $5 and I’m the highest bidder, that makes Joe the second highest bidder, and I win the thing for $6. This is a variation of the Ebay bidding algorithm and, while it is less effective at milking money from the bidders, it discourages people from feeling that they need to log in at the last minute and try to bid over someone else. At the time when bidding closes, whichever bid is the highest, whether it’s email or a comment, wins.

The winner is expected to donate the agreed-upon amount to the defense fund and send me suitable proof (a screenshot or whatever) and give me a shipping address, at which point I’ll box it up and send it along!

Since we don’t have an automated bidding system like Ebay, I’d like to discourage “auction sniping.” If you want the thing, bid what you’re willing to pay for it and just see what happens. If you simply must have it, bid $1million for it and if the second highest bidder bids $50, it’s yours for $51.

If you do not win, you owe nothing!

AUCTION CLOSES Saturday April 18, AT 10:00AM EST

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My comment settings require manual approval for the first comment from a person. If you comment and don’t see it, I’ll get it, fear not. If you email me and do not get an acknowledgement, and you are gmail user, check your spam box. Google’s spam algorithms don’t like me for reasons I have never cared to figure out.


  1. tanstaafl1970 says

    I work in shipping and receiving at a community college. As such, I open many boxes a day supporting our distance learning students. An implement that I can wash down with bleach, with no moving parts would be ideal. I offer you $100, and would love to see your work.

    – Chris Polhemus

  2. says

    I would suggest that religion killed Prince just as much as opiates did. As a jehovah witness he refused blood transfusions but no surgeon would operate on his hips for his badly needed hip replacement surgery without blood on back up. It’s a notoriously bloody procedure. So he was in constant pain and needed ever higher doses of narcotics.
    Normally, pain itself is a good antidote for a narcotic overdose, but when your dosage gets into the stratosphere it gets harder to do it correctly and safely.

  3. says

    I work in shipping and receiving at a community college. As such, I open many boxes a day supporting our distance learning students. An implement that I can wash down with bleach, with no moving parts would be ideal. I offer you $100, and would love to see your work.

    Is that a bid, or an opening negotiation for a commissioned piece? If it’s a bid, for which? #12 or #13?

    One of these kiridashi is not worth $100, FYI. They’re nice and sharp and pretty but they’re not worth that much. I could probably whip out 10 of these in a day.

    If it’s for a commission, email me and we can talk about options, because if you’re talking a $100 kiridashi you get some say in the metals and layout. You want wrought iron and Hitachi Blue #1? Or maybe a motorcycle chain facing on top of 1095? Anyhow, there’s more to discuss if that’s what you’re looking for.

  4. says

    Dave W@#5:
    An hour to make each?

    Welding some existing pieces of stock together and rough-shaping them is pretty simple; it takes a while to do the forge-welding but I’m mostly working on something else while the billet for the kiridashi sits in the corner getting hot. Then cutting it and shaping it is pretty fast. The part that takes time is grinding the bevel, because there’s a lot of steel to remove and it gets hot, so I have to keep dunking it to keep it from burning the steel or my hand. But it’s meditative work; the time flies by.

  5. says

    Marcus Ranum @8:

    Sorry, I got interrupted and then forgot to finish my thought before entering my bid. If it took an hour to make each, then we’ll get a good idea of how much people value your labor, on an hourly basis. After the raw materials, gas, flux, electricity, coffee, and I imagine you’re losing some of whatever you’re dunking in to evaporation, I think I basically offered just a little more than $15/hour.

  6. DrVanNostrand says

    I’ll bid 40 on #12. Unless that first guy already bid 100 on it. In that case, I’ll put my 40 on #13.

  7. says

    I am going to call the first commenter’s bid as “unclear” and invalid, since I can’t tell what they’re saying they want.

    That leaves the $30 bid at #4 which is also unclear. Invalid.

    I have a $30 bid for #13 that came in via email, and DrVanNostrand’s $40 bid on #12 – those are the current leading bids.

    Unless there are any bids over those two, they’ll get them (by my broken bidding system) for $1 more than the lower bid, I.e.: Dave W’s pair of $20 bids.

  8. says

    Dave W@#9:
    I think I basically offered just a little more than $15/hour.

    Fortunately, I am not doing this as a business! I’d be in the red until sometime in 2090.

  9. says

    Marcus Ranum @12 wrote:

    I’d be in the red until sometime in 2090.

    Well, I can’t let that happen, even if the proceeds are going to the Defense Fund instead of into your pockets. I’ll up my bid to $42 on each, so that you’re not getting $21 for each. There’s some Douglas Adams poetry to that, too.

  10. grim says

    I bid $50 for #12. It’ll be good to have a fancy blade that I can’t possibly use a honing rod on.

  11. Eric D Red says

    I’m the guy that emailed in a bid, and finally cleaned up my login. 45 for #13.

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