Introduction: Making a ULU Knife

Picture of Making a ULU Knife

History: (An ulu (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐅᓗ, plural: uluit, English: "woman's knife"[1]) is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Inuit, Yup'ik and Aleut women. It is utilized in applications as diverse as skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child's hair, cutting food and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo.)


Step 1: Make a Drawing, Template or Just Free Hand.

Picture of Make a Drawing, Template or Just Free Hand.

I have always wanted a ULU knife. So I made one.


What's needed:

Steel of your choice (1084, 1095 will make a better blade. 440c is stainless steel) I used basic plate metal from a scrap yard.

Tools to cut out the pattern. I used my plasma cutter. (Drilling, cutting with grinder will work too)

Angle grinder with cutting and grinding discs. To clean up the plasma cutting.

72x2 inch knife belt grinder (*)

Sandpaper range from 36* grit down to 1500 grit (power hand sander* helps, but not needed).

Very hot fire for Harding the steel (fire pit with BBQ briquettes and a fan will do the same).

Cold water (if using basic plate steel) or warm water or oil for 1084 or 1095 steel. Stainless steel needed to be frozen with nitrogen.

Ruler, pencil or pen.

Leather gloves, eye protection and some time to make your own ULU

Step 2: Grinding the Edge

Picture of Grinding the Edge

I used my angle grinder with a 36 grit flap wheel.

Marking my line for the bevel was scribed In at 3/4 inch for each side.

My center line for the edge is (total thickness, divided in half, minus 1/16 or even 1/64th) the stock I'm using is 3/16th.

Using a paint pen, I marked the scribed lines to see them better.

Now I know what needs to be taken off with the grinder. This also starts my edge.

Step 3: Cleaning Up the Knife

Picture of Cleaning Up the Knife

Sanding, filing, sanding more..... Resting from all the sanding...... Sanding some more..


I put some texture on the ULU blade by getting an empty coffee can (plastic is better) walking down the drive way and picked up about 1/4 full of 3/4 inch crushed driveway rocks; added to coffee can.

(Sorry, no photos)

Put your blade in with the rocks, add some oil of your choice.

Cover with coffee lid and duck tape it closed.

Wrap (two beach towels, one after the other) around the coffee can. Using string to tie the towels around the coffee can. This is to make less noise when you toss it into your dryer (NO HEAT AT ALL) for 2 hours. You then have what's called "stone washed knife".

Pass the above step if you like.

Step 4: Adding the Handle and Sharpen the Blade

Picture of Adding the Handle and Sharpen the Blade

I'm using walnut cut down to 1-1/4x1 inch square.

Took the blade and traced the shape on the wood. Then make the lines connect on all 4 sides. Look at the top, mark your center line. Take the thickness of the blade stock and divide that in half. Blah, blah..... (If you need help centering, just ask)

I then used a hand drill to make the opening for the blade to fit.

Then I heated the of the knife tip up with a torch and burned the wood out. Perfect fit.

Drilled holes for brass pins to hold the handle on.

Sanding and cutting to make it round. I used a small hand planer, it helped.

From square to round, it time to glue in the pins and let dry.

Time to buff and sharpen the blade. I used sand paper from 100 grit down to 1500 grit on the bevel only. (Some filing might need to be done). (Warning: you are also making your blade sharp... Be careful).

This ULU is so sharp, that I have cut 3 fingers, a thumb, and punctured a thumb nail (I'm healing and ok).


The more time you spend on the, the better it will look.

This project to me about 18 hours to build.

Step 5: Done

Picture of Done

Enjoy you new ULU Knife..



Let talk if you have any questions..

Comments

JulianAzz (author)2015-08-26

This is more than cool, its, its... EPIC!

FZR (author)JulianAzz2015-08-26

thank you! EPIC thank you.

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