Thursday, August 1, 2013

More my style

Of souvenir, that is.

One of the most popular souvenirs of Alaska is an Ulu knife.
An ulu (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐅᓗ, plural: uluit, English: "woman's knife"[1]) is an all-purpose knife traditionally used by Eskimo women, both Yupik and Inuit. 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.
(Wikipedia, at link above)
Here's a typical souvenir, not sure where Mrs. Drang got it; she had it when we met. It's actually made of okay steel, but may well have come from A Las Ka, PRC. This is in the Savoonga style.
(An Ulu maker's leaflet that lists styles of Uluit is here.)

This one is Mrs. Drang's souvenir Ulu, a Nunavak style, I believe:
This one is actually Made in Alaska, USA. The handle hole is too small for me, which was the case with every Ulu of this style I tried. She found it in The Knife Shop in Juneau, AK.

In the same building was a small souvenir store that took a lot of our money, including for the bar of soap I posted about last week, and a nifty necktie with Northwest Native-style wolves on it. 

Bristol Bay pattern Ulu, blade of old carbon steel saw blade. 

That cutting board/bowl it's on actually came with Mrs. Drang's Ulu, and the bone stand hers is on in the photograph came with this one. This picture shows part of the reason I liked this one -- it fits!

I don't have a walrus or polar bear to butcher, but Mrs. Drang did ask me to shred some cabbage for slaw...
More info: Outdoors magazine: The Ulu Knife (.Pdf.)


Ms.Elaine-ious said...

The caribou bone stand that my caribou bone handled ulu is sitting on came with it. And that ulu fits my hand quite nicely. Your ulu is pretty nifty, and I like that we found one that fits your hand, but it didn't come with a stand.

Drang said...

I thought the bowl WAS the stand for your knife.

Ms.Elaine-ious said...

It looks like it works just dandy for making cabbage slaw. Just a thought, did my idea make my cutting bowl turn purple? I'm not sure how well I had seasoned it.

Ms.Elaine-ious said...

the cutting bowl was a "come into our store" incentive - it works well to hold yours :D

Ms.Elaine-ious said...

That first ulu was purchased somewhere around 1980. I used it when I was trimming the inside of a sheepskin prior to tanning it. The curved shape is pretty useful for that.

DaddyBear said...

Drang, got a link to the company that made yours? I need a good hand-axe, for.... things.

Ms.Elaine-ious said...

DaddyBear try
2 Marine Way #114
Merchants Wharf, Juneau
(907) 586-1327
we didn't see any of the Bristol Bay style on his shelf when we were there but I bet that they could make them
OR contact Rufus K Page at
2 Marine Way # 120
Merchants Wharf,
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 586-2600
the gift store where we actually bought his (they had 2 when we walked in)

Drang said...

Maynard Lidner, Dancing Man Knives; lives in Homer AK, does not sell direct. His wife does have an ebay store: Knives, Antler Handles items in LocalShowcase store on eBay!

You might also look into the Shakaulu by CRKT

DaddyBear said...


Anonymous said...

That's the most appealing Ulu I've ever seen, nice, congrats!
-Erik from Seattle