Sample Whittlin Stick
Samuel moved over and sat next to his grandfather as Grandfather James and David took out their pocket knives and started whittling. Grandfather James had told Samuel that the Martin family men were some of the best whittlers in all the county back in Kentucky where he grew up. The Barlow pocket knife that Grandfather James used was one his grandfather carried during the Civil War. Grandfather James kept the knife blade sharp as a razor using the wet-stone which his father had given to him.
“Now Samuel come here and watch how I do this. You spit on the stone and then go in a slow figure eight pattern, and then turn the knife over and repeat that figure eight for the other side of the blade.” Grandfather James wiped the knife blade on his pant’s leg and said, “Now let me shave some of that peach fuzz off your arm to test the sharpness of the knife.”
Grandfather James shaved off a small patch of hair on Samuel’s forearm. Samuel’s father said, “Pretty soon he’ll be shaving his face. You think it’s time we showed him a thing or two about whittlin’?”
“I reckon he is old enough. Come here boy. Let me show you how to cut with the grain of the wood.” Samuel stood beside his grandfather as the old man’s steady hands slid down the dark cherry wood stick. The freshly sharpened knife moved easily through the wood. Grandfather James’ skilled hands firmly guided the blade back up against the grain to make a notch.