Knife - Handle Woods - Australia's Desert Acacias, Part 1
Desert acacias or wattles as they are sometimes called, include woods from the deserts and "outback" regions of Australia. They are usually from small, often twisted trees or large shrubs. They include species like mulga, various gidgees, minneritchie, myalls and lesser-known, yet equally interesting species like waddywood, purpleheart wattle, western snakewood, bowyakka and even raspberry jam! Yes some do smell of raspberries and even flowers, like violets or boronia. These qualities become apparent when grinding and polishing. Neat eh? They all originate from our dry, outback, hot-forged and slow-grown in the desiccating desert sands.
These desert woods have for millennia been used for weapons and tools (eg spears, boomerangs, digging sticks, clubs etc) and most recently also for tool and knife handles. Their low natural moisture contents mean that they don't shrink much on drying or in service. Some compare with the best woods in the world (eg like ebony or Arizona desert ironwood) for their beauty and usefulness especially for fine, custom made knives and in other small turned or carved hand crafts (like pens, jewelery etc).
Read more: Australian Woods for Handle Materials
As the embers die down in the forge, the sparks stop flying off the grinder, the handle shaped and the sheath stitched, there is one step left in the process of knifekmaking:
Take the photograph that will provide a lasting memory of your hard work long after the knife has passed on to that special family member, neighbour or loyal customer.
Photographing knives poses a special problem in the art of photography – how do you capture the fine detail of that textured handle while wanting to show the blade as a flawless flat finish? And just how do you take a picture of a blade without showing yourself as a reflection in the mirror finish?
Read more: How to Photograph Knives