“The sharper the knife, the cleaner the line of the carving.”
–GarySnyder, Practice of the Wild
Gary Snyder wrote these wordsas a metaphor for the precision and elegance of relationships among members of the natural world, the knife of each species’ adaptations for survival honed on the whetstone of evolution. Given that understanding, he notes, we have a responsibility to live in ways that do as little harm to these relationships as possible, ways that don’t dull the blades. Because as any woodcarver knows, it’s the dull blade you need to watch out for, not the sharp one.
I love carving spoons with hand tools: a coping saw and hatchet to shape the wood, a straight knife, a curved spoon knife, and sandpaper.