Woman’s Knife


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Description of the Product

These handy yet simple utility knives called women’s knives were forged from iron and later steel. According to folklore these knives were made of broken swords and other longer blades, repurposing the smaller pieces into something still serviceable. This knife was fast, simple and inexpensive to make, and yet it was perfect for its intended purpose in tasks around the house and in the kitchen. The knife didn’t have a wooden handle, so there was nothing to catch fire if the knife was forgotten on top of the stove.

The history of the woman’s knife can be traced to central European iron age; the earliest surviving knives are from around 500bce. The use of this small utility knife spread during the migration period to the areas surrounding the North and Baltic seas. The busy trading and sailing routes of the north guaranteed that these knives are found on all of its shores. With the comings and goings of the Vikings, the woman’s knife eventually spread even further out. As an affordable and essential everyday item, the knife was taken everywhere the people went.

Since the woman’s knife is a simple utility knife there are very few burial finds, since they stayed in use or were repurposed for other uses. Viking women, as well as women from other tribes living on the northern shores, such as the saxons, were the main users of these knives. The matriarchs would hang the knife together with important keys and other essentials either from her belt, or from chains attached with brooches. The basic shape of the woman’s knife is surprisingly similar across the shores, but differences can be found for example on the sharpness or bluntness of the tip, and how the tang forming the handle has been turned.

Even though the name of this type of knife in oral tradition is called a woman's knife men most likely used knives like this also. All simple tools in the past were most likely used by both sexes, out of necessity, as tools still nowadays are.

  • Comes with a leather sheath with belt loop
  • Total length approx. 17 cm
  • Blade length approx. 8 cm
  • Weight approx. 100 g
  • Material: High carbon steel
  • Sharpness: Sharp
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