Yakut knives: forging, sharpening, drawing


The knife, which is somewhat different from the usual in our understanding, is asymmetrical, with notches on one side of the blade - residents of Yakutia have long used such products. Today, Yakut knives are the hallmark of this region of Russia.

History of

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is known in the world as the main supplier of diamonds. The musical instrument khomus is recognizable even in the most remote corners of the earth. Another famous invention is the Yakut knives. Since ancient times, the people of the Turkic language group have been living in such a vast territory. Ancestors of modern inhabitants from Central Asia came. The Yakuts call themselves “Sakha”. Having mastered the harsh laws of living in the northern lands, this nation not only adapted to them, but also learned to derive benefit from them.

Since ancient times, Sakha learned to mine and process iron ore. Blacksmithing was not inferior to the products of blacksmiths from developed European countries. Russian Cossacks in the seventeenth century, beginning to interact with the Yakut hunters, noted the quality of their tools of labor and hunting. Blacksmiths Yakuts were able to smelt iron, bypassing the stage of iron.

Archaeological work on the territory of the settlement of this ancient people allows us to prove the centuries-old history of Yakut knives. In the studied burial grounds and sites, scientists find samples of knives that are very similar to Yakut knives. Through the millennia, they retained their size, geometric parameters and appearance.


The design of the knife has not changed for many centuries of its existence, but the ratio of the blade and the handle may vary in each case. Different regions of Yakutia have their own standards for the manufacture of this product. The classic Yakut working knife is a blade 110-170 millimeters mounted on a wooden handle.


Among the variety there are three main types. The first is distinguished by its small size. The length of the blade is from 80 to 110 mm. It is made for children and women. Used for various operations in the household. The second type is the traditional and most common knife. Blade length - no more than seventeen centimeters. It is used by hunters and fishermen. No man can do without him. The third type is rarely made, because it is large and looks like a military weapon. Blade length - from eighteen to thirty centimeters. It is called respectfully "hotohon".


The hunters themselves secrete tundra and taiga knives. The difference between them is in the width of the blade. With a narrow blade, a tundra knife is more commonly used for drilling and rivers. Taiga knife with a wider blade is used for cutting prey and livestock or working with wood.

Main feature

The most important difference is that the blade of the Yakut knife is asymmetric. The knife itself has a blunt and straight back with a sharp end. Sharpen it with only one (left) side. If you look at the knife from the handle, the side faces will be completely different. The left side is convex, completely smooth.


All knives with an asymmetric profile are sharpened from the working (right) side, but the sharpening of the Yakut knife is done only on the left. This approach has its own explanation: the master most often processes the tree. Having a knife in hand, a man precisely regulates the depth of planing. The same feature gives the accuracy of the multifunctional planer.

Cutting frozen meat or fish is much easier, the knife goes like clockwork. Taking off the skin of an animal, making it such a knife is a joy, because everything happens quickly and without delay. Another undoubted advantage: you can sharpen such a knife even in field conditions. For this, a stone or, for example, the edge of a metal bucket will do.

On this basis, the Yakuts distinguish knives for right-handers and left-handers. For right-handed need a standard knife, sharpened on the left side. For left-handers have to make a special mirror mirror.

Second feature

The right side of the blade is usually absolutely straight, in the center there is a longitudinal groove. The presence of a dale on the one side of the blade is another feature of the Yakut. Masters make knives with a short and thin dol or a wide full-length blade. Call him Yakuts Yos. The appearance of such features is explained in different ways. The first version of the occurrence of such a detail associates with the original material of the manufacture of the knife from the cut along the bone. And the gutter is nothing but a hole in the bone marrow.


Another option: Yakut knives were made of two components. The base is made of soft iron, the hard part is for the blade. This was done to save solid steel. In this case, the chute was like a compensatory leash that appeared during the tempering process of the two components of the blade.

The flat right side plays an important role. It brings the blade section to a quadrangular shape. To work with wood or tailoring leather must be applied force. Punching action is enhanced by such a special form of the Yakut knife.

What is the gutter for?

There are several reasons for the relevance of the dale. In addition to saving iron, there are practical indicators. In Yakutia, frost is often below 30-40 degrees Celsius. Knife without a dale is difficult to sharpen and edit. Blade with a dale thinner, very sharp, well holds the edge. Sharpen it easily and quickly.


A wide chute for cutting the carcass allows the knife to touch the meat with only the back side. The gutter remains free, the skin of the animal is removed easier by reducing the touch area. The recess in the blade freely drains blood.

The presence of the gutter allows to facilitate the weight of the product The master, when the Yakut knife is forged, tries to make it easy so that it does not sink in water. The fisherman, dropping the knife from his hands, is sure that he will not sink, or at least not immediately go to the bottom. To keep afloat helps specific handle.


At first glance, the handle of the knife has nothing special. It is made of birch burl - this is a kind of growth on a tree trunk. Impregnate the finished pen with special oil. The length of the handle - thirteen to fifteen centimeters. When ordering individually, the palm width is measured, the handle should be slightly wider, without any guard or stops. The shape of the handle resembles an egg, the narrow part of which is directed towards the blade. Taking a knife in his hand, the hunter feels convenience and reliability.


Sometimes the handle is made of birch bark. For fishermen such a special requirement: the master must make the Yakut knife such that the handle can keep it afloat. Products with plastic or mammoth bone handles play the role of souvenirs. In everyday life they do not use.

Sheath for "Yakut"

Peculiar sheath need Yakut knife. Initially, for this took oxtail. It was turned inside out with a stocking, a wooden insert was inserted inside. The dimensions of the liner should have been larger than the knife itself. His task was not to hold the knife, but to protect it from damage.

The knife goes into the sheath on two-thirds of the length of the handle. In this position, the sheath firmly held the product by the handle, and the blade remained free. Could scabbard from bark or wood. For fastening to the body they attached a cord.

Traditional wearing

The Yakut knife is worn on the left side or in front. Free hanging does not interfere with human movement. The hunter quickly pulls out the knife with his right hand while resting his thumb on the base of the scabbard.

The blade of the knife is looking to the left, aimed at removing it from the scabbard at the person. It has always been this way, it is a tradition.

Significance of invention

Modern masters, while observing all traditional requirements, make the Yakut knife, the drawing of which is passed down from generation to generation. The hope that the invention will not outlive itself, and the fire of the love of the masters will be passed on to descendants, is very great. Modern experts of cold steel emit this knife with a universal and unique design.

The philosophical basis of the knife is to use it only for creativity and work. The master creates his product as an assistant, and not for war or harm.

In Yakut families, a child from five years old was getting a knife. Mothers were not afraid that the boy would get hurt. The first blood and a small cut taught the baby to be careful, neat, and therefore rational. The first knife was made specifically for children's hands.


A man should have several knives: for domestic purposes, for working on wood and for hunting. In solemn cases, they wore an elegant knife that emphasized the status of their owner. On ordinary days, he hung over the bed. None of the households had the right to touch him. The family relic was inherited by the eldest of the sons.

Historical phenomenon

Yakut knife - an exceptional historical phenomenon. It is placed on a par with the famous "Finn". A few decades ago, he was considered to be a cold weapon and banned. Today it is written about it in the legislative acts of the Russian Federation. Since 1995, adopted "Regulations on the procedure for the manufacture, sale, purchase, carrying and transport of the Yakut knife on the territory of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)".

This knife is suitable for repelling the attack of the enemy, he is an indispensable friend for hunting and fishing. The Yakuts themselves often call him their third hand. They think it's better to lose a gun than to be left without a knife.

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