I found this kid’s pocket knife, buried in dirt, forgotten and heavily rusted, when looking for the tools to plant the potatoes.
As you can see, one scale has a drawing of an indian and reads “Chieftain Big Friend”. I guess this is to commemorate the slaughter of millions of authentic north americans (also called indians, or native americans), the theft of their land, and destruction of their culture and way of life.
The other scale is fake motherpearl.
I guess this is a kid’s pocket knife, because of the rounded point.
When I found it it was very rusty, the blade was hard to pull, but seemed in good condition and the can opener couldn’t be opened.
I didn’t wanted to make a fancy restoration, only make it usable again. So I took the scales away, partially opened the blade, and forced the can opener out with some pliers and submerged it in vinegar for two or three days. It was very interesting to see the vinegar to make bubbles around the metal, like bubbly ants taking the rust away. Each morning the vinegar was dirtier and dirtier, and there was a growing sediment of rust at the bottom of the jar.
When I decided it was enough vinegar bath, I took it out, rinsed it with water and started reshaping the tip. I don’t find very useful a round tip on a pocket knife, unless I were a kid obsessed with stabbing things. I have a few sharpening bench stones, so I started with a very coarse one to eat away the metal and re-shape the point. I then worked my way with increasingly softer stones until I found a semi-decent edge. I don’t know why, the blade and the can opener went very black with the vinegar bath, and had to sand it away with some 800 sand paper. After this the metal had a very rough look.
I dried it as good as I could with a hair drier, ear tips for the small spaces and soaked it a little bit in olive oil while moving the blade and can opener so the oil would go into the snap mechanisms, and then wiped the excess oil. Now they open way smoother than before, but I reckon the can opener is still a bit tight.
Richtards Sheffield England Rich & Retarded
I feel like a kid again. I want to stabby stab everything.
Some excerpt from Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, (2004) by Steven Mintz.
Life in Puritan New England was so hard that children who were abducted by Native Americans often refused to come back. Eunice Williams, abducted in 1704 at age 7, refused to leave the Kahnawake Mohawks despite her father’s pleas — he found she had forgotten the English language and adopted Indian clothing and hairstyle. “She is obstinately resolved to live and dye here,” he wrote, “and will not so much as give me one pleasant look.” The Mohawks were much more indulgent of children than the colonists, and women were counted equal to men and played an integral role in society and politics. Eunice married a Mohawk and lived with him for half a century.
A returned captive named Titus King reported that many young captives responded similarly. “In Six months time they Forsake Father & mother, Forgit thir own Land, Refuess to Speak there own toungue & Seeminly be Holley Swallowed up with the Indians.” In 1753 Ben Franklin wrote:
When an Indian Child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian Ramble there is no perswading him ever to return. … When white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived awhile among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of Life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.
A 14-year-old named James McCullough, who lived with the Indians for eight years, had to be brought back in fetters, his legs tied under his horse’s belly and arms tied behind his back. Even so he escaped and returned to his Indian family. Children “redeemed” by the English often “cried as if they should die when they were presented to us.” The Indians freed children of the work obligations they faced in the colonies — boys hunted, caught fish, and gathered nuts; and girls cultivated corn but had no master “to oversee or drive us, so that we could work as leisurely as we pleased.”