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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so here’s something new. I recently finished this tattoo of Titan, our English Mastiff, for my husband Greg.

????????Titan Tattoo

My Titan

My Titan

Here’s the original drawing I did.


My Titan is 9 1/2 years old.  A few weeks ago, he got real sick all of a sudden. He stopped eating and drinking. Thinking maybe it was a stomach bug, we waited it out over the weekend. By Monday, he had to see the Vet. It was the 1st time Titan actually wanted to go. He knew he was sick & that Dr. Pieper could help. The Dr. suspected kidney problems, said he was an old big dog, that if he was a Chihuahua, he’d be 15 years old.  Test results came back positive for kidney failure, liver problems & infection. OMG! We were devastated. Titan is like our child, the good son. LOL! So, So smart. His only chance was to have dialysis.  The next three days he spent at the Vet.  We went to visit him. He looked a little better. He started drinking, but not eating. We brought him his favorite food, chicken. He only ate a few pieces.  He really wanted to go home.

After 3 days, the Vet said his blood work was still showing bad numbers. He lost at least 20 lbs. The only thing left to do was bring him home for the weekend, spoil the crap out of him, do the things that make him happy, and if you think it’s time,, we’ll put him to sleep on Monday. The Vet gave us medicine that has kept many dogs and cats with kidney problems alive for years. We bought Titan a new toy and I wrapped it in Christmas paper so he could open it. We took him to visit his fans at the grocery store. We prayed, a lot. I had to force feed him  yogurt.  (He couldn’t spit it out.) He ate pancakes with fruit. I gave him ginger tea with honey. We alternated between ham, steak, chicken. He hated the chicken & rice and the hamburger and potato mix I made him,  He didn’t need help drinking but trying to get him to eat at least a pound of food a day was hard. On Monday, we brought him to the Vet & he said he would never put a dog down that look as good as Titan. He is now eating better and putting on the pounds. He’s not out of the woods yet, but his blood work has improved dramatically. He is acting like a puppy again. He is a walking, living, breathing, miracle. He is an ambassador of good will & believes his job is to make people smile.


On my about me page,  I mention the Harley I engraved and airbrushed. Here are some pictures of pictures of the “IRON WOLF”.



???????? ????????

Keep an eye out. The next post will be pictures of the Mammoth Bowie, Chuck Stapel made for my Husband, Greg.




Women That Used Knives

Women played such an important role in the development of knives over the centuries, it’s amazing how little information I could find on the subject. It’s even been suggested the first knife may have been invented by a woman! Everyday they use knives and pay little to no attention to this tool. Not like the Guys!  But wait, these Ladies are sure to open your eyes.

Historically, women have played an important part in military battles. Though little reference is given to the weapons used, one can only assume that knives, swords and axes were part of the equation. Here is a gal who fought in 13th century BC.

Lady Fu Hao

Fu Hao led 3,000 men into battle during the Shang Dynasty. With up to 13,000 troops and the important generals Zhi and Hou Gao serving under her, she was the most powerful military leader of her time. This highly unusual status is confirmed by over a 100 weapons unearthed from her tomb – long range bows, double pointed lances, spears, pikes, long bladed sabres, short swords, daggers, helmets, shields. The most interesting was four battle axes – the symbol of highest military prominence.

Fu Hao.jpg                      

Lady Fu Hao and a Bronze Ax found in her tomb

Queen Boudica, Longswordswoman

In AD 60 or 61, Boudica was the wife of a “king” who was really only an elected official in a region of Britain during the years of Roman rule. When the king died, he left his half of his land to Rome and half to his wife and two daughters.

When Rome decided they wanted Boudica’s land also, she resisted. To teach her a lesson, the Romans whipped Boudica and raped her daughters. The result was a decade of gruesome warfare with an army led by Boudica, slaughtering nearly 70,000 people, both Romans and Roman sympathizers.

Boudica and her soldiers fought primarily with long swords. It was the difference between blades that eventually ended Boudica’s bloody rule, as the Romans eventually overcame her army with short swords, javelins, and organized fighting tactics.

It is believed that Boudica ended her own life with poison to avoid capture. She was before Joan of Arc!

How about these women?

In 101 BC
– General Marius of the Romans fought the Teutonic Cimbrians. Cimbrian women followed the men in battle, shooting arrows from mobile “wagon castles”, and occasionally left the wagon castles to fight with swords. Marius reported that when the battle went poorly for the men, the women emerged from their wagon castles with swords and threatened their own men to ensure that they would continue to fight. After reinforcements arrived for the Romans, the Cimbrian men all were killed, but the women continued to fight. When the Cimbrian women saw that defeat was imminent, they killed their children and committed suicide rather than be taken as captives.

All I can say is “Wow!”

Let’s fast forward to the present century. What I was really looking for, was more in the way of pictures, rather than a history lesson, because let’s face it,  a picture speaks a 1000 words.

This Gal will sure impress you. I live near Bridgeport, CT, home of P.T. Barnum. Edith Clifford joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1901 as a sword swallower. Here’s more.

Edith Clifford – Sword Swallower

Edith was born in Boston Massachusetts on November 22, 1886. Clifford began swallowing swords in 1899 at the age of 13 after learning from sword swallower Delno Fritz, and was said to have swallowed 18 to 20 inch blades without a problem, and a longer blade up to 26 inches long. Edith swallowed a variety of swords, bayonets, a serpentine blade, large straight razor, saw, and a sword sandwich of up to 24 swords. She performed for 28 yrs. Here are some pictures.

                              Tools of Her Trade

Edith’s Grandson with one of her swords


Well, if swallowing swords isn’t your thing, how ’bout being on the receiving end of a blade? Check out
Caroline Haerdi – Knife Thrower

Caroline is a tall, statuesque Swiss. She often wears ankle-length evening gowns and poses holding handfuls of long, gleaming blades. Her target -Arno Black, her mentor. There aren’t many women knife throwers out there (must be a lack of human targets) but there is an International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame (IKTHF) where some of the women & men, throw knives, axes etc. at non-human targets. Here are pictures of Caroline.


If these other women didn’t impress you, then take a look at this girl. She’s so cool!

The Anonymous Chef

This young Chinese Chef doesn’t even realize that she’s being tape ’til near the end of the video. Then she smiles, almost embarrassed to be filmed.

OK, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now!

I’ve got another Lady you’d better RESPECT!

Edessa Ramos -Modern Arnis Practioner & Guru(teacher)

Edessa Ramos is a Filipino Martial Artist, a student and master of Modern Arnis, a form of martial arts that emphasizes the use of blades. She holds a third degree black belt in Modern Arnis and a second degree black belt in Combat Arnis.

Modern Arnis is a term for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines that emphasizes weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, other bladed weapons such as Bolos (machete), and various improvised weapons. It also includes hand-to-hand combat and weapon disarming techniques. Just goes to show you why this is one of my favorite sayings, “Never under-estimate ANYBODY!”

I had a hard time keeping this list short and sweet.  Turns out, there are more women than I thought, Playing With Knives!     I hope you enjoyed this post.

I’m almost to my goal! Probably more than 1/2 there. 995 views overall,  from 47 different countries. Since I can’t figure out how to post the map of all the countries I got hits from, I colored in my own map. All the countries that are colored white, are countries that haven’t seen my work. I may never achieve my goal, but I’m off to a good start! Thank you for your help.

world map

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I belong to a few knife forums. The two I like best are and

Knifedogs is a “G” rated, no drama, forum you can join to ask questions, read articles from knifemakers, collectors & learn just about anything knife related. They really need more Ladydogs.  I’d like to see some women knifemakers on the forum.

Jerzeedevil is the total opposite of Knifedogs. I’d give it an “X” rating for language and visual content.  Plenty of reasonable drama (play by the rules or get kicked off). Lots of info on knives, knife-making, collecting & outdoor stuff.

I check the forums from time to time, but there’s so much to read and so many people joining everyday, I can’t keep up. So, if you sign up, be sure to tell them the knifecarver sent you!


Knives have been around in one form or another for about 3 million years. I’d like to think that the first knives were used by women to skin, cut, prepare meals and make clothing. People use knives everyday without giving it a second thought, because it is a tool, we rarely think of it as a weapon. Women may use knives more than men, but more men are attracted to these “shiny objects” as collector items.

Still, many knives were made to make “Woman’s Work” easier.  Take this knife for instance.

ULU (ULUIT – plural) – translated mean “woman’s knife”

ulu 1ulu2ulu3

Uluit have been found that date back to as early as 2500 BCE. Traditionally, the ulu would be passed down from generation to generation. It was believed that an ancestor’s knowledge was contained within the ulu and thus would also be passed on.

This all-purpose knife is traditionally used by Eskimo women. It was used for skinning and cleaning animals, cutting a child’s hair, cutting food and, if necessary, trimming blocks of snow and ice used to build an igloo. The ulu is still used for many purposes today.

The shape of the ulu ensures that the force is centered more over the middle of the blade than with an ordinary knife. This makes the ulu easier to use when cutting hard objects such as bone. Because the rocking motion used when cutting on a plate or board with an ulu pins down the food being cut, it is also easier to use an ulu one-handed.


viking knife1 viking knife2viking knife3viking bodice

These are the knives commonly carried by women through out Europe and Scandinavia during what is known as the Viking Era. Many like these were found buried along side the women.

The blade was made to fit on one of the chains that hangs from a woman’s turtle brooch along with other items she would need like a comb; ear spoon; sewing implements, keys and other adornments.

Women carried eating knives and working knives associated with their craft.

THE SALVAVIRGO (“Chastity knife”)


During the 18th and most of the 19th century, large navajas were traditionally worn pushed into a belt or sash, with the distinctively curved, fish-shaped handle left exposed to ease removal. An exception to the predominance of large-bladed sevillanas was the salvavirgo (“chastity knife”), a small knife carried by Andalusian women in a bodice or leg garter as a weapon of self-defense.


bodice knifedagger and sheath

Bodice dagger by Chuck Staple

During the Medieval Ages & up to the 18th century, women of a certain profession or who lived in that part of town, would carry a bodice knife for self-defense. Women of respect or in the upper-class, would never carry one or have need too.


auto knives

presto knives 2

George Schrade and his New York Press Button Knife Company used switchblade patterns that were automatic versions of utilitarian jackknives and pocket knives, as well as smaller penknife models designed to appeal to women buyers. In 1917, Schrade licensed a new flylock switchblade design to the Challenge Cutlery Company.. Under the trademark of Flylock Knife Co., Challenge made several patterns of the flylock switchblade, including a small pen knife model designed to appeal to women buyers. A Challenge Cutlery advertisement of the day depicted a female hand operating a fly-lock automatic pen knife, accompanied by a caption urging women to buy one for their sewing kit so as not to break a nail while attempting to open a normal pen knife.


While knives for a woman’s self-defense are not designed to kill an attacker, they can provide a woman the opportunity to escape a would-be attack, which is the biggest benefit to carrying one. I always carry a knife in my pocket and I have at least 3 edged “tools” in my pocketbook.


kbar boga

kbar in sheath

The KABAR Besh BOGA Knife is a woman’s personal self defense knife designed in collaboration with custom knife maker Brent Beshara. The Besh BOGA Knife (Back Off Get Away) has a double edge blade area with a Beshara designed blade geometry that maximizes tip strength, and a spine with micro serrations that is suitable for use as a file.



In May 2010, Blade Magazine listed  Benchmade’s 585 Mini-Barrage among the most popular knife choices for women. This Warren Osborne design is for women or men who want the functionality of the full-sized Barrage in a small package.

SOG Specialty Flash Knife


Say what you will, but if it’s PINK it was marketed for a woman. The Flash is just as slick as its name. With lightning-quick blade access from its powerful piston lock system, this blade pops out at the touch of a button.
Other features are a pink glass-enforced Zytel handle and a 1/2 serrated Satin finished blade. Flash knives also come with a reversible bayonet mounted clip that provides for extra discreet carrying.

Masters of Defense’s “LadyHawk

lady hawk

A great defensive knife choice for women is the LadyHawk by Masters of Defense. The knife was designed in 1996 by women’s world kickboxer champ Graciela Casillas-Boggs, who wanted a fixed blade crafted to severely wound any assailant who tried to remove the knife from its owner. The concealable blade is 2.6 inches long, and 5.5 inches in total length. The idea for this design came after Casillas stabbed one of two attempted rapists, using the thug’s own knife after disarming him.


Buck – Ergohunter Adrenaline Avid

buck knife

Buck Knives designed this line in collaboration with Haley Heath as a female specific line of knives. The USA made ErgoHunter Adrenaline Series was modified for the female touch, offering a smaller style for female hands, a re-curved design for a safer grip and the addition of a finger guard at the bottom of the blade.

In the world of hunting, Haley Heath has been labeled as a top hunter in the industry. Haley epitomizes today’s generation of hunters and how a growing number of women are participating in this tradition.

This is Legendary Knifemaker, Chuck Stapel’s Mountain Man skinner made from a ferrier’s file. If anyone is interested, I have another one of Chuck’s knives available (see September 2012 Archives)  uncarved – $200.00; carved – (contact me for price)

Here’s a picture before I started.

The handle is made from Elk antler. The next picture is the preliminary drawing for placement. I don’t get into detail here, I actually draw the picture as I carve, this is just for position.

After I tape the blade, I transfer the picture to the knife. I save the plastic tips from shipped knives to use on the tip of the blade, which always seems to poke thru the tape.

I start cutting along my outline & removing background, adding some detail along the way.

Yes, it’s anatomically correct.

The best way do describe my style is that I use my rotary tool like a pen and draw what I see. Like a pen, tattoo gun or graver, mistakes can’t be erased. But, sometimes, mistakes can be fixed. I wasn’t happy with the ear on this horse. It was the wrong shape and in the wrong position. It looked more like a wolf ear and needed to be moved closer to the top of the head. Problem is, I started carving the ear, in the wrong position.

Before Fix

After Fix

To fix this I had to smooth out the old ear, cut the new ear and blend in the horse’s hair. I also did some more work on the face, as you can see in the 2nd picture.

Stag, Bone, Ivory etc. will burn if you force the tool to cut faster by applying to much pressure. Let the tool and machine do the work.  I’m cutting down to a depth of approximately 3/32″ to 1/16″. I use a magnifying glass and reading glasses while I work, so taking pictures and posting them online is a big help for me. I really love the natural color and lines in this antler.
Here are the final pictures.

I’m suppose to keep track of the amount of hours I put into these knives, but I don’t because it would make me sick. I drive my husband nuts because I have so many hours into each one. He says I need to work faster. Attention to detail has always been my style and therefore I work until I’m satisfied. This knife has to be my best, because I want to impress Chuck Stapel.

I stained this piece with a colored wax. I also used some black tattoo ink with the wax on one of the horses to make it look different from the other. On the pommel, I burned a double horseshoe brand into the stag.

Unlike scrimshaw, carving the handle adds to the grip, making this a fully functional work knife that you can use without fear of rubbing out the design. In fact, handling the knife adds to the patina, bringing out the carving even more with age, giving the handle color that no one can reproduce.

I was given artistic freedom with this knife, but Chuck Stapel suggested putting brand marks on the handle like the ones cowboys burn into their livestock. I thought that was too easy, so I used my husband’s idea and carved fighting mustangs instead. The blade was made from a ferrier’s file and the horses fit the theme. Adding the double horseshoes on the pommel includes a piece of Chuck’s vision for this knife.

When I sent this to Chuck, I enclosed a letter with the knife quoting comments I received from the different knife forums where I posted this WIP. One of the comments from the guy who has 3 knives that I worked on, said

“Awesome work, Cathy! Love the topic, knife and your meticulous artwork. A beautiful piece showing your craftsmanship. If Mr. Stapel doesn’t like it… I’ll take it! “ Gary

Chuck called me the day he got it. He loved it! He said to tell Gary, “This one is His!”

So, What do you think?

I just want to say THANK YOU! to all who took the time to look at my Blog. I hope everyone has a better year in 2013. Here are my current stats…

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 My goal is to color in the entire map that pops up on my stats page. I wish I could post it, but each country that views my blog gets colored in on my map. I’m a little more than half way there! Total views since I started – 608; 29 countries. But sadly, no comments. So, please, if you see something you like, comment or click .the “like” button

New Kiridashi Picture

Bubba-san (James Bieler) sent me this picture of the Tamahagane Kiridashi. He still wants to polish out some marks made by the polishing stones & place my initials in small Kanji beneath dragon. James made the lanyard from Japanese ito cord, even the red string is from Japan. He is very traditional!  Then the Kiridashi needs a traditional Japanese presentation box, the kind that is signed and usually made from empress wood. They are dovetailed with very small cuts and lined with bright silk.

Dragon Horimono on a Japanese Kiridashi
Knifemaker – James Bieler (Bubba-san Forge)
Engraver – Catherine DeFelice (Knifecarver)

Knives like this are sometimes given as wedding gifts to the bride, or any family event they want to commemorate. Knives were given to Japanese ladies for self defense, and for taking ones life. Usually a kaiken or Tanto was used for this purpose. Receiving one with a Dragon horimono was for good luck . A birth would be a typical event, but there are many. It would be similar to getting a pair of bronzed baby shoes at baby shower, or something along those lines.

So this isn’t the final picture. Check Back to see my Kanji and the presentation box.

I Love My BLOG!

It just blows my mind when I check on the stats for my blog – 385 views over all- not much to brag about, but when I see all the different countries the views came from…WOW!  I can literally say that I’m known all over the World.

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I’m posting this to bring some awareness to the knifemaking community &  to maybe inspire other women to make knives. I’m shocked at how little information there is & I’m amazed at the artistry and craftsmanship of the Women Knifemakers I found from around the World. This list took some time to put together, sadly I could only find 28 Knifemakers and I don’t have websites for everyone. What I did notice is that quite a few have Husbands that are Knifemakers.
If you can add to it, please do.
1. Knifedog – Darci from IronArmKnives
2. Harumi Hirayama
3. Kathleen Tomey
4. Linda Ferguson
5. Silvana Mouzinho
6. Dianna Casteel
7. Grace Horne
8. Stéphanie Mottais
9. Lynn Dawson
10. Dellana
11. Haley DesRosiers
12. Audra Draper
13. Chantal Gilbert
14. Sharla Hansen
15. Heather Harvey
16. Elizabeth Loerchner
17. Gail Lunn
18. Julie Warenski-Erickson
19. Paula Eisler
20. Barbara Baskett
21. Carolyn Tinker
22. Paula Anzel
23. Lora Sue Bethke
24. Judy Gottage
25. Marina farao
26. Junko Fong
27. Daisy Zeng
28. Dee Hedges

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