Monday, June 8, 2020

Out of Necessity, I Suppose: Knife Making and Wood Carving with Edward Delaney. #MakerMonday

For #MakerMonday we'll be profiling some of the people practicing traditional skills on the Baccalieu Trail.

Edward Delaney of Gull Island has been whittling and carving since he was a child. He describes himself as an outdoorsman, and carving has been a way for him to pass the time and entertain himself while hunting or working outside.

I could always kind of recognize the images and shapes of the things, right? Like I said, what it was, you look at a piece and you see something into it, like you see an animal, like a weasel, or a mink, or maybe a head of a horse. Something like that, right? And then you go from there. Of course, you'd start off with a pocket knife. And then as I got a little bit more advanced, then I had to make my own knives because, they were basically, well, you couldn't hardly buy them and they were too expensive to buy anyway, so you had to make your own knives. Something like that, right? It was a hobby and a pastime, and like I said, you create something that you like. Because I was always interested in it. I like horses, and I like animals, and I like wildlife, right? So, why not carve it?
Now, after years of practice, he can see animals and objects in the shape of the wood. He prefers to carve wildlife. He does several different types of carving including carving in the round and relief carving. He prefers carving in the round because it allows him to bring the animal to life from the wood. For people new to carving, his advice is to start small and visualize the end product. If you can't see what you're trying to bring out of the wood, it will be harder for you to figure out the steps to make it happen. He says no one gets it right on the first try, so keep practicing.

Horse carved by Edward Delaney. Photo by Linda Delaney.

Edward also makes his own knives for carving and hunting. He says that commercial carving knives were too expensive and had to be ordered from away when he started carving. Out of necessity, he started crafting his own knives out of already tempered steel. Making knives this way requires no specialized tools, and the knives are able to be resharpened and reused. Sustainability is an important factor for Edward, and knowing how to make knives is important to him so that he can continue the traditions of resourcefulness and independence of Newfoundlanders.

Knives by Edward Delaney. Photo by Linda Delaney.

Do you live on the Baccalieu Trail and practice a traditional skill or know someone who does? Fill out our survey!


Anonymous said...

WOW! What a wonderful talent, excellent work.

Anonymous said...

It's a great hobby art carving especially when doing animals, the horse is beautiful,he also did an amazing job making the carving tools, I've seen some similar to this when I was younger as I watch my father making different crafts with his carving tools, it's a great skill for young and old ...I love it !!