Matis is a 15 year old teenage boy from the Netherlands who is interested in Permaculture, organic gardening, and he has a love of hand tools.

Matis was interested in getting a rice knife from us in exchange he wrote this article for us.

grandmas knife

This is a knive from my grandma. It is used to cut down weeds. There is weight added in the handle so when you swing it with your wrist, the movement can go fast without making you very tired. It is mostly for weeds with a thick stem or plants like sunflowers. Grasses are hard to cut with this, you’d need to hold the grass and then cut several times. It is also useful for harvesting corn. Just let the knive go up the stem and then you’ll hit the corn and it will fall off. I don’t know if you can see it but there is a very light curve in the blade so it will cut easier. I also use it to make small planting holes.

scythe
This is a regular scythe I’m holding. They can be bought at many shops, ranging from 30 to 80 euro’s. They are cheaper in Germany, and since that is only 30 kilometers away we bought this one in Germany. You can adjust the handle if you want. The blade comes quite sharp with a protective red strip (It is on the scythe on the picture so you can see it) but you still need to sharpen the scythe a bit if you want to cut well. I don’t use it very often anymore, I used to use it on my hired vegetable garden to cut down the grass and weeds and I wanted to grow lots of grains and harvest it with the scythe. But after people destroyed my greenhouse with oca, a heirloom family pepper breed, Chinese yam, hog peanut and pulled the fruit trees (apple and kaki) out of the ground I didn’t use the plot anymore because I was afraid that they would destroy it again. I grow stuff in the garden and in the forest, but the garden is too small for a scythe and I don’t take it to the forest (it would look a bit weird to see a teenager with a scythe cycling trough the woods, I think they might call the police…).
But I hope that I can use it once, so I don’t sell it.

Kukri

This is a kukri, a Nepali knive. It is used as a chopping tool. Some areas are more convex while others have a scandi grind. This makes it difficult to sharpen, but it is worth it. The curved piece is more convex to chop, while the piece near the handle is scandi. It is a very versatile tool. I like it because an axe is often too heavy but in the Netherlands there isn’t a lot of use for the machete because our forest looks a lot different, there is more woody material.
It is also useful for debarking wood.

Hand scythe

This is a hand scythe, it is used as a regular scythe but it isn’t as large. This makes it slower, but also more accurate. It is useful to learn with this for a regular scythe, since it is more controllable. You also learn how to cut grass with a blade so you are familiar with it if you learn how to use a normal scythe.

Article by Matis