Whittling the perfect portable hobby

Ever since I was little I’ve always enjoyed a good sharp knife. Being a kid growing up on a farm, I belonged to a culture that looked on anybody who had to borrow a knife to cut something a “nuisance”. My Dad taught me how to use a knife safely and how to make things from wood. To say I feel naked with out the weight of a good folder in my pocket would be no lie.

Growing up on a farm and in the woods a boy would pull out his pocket knife and begin whittling like a bored kid in school might doodle with a pen. Three years ago I became a dad with a little boy of my own. Unfortunately his mother and I had different opinions about life and where to Live it. So, we live quite a distance apart. I was very sad to realize that My little boy’s first Christmas would be him and her and minus me. So with that weighing heavy on my mind I took off to the local box store to pick out a present for my son.

What do you buy a little boy you hardly know? I was struck numb with the amount of plastic junk and the variety of noise makers there were! So, in disgust I picked the loudest most obnoxious thing I could find and went home. I was pondering my dilemma when I saw some woodcarvings on my mom and dad’s shelves. It was then that it hit me that I could whittle my son animals, figurines, and such and mail them to him as gifts along with the toys. Maybe he would know someday that I cared and wanted him to have a piece of who I was to hold and remember. Maybe a handmade gift like that would convey that while I wasn’t always there, He was always on my mind and in my heart. So with that. Began to pick up my knife and carve.

Some turn out better than others . Some are more inspired. But what I’ve found is a very healthy stress reliever and creative outlet that I can carry anywhere I go. It’s very cheap and very Cathartic for me. It’s something children and adults can watch you do for hours and at the the end you have a gift for your audience to remember you by. There is just something nice about having something to do with your hands while you sit in the sunshine or round a campfire and visit. It may seem like an old man’s past time. But that’s because back in the day every boy who became a man knew how to appreciate and USE a good knife!

I look forward to the day when my son is old enough to have me give him his first knife and help him learn the timeless art of whittling. Perhaps I can put carvings he’s made me on the shelves of my home someday too.

-Brent Eriksen

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