corn knife
corn knife (artifact #7)


This is an original, a one and only tool made by Grandfather Charles Arthur Doyle.  To my knowledge it was used only for cutting corn stalks to be used as fodder to feed the cattle.  Somewhere along the way the blade has become broken.  As I remember, the blade was approximately 5-6 inches in length.  It was a very thin blade and was quite sharp.  Dried corn stalks would have been tough on any cutting instrument.  I believe that someone may have tried to use this knife for an inappropriate task, causing its breakage long after the death of my grandfather.

The handle appears to be made from hickory.  Today the handle is as straight as an arrow, which further identifies it as hickory.  It fits the hand well and, on the inside, it is slightly bowed just as it was made to be for clearance up against corn stalks.

The Bible talks about a three-fold cord not being easily broken.  Note that the blade and handle were put together with three horse-harness rivets, each of the three being in a separate grain of the wood and still being in a triangular pattern.  This held the cutting blade secure without damaging the strength of the wood.

The slot, for the blade in the bottom end of the handle, appears to have been cut with a thin-bladed fine-toothed saw.  There is a sliver of wood missing on each side of the blade near the forward rivet that may be from hard use or, more likely, abuse.  The blade is still somewhat sharp, even though it is quite rusty.

The blade is set at a slight upward angle, in the range of 10-15 degrees, to ensure that a good bite can be taken against the dry and hard corn stalks.  The top end of the handle still has knife marks where it was rounded and smoothed but never sanded.  There is a hole drilled through the broad side of the handle approximately 2/3 distance from the blade end, drilled at an angle of approximately 15 degrees for hanging the tool on a nail driven into the wall of the corn crib.  The angle would hold the tool secure on the nail.  Most likely, the head of the nail had been clipped off and it was angled upward also.

The tool is a treasured piece of Grandfather’s craftsmanship, which I can hold onto for a time.

Charles D. Doyle  5/7/03

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