Ethnology Collection - Crooked Knife

An Indispensable Multi-Tool

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This one-handed drawknife, originally made from stone, is a remarkably versatile tool. Superb for shaping paddles and snowshoes, ideal for making hunting bows and arrows, it was practically the only tool a Mi’kmaw person needed to provide food, shelter, transportation, clothing and fire. In fact, it was so critical that each person had his or her own individually handcrafted knife.

Why are these knives crooked? Each blade is set with the tip rising up from the handle and curved to the left or right, depending on which hand it is meant for. This helps to keep the blade in contact with the wood as it is drawn toward the user, resulting in clean, uniform cuts.

Object type: 
Crooked Knife
Object #: 
Collection name: 
Date (age/made): 
19th Century
Paradise, Nova Scotia
Wool, steel, copper wire
20 cm