A crooked knife is a one-handed drawknife form with a bent handle made from wood or antler. The knife’s blade is made by modifying a flat steel file, farrier’s knife, or straight razor to make a tanged blade with a cutting edge that is beveled on only one side. The blade’s tang is inserted into a wooden or antler handle and secured to the handle by sinew lashing, pitched string, wrapped wire or a metal sleeve. Handles are carved from a variety of hardwoods and antler and many are ornately decorated with carved designs ranging from playing card motifs to women’s legs.
The knife is grasped fingers-up with the cutting edge held toward the user. Unlike knives used to whittle, the crooked knife is used to shape objects – sticks of brown ash for baskets, ax handles, canoe frames, and decoys – by slicing and shaving. Crooked knives are also used to hollow out wooden bowls and dishes.