Perfect Alaskan Souvenir: Alaskan ULU Knife
Those of you headed to Alaska this season, especially those of you who enjoy cooking, should consider the following souvenir. It’s the Alaska ULU (pronounced OO-loo) knife.
The Alaskan ULU is an extremely versatile cutting tool crafted by the Native Alaskan people over five thousand years ago. The knife was primarily used by Eskimo women for skinning and cleaning fish and has played an important role in the survival of the Arctic people. Blades were originally made of polished slate and given a bone, ivory or wood handle. The handles were often inscribed with distinctive designs or markings exclusive to the maker of the knife.
Today, Eskimos and people from all walks of life continue to use the versatile ULU as their primary cutting tool, despite the wide availability of other knife designs. Because the center of force is concentrated directly over the middle of the blade, it creates twice the direct downward force compared to that of conventional cutlery (where the force is behind the center of the blade). Anyone, including those experiencing hand or wrist problems, can perform cutting and chopping tasks effortlessly with an ULU. The Alaskan ULU is a wonderful tool for cutting pizza, cheese and vegetables of all kinds!
Care & Maintenance is a snap. Simply wash your ULU by hand in warm, soapy water using a downward motion to avoid the sharp edge of the blade. DO NOT SOAK IN WATER. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Apply natural mineral oil to the wood handle and stand every 4-6 weeks or when wood seems dull and dry. DO NOT put in dishwasher. The ULU blade maintains an extremely sharp edge for a long period of time. The hollow ground edge on one side of the blade can be sharpened the same as conventional cutlery. As with any knife, use extreme caution when handling.
Two styles of Alaskan ULU knives are generally available; the ORIGINAL ULU and the INUPIAT ULU. Each Alaskan ULU knife has a handsome handle hand-crafted from choice wood selections of either light Maple or dark Walnut. Also included is an attractive matching wood stand.
The ORIGINAL ULU has a solid curved blade (Type 1) and is patterned after the original ulu design used by Alaska Natives.
The INUPIAT ULU has a slightly larger handle. Its U-shaped blade (Type 2) design allows the user to wrap fingers completely around the handle when cutting.