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How to Make the Canadian Iceman’s Knife and Squirrel Hide Sheath

Canadian Iceman
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Watch Shawn Woods expertly craft a replica of the knife and sheath used by the centuries-old Canadian Iceman, using only primitive stone tools.

The Canadian Iceman is the name given to the body of a young man – around 20 years old – that was discovered in 1999 in the Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park in northwest British Columbia. Also dubbed Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi, which means “Long Ago Person Found,” he is thought to have lived around 1700 AD.

The Canadian Iceman’s story is not as famous a that of Otzi the Iceman‘s, the oldest intact body ever found, discovered in the Italian/Austrian Alps in 1991. Otzi is believed to have lived approximately 5,000 years ago.

But both archaeological finds are of great interest to Shawn Woods, whose passion is recreating old tools and weapons from history. Woods has crafted several replicas of Otzi’s tools, including the Iceman’s knife and copper axe. Here he recreates an exact replica of Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchi’s small knife and the squirrel hide sheath that encased it.

Surely more of a tool than a weapon, this small scalpel-like knife was likely used to skin and butcher game animals that the Canadian Iceman utilized as food and clothing.

Woods fashioned the knife blade from a large rusty nail found on a beach, and the handle from a piece of hemlock, using only primitive stone tools. After crafting the knife, Woods shows how he made the knife’s sheath using a gopher or ground squirrel hide, which he also caught in a primitive deadfall trap.

You’ve got to hand it to Shawn Woods. His desire to learn about ancient history and share his primitive projects on youtube is fantastic for those of us with similar interests. He does everything as authentically as possible, taking no shortcuts by using modern tools.

You can learn a lot about ancient people and their lives by recreating some of these accouterments – weapons, tools and articles of clothing – with Shawn, or by simply watching his informative videos.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

NEXT: Primitive Skills: Make Your Own Greek Bronze Arrowhead

How to Make the Canadian Iceman’s Knife and Squirrel Hide Sheath