Fish River Ulus
Items May Vary
Every piece of antler or bone is shaped by the life story of the animal, and a unique journey from the wilderness to the workshop. These photos are representative samples of the item you will receive. If you have a specific need, you may add a note at checkout or call to discuss. Or browse our small selection of individually photographed actual items.
5-inch Fish River Ulu: 5-5.5" wide, about 4-5" tall (including handle), Handsaw steel
6-inch Fish River Ulu: 6-6.5" wide, about 4.5-5.5" tall (including handle), Handsaw steel
7-inch Fish River Ulu: 7-7.5" wide, about 4.5-5.5" tall (including handle), Handsaw steel
8-inch Fish River Ulu: 8-8.5" wide, about 5-6" tall (including handle), Handsaw steel
10-inch Fish River Ulu: 10-10.5" wide, about 5-6" tall (including handle), Handsaw steel
Antler: Naturally shed antler from Alaskan Caribou or Moose, sometimes deer
Walrus Bone: Ancient rib bone from Alaskan walrus
Mermaid Bone (tm): Rib bone from extinct Alaskan Steller's sea cow
Dancing Man Ulus
The ulu was developed thousands of years ago in the Arctic regions of Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland by Eskimo women for processing the animals and fish brought home from the hunt by their men.
Our ulus, considered by many Eskimo women to be the best made, are used to cut up and skin any type of fish, from herring to halibut. In the kitchen, an ulu can be used to slice, dice, or chop any vegetable, spice or nut. We also make small sewing ulus for traditional skin sewing tasks.
Dancing Man ulus are handmade in Homer, Alaska, to the exacting specifications of dozens of Eskimo ladies who, over the years, have advised us on the proper design and construction of true traditional ulus.
All of our ulus are made from carpenters' hand saw steel with a high carbon content. This type of steel is preferred for its lightness, flexibility and ability to take and maintain a razor sharp edge. Occasionally, you will find an ulu with a small round hole in the blade, where the original saw handle was attached.
Over half of our ulus are made from antique, turn-of-the-century hand saws. These antique saws have the higher quality steel desired by traditional Eskimos.
Our handles are made of wood, moose deer or caribou antler, ivory, oosik, extinct Steller's Sea Cow bone (Mermaid BoneTM) or musk ox horn. The handles are bedded in epoxy and riveted completely through themselves and the blade with brass rivets for a lifetime of service and stability.
Our Inupiaq style ulus such as the Barrow or Fish River are available sharpened on only one side (ulus on this site are sharpened on both sides), in the Northern Eskimo tradition. We find this style of sharpening to be exceptional for filleting or stripping fish, processing meat, skinning animals, or fleshing and splitting walrus hides.
Learning to use an Inupiaq ulu takes a little practice but is well worth the effort. Our Yup'ik style ulus such as the Bristol Bay, Nunivak, or Savoonga are sharpened on both sides like a regular European knife.
Your ulu can be sharpened with a diamond steel, or a medium fine Arkansas stone. Old Eskimos use flat beach rocks. Clean and dry your blade after every use or it may rust. A light coating of olive or vegetable oil will ward off rust. Incidental rust can be removed with steel wool.
If you use your ulu enough to become comfortable with it, it will become one of your most useful kitchen utensils.
Dancing Man Knives & Ulus
Maynard Linder began crafting authentic, hand-made ulus in 1990, and by 1997 he left a successful Journeyman Carpentry career to make knives and ulus full-time. Today, he supplies knives to gift shops around the state, and to individuals around the world
Maynard spends his time making knives and ulus, so he can sojourn to the Seward Peninsula, and collect shed antler for his knife handles. When he has the chance, he works on carvings, such as Native-inspired masks, or ivory jewelry.
Maynard's wife Meriam is a crafter and owns/operates the Local Showcase gallery and www.HandsofAlaska.com website.
Maynard's older son, Sung, works in the knife shop with him. His younger son, Gryffyn, turns 6 in December 2015, and his daughter Arwyn is 3.