Perhaps the best-known gift from Alaska, or at least one of the most popular, is the classic ulu knife, a traditional Eskimo tool that continues to maintain relevance in modern kitchens. Enjoy this beautiful ulu knife with chopping bowl from The Ulu Factory in Anchorage, Alaska, made onsite with care and quality.
If you are a chef or enjoy preparing good meals, this gift is for you!
Comes with a lifetime guarantee since 1973!
Alaskan birch wooden handle with mountain design and 8" chopping bowl set.
8 x 7.9 x 1.5 inches
Made in Alaska.
The Eskimos lived from the land, and everything they ate, wore, lived in, or traveled on had to be fashioned from nature.
In order to create even the simplest article, the Eskimo craftsman invented many interesting and practical tools, many of which are still in use today.
Of all the innovative tools that came from the Eskimo culture, one is the foremost: the Alaska ulu knife. The ulu knife was their main cutting tool. It was originally made from flat, thin, rocks, slate, or even jade. Handles were fashioned out of wood, ivory, or bone and often decorated with distinctive markings of the craftsman.
Archaeologists have found traditional ulus dating over 3000 years, many with decorative ivory handles and slate blades that are still sharp enough to be used. Many of the ancient ulus can be seen in museums and private collections, including at our Ulu Factory store in Anchorage, Alaska. Some of the ancient pieces found deep in the permafrost still have prehistoric feathers and animal fat attached to them.
Eskimo people used the ulu for everything from skinning seals to sewing mukluks (Eskimo boots), and eating muktuk, seal and blubber.
Women used the ulu for preparing walrus hides for use in the construction of the traditional umiak (skin boat).
As time progressed, and whaling ships were common in Alaska waters, the Eskimo took advantage of the new materials available to him: steel. Instead of using rocks, the native Alaskans made even better ulu knives – sharper and varied in design.
The ulu is still used traditionally, especially when the salmon are abundant in the summer. Not only natives, but people around the world rely on the ulu for everyday cutting.
How our ulus are made
Our first concern is making high-quality cutlery. The most important part of the knife is the blade.
We begin the production process by selecting the highest quality American stainless steel available.
The 3000 pound coils unwind a ribbon of steel that is fed through our 100 ton punch press. This creates the basic shape of the ulu blade.
The beveled edge is then shaped to a precise angle.
For steel to hold a good edge, it must be heat-treated to 1950 degrees Fahrenheit in our computer-controlled furnace.
We then polish the surfaces to a mirror-finish using several different compounds and polishing wheels.
Then, after the blade is hardened and polished, we grind or hone the edge using a special 16" stone. This must be done under a constant flow of coolant to preserve the hardness of the edge.
The blade is important but we take great care in making our handles, too.
Our Alaskan birch and American walnut are the most popular. We use state of the art equipment to shape each handle to exact specification.
Each handle is treated to several finishing operations, and along with a quality finishing inspection, receives its final coat of oil and is packaged for presentation.
How to use an ulu knife
When considering using an ulu knife, the first thing that comes to mind is filleting fish; everybody knows how good the ulu is for that. It really is a versatile kitchen tool, good for cutting all sorts of meats, vegetables, cheeses and pizza. Here's how to begin using it.
Grip the handle in the palm of the hand with the beveled side away from you. Place the item to be cut on the cutting board and just use a rocking motion. It's a great way to begin using your ulu.
Another great way to use your ulu is with our block and bowl. It's a cutting board on one side and a bowl on the other. The unique part of the bowl is the blade fits perfectly in its curvature. This lets you use the full edge of the blade when cutting or chopping.
To maintain a good cutting edge you should hone its edge occasionally, depending on what you've been cutting. It's only necessary to sharpen it on the beveled side. Hard stone or steel works just well.
When you are through with your ulu, just rinse with warm soapy water, wipe to dry, and put in a safe place. Remember to always cut on a cutting board or bowl and never put your ulu in the dishwater. A little oil on any wood handle always helps!