Sunday, January 22, 2017

Off The Charts In Guyana - The Cutlass man

Tom's cutlass and custom made sheath/scabbard

Cap10 Tom has become the cutlass man of Guyana.  Or he is trying to by corning the market on cutlasses. 

We had discussed a couple of years ago, getting a cutlass to have onboard as they are such a common and handy tool.  When we were at Iowkarama, Addit suggested to the guys that they should get one or two while in Guyana.  “You can get a really good one for very little money.  Let me show you mine.”  He proceeded to show all three of his.  Brazilian made.  Yes, really  - not made in China but in Brazil. 
Customized greenheart wood handle
That was all it took to light the fire in Tom.   He was on the hunt for a cutlass.  The fever spread to Jim on sv Inishnee and David on sv Persephone.  One day in Bartica, Tom located a place with the Brazilian cutlasses so he and Jim stopped in and soon each came out with a cutlass.  $1500 G$ or $7.50US$.  However, Tom didn’t stop there.  He decided his cutlass needed customizing.  He found a spare piece of local greenheart wood ashore in the scraps of new BBQ hut that is being built at the resort.  Tom took the old handle off and fashioned a new one out of the greenheart.  Carpenter Terry helped him cut it out and sand it down.  Voila – Custom cutlass for Cap10 Tom. 
Made by Tom with Terry's help

“Wow, cool.  When did you do that?  How?” were the questions Jim asked Tom when he saw the customization.  I put a pic on Facebook and a fellow sailing sista said “I want one too.”  Tom came up with the idea to get a couple of extra cutlass for gifts.  The first purchase lot was a bundle of three.  Boat guy Kelvis wanted to know “what all the cutlass for?” when he handed them to me as he assisted me in getting into our dinghy at the boathouse.  “Those are for my girlfriends.”  His eyebrows shot up.  The next trip, Tom acquired three more.  Rut-Ro.   Me thinks my husband may be turning into a small arms cutlass dealer.  Hum?  However, these cutlasses were slightly smaller with a better edge than his.  “I think we should keep one of these as well.  It’s small and the handle of yours is too big for me now so maybe one of these can be mine?” I said.  “Yep.  We’ll keep one and I will customize yours as well.” 

Sabrina's cutlass
Then Tom stumbled into a lumberyard on a visit to Bartica.  The two guys recognized a fellow wood admirer and thus they took a liking to him, showed him all around and gave him two nice scraps of purpleheart wood.  The next day started customizing my cutlass handle as well. 
Purpleheart wood

Isn’t it beautiful?!   
Sabrina's customized cutlass

Custom made by Tom
FYI - The cutlass is a very common tool in the Caribbean.  It is used to cut fruits and veggies from their growing spots and well as open them.  It is also used to clear brush.  We often see locals carrying their cutlasses.  On some islands it is illegal to carry a concealed cutlass but one in a sheath/scabbard is legal.  

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