Fan Coolness….

Long ago, I wrote a blog answering the question, “If I mail you a book, will you sign it?”

It that blog (which included a flow chart that I’m still pretty proud of) I explained the truth of the situation. Specifically, that I’d be happy to sign your books, but there are complications. Books get lost in the mail. Books get damaged. It takes time for me to sign a book, time to package and unpackage it, time to go to the post office, money to ship it, etc.

Generally speaking, it’s easier, safer, and faster to just buy a signed book in our online store: The Tinker’s Packs. Plus the money you spend there goes to charity, so it’s a double win.

Still, I know what it’s like to become attached to a book, and to want to have that particular book signed. So in that blog I told people if they *really* wanted to send me a book, I’d sign it, provided they followed certain rules. Most important among these is that they include return postage and send me something cool.

I expected the requests to kinda die down after that. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

In the years since I posted that blog, I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of gifts. So many that I can’t even begin to put an accurate number on it.

And for years, as I’ve opened the packages, I’ve thought to myself, “This is so cool. I’ve got to show this to people on the blog….”

Unfortunately, with rare exception, I never get around to it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But a couple weeks ago, I got something I really want to tell you about.

The package showed up, late in the afternoon, and I dug through it looking for the toy surprise. A lot of times, getting a package or a letter from a fan can be the high point of my day.

At the bottom of the box I found something heavy wrapped in cloth. When I picked it up, my first thought was, “It’s a knife.”

Now this isn’t a first for me. Folks have sent me knives before. Someone sent me a knife they’d carved themselves out of wood. Someone else sent me a skinning knife from Alaska once.

But this was *really* heavy. So heavy that I almost thought it couldn’t be a knife. I have a knife made from a railroad tie, and this was heavier than that.

When I unwrapped it, I found this:

The entire knife was metal. Everything. Blade, guard, handle. Everything out of solid metal.

I looked at it and thought: Did someone make me a copper knife?

Then I thought: No. Nobody would do that.

Then I thought: This really looks like a copper knife.

Then I thought: Seriously?

So I brought out the letter and read it. It was from a guy named Tait and his friend Loren (no relation). Who run a little site called Esoteric Garage. They explained that they they liked to goof around with forging things as a hobby. And when they were talking about my books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”

Then I thought, These guys have been reading the books really closely.

I geeked out pretty hard. I called Tait and told him that this was the coolest thing I’d seen in months. He confirmed that the entire thing was copper. Even the rods that hold the handle together. Clever stuff.

After I got off the phone, I was still all excited about my knife. And I started to think, “I think I’ve been wrong about copper weapons. I think you could probably really fuck somebody up with this.”

So there I was, at the work house, holding a knife. And you know what it’s like when you’re holding something like that. When you pick up a nice  baseball bat, you want to swing it around. You pick up a hatchet, you want to cut some wood. Some things yearn toward their purpose. Some things are the embodiment of a purpose. Some objects are practically crystallized verbs.

What I’m getting at, is that I was filled with a powerful urge to stab something.

This is not my best expression ever. Apparently, this is what I look like when I’m trying hard to repress the urge to stab.

I should stress that this urge was, first and foremost, scientific. You see, this sort of thing is research for me. The more experiences I gather, the more effective I am as a writer.

Luckily, I’m able to control my scientific urges to a certain degree. This is especially fortunate, considering Amanda, one of my assistants, was in the workhouse with me.

So, in the interest of science, I stepped back and stabbed the nearby doorframe as hard as I could. Because, y’know, it’s my house, and I can do whatever the hell I want.

What did I learn from the experiment?

1. I made a good choice in hiring Amanda. As I stood there, looking at the knife sticking out of the wall, she said. “I kinda figured you were going to do that.”

2. You can definitely fuck somebody up with a copper knife.

3. Copper’s more durable than I suspected.

Also, I was reminded that my readers are very cool. Because not only did Tait send me a knife as a present, but he mentioned he might have something to donate to worldbuilders in a couple of months….

Thanks so much, Tait. Rest assured that I’m pretty sure you’re not legally responsible for anything I do with this. At worst, you’re accessory-before-the-fact.

Have a good weekend everybody,


This entry was posted in boding, cool things, fan coolness, geeking out, ScienceBy Pat72 Responses


  1. Prufrock
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    What beautiful patina. Just incredible.

    Now, Taborlin’s copper sword… I wonder how much of an edge it could hold. Perhaps it’s a steel core, copper-clad except for the very edge, so as to not blunt at every swing.

    Yeah, I’ll bet Kvothe needs a copper knife at some point, to go with his Ramston steel one.

  2. ankha5
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    Wow your t-shirt and the knife just match perfectly hahaha

  3. RobMacKay
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    That is awesome :D

    I think as a sword it wouldn’t last too long – you could chip the edge off pretty quick, but as a dagger it would be pretty good.

    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Knives by themselves are cool, one made of copper is super cool, but knowing a fan made that just for you is beyond cool. I shall learn to make something cool as well and send it to you with my book!

  5. Jack Lancaster
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    You can fuck a person up with just about anything harder than a marshmallow; we’re really, really fragile.

    By Hel, I can think of at least one way to fuck a person up with a marshmallow.

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:49 AM | Permalink

      I can think of two just off the top of my head….

      • Jack Lancaster
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

        But are they repeats? Chocking a person to death by stuffing their nose with marshmallows is largely the same as stuffing their mouth with them for example.

        Also, coating another thing with marshmallow and using that is cheating. As is using marshmallows to lure in a wild animal/insect/zombie horde.

        Ways I can think to kill somebody using marshmallows:
        1)Cut off airflow in some way.
        2)Force feed them until they explode/block other things to make them explode.
        3)Drop a huge-ass bag off them from a great hight so as to potentially damage the skull or spine to a lethal degree.
        4) Surround them with marshmallows so that they cannot move, causing muscle atrophy, starvation and dehydration.

        • Jack Lancaster
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

          I meant choking there are no wheels involved here…

        • Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

          But you gotta admit…what a way to go, eh?

        • Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

          Put marshmallow on end of stick. Light on fire. Let burn for a few moments. Swing stick at enemy allowing flaming marshmallow to slide off the stick, whiz through the air, and affix itself to enemy.

          Note: inside of marshmallow is still good for consumption after said conflict.

      • glowstick
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

        First, consult with Gozer The Gozerian and choose Mr. Staypuft as the likeness of your doom. Then, when he arrives, lure him towards your enemy. Finally, using the marshmallow as a sympathetic link, perform a double binding and cause Mr. Staypuft to burst into flames, smothering your target with fiery melted suggary goodness.

        • Jack Lancaster
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

          @glowstick and @jordanbbates – You have restored some of my faith in humanity; if marshmallow warfare doesn’t show true unity of spirit, what by Odin’s beard does?!

  6. becdawg
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    that is truly awesome!
    Umm, this might sound like a little bit of a cheap thing to ask Pat, but i’m going to ask it anyway because I’ve been meaning to for a while.
    If someone sent you an envelope with stamps for return postage would you sign a piece of paper that i could stick in the front of my book? Because postage for a book to America from Australia is RIDICULOUS!!! I’m aware this is an odd request, but thought it was worth asking. :)

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

      I could do that. Australian postage is just about the worst there is….

      • becdawg
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

        REALLY?!! that would be SO great thanks! Will definitely do that then! and will send a “light” gift. So it probably won’t be made of copper
        (trying not to freak out that one of my favourite authors sort of talked to me.!!)

        • JoBird
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

          Dude, you should never wash that monitor or keyboard again!

          • Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

            …you’re supposed to wash monitors and keyboards?

          • becdawg
            Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

            keyboard’s already framed and hanging over the fireplace.
            well at least it would be, if i had a fireplace :(

        • MdmeLibrarian
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

          I made an account just to comment on this.
          What you are looking for is a bookplate. It’s a sticker that can go in the front of a book, which is usually where someone writes “This book belongs to becdawg.”

          I use them at author events (I work in a bookstore) when we sell out of books but still have people who want a signature.

          • becdawg
            Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

            ahhh! yeah i thought about that but wasn’t sure what they’re called…haha. Thankyou!

  7. Norriar
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    My dad makes knives from railroad spikes too, but a solid copper one, that’s pretty awesome

  8. Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Argh! The Serenity shirt / dagger combination opened a wormhole of weird in my head: like the feeling anachronism gives you, only happening right now…anasynchronism; or like a disturbance in the memeverse…anamemeic or antimemeic? It will give me nightmares, but, it’s a small price to pay to see a sympathy slayer being wielded.

  9. SunTzu
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    Copper weapons were used for a long time, so yes, they work! They won’t penetrate armor though, and they will blunt very fast, but if you aim to kill a single person and then have the time to resharpen it, it could be just as effective as steel. You dont need much of an edge to stab someone, alot of daggers designed for stabbing were used almost unsharpened. A sharp edge is far more likely to stick in the ribs of a sentry if you silence him with an upwards stab through the lungs/heart, for example.

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

      That advice is dramatic irony in action…remind me to don kevlar when I’m near you, 孫子.

      • Imlekk
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

        I don’t think Kevlar will protect you against stabbing and stuff. They’re designed to stop bullets.

        Though it bears mentioning that my source for this information is The Dresden Files.

        • CrymsynEve
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

          Imlekk, I was about to say the same thing as you, also from The Dresden Files.

          • redgirl
            Posted June 15, 2012 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

            Ditto on Dresden Files lol

          • Imlekk
            Posted June 16, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

            Awesome book series :D I’m dreaming of a pseudo-official crossover wherein Kvothe meets Harry Dresden. Or maybe Elodin meets Harry.

        • sforester
          Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

          As someone who has actually worn kevlar, I can assure that it will indeed stop a knife. Unless your attacker is really good with a knife and has the correct tip on the knife. See for a demonstration.

          • Imlekk
            Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

            Oh. My bad. Good to know! :)

            ( Will it stop a big-ass sword as well? )

          • Gorewolf
            Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

            Probably yes, but a big arse sword would likely break bones underneath the kevlar, just like the machette in that movie.

          • Imlekk
            Posted June 16, 2012 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

            I want a kevlar :D

          • Thigis
            Posted June 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

            from a material mechanics point of view: Kevlar is not resistant to cutting motions. Depending on te weave it may exhibit some resistant to stabbing motions.
            So good(ish) vs fencers.
            poor vs sabers/katanas orther blades with a curved design.
            kevlar vs knives. depends on the style of the opponent.

    • Jack Lancaster
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

      Also the reason you were not allowed to sharpen your sword in the Roman Legions; they were there to stab in formation. Having a sharp edge might make you think you can swing, then your sword gets stuck and the formation breaks.

      Shield-Step-Stab, simple but effective.

  10. JTS
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    Now, we want to see the doorframe as well (poor, unarmed and defenseless – I am shocked by this show of necessary violence). And you get the chance to make another face like: “I got him before he got me” ;)

  11. Imlekk
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Would anyone be so kind as to enlighten me about this part?

    “And when they were talking about my books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”

    Then I thought, These guys have been reading the books really closely.”

    Why would copper be useful for killing a Namer? Is it a particularly hard Name to know? I recall that Taborlin supposedly had a copper sword, but still…

    • rmcphail
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

      If you look closely it appears something about copper resists Naming. There are few subtle hints. When Elodin brings Kvothe to the Rookery, they visit the room he was held in. He tries to open the wall with Naming and can’t at first. When he does you see there is copper wire laced through it. Also Kvothe’s chest. Copper lock, iron lock, unseen lock. Unseen to thwart physical manipulation, copper to thwart Naming, iron to thwart Fae. There are other hints to. Though nothing like an actual explanation.

      • Imlekk
        Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

        Thank you! Very subtle :)

      • ocac
        Posted June 17, 2012 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

        One other instance of copper-intrigue.
        If one were in the Archives, there’s something so delectably uningressable that the notion of ingress is gustatory for a certain someone… If keyholes are indubitably formed, then what are the keys?
        Also, what does this mean for brass and bronze? Have they been manipulated? Must restudy…

        Pat, you wonderful man, you itch eagerness deep into my brain.

        Shortly after returning to reading fiction again, I got to shake the hand of the writer I first turned to: George R. R. Martin. Hopefully I will one day shake t hand of that rare writer fit who was fit to follow that esteemed beard, with his debut novel no less. (Old favourite Terry Pratchett, a hand I missed my once yet chance, followed and didn’t dim Pat’s work at all.)
        I found a book of German sympathia a while ago and just wanted to have tea with you. Preferably in the eighteenth century library I found it (would love to see you in Ireland). Every day is part dulled by not being the reality, and it is a reality, you have made – yet better for such inventiveness of mind.

        • kevintictac
          Posted June 18, 2012 at 5:53 AM | Permalink

          also tarbolin has a copper sword (skye?) that he uses
          Always bugged me when Dedan said it would be useless as a mate of mine has a copper knife and that thing is tough!

  12. Maureen
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Oh lord, their present for the mom – the forged forged Czech Check is hilarious. I love these guys.

  13. rmcphail
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    I think we have old school RPG’s to blame for copper’s bad rep as a weapon material. Usually your character starts out with a wimpy copper dagger that does like 5 points of damage until you kill enough slimes to upgrade to the lofty iron broadsword.

  14. jonzes
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    As a boy I made ‘swords’ out of copper pipe pounded out flat and sharpened. I can verify that you can cut the heck out of something with even the soft copper used in plumbing materials. Well tested on weeds, trees, hanging laundry, wire fences, pumpkins, apples and friends I could talk into sword-fighting with me.

  15. Piccadilly
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    The comment about marshmallows and killing brought me in a strange mood…

    • Piccadilly
      Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

      Can i say brought? It felt right^^

  16. Tait
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for all the love!

    For those interested in the details, Loren did most of the forging, and I took care of final grinding and attaching the handle.

    Also, Pat is being modest. He asked if he could link to our website, so we decided it was time to make one.

    @Prufrock: The patina is from torching it at about 1600F for 20 minutes or so. It’s a lot of fun to do.

    @Pat: If you are gonna test your toys in the house, we’re never sending you a shotgun. Or a flamethrower.

    • Posted June 15, 2012 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

      Not even a copper shotgun with copper shot?

      • MatrixM
        Posted June 16, 2012 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

        Should be alright, as long as they send some kevlar.

  17. Constance
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    I’ve decided G+ needs a ‘FireflyFriday’ trend and just as I kick it off, I find a picture of you in a Serenity shirt wielding a copper knife.

    Looks like the ‘Verse tells me I’m doing right.

    I’m sooo tempted to share that picture, but I won’t.

  18. klobster
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    I’m surprised this wasn’t categorized under stabby. You should name the blade No Name.

  19. troyn123
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    That is pretty awesome. I finally got my copy of The Wise Man’s Fear, hoping to dig into it this weekend, yay! I’ll have to memorize that look, just in case I ever see it at a book signing or anything. O.o

    Slightly unrelated: My favorite parts of the flowchart was the lack of “no” on the “hungry?” and “house clean?”! :-D

  20. Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    Pat –

    I think the favorite part of the post (aside from the fact that it’s a wicked present that Tait sent) was the conclusions you came to. Of those my personal favorite is number two.

    Well done on gift from Tait. My book request will be at your doorstep shortly after the third book is released. You’re the man.


  21. leaf101
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    That picture is… ummmm… kinda… scary…though that’s a EPIC KNIFE!!!

  22. Marissa
    Posted June 15, 2012 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    That’s wonderful. On a separate note, I am thrilled to know you watch and appreciate “Serenity” (and I’m assuming “Firefly”). There aren’t many who do, and your choice in television shows makes me respect and care for you all the more.

  23. kbhartman
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

    My first thought was, “Oh. my. god. What will he stab?” I’m glad it wasn’t Amanda.

  24. Posted June 16, 2012 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Just saw the flow chart. Pure AWESOME!

  25. Kaaz
    Posted June 16, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    I read your blog where you recommended Red Shirts and I went out and bought it because I thought, “I haven’t read something laugh-out-loud funny in quite a while, and if Rothfuss says it’s laugh-out-loud funny, it must be.” Cause, you know, he knows funny.

    I’m about half way through the book, and so far, I’ve been entertained and amused, but haven’t come anywhere close to laughing out loud.

    So I thought to myself, as I was reading in the wee hours of the morning: “Maybe I’m just not a ‘laugh-out-loud-while-reading’ kind of guy.” And then I thought, “Maybe my expectations are too high.” And then I thought, “Maybe there’s something wrong with me.”

    And then I read this blog post. And I burst out laughing, quite unexpectedly and uncontrollably. Twice. In a span of sixty seconds.

    And then I laughed at my laughing out loud, secure in the knowledge that I am not defective. At least not in that particular area of humanity.

  26. cjshwee
    Posted June 17, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    I learned something today: when you said the knife was copper, I thought “copper’s natural oxide is greenish blue, not red.” But after a little digging, I learned the red oxide is cuprous oxide (as opposed to the blue-green cupric oxide). I also learned that it forms in high-heat, high oxygen environments (a forge). Cool gift though, it puts the Big Kahuna Burger t-shirt I sent you to shame.

  27. Posted June 18, 2012 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    CONGRATULATIONS PAT! I just read that Wise Man’s Fear won the David Gemmel Legend award.

    Figured I should give an all-caps congratulatory exclamation. Happy for its deserved success.

    Book Three will have to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. It just seems like the proper trajectory. Or maybe a Pulitzer upset, too?

    Either way, you’ve won all the awards my heart can give out. Congrats again.

    • IvoryDoom
      Posted June 18, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

      OMG! Thats awesome…now you will have a sweet ass axe also!?

      This was the first blog I got my boyfriend to read of yours and now he’s hooked LOL. He literally laughed out loud at that picture of you, he knows when a man is repressing the urge to stab….for uh…science…yah.

  28. ArtemisValjean
    Posted June 21, 2012 at 2:36 AM | Permalink

    Hello, Pat!
    I’m writting you from Mexico (thats why my english is almost terrible). It’s always great to read your blog, it’s like having a nice chat with my favorite Author, I most admite that my first was (still being) to send you my book to get your sing (I almost feel like a teenager in a Justin Bieber Concert xDDD) but its almost imposible to me to get a descent mail service xD and besides that, a good gift could it be the traditional Mexican Hat or is to mainstream? xD The king of Vintas can use one… -ok no-. The point of all this letter is to thank you for being such a cool Author and being in contact to your fans. If you decide to come to Mexico specifically to the City of Guadalajara, I promes that I’ll be on the line with the promesed hat waiting to meet you… I could get a copper hat…
    Well It’s always great to read you, I hope I could meet you one day.
    A hug from México:

  29. hobosamurai
    Posted June 23, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    thats awesome!

  30. Posted June 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    That is just AWESOME! Now I haven’t quite finished Wise man’s fear so I might not know the full significance of copper…but that’s just awesome anyway!

  31. dmiljkovic
    Posted June 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Pat, someone is obviously paying close attention to your blog, was just browsing the other day and came across this:

    I dunno, maybe its just me but I found it pretty hygapean….

  32. Posted June 28, 2012 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Cool. In the museum collection I care for , we have an Inuit copper awl. It was beaten out of native copper rather than forged from smelted copper from ores. Copper work hardens really well, you find that with anealed copper wire, it starts of lovely and pliable but becomes harder the more you bend it.

  33. PhotographicAlchemy
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

    You, sir, have a most impressive beard.

    • PhotographicAlchemy
      Posted July 5, 2012 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

      The knife is pretty epic as well. Makes any gift I was ever going to send you not nearly as cool…

  34. jaymeharkins
    Posted August 26, 2013 at 10:49 PM | Permalink



    Also, you are 4th in google search when searching patr! Thats impressive if you ask me.

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