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TRADITIONALLY THE ULOO WAS MADE with a caribou antler handle and slate cutting surface, due to the lack of metal in the Arctic. The handle could also be carved from bone, and wood was sometimes used when it was available. In certain areas, such as Ulukhaktok Northwest Territories, copper was used for the cutting surface.
THE SIZE OF THE ULOO WOULD TEND TO REFLECT ITS USAGE. An uloo with a 5 cm (2 in) blade would be used as part of a sewing kit to cut sinew. An uloo with a 15 cm (6 in) blade would be used for general purposes. Occasionally, uloos can be found with blades as large as 30 cm (12 in).
ULOOS HAVE BEEN FOUND THAT DATE
BACK TO AS EARLY AS 25OOBC. Traditionally, the uloo would be passed down from generation to generation. It was believed that an ancestor's knowledge was contained within the uloo and thus would also be passed on. The shape of the uloo ensures that the force is centred more over the middle of the blade than with an ordinary knife. This makes the uloo easier to use when cutting hard objects such as bone.
TODAY THE ULOO IS STILL made with a caribou antler but the blade is usually made of steel. The steel is quite often obtained by purchasing a hand saw or wood saw and cutting the blade to the correct shape. These uloos are both kept for home use and sold to others. It is also possible to purchase commercially produced uloos, sometimes made with a plastic handle and complete with a cutting board.