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Thread: primitive dirks

  1. #1
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    primitive dirks

    Hey there, folks! I need some help with a project. I'm making a dirk that is styled after the 1600's types, pre Culloden, and I want it to include a knife and fork with antler handles, similar to an officers dirk. I have books with pictures of them, but I can't find any digital pictures for the blacksmith making the knife/fork set. Can anybody on here help me out?
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

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    Everything antler?

    Hello there! Noticed your post...I have a similar project going. Are you intending to have your utinsels as well as your larger blade in antler? I have seen bone varieties, late 17th century, which is why I ask... Below are a few pictures that may help your blacksmith...



    These are modern production (custom), and set into tines. The main dirk blade with would be correct for the time period-wide, flat. The tang fit of the untinsels is similar to that of a hidden tang knife, and leaves them very flat and 2-dimensional.



    This is of mainly antlered handled cutlery-not so much dirk as in general. Might give you an idea of what to do with the antler, and has some more attractive points of connection. No idea how they are retained-though with an antler that thin, likely there is no pith, and they could be threaded into the antler, set with hide glue.



    Here is a photo of a later set (1700's-main blade from a shattered backsword)
    The utinsel handles are bone. I have toyed with deer thigh bone (whitetail)-it is too thin and brittle for a knife in my world, but for a low stress fork or spoon, should work well. You can see they solved the issue with a ferrule. No idea on how metal parts are retained-could be threaded thru on tangs, with a bone or something else filling the gaps.



    This is a picture of mine in progress (early 1700's on the larger blade, also from a shattered backsword, set into a red deer crown). I picked roe deer antlers, because of their nativeness to Scotland, and their shape-they have a "hump" that fits the hand, no pith, and are small enough to fit up with a scabbard. I am doing fork, knife, spoon, and honing steel.

    For my project, having used my current dirk's by-pieces, I plan to make my fork and spoon out of pewter-no rust that way...and if you have a rudimentary knowledge of metals casting, you could toy with moulds and such to get something very one-off. Also, if your resource for the dirk you are making has few examples of by-pieces for the era, look at the normal everyday utinsels-styles of knife, point count and curvature of fork tines, etc.-it would make sense for the dirk pieces to follow the current styles happening in the estates.
    Last edited by Mark E.; 25th July 10 at 12:53 PM.

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    I didn't realize that roe deer antlers had no pith. I've used whitetail antler to put a new handle on a couple knives and the pith is really the thing that makes the way I learned it possible.
    I have always tempered my killing with respect for the game pursued. I see the animal not only as a target but as a living creature with more freedom than I will ever have. I take that life if I can, with regret as well as joy, and with the sure knowledge that nature's ways of fang and claw or exposure and starvation are a far crueler fate than I bestow. - Fred Bear

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    Mark, thank you!! Those are exactly what I'm doing! I have the dirk made, and yes, it is antler. Those are beautiful. I'm approaching the 4000 post mark, and it still amazes me the level of knowledge and craftsmanship in this community.
    Last edited by Nighthawk; 25th July 10 at 03:09 PM.
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

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    Pithy

    Quote Originally Posted by Spc. Scott View Post
    I didn't realize that roe deer antlers had no pith. I've used whitetail antler to put a new handle on a couple knives and the pith is really the thing that makes the way I learned it possible.
    Roe deer antlers do in fact have pith-but not so much in the very early varieties, at least it isn't as porus. I have been planning a sgian-but am at odds whether to partially slab tang it and cross pin into a larger roe antler, or go with a small stag crown I have-the stag crown is like a starfish inside, and I have no idea how to work with it. Yet. I don't have the skill to make natural materials like ivory and wood beautiful with most things-the spike roe deer antlers make it a lot easier, at least with small things like by-utinsels.

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    When I saw the title, I thought you were going to make a flint dirk, Nighthawk...
    I tried to ask my inner curmudgeon before posting, but he sprayed me with the garden hose…
    Yes, I have squirrels in my brain…

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbear View Post
    When I saw the title, I thought you were going to make a flint dirk, Nighthawk...
    That's an interesting idea!! Why did you have to do that to my family, man? Now they're never going to see me!
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nighthawk View Post
    That's an interesting idea!! Why did you have to do that to my family, man? Now they're never going to see me!
    Perhaps you could make something a little like a very long fluted Clovis point with the handle end, that would go in the shaft, wrapped with leather strips. Not sure what the back story would be on that, but it would be kind of cool...
    I tried to ask my inner curmudgeon before posting, but he sprayed me with the garden hose…
    Yes, I have squirrels in my brain…

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbear View Post
    Perhaps you could make something a little like a very long fluted Clovis point with the handle end, that would go in the shaft, wrapped with leather strips. Not sure what the back story would be on that, but it would be kind of cool...
    That was exactly what I had in my mind!
    "Two things are infinite- the universe, and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein.

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    Or copper...

    Or copper...very abundant material for the region. Give it the look of a broken viking seax perhaps...

    Flint utinsels a pain in the tongue

    Mark

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