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jake cleland

fantasy tribal knife

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don't really know where i'm going with this one - it's a blade i started about a year and a half ago, and didn't like how it was shaping up, but today i hardened it, re shaped the shoulders, and fitted an odd bit of stag as a handle, and i kinda like how it's looking:

 

tribal 1.jpg

 

i think it needs some copper and turquoise and feathers and stuff - not sure what to do about the pommel? ideas? thoughts? suggestions?

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That is crazy cool.

Anything you add needs to be patina'd so its dark and rugged looking.

I love the prong as the guard, You have to keep that no matter what.

maybe an Iron pommel that has another point facing down and if you hang something maybe some beading.

Can't wait to see it.

JJ

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Call me crazy, but it looks like half an animal. At first, I was thinking of the blade as the head and the prong as a leg, and the beast was walking to the right. Then it flashed to me. It is indeed the rear half of an animal leaping to the left. I'm not sure how that information is useful at all, but this is the most unique thing I've seen in a while, so I'm sure you'll find an equally impressive way to finish it.

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Yeeeesssss.... :)

I'm am loving where this is going

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The pattern along the spine reminds me of vertebrae. I'm thinking H.R. Giger.

I like your use of the odd prong.

Edited by Dan Hurtado

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Thanks guys - this should be fun...

 

JJ, the downward curving iron pommel was my first idea, but last night i started looking at tlingit daggers, and now reading Ethan's response, i'm starting to see an arctic fox type theme, with a heavy, semi abstract foxes head as the pommel...

 

of course, having taken a closer look at some tlingit stuff, i'm now completely fascinated and need to make a proper dagger - this one is a very nice example:

 

tlingit killer whale dagger.jpg

 

although way to big an expenditure of effort for me to start right now - i don't even know how the copper collar/habaki thing would be fitted. this one is gorgeous, though, and a more realistic prospect:

 

tlingit double bladed.jpg

 

once again, i display my tendency to be easily distracted.

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Easily distracted, that rings a bell.

 

 

That's a very cool knife tho. As usual displaying a good eye for shape and form Jake. The best knife I have had from an ergonomic point of view had an antler handle, you couldn't have made it any better if you had squeezed plasticine in your hand and then wish for the same grip.

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Ever see Predator? That knife reminded me of some kind of "trophy" knife. Maybe some predator dreads with a rat skull in the beading coming out the back....kinda like a tail. Or if that's to much .... maybe a tuft of coarse black hair sticking out the back. All in all pretty awesome and original, has a real primal feel.

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thank's Hyllyn - this piece of antler has great ergonomics too, but unfortunately its curve is such that its for a left handed grip. that said, if you choke up with your forefinger in front of the guard tine it sits great in either hand, so i'll need to design towards that. unfortunately i've now started a version of the double bladed tlingit dagger, but hopefully i can get that done over the next few hours, and it won't be such a big derailment...

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thank's Hyllyn - this piece of antler has great ergonomics too, but unfortunately its curve is such that its for a left handed grip. that said, if you choke up with your forefinger in front of the guard tine it sits great in either hand, so i'll need to design towards that. unfortunately i've now started a version of the double bladed tlingit dagger, but hopefully i can get that done over the next few hours, and it won't be such a big derailment...

 

A cast deer head would be cool.

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bugger. cracked the tlingit dagger trying to straighten it - hardened it in daylight and it seems i overheated it pretty bad - coarse grain. now it's gonna be a short tlingit dagger (the short blade end) and a mini assegai (the long end, once i've normalised, re-hardened and attached a tang) i new i should have checked the hardening depth, but i was in a hurry...

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Thanks guys - this should be fun...

 

JJ, the downward curving iron pommel was my first idea, but last night i started looking at tlingit daggers, and now reading Ethan's response, i'm starting to see an arctic fox type theme, with a heavy, semi abstract foxes head as the pommel...

 

of course, having taken a closer look at some tlingit stuff, i'm now completely fascinated and need to make a proper dagger - this one is a very nice example:

 

tlingit killer whale dagger.jpg

 

although way to big an expenditure of effort for me to start right now - i don't even know how the copper collar/habaki thing would be fitted. this one is gorgeous, though, and a more realistic prospect:

 

tlingit double bladed.jpg

 

once again, i display my tendency to be easily distracted.

Heh, Tlingit art, and knives, does that to me too... I've read that once they were introduced to ironworking they took to it like a duck to water. Facinating and beautiful stuff, and impossible to fake.

 

I like where this one is going... I'm thinking horsehair and beads. Very shamanistic...

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Hi all.Jake sorry to interject with a question not directly related to your design brainstorm(I really like that antler/steel dagger,best of luck with it!).

 

But,where are you and Hyllin getting that info of Tlingit metalwork?I knew that they cold-forged native copper,into those very neat,characteristic shapes,but have never heard anything about any of the SE Alaska natives forging iron.It really came as a total surprise...Do you think that your sorces are good?Would be very interesting to learn more...

 

Sorry again for the interrupting :)

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Jake, i haven't done any 'academic' research on this, and 'Tlingit' seems to be a bit of a catch-all term for the tribes of north western Canada/SE Alaska, but steel knives/daggers forged to the exact forms of their copper antecedents seem to have been very common purchases by ethnographers/amateur anthropologist types around the turn of the century - a simple google image search will turn up many examples from museums in the northern states of the US. the thing is, the iron blades are definitely not just naive copies of the copper work - in form and execution they show the same subtlty and elegance. i believe that there is documentary evidence for the trade of steel bars, rather than trade goods like blades and files, as these were less suitable for forging to such distinctive shapes, although there are a number of repurposed trade knives from these tribes. although i haven't researched it properly (yet) in what i have read there are suggestions that these tribes may have encountered trade iron earlier than we might expect through Russian trading posts ( many museums describe the blades as 'cast steel', and while the obvious explanation would be the standard 'curators don't know their arses from their elbows', perhaps it's possible that they were using an actual crucible steel, like Georgian Bulat?). there is anecdotal and documentary evidence for the tribes of this area being sophisticated traders by the time of the Hudson Bay company. i have also read suggestions that they were working with native iron too, but without compelling evidence it seems this must be treated as unlikely.

 

as most of these iron blades were purchased around 1900, and as, as far as i'm aware, only a few are associated with any particular individual/have any story attached, tentative dating tends to put them at 1870 and later, but given the completeness of the form and quality of execution, i think that it can be safely be assumed that they'd been doing this for a while. if you look at the two examples i posted above,and bear in mind that they're flat on the obverse, then you can see that they look like nothing else, and i just don't see a smith in sheffield so completely assimilating a foreign cultural form just to pander to the sensibilities of some 'savage' 5000 miles away, particularly when you see how quickly the 'bowie' knife succumbed to sheffield fashions in roughly the same period.

Edited by jake cleland

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Thanks,Jake,very much,for your answer,and in such an expanded form,too.

 

Tligits are,of course,very different from everyone else there,language,and all else-wise.They were historically a bit further on the violence spectrum than their assorted cousins and neighbors,and a bit better traders.Because of both these factors they've ventured further,raiding as far south as Southern California,or even Mexico,and north into Yupik and Inuit country.

 

Many archaeologists are vastly uninterested(all that i've asked just flat state that natives in N.America had NO iron,period).Most museums in Alaska are execrable.It's very tough to get any info at all.

 

Trade-wise,that area is very difficult to call:Situated along the Japan Current(it flows south there,having circled clock-wise around the Bering sea),these guys could end up with objects of Indonesian or Korean manufacture,just as easy as with any other,and that's long before the Russian-American Co(who pulled out in 1867).

 

So,it's a complex subject,where little is known,and i've not much access even to what IS known.

Thanks again,best of luck in your work(that is exeptional,design and quality both),and your research,too.Let us know if you dig up anything outstanding! :)

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Jake,i've stumbled across a few more similar ones:http://rusknife.com/index.php/topic/1684-%d1%84%d0%be%d1%82%d0%be%d0%b3%d1%80%d0%b0%d1%84%d0%b8%d0%b8-%d1%81%d1%82%d0%b0%d1%80%d0%b8%d0%bd%d0%bd%d0%be%d0%b3%d0%be-%d0%ba%d0%be%d1%80%d0%be%d1%82%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%b3%d0%be-%d1%85%d0%be/

 

Post # 9.It's posted by A.A.Mak,a man not unknown in knife studying/collecting circles.I'll ask him about it,when i have a chance(sorry about it being in russian,but of explanation/text there really is none(unfortunately)).

 

When i look at these it really makes me think of blades from elsewhere,re-handled.I know NOTHING of knives,unfortunately,it just does.Especially that copper piece blending in the blade with the haft,present in several.It's like it serves as a transition.

The blades themselves look almost Oriental,or N.African,or something...

Sorry,i know that it's not what your thread here is about.

All the very best.

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Jake,

I really like the spine on this one....It does have a shaman flavor to it already... sounds like you are headed down that path...Coolbiggrin.gif

 

Dick

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Interesting posts. I have been interested in daggers on the northwest coast for many years. I always heard that there was no iron until contact on the northwest coast but it is clear that there was - if rare presence of iron. The Ozette village site on the Olympic peninsula was destroyed by a mudslide some 500 years ago - bad for the inhabitants - but good for archaeology. Among the ruins they found iron implements.

 

Among early accounts of the Haida was a description of an execution - a chief ordered a man (slave or some such) be killed - Europeans witnessed it - two warriors cut the man to pieces in short order with iron daggers. If these were trade iron - they were very early - 1770s I believe.

 

There is a clear tradition on the coast of making copper items ('native' or placer copper in trade from Alaska) and indications of some tradition working iron. Whether these were metric or through trade or shipwrecks - not clear.

 

I know there is an entire Japanese fishing boat in the park by the harbour in Prince Rupert (northern BC) - it drifted to the coast - without it's owner sometime in the ? 1970s or 80s - and has been put there as a sort of memento to mariners lost at sea. The point is - if entire ships come shore - it is likely a source of iron. Interesting in any case.

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Jake that is really neat. I am looking forward to seeing how you finish it. What kind of metal is the blade from and what is the over all lenght?

 

Doug

John 3:16

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re: the Tlingit/NW Indian iron knives. While as noted there is evidence of iron work, pre-contact, the iron knives became very popular after the Russians introduced iron work to the various tribes in the early 1700's. One thing not often noted about these knives from photos is the side of the blade opposite the fullers is flat.

The Museum of the Fur Trade's, "Fur Trade Cutlery Sketchbook" http://www.furtrade.org/store/books?product_id=126 has scaled line drawings of this style both single and double blade, as well as the unique handforged iron knives of the NW Territory and Yukon tribes with curled horns as a butt cap - makes them look almost Celtic - the blades again are flat on one side and shaped albeit not fullered on the other.

For $8.00 IMO that is a required book for anyone interested in the knives of the North American fur trade.

 

Jake I like this new one a lot and FWIW, I've got a pic of an old Plains Indian trade butcher re-handled with a similar piece of antler. As to dressing it up with feathers, hair, beads, etc. IMO simpler is generally better - too much and IMO they wind up looking like something for sale at the "Indian" trading post along old route 66 - there are originals that actually look like that but personally I never liked the overdone look,

Edited by Wild Rose

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Thanks guys - this should be fun...

 

JJ, the downward curving iron pommel was my first idea, but last night i started looking at tlingit daggers, and now reading Ethan's response, i'm starting to see an arctic fox type theme, with a heavy, semi abstract foxes head as the pommel...

 

of course, having taken a closer look at some tlingit stuff, i'm now completely fascinated and need to make a proper dagger - this one is a very nice example:

 

attachicon.gif.pagespeed.ce.hPGJFKgqtP.gtlingit killer whale dagger.jpg

 

although way to big an expenditure of effort for me to start right now - i don't even know how the copper collar/habaki thing would be fitted. this one is gorgeous, though, and a more realistic prospect:

 

attachicon.gif.pagespeed.ce.hPGJFKgqtP.gtlingit double bladed.jpg

 

once again, i display my tendency to be easily distracted.

 

Awesome project Jake. What is the source of that second picture... the double bladed one. Man that is a compelling image. Is that an original artifact???

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It's a legit artefact, Scott, but I don't rightly remember where the image came from - the Smithsonian, maybe?

 

I never got any further with the tribal knife - may take another look some day soon - and I cracked the Tlingit dagger trying to straighten it...

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It's a legit artefact, Scott, but I don't rightly remember where the image came from - the Smithsonian, maybe?

 

I never got any further with the tribal knife - may take another look some day soon - and I cracked the Tlingit dagger trying to straighten it...

 

too bad about the crack. I did read that.

 

I searched around a bit after I saw that image and saw quite a few artifacts like that. Beautiful thing. Looks like they used to be made of copper... would be fun to make one from the float copper I get around here. It seems like there are also deposits of float copper in the NW. But also very possible it made it there in trade from this region.

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Looks nice, I say shorten the guard tine as much as you can while it's still solid in appearance and continue the blade's spine work all the way down the handle, ending with a pommel that also curves downward parrallel to the tine guard.

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