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I was working on two W's patterned bars a while ago. One was planned to stop early in the process and 4-way the bar for a mosaic pattern. I got the two bars confused and ended up doing the accordion cut on the wrong bar. The pattern was actually pretty cool, so I decided to make a dagger from it. Then I was browsing a few of my inspirational files and decided to switch gears and make a Dirk. I set myself to forging this bar to shape today. I went browsing last night  through the forums looking for dimensions and such. One thing I couldn't determine with any certainty, was the hilt size, or approximate dimensions of the three portions of the hilt. My forging as of today allows for 13 inches (33 cm) of blade, about 1-1/2 inches (3,8 cm) wide at the base, and about 6 inches (15cm) of tang.

 

Rough Forging V2.jpg

 

I was figuring on about 3-4 cm for the haunch area, around 10 cm for the grip, and about 13 mm for the pommel area (what is the correct name for that thing?)

Are those dimensions about right?

 

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The actual proportions are highly variable, but the handle should be around 4" overall, no more than 4 1/2". Remember that the dirk is held with the thumb and forefinger around the haunches (in a backhand grip the thumb and first three fingers grip the shaft and the pinkie curls loosely around the haunches).

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

I got to work on the rough grind and did a final normalizing before HT. Sneak peek at the pattern in the steel.

Dirk is on the left in the pic of two blades.

 

Pattern reveal (1) (1).jpg

 

Pattern reveal (3).jpg

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

It survived HT and I am getting into the handle design. Are forward bolsters common on Dirks? I’m thinking of a flat bronze plate and butt cap

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2 hours ago, jake cleland said:

ferrules are common, as is thin plate. Bolsters less so.

OK. Maybe it a semantics issue. To me, a "bolster" can be either a piece of metal laminated to the side of a blade or handle (think full tang with bolsters), or it can be much like a guard, except it has no extended branch, so essentially, just a flat plate, perpendicular to the blade.

 

Thanks much for your input Jake, I do appreciate it greatly. Now you have me tinking about a ferrule. To me, that is something almost cup shaped. It fits over something else which is reduced to fit inside the cup. Just like the piece of metal that holds the eraser on the end of a pencil. How does that work with the haunches? Is the ferrule oval and fit onto the handle, with the haunches slightly larger behind?

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'Bolster' to me implies a degree of mass which the very thin sheet guard plates do not have - they're more like washers than anything. Ferrules fit over a recessed area at the front of the haunches, and can be fairly plain oval shapes - or more commonly slightly apple seed shapes, as the haunches tend to be narrower on the edge side and fatter at the spine - but the nicer ones tend to be tapered from haunches to blade, and kind of folded over the end of the handle a bit so they more fully enclose the blade, and have a slight arc to them as well...

 

dirk 1725.jpg

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Thanks Jake. That's a beauty. I just remembered that I have several pics of Dirks I liked stored in a folder on my drive, so I'll check those out and see how it goes.

The blade survived HT and with a little straightening I set to grinding. I can get 32 cm of blade length, 3,3 cm wide, and a little over 4 mm thick at the spine. My next question is edge geometry and bevels. I can easily take this flat bevel all the way up the width, or I can roll that step out and make it visually dissapear. I still have enough edge left at .035" to go straight wedge or convex.

 

Post HT start.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Taking the advice of the resident Dirkmaster....I set about hand sanding this thing. Here it is at 200 grit.

200 Grit hand V2.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

Today I tried to layout the handle. I have a nice piece of boxwood that should fit the ticket. 

I start by drawing the blade profile, including the tang. The blade here is at 600 grit finish.

 

Pre-etch blade 600 grit.jpg

 

Add some layout lines and scale the components off of a photo I found in another post by @jake cleland

 

Handle Layout.jpg

 

Erase the layout lines and tweak the profile a bit.

 

Handle Profile.jpg

 

Add some knot work design ideas. I'm basically copying the embellishments in that same Dirk photo.

 

Knotwork design.jpg

 

Let me know what you think of this. Are the haunches too big/tall? I couldn't reall tell where they ended in that photo. It looks like there is some damage. So I scaled it from the longer one.

Edited by Joshua States
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I've had a closer look at that dirk since then, and the haunches are not damaged, so I'd say yours are a bit too tall, by about the thickness of the guard plate maybe. i also think your pommel should be wider, and the concavity on the underside should be shallower. For this pattern of carving there are an equal (even) number of high spots top and bottom, usually 4 or six (4 is easier, as you just align with the edge, spine, and the centre of the haunches), offset so a high spot at the top corresponds with a low spot on the bottom. Its worth marking and cutting in the interstices, even if you want a tight pleat. Some details of how I do it in this post sgian build 2.

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I wish I could click the thanks button twice, or more for that matter. I was just looking at that Dirk again and I see where I am off now. I had scaled the pomell diameter at about 2-1/8". (5,4 cm). The piece of boxwood I have is not that big. I'll have to try something else. Thanks much for the Sgian carving link. I will have to reference that again.

I wil work on the drawing and repost.

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You're welcome. I haven't made a boxwood dirk for that reason. I buy wood as 2" turning spindles for dirk handles. Unless I'm shooting for a 100% accurate reproduction of a specific piece, for handles I generally just turn a cylinder first and then scale everything else off that.

 

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You're getting there, but I think you still have some issues with the haunches and pommel. the haunches should be rounder, and curve in towards the blade, and the transition from shaft to pommel flare should be more defined, and the pommel should have a bit more depth. here's a quick sketch of what i'm talking about:

 

dirk handle design.jpg

 

and a dirk i made in this style a few years back:

 

dirk 3.jpg

 

 

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Much to think about. I was trying to emulate the haunches from this one.

 

Old Dirk 1.jpg

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but note that the line of the haunches forms a smooth curve from blade to shaft. if you pay attention to the negative space in that image, the relationships might become clearer...

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