A dagger in the style of late 14th or early 15th century long daggers. The blade is 350 layers of torsion (twist) style pattern weld composed of L6 and 1095 steel. The hilt fittings are inspired by a number of common european quillon daggers.
Some examples in museums have quillons that are more lobe shaped, but others feature faceted surfaces with filework accents. My approach was to combine elements of different examples to create a harmonious and elegant guard. The result is a guard with octogonal quillons, well defined facets, pleasing arc shape, and crisp filework accents.
The tang slot was drifted then filed to a precise shape to create an interference fit between the guard and the blade shoulders. In addition, an inset for the blade shoulders was hand forged into the center of the guard with a drift that was the same dimension as the blade. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The pommel is based on the familiar “wheel style” and has a slightly oval profile. It is topped with a small frustum shaped rivet block that is accented with additional filework. The guard and pommel are both made from 1018 low-carbon steel, and polished to a high luster and then drawn back to a consistent satin finish. _
To facilitate the fitting of the pommel to the tang, a hole was drilled through the exact center of the pommel. A tang shaped drift was used to form the centered hole to the shape of the tang. This slot was then cleaned up with a file in order to make a precise interference fit between the pommel and tang.
The grip is composed of a hardwood core with a linen and leather cover, and features three half-round risers to help fill out the volume of the grip without making it appear bulky and unattractive.
The hardwood core was formed in two pieces which were chiseled and carved to the tang dimensions. The core was then glued in place. Linen string was used to establish the foundation of the three risers. The core and risers were then covered in leather which was secured in place with hide glue. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The blade is composed of 350 layers of L6 and 1095. The pattern weld billet was given a rather tight twist, and then forged flat. The result is a striking pattern that displays some star-like effects as well areas that are like wood grain. Although it is a stout blade, it had a fair amount of distal taper that comes to an efficient awl like point.
The sheath that comes with the dagger is constructed with a thin wood core that is covered in high quality leather. The seam of the leather cover is sewn shut with linen thread in a “Z” pattern which is quite common on surviving examples from the period.
Decorative lines were inscribed on the front of the scabbard with a polished bone knife. Drawing inspiration from period examples, this type of leather work does not utilize leather working tools that are often seen on high-quality leather work. It is rather a clever answer to the desire to have a decorative flare on knife and dagger sheaths (or sword scabbards) without the need for the tools and experience to do more complex leather work.
The artisan would simply use a bone-knife, hardwood stylus, or burnishing needle and combine it with a straight edge or other guide to incise various shapes, lines, and figures into the surface of the damp leather. Some period examples show a great deal of freehand work with the stylus. The result is a sheath that is both pleasing to the eye, yet frugally produced. For this period inspired sheath, straight evenly spaced incised lines were made with the thin tip of a bone knife to create a somewhat abstract “feather” effect on the front of the sheath.
A belt or suspension loop was purposely left off of the sheath so that the new owner can decide what type of suspension he or she would like to have.
The iron chape at the end of the sheath was hand forged over a mandrel that was identical to the dimensions of the the sheath end. The result is a chape that fits perfectly over the end of the sheath. There is a small amount of decorative filework at the top of the chape. Finally a small orb-like finial was added to the tip of the chape.
REVIEW BY PETER JOHNSSON:
I had an opportunity to show this piece to renowned swordsmith, Peter Johnsson, and I asked him to write a short review:
A Long Dagger in the Medieval Tradition
This beautiful dagger has a strong understated elegance about it. It´s form is clearly rooted in the medieval european tradition, inspired by surviving examples of these long slim weapons that straddle the distinction of dagger and short sword. The unusual proportion between hilt and blade sometimes cause these weapons to misleadingly be labelled “Sword for a child” despite the fact their blades are not scaled down sword blades. They have a robust awl like point and a cross section that is much stouter than what you would expect in a sword. They are simply unusually large daggers with a very purposeful design.
It is evident that Eric has based the design of this dagger on detailed observation of originals from the 14th and 15th century. The aesthetics of the period is present in the shaping of the hilt components but not limiting in his choice of material. The blade shares the functional properties of the originals but with added joy for the eye in its bright and crisp pattern welded construction.
As a fellow maker I find work of this level inspiring. I see how Eric has studied and internalised the finer details of function, aesthetics and methods of craft and design and internalised these ideas in a way that allows him to freely express himself in a seemingly effortless manner. The result is a unique dagger that express the joy of the craft and its roots to an ancient tradition.
– Peter Johnsson, Swordsmith
Overall length: 21.375″ (54,3 cm)
Blade length: 16″ (40,6 cm)
Blade width: 1″ (2,54 cm)
Point of Balance: 1.125″ (2,86 cm) from bottom of guard
Weight including sheath: 1.1 lbs (500 grams)
Weight of dagger: 0.91 lbs (413 grams)
Blade Material: Pattern welded steel, L6 and 1095, 350 layers, twist pattern
Hilt Material: Mild steel guard and pommel. Wood core with leather cover