Archive for the ‘Claw’ Category

Traditional Ninja Weapon Design – Part 2: Shuko

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Today, I thought I’d move on to part two of my series on traditional Ninja weapon design, featuring the work of Matthew Wright of Nine Directions. And the topic of today’s post will be the infamous Ninja Shuko or “Tiger Claws”:

Ninja Shuko

Ninja Shuko

Ninja Shuko, which I posted a little bit about before, are interesting weapons. Or more accurately, interesting tools. Although they can be used as weapons, much like the Kunai I posted about last week, and are most commonly used as climbing tools, some believe that shuko were also descended from farm implements. As Matthew suggests on his site, there are those who believe that shuko were originally created by farmers to ease carrying hay bales and such.

However there is little evidence to either support that hypothesis. And given the difficulty and cost of constructing shuko, I highly doubt the hay bale carrier theory, since the Japanese were much more the practical field expediency type back then, and I think it would have been easier to just use more rope to carry those bales around, than to fashion something as relatively complex as shuko… 🙂 But I digress.

Again, Matthew has employed a very traditional shuko design; a large oval steel hoop, with spikes embedded in it, connected to a large steel arm ring using a leather strap. At the hoop end, the strap is riveted above the spikes, covering the base of the spikes, protecting the hand, and providing a relatively soft internal surface for the hand.

Ninja Shuko - Hand Claws

Ninja Shuko - Hand Claws

The leather strap is also riveted to the very traditional a large steel arm ring, instead of the modern day nylon webbing and velcro wrist strap versions that are floating about all over the place. Now to be honest, while the traditional design works, I tend to favor the modern designs when it comes to practicality. Not necessarily how the spikes and claws are set up, but rather in the overall ergonomics of the arm/wrist hoop design.

Shuko - Steel Hoop

Shuko - Steel Hoop

For one thing, as a climbing device, having an adjustable wrist/arm retention system seems like it would be better than a fixed size steel hoop. So if I were designing something like this, that leather strap riveted to the spike band would be connected to another leather strap that went around the wrist, and was fastened using a buckle, or other similarly secure fastener that could be adjusted and tightened.

To some degree, I think this design would allow you to rest some your weight on the wrist strap during climbing, which could allow temporary stress relief on the muscles of the hand during extensive climbing exercises. But it would really depend on your climbing technique. The mechanical characteristics of shuko suggest that it would require a lot of hand and wrist strength to use, so the benefits of that design modification would vary from person to person.

Shuko - Grip

Shuko - Grip

And another thing is that, it is generally easier to grip something that is not the full width of your hand. If you can wrap your fingers around it, it is much easier to get a firm grip. As you can see from the pic above, this design unfortunately does not let you do that. This is not a problem with modern day designs, which are much narrower and fit the hand much closer.

It is, however very much in keeping with traditional design, which as I mentioned in the previous ninja weapon post, does seem to rely on overly large hoops and very thick components, primarily, I believe, to counteract the low quality of the materials traditionally used. So from a traditional standpoint, these are a quite accurate, functional and beautiful design. Definitely a collectors item.

And since he hand-makes these, I’m sure, if you asked nicely, you could convince Matthew to make a pair to whatever specifications you’d like… 😀

Traditional Ninja Shuko – [Nine Directions]

A Cool Predator Claw.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I thought I’d end the Fourth of July weekend with something a little more… Predatorial. And what is more predatorial than a set of claws. No, not another Wolverine claw, I’m sure you’ve all seen enough Wolverine claws to keep you for a while. No, this is something different. Something Alien. Something Evil. Something New. Something… Blue…?

Ok, just ignore the last bit, what I’m about to show you is absolutely not blue. But it is evil. They are a set of claws made by Todd Begg, A really cool knife maker that Sinza, over at our forum (Exotic Automatic) turned me on to a while back. Allow me to introduce:

The Predator Fighter

The Predator Fighter

Pretty sweet right? As you can see, unlike the various Wolverine claws we have been inundated with, this is a dual bladed, double edged, hand held claw design. In fact the name may have come from the dual, mechanically actuated, arm mounted claw that the Yautja, the race of alien hunter predators from the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, were generally shown wearing.

But unlike those blades, which were rather jagged (excessively and unnecessarily so, in my opinion), this design is a whole lot smoother,  a whole lot cleaner, and a whole lot more evil. In fact the blade itself looks a lot like an alien space ship. The crescent shaped grip, accented on the curved outer edge with an evenly spaced set of perforations, is sandwiched on either side by a set of D2 tool steel scales, with beautiful ironwood inlays.

Predator Claw - Grip

Predator Fighter - Grip

Both ends of the grip end in a triangular section with a similarly shaped void in the middle, making it look all the more wicked. Each rather hefty looking blade seems to be bolted through, to both the top and bottom steel scales. And what evil blades they are! A set of double edged, mildly curved blades with a slight dip in the spine before coming to a sharp, reverse Katana style point.

Predator Claw - Blades

Predator Fighter - Blades

The top edge does look like it is a false edge, but this is of little consequence, it still makes its point quite clear, before the short, upward curving flattened section, that clearly demonstrates just how thick the blade is, even at the edge, gives way to what is almost certainly a fully sharpened upper edge.

The blades themselves are treated to a cross drilled, fuller like groove. Normally, I find slotted and drilled out blades rather pointless, weakening and aesthetically off putting, but in this case, I think it has been tastefully done. Not to mention the size and thickness of the blade makes the strength issue a near moot point.

All around, a really, really nice claw. In fact, (no offense to Wolvie fans, I love his claws as much as any one else), but these have so much more character.

My only question now is whether they come in black…

Predator Fighter – [Todd Begg]

More Wolverine Claws – A Production Prop.

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Clearly, there is no lack of articles, props, models, replicas, and weapons, inspired by Wolverines infamous claws, in the world. And I will readily admit, without shame, of being guilty of adding to the never ending library of wolverine claw replica documentaries that currently exist.  In fact, you can read one of my original compendiums here.

But, as fate would have it, it does not end there. I’m about to add one more.Yes. And no. I will *nevar* tire of it. So deal. Here is yet another set of wolverine claws. But this design is actually a bit different from most of the others:

Wolverine Style Claws

Wolverine Style Claws

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking: “Hey… hold on a second there Phyre… This looks like almost every other wolverine claw replica in existance…” Ok, yes. It does *look* like some of the others. But they are not entirely the same.

The thing is, Wolverines claws, at least as they are portrayed in the movies, have a very specific shape. So naturally, anyone who decided to make a pair based on the movie claws, would have to give the blades the same shape in order to maintain some semblance of authenticity. This is why they all look the same to some degree.

As a side note, if you were ever a fan of the X-Men, either from the comic book, or from the Saturday morning cartoons, you will remember that Wolverines claws have actually had a few different shapes, sometimes little swords, sometimes talons, sometimes simple curved reverse scimitars, to jagged bone, etc., All this in spite of the fact that they should never have changed shapes from the time they were installed. Except, of course, for the bone claws, which is canon in most Wolverine arcs. But I digress.

The point is, even though the blades are the same, the *grips* on almost every different iteration have been different. Some have been simple round bars, others have been knuckle dusters, others wooden dowels. So what makes this one special? Well no worries, I’ll tell you. Why? Because I’m helpful like that.

This one is different because this design is the first production design that I have come across that vrey closely matches the design of the prop actually used in the movies. Yep. This design looks like a much more cleanly finished version of the prop that Hugh Jackman wore in the X-Men movie:

Wolverine Claws - Bar Grip and Wire

Wolverine Claws - Bar Grip and Wire

As you can see, the original prop had the same blade basic blade profile, but had thick stiff wires that ran from each blade to a little metal bar that Hugh held in the palm of his hand. This design is almost exactly the same, except that on this replica, the grip is now a solid piece of steel, with wooden scales pinned to it, and instead of wire, it is connected as one piece to the blades via steel standoffs. All in beautifully polished steel.

But as nice as these are, this design, like many of the others, does have one major flaw. On the original prop, there were rear extensions on the blades, which were designed to fit snugly between Hugh Jackmans knuckles when he was wearing the claws, to make it look like they were coming out from between his knuckles.

Obviously this can’t be done with with mass produced reproductions, mostly because it is impossible to design a rear blade extension that would fit every hand. So replica manufacturers tend to resort to putting little nubs at the rear of each blade there instead. But the end result is always the same. They have to “stand off” the blades, in order to prevent those rear nubs from digging into the spaces between knuckles of the wearer.

However, it is largely a futile effort. For all but the smallest hands, if you ever hit anything while wearing these claws, those blade will rotated up back towards your hands, and those nubs *will* seek out, and mercilessly assault the soft and defenseless space between your knuckles. I ga-run-tee it. Those with smaller hands might be saved from the nubs attack. But you will *still* get finger wedgies from the metal blade stems. My advice? Don’t go all Wolverine crazy with these things on, bub. Your hands will thank you.

So there you have it. The first production replica of the original X-Men wolverine prop. Or as close to it as you can possibly get. Just remember. Just cause you got a set o’ claws don’t make you Wolverine, Bub.

Wolverine Style Claws – [True Swords]

Making Wolverine Claws – [Kris Abel’s Blog]

Phyreblade’s Ultimate Wolverine Claw Reference Guide – [The Dark Blade]

A Killer Metal Scorpion

Friday, May 15th, 2009

A long while back I blogged about the continuing trend in the collectible blade industry of forging creatures of nature, both mythical and real, of steel. And of course, one of the more common forms of this form of art, for lack of a better word, is that of insects. Mean little critters too. Like black widow spiders. And wasps. and, of course, scorpions:

The Death Stalker

The Death Stalker

Yes. This, my friends. is a death stalker. Whatever that is. I really don’t know. But I can tell you what it looks like. A giant metal scorpion, designed to be worn on the arm, and intended to intimidate all but the most stalwart of heart.Or a suicidal underground, to-the-death cage fighter. Your choice.

It is actually quite an interesting design really. A new species. A metal plated hybrid scorpion. And I say a hybrid scorpion, because it looks like it has a cross between a vampire, a human and a violator (from Spawn, if you are curious)  for a head. This attached to a set of what looks like evil black steel claws that curve backwards into an evil forward pointing saw toothed edged back plate, sporting  an equally menacing, and deeply curving black stinger at the rear. All the better to spike you with.

And all of this appears to be riveted to what looks like a cast metal base to which a simple handle has been attached, so as to fool a prospective wearer that they might actually have control of this thing by grabbing the handle. The poor unsuspecting sap. I pity the fool who would dare try to wield this monstrosity. There will only be stings to be had. I can almost gaaa-ruun-teee it.

But at least you’d look good what getting clawed to death by your own arm weapon. Just don’t say nobody told you so… 🙂

Death Stalker – [True Swords]

Sweet New Razor fingered Nightmare Gloves!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Ok, so a long while back some of the guys over at the Exotic Automatic forums happened to run into a site that specializes in a very special set of bladed gloves.

Nightmare Gloves - On Fire

Nightmare Gloves - On Fire

None other than the razor tipped gloves of Freddy Krueger from “A nightmare on Elm St.”. To be honest, I had planned to make a post about them a long time ago, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. But now, I present you with one of the first and most feared horror movie claws of all time. Freddy Kruegers Razor Gloves:

Nightmare Gloves - Display

Nightmare Gloves - Display

Seeing the copper tubing brace on my last post reminded me of this one, because Freddy’s claws were, in fact, made of cut down razor blades, ground into talons, brazed to copper tubing, and attached to leather work gloves. You can see this in the pic below. Yeah… Pretty cool actually. Notwithstanding the fact that a set of large, finger tip mounted blades are highly impractical, due to the fact that you would really have to be careful not to hurt yourself when using it, no one could really accuse Freddy of not being resourceful.

Nightmare Gloves - Assembly Line

Nightmare Gloves - Assembly Line

Anyway, the site, Nightmare Gloves pretty much specialize in what I’ll be calling “Freddy claws” for lack of a better description, and did a fine job of capturing every nuance of the original in their replicas. Anyway, if you are interested in Freddy’s legacy, you can head on over to Nightmare Gloves to see what they are up to these days…

Nightmare Gloves - Blood Red

Nightmare Gloves - Blood Red

Just a word of warning… Don’t go to sleep afterwards… 😀

Freddy’s claws – [Nightmare Gloves]

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