PostHeaderIcon A Sleek (Non)Arthurian Sword…

So, once again, I find myself confronted by a sword which, while absolutely beautiful, also appears to have aesthetics that run counter to it’s supposed origins. I present to you, the magical sword of King Arthur of the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur:

King Arthur of the Round Table Excalibur Sword

King Arthur of the Round Table Excalibur Sword

Ooookaaayyy… So does anyone else notice something fishy here? And I’m not referring to the smell the sword must have picked up from being stored in a lake, by the Lady of the Lake, for so many centuries. No, I am referring to the fact that this sword does not appear to match the aesthetics we would expect to see from a sword made in the era of the Crusades.

The swords of the Crusaders were generally more… Cross shaped. They tended to have straight cross guards, which made their swords look like crosses, a physical symbol, a reminder, if you will, for the knightly Crusaders, that they were the Swords of God. Yeah. Uh huh.

Anyway, These swords also carried a round medallion pommel, and tended to sport much a more wedge shaped blade, with the blade narrowing significantly from hilt to tip. The grips were also much more likely to be mildly tapered, with  a leather wrap.

Now the sword above. This wretched pretender, does not match any of those traits.

This sword has, instead of a medallion, a stubby cross pommel. Yes, it does have a cross emblazoned on the center on said cross, but still. And then the grip… Wire wrapped. No leather. Which brings us to the guard. Which starts off straight, but then curves up towards the point with an almost dragon scale like motif. Definitely not the kind of thing a Knight of the Cross should carry!! And that blade… Long, straight and narrow… No wedge.

So. I can guess what your thinking at this juncture. And it probably sounds a little like “Pardon my French, but… YOU, GOOD STEEL MADAME, are an IMPOSTER!! You HEATHENOUS WRETCH!!! How DARE you claim to be EXCALIBUR!!!  >: (  ”

OK, ok, easy now. Let’s not be hasty. She’s a fine lass, and, truth be told, I like her. The slim lithe blade, the mild curve and pattern on the guard, it’s down to earth overall simplicity…  Let me play devils advocate for a bit.  >: }

First of all, Excalibur was not forged of man… but of ancient magic. So it does not have to look exactly like every other sword. In fact, it was a magic sword, so it should most likely *not* look like any other sword, so we really should not judge it just because it looks different.

And then of course there is the somewhat minor detail that stories of King Arthur seem to appear a few hundred years before the Crusades start, so the whole cross sword motif may not have started back then. Of course that would also invalidate the whole King Arthur legend as we currently know it, so I’m going to pretend that inconsistency does not exist. 🙂

Truth is, regardless of her heritage, she’s a beautiful sword. Who cares if she doesn’t look like all the other girls. She’s sharp, she’s got a great personality, she sweet, she’s smart, honest, and upfront, likes to get to the point and says what’s on her mind, ie, I don’t have to guess what she really means when she’s got her edge to my throat, has a great sense of humor, and, most importantly, she’s magical! None of the others can say that. So I don’t care. If you don’t like it, you can just sod off…  She’s mine. :p

Wait… What? Did I…? What just happened?

Doggone magical swords…

King Arthurs Excalibur Sword – [Saber and Sword]

PostHeaderIcon Anyone know where to find human dart boards?

Why? Because I have some unique darts I’d like to try out…

Cold Steel Urban Dart

Cold Steel Urban Dart

This is the Cold Steel Urban Dart. Now to be honest, the name is a bit of a mystery to me. Why call it a dart? And why an urban dart? I dunno. But it is certainly one cool looking dart. And it’s design has a lot of merit as a concealed tactical bladed weapon.

Sporting a 5.75″ Aus8 blade, attached to a 2.25″ kraton handle with a small lanyard hole, all put together in a trim, slim form factor, this dart has all the makings of an easy to conceal little knife. Could easily be used as a neck knife, though I would not recommend you rely on this for something like outdoor use, since that I think 2.25 grip is waaaaay to small for a good wilderness knife. No, this looks like it would really be best used for things like an easily concealed defensive tool. Perhaps that is where the “Urban” part of it’s name comes from.

The design does have some interesting characteristics. About an inch or so above the kraton grip, on the ricasso of the blade, we see a grroved depression, clearly intended to be used as a thumb grip area. This would suggest the blade would be best held in a form of full handed pinch grip, with the ricasso held between thumb and folded forefinger.

The swell of the kraton base should fit in the closed palm of the hand, giving it a decent grip. And the flat kraton pommel should also allow it to be used as an impromptu punch dagger, with the blade held between the fingers, presuming Cold Steel has put enough Kraton down on that pommel to prevent the steel from pushing through.

And, of course, it is also very nicely shaped for throwing. perhaps where the “dart” part of the name came from, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you get one of these and start throwing it like you would throw a dart. Certainly not at another human. Unless, of course they started it first.  🙂  But either way, it ought to be a rather nimble little defensive blade.

And, funnily enough, I think I have just solved the riddle of why they decided to call it an ‘Urban Dart”.

Very cool idea. I like it.

Urban Dart by Cold Steel – [True Swords]

PostHeaderIcon Yet another completely unrelated “ninja” sword…

So I’m sure many of you have noticed the recent trend knife makers have been following, where the word “ninja” is added to the name of a knife to somehow add to it’s coolness… While I think ninjas are indeed cool, labeling a sword that has little, if anything, in common with a traditional ninja weapon is just… Lame.

But here we are, looking at just such a blade. Once again, I am faced with a painfully unavoidable truth… Sometimes marketing/sales people can be utter and complete morons. No offense intended for the non IQ challenged sales folk among you, of course. Please allow me to present: Exhibit… Q.

Full Tang Ninja Sword

Full Tang Ninja Sword

Now this, ladies and germs, is supposed to be a “Full tang ninja sword with a curved edge and a tanto point”. Alrighty then. So lets see. Curved edge. Check. Full Tang. Check. Tanto point… Errrrm… partial Check. Ninja sword… Wait… Come again? This is supposed to be a “ninja” sword? Orly? By what brain work, pray tell, is this a ninja sword? Intoxicated brain work? High brain work? Interpretation by fried braincells? What?

Now that I think about it, this would actually make for an excellent anti-drug commercial. I can just see it now…

This sword has absolutely nothing to do with Ninjas. But on meth, It does. Kids, don’t do drugs, Mmmmkay?

Yeah… Anyway, what was I saying? Ah. Yes. Sales morons. I mean honestly.

Now don’t get me wrong. I actually love this sword. It is absolutely sweet. An evil short sword, with a rather nasty looking point, a unique concave edge, and a set of contoured plastic scales, bolt-slapped upside the multi-choil equipped, full tang grip. Yes, you heard correctly. Plastic scales. Yes, yes, I admit it, it’s not a perfect blade. But cheap scales are easily fixed. No, really, It’s not that bad…

OK, maybe it is. But I actually still like this sword. Quite a lot. It’s simple, it’s clean, and most importantly, it looks like it takes itself quite seriously. Drow seriously, in fact. I could totally see a dark elf, a Drow, wielding something like this. Having, of course, replaced the cheap scales with some nice ebony slabs. But again, I’m rambling.

The point is, this yet another great sword whose fine name has been sullied by the unnecessary association with a completely unrelated cultural reference. Regardless how cool that reference may be, (and believe me, Ninjas are as cool as they get) it was still unnecessary.

I’m thinking I may need to adopt one of these, just to teach it that it is ok to be who it is. It’s a fighter. It really doesn’t need to be associated with ninjas to be cool. It should be proud of it’s heritage… Such as it may be.

Hey, hey, hey…!  I heard that. You really ought not judge… :/

Full Tang Ninja Sword – [True Swords]

PostHeaderIcon Mans best… pal?

Ok, so I’ve been looking for a few good all around large wilderness knives, large blades, like machetes and the like, things I could substitute for an axe. My personal philosophy for wilderness excursions is to carry a large blade instead of an axe, because while an axe is really, really good for heavy duty chopping, unless you are doing something really involved, like building a log cabin, you could probably get by with a large knife instead.

And in addition to that, there are a gazillion things you can do with a large machete that an axe would just be too unwieldy for. My personal benchmark, my reference blade, my standard for any large blade that can double as an axe, is the Nepalese Khukuri. And I actually did find a Khukuri to add to my outdoor kit. That blade, however, is the topic of another post.

Today, I’d like to talk about one of the more popular machete type tools I happened to run across during my search: The Woodmans Pal:

Woodmans Pal - Site Logo

Woodmans Pal

Now this is one of the more unique machete designs I’ve happened across during my ramblings across the internet, and for the most part, I like what I see. Good solid construction, no gimmicky features, like some of the other specialized machetes I’ve blogged about in the past. I will admit that in my opinion, this machete does carry a little bit of bloatware on board, depending on how you plan to use this useful not-so-little blade, however this ends up working in it’s favor, which I will talk a little bit about later on.

So, lets start from the bottom. The Woodmans pal comes in two flavors, one with a nice hardwood grip, and the other with the premium, and very nice looking compressed leather grip, with an integrated D shaped knuckle guard, as shown later below. Me personally, I like the leather grip and knuckle guard, but depending on how you plan to use the machete, the wood may be a better choice, for reasons I’ll also get into later.

But perhaps the most distinctive feature of this machete is it’s blade. The woodmans pal features an interesting forward swept design, with the blade getting a little wider, as it gets towards the top. Interestingly the edge is not sharpened all the way to the top, but stops just short of the wide, flat tip. However at the top of the blade, opposite the unsharpened top edge, we have a billhook jutting from the spine.

The billhook sits in a depression stamped into the top of the hook, so as to ensure that, when oriented correctly, the blade of the hook is always lower than the blade of the machete, which should make it easier to catch limbs and brush with. I thought was a very clever design feature, though this is also where my little nitpicks begin.

The Woodmans Pal

The Woodmans Pal

Here’s the thing. This design is quite innovative, however it suffers from a few shortcomings. For instance, if you opt for the model with the leather grip and knuckle guard, you may find that your options for using the billhook are actually a little limited. Because as clever as the design is, that depression makes it biased towards one hand over the other, depending on whether you are a southpaw or not, and also depending on how you use a machete.

If you are one of the unfortunate few for whom the placement of the depression for the billhook makes it a little harder to use, you may want to opt for the wood grip, since the knuckle guard will generally only aggravate this problem, and the wood handle is actually much better designed to allow the machete to be used upside down. I also found that, at least based on the way I use machetes, there was only a marginal advantage to having it. A lot of what I might do with the billhook, I could do with just the machete blade alone.

However I will say that the bill hook, in combination with the slight flare of the blade as it rises towards the tip, provides the tool with a top heavy balance that should give it rather khukuri-like qualities in terms of chopping power. Perhaps with not quite the same kind of elegance that the Khukuri carries, but some semblance of it’s chopping ability nonetheless.

Now individually, none of these features are particularly unique. However put together, it makes for one heck of a well balanced, exotic gardening implement! The wood and leather, where used, appear to be of great quality, and the steel is a good quality tempered carbon spring steel, so no demerits in that area either. All in all, a really great machete, if you are in the market for something of this nature.

Equally confidence inspiring is that Pro Tool Industries, the maker of the Woodmans Pal, offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back. I’m tend to be a bit leery when I see things like that, but based on what I’ve seen of it, I’d be willing to bet few have ever taken advantage of this offer.

So really, apart from the whole billhook thing, I can’t really knock this. And it even comes in black. I wish they made one without the billhook.

But then I guess it just wouldn’t be a Woodmans Pal.

‘Tis a shame really…

The Woodmans Pal – [Pro Tool Industries, Inc]

PostHeaderIcon Watch Your Fingers!!

I have always been a big fan of butterfly knives, aka balisongs or batangas. They are beautiful knives, both in construction and also in the aesthetics of how they are often used. Just the simple act of flipping a balisong open is a thing of beauty. It is one of the very few knives for which the simple act of opening it is an art in and of itself.

Sure, there are martial arts related to drawing and cutting with a sword, like Iaidō, but even the fast flashy draw, or the finishing flourish of the blade before re-sheathing, in Iaidō pales in comparison to the nimble flash of a balisong. Soooo… What do you think the topic of todays’ post is going to be? Yeah, go ahead, guess. You can do it, I’ve given you a rather big hint, so you can’t go wrong! Go for it!

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BZZZZZZT!!!

WRONG AGAIN!!

ROFLMAO… SUCKERS!!!!

You guys… You make it too easy… LOL..

Ok, ok, so I’m being a jerk. You’re not entirely wrong. I’m just messin’ with ya. Sometimes I just gotta. Cause you all are such good sports n all… 😀

Technically the blade I’m going to be talking about today is, in fact, distantly related to butterfly knives, however it is lacking one of the things that make a butterfly knife a butterfly knife. I’ll let you in on what that is a little later in the post. For now, suffice it to say, this blade is sweeet!

Butterfly Commando With Knuckle Guard

Butterfly Commando With Knuckle Guard

This here is the Butterfly Commando. With knuckle guard. Essentially what we have here is a fairly cool looking folding blade, designed so that it’s split grip can fold around the blade. And it is also designed with a unique feature: one of the handles has an extended knuckle guard, which wraps around both the other handle as well as the blade. Pretty nifty.

I generally don’t find such shiny blades anything special, but I really like this one. The ergonomics of the grip are actually quite well thought out, at least from a fixed blade perspective. The side of the handle that goes into your palm has a nice swell, to help fill the hand, while the side with the knuckle guard, features a set of shallow choils where the fingers will rest.

Both should provide a secure grip during use. And the cleverly placed knuckle guard could, in addition to protecting the knuckles, actually also be used like brass knuckles. And everything all folds into a nice compact form factor. Even the contours of the strong clip point blade are fairly impressive. All in all quite a cool tool. For the most part.

I do have some points of concern. First off, there appears to be a slot in the blade. Yeah, I wish people would stop doing that. I’m really getting tired of seeing perfectly good blades defaced in that way…  Really people. You want to shave weight? Use a fuller. In my opinion, a fuller is better in every way. I guess it’s just cheaper and easier to slot the blade than to forge or grind a fuller… Cheap/lazy bastiges… Bah!

And then there’s the whole “butterfly” thing. Honestly, I can’t classify this knife as a true butterfly knife. Why? Because, in spite of the coolness of that “D” shaped handle knuckle guard thingy, it prevents you from doing what Balisongs are made to do. Which is, of course, to flip and spin those suckers open and closed like there was no tomorrow. 🙂

No, if you’ve ever used a balisong, it should be clear just from looking at the pic above, how that gul darned knuckle guard will get in the way of everything. Which is a shame really, because this design is really quite cool. Now don’t get me wrong, this is really not a bad knife design. Well… Actually, that slot does grind my gears, but besides that, I love it. It is a great folding design, and a great knife design (apart from that blasted slot, of course).

It’s just that, well… It’s just not a real Balisong. But that could just be me being a persnickety knife snob…

In all honesty, it’s really a great blade, so long as your expectations are not as unreasonable as mine… 😀

Butterfly Commando – [Fortune Sales]

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