Posts Tagged ‘Claw’

Killer Karambits!

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

In a previous post, I wrote briefly about a very interesting weapon design. One that utilized a forward sweeping blade, as opposed to the traditional blade belly that curved outwards. In that post, I pointed out that there are good reasons why we generally do not generally use out ward curving blades. For one thing, a cut using an outward curving blade, would be difficult to achieve on a flat surface.

For whittling wood, it might be helpful, but because the shape of the edge would cause all of your cutting strokes would tend to want to pull the knife out of your hand, I think it would be a rather fatiguing design. However there is a specific knife style that utilizes just such a design, but in a way that makes it perfect for it’s intended use. And a wicked little knife it is. Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to: The Karambit.

Filipino Karambit

Filipino Karambit

Ain’t it a beaut? The Karambit (sometimes also called a Kerambit or Korambit) is of southeast Asian origin. Much like the Japanese kunai, it started off as a simple utility knife, used for household tasks, the southeast Asian equivalent of the American pocket knife, or hawkbill utility knife, and eventually ended up being used for self defense, and martial arts. However unlike these knives, the Karambit possesses a number of very interesting and unique design features.

The most noticeable feature is the large ring on the pommel of the knife, much like how many Kunai are depicted today. However that is where the similarities end. Karambits have a very pronounced reverse curve to the blade, and depending on the design, may have any number of other unique features as shown below:

Parts of a Karambit

Parts of a Karambit

Now that’s just a mean looking little knife. My kind of pocket knife. It would probably make your average pocket knife run screaming in terror. But that’s a plus in my book. Modern day Karambits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some features are removed to meet the restrictions of local laws, and others simply a matter of tradition. Some are double edged, others are single. Some have rippers on the spine, others don’t.

Karambit Designs - Strider Knives

Karambit Designs - Strider Knives

However the things that are common to all karambits, is that characteristically curved blade, with an sharp inside edge, a grip, and the ring. And therein lies the beauty of this design. Remember before how I said that a concave blade design actually placed more drag on the knife in use? Well this design actually allows you to use that drag to your advantage.

That ring in the pommel gives the wielder a very solid purchase on the knife, allowing very strong cutting strokes, and even low pressure draw cuts, simply by laying the edge on a target and pulling the knife across by the ring. It is really quite an effective design. And, unlike like most over knives, you get a very secure forward and reverse grip.

Undercover Karambit (Black)

Undercover Karambit (Black)

Incidentally, I am not particularly impressed with those little mini blades on the spine, (aka rippers). At least the way I often seem them implemented. They are a very cool (and sinister looking) design feature, but most of them do not appear to be designed for maximum efficiency. But a properly designed set of rippers, shaped more like small sharp gut hooks, than flat chisels, could really do some damage. Kinda like this:

Dawson Large Karambit Field & Tactical Knife

Dawson Large Karambit Field & Tactical Knife

Nowadays, the Karambit is a fixture in several southeastern Asian martial arts, where it is used, with great effect, to inflict large numbers of superficial cuts, deep major artery cuts, joint or limb control, weapon defence, or any combination thereof. About the only weakness of the Karambit is that you have to learn a whole new set of techniques for fighting with it, because it does not work the same way a traditional straight bladed knife does. And there are so many more things you can do with a Karambit that you could not easily replicate with a regular knife, that you really need training in order to use it to it’s fullest potential.

Traditional Karambit With Wood Sheath

Traditional Karambit With Wood Sheath

However it is definitely a very cool tool. My kind of tool. In fact, I could see someone like… Riddick… using a karambit. It’s totally his style. I bet if we upsized the karambit to large knife proportions, this would probably be a much more effective weapon than the saber claws Riddick uses. Hmmm…

Dragon Claw Toenail Set

Dragon Claw Toenail Set

I think I’ve got an idea for this piece of steel I just so happen to have lying around. I’m off to the workshop. I have a karambit theory to test! 😀

Of Dragon Tails and Tigers claws

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Konnichiwa! So I thought I’d try and come up with some clever title for this post, since both tigers and dragons are subjects, (in a matter of speaking) of this post. But, as you may probably have guessed by now, the only thing that kept popping into my head was  “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” Yes. So I took the easy route. Pathetic isn’t it? I have no imagination. *sigh*

Anyway, today I thought I’d show you more great stuff from the site of NineDirections.com, as Matthew was kind enough to send me more pictures of his work. The first item on the list today are more pics of the Ninja Shuko (Tiger Claws) from the last post on the topic. First we have a really cool pic of the Shuko hand hoop being forged.

Shuko - Forging the Hand Hoop

Shuko - Forging the Hand Hoop

And here we have a couple of cool shuko just hanging out and acting all cool…

Ninja Shuko (Toger Claws) - Just Hanging Out

Ninja Shuko (Toger Claws) - Just Hanging Out

A pair of Shuko with their battle faces on… >: (

Shuko - Claws Out!

Shuko - Claws Out!

Enter the Shuko! LOL… OK, ok… I get it. Enough with the Shuko.

So how about… Dragons? Specifically Dragon Tails? Yeah, I thought so… Dragon Tails, also sometimes called Rope Darts or Dragons Tongues, are basically a small blade attached to length of rope anywhere from five to who-know-how-many feet in length.

Dragons Tail

Dragons Tail

They can be spun at great speeds, and controlled via cord or chain, can be used to cut or penetrate hard targets at distance. A rather intimidating weapon, indeed. I’ve always loved the rustic feel of raw sharpened steel, and Matthew at Nine Directions has, as usual, replicated the look beautifully.

Dragons Tail - Edge

Dragons Tail - Edge

So what we have here, folks, is a heavy slab of steel, with sharp edges, on a rope. You can’t beat that with a baseball bat. Yet another example of some excellent work by NineDirections!

Dragons Tail – [Nine Directions]

Ninja Shuko – [Nine Directions]

Taking Multi-tools too far…

Friday, November 20th, 2009

So I like multitools as much as anyone else, but I think there is a common sense limit to what they should be able to do. I have a SAK (Swiss Army Knife)  that I bought oh, about 15 or so odd years ago, and in spite of being one of my regular use EDCs for the vast majority of that time, it works today pretty much like it did the day I bought it. I’ve misplaced the pen from the SAK, and signal mirror that used to be stored in the leather case, but besides that, it’s a gem.

Now my SAK has about 17 or 18 different tools on it, not counting what’s in the sheath that it came with, and I have used each and every tool on that thing at one point or another so I can’t really complain about it having too many, however I’ve always wondered if there was such a thing as too much… Like too many tools… or maybe a tool that just makes no sense.

Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife

Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife

Well, I’ve seen the humongous, gazillion tool Swiss Army Knife, so that first question has been answered. 🙂

However the answer to the second question came in the form of a rather unique multitool I found a while back… I’ll let you judge for yourself:

Utility Knife & Tool

Utility Knife & Tool

Now this is certainly an interesting multitool. In addition to having very few tools, at least compared to most other multitools out there, it has a rather… eclectic… selection of tools. By my count I see 6 tools. Which, in an of itself, isn’t bad, if all you need are 6 tools, I’m a fan of economy of tools, and getting only what you need, but, in this case… well, lets go through the list.

First, the staples of any multitool, we have a simple knife. Good to go. Then moving on, we have a can opener. No complaints. Then a set of heavy wire cutters. Cool. The wire cutters are part of a set of pliers. Can’t go wrong there. And what looks like maybe a spring for the handle of the pliers. I dunno. BUT, Then we have, integrated with the head of the pliers… A claw hammer.

Yeah… A claw hammer. Really? A CLAW HAMMER? on a MULTITOOL?!? Now don’t get me wrong, I think the claw part is actually a good idea. You could use that to pull nails, open crates, etc. But the hammer head… This thing would have to be built like a tank in order to handle use as a hammer.

Now I must cede that there may actually be people out there that would find something like this incredibly useful. But even so, that whole claw hammer thing just really kills the portability of this tool. Yes, it comes with a sheath, which I’m guessing would b rather large. And I don’t know how much it weighs, but it would probably feel like a brick hanging from your belt.

And even if it didn’t wouldn’t the hammer just be a pain to use being attached to the swiveling part of the pliers? Keep swinging open on you and stuff? I’m all about innovation and invention, but this thing… I don’t know.

I really don’t know…

Utility Knife and Tool – [True Swords]

Steel Hands of Shadow… Tekko-Kagi Revisited!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Not too long ago I posted about of my favorite Ninja tool, the Tekko-Kagi, (or Tekagi), featuring an outstanding example of workmanship by one of my readers, Matthew Wright (who posts here as Mangetsu) of NineDirections.com. I have always been particularly impressed with the authenticity of his work, however he recently put together a refreshed version of the aforementioned tool, as well as his website, and I thought I’d talk a little about my opinion of his the modifications to the traditional design.

So here it is, The Signature Tekko-Kagi from Nine Directions, which he most appropriately called “Steel Shadow”…

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

Signature Tekko-Kagi - by Nine Directions

The word Tekagi (which is the abbreviated form of Tekko-Kagi) is, if memory serves, a contraction of two Japanese words, “Te”, which means “Hand”, and “Kagi” (a variation of “Kage”), which means shadow. In other words, this is the “Shadow Hand”. This makes a whole lot of sense when you consider that the Ninja (or Shinobi) were also called “Shadow Warriors”, due to their predominantly clandestine methods.

Their specialty was working from, or in, the shadows. As in, the most efficient way to plant a steel claw upside a marks head from a dark corner while their back was turned… 😛

But back to the weapon at hand. This ain’t yo grandmas Tekagi! This design, while fundamentally similar to the traditional tekagi design, differs in two very important respects. First, where there used to be a narrow forearm/wrist band, Matthew has extended the band to an almost full forearm-length leather bracer, to which the rear of the claws are riveted.

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

Tekko-Kagi - Arm

This, by itself, is perhaps the single most useful and functionally outstanding improvement I have ever seen in a tekko-kagi. It provides some additional much needed support, giving the tool much more strength, and should be significantly more comfortable than the traditional design, allowing for the wielder to use it with a lot more power.

Tekko-Kagi - Full

Tekko-Kagi - Full

The claws themselves appear to have been extended to the full length of this longer bracer, creating a full forearm cage that drastically increases the defensive capabilities of the weapon. In addition to this, he has shortened the top hoop, the hand grip, our control point, as it were, so that a much more natural, solid, closed-fist grip can be used to manipulate the claws. This is a *massive* improvement over the old large wide grip of the previous design, as your hand muscles are in a more natural and stronger position this way.

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

Tekko-Kagi - Grip

I have always held that while adherence to tradition is certainly of value, tradition should never get in the way of improvement. The old school ninjas did things the way they did because that was the best way to do them at the time. However their fundamental methodology was not one of stagnation. They constantly improved and modified their techniques and weapons, and were there not so many more effective tools of the trade to use, they would have upgraded their tekagi in much the same way Matthew has done.

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

Tekko-Kagi - Forge

So I say to Matthew, kudos for a job well done! These are perhaps the best designed Tekko-Kagi I have seen in a long time, and I doubt I will see any better. This is outstanding work folks, created with an eye to replicating the look and feel of the traditional design, except much, much better.

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

Tekko-Kagi - Grass

This Tekagi has single-handedly made NineDirections.com my next Site of the Month. If you want some truly outstanding replicas of traditional ninja gear, made with an eye for practical use, as well as authentic construction techniques, Nine Directions is the place to go…

You really can’t go wrong. 😀

Signature Tekko-Kagi – [Nine Directions]

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]

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