Posts Tagged ‘Spider’

The Black Widow Strikes Again…

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Now I could have sworn I had already put together a post for this blade, however my (admittedly hasty) searches seems to turn up nothing. So I thought I’d go ahead and post about this interesting little knife, duplicate post or not!!! Allow me to introduce the Widow Queen.

Widow Queen

Widow Queen

It should be fairly obvious where the name of this blade came from, but for the entomological neophytes among you, the spider whose front legs are oh, so possessively surrounding the hilt of this dagger is, in fact, meant to be a female Black Widow Spider, most easily identified by the red hourglass shape on it’s abdomen.

The Black Widows is a highly venomous spider, and envenomation by female black widows has been known to kill humans. I’d be willing to bet that whoever designed this knife probably had a rather personal experience with one… 🙂 Now in in real life, of course, black widows tend to be black in color, however in this case, I think we can afford to make an exception. Especially since this particular variety of black widow would probably be a heckuvalot lot more deadly in the right hands.

Either way, I certainly like the black widow motif of this blade, even though I think it goes too far in several ways. For instance, do we really need to have a full double sided hand guard (the widows front legs) and a cross guard on the same blade? I would rather have just had the cross guard, and even that is a little overly ornate for my taste.

The same goes for the pommel. You have the little spider limb thing going on, *and* a spike. What’s up with that? In fact, now that i look at it, this dagger would have been just fine entirely without the spider. A simple spiked pommel, the cool black ridged grip, a simpler, not so spikey cross guard, and that absolutly beautiful blade…

Yes… The blade on this thing is the main reason why I really like it. Now don’t get me wrong, the Black Widow was excellently done, and i could see them making replicas of that all by itself, sans the dagger. But for me, the blade is where it’s at on this knife. The swell of the ricasso, the smooth sweep into that almost straight blade, narrowing smoothly down into an absolutely evil point… I just love that profile.

Sometimes I wonder whether the people who design things like this actually realize how beautiful the blades are, all by themselves. No need for themes, motifs, spiders scorpions and whatnot, even though they can sometimes be cool. Because even if this had been a simple dagger, just this blade, a simple cross guard, black smooth grip, maybe with a simpler point on the pommel, it would still have ended up on this page.

Or maybe marketing has no clue… Who knows.

Either way, it’s a real pity…

Widow Queen – [The Collectors Edge]

Please Recycle Responsibly…

Friday, June 5th, 2009

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you may have heard me lamenting, on many occasions, about how some sword designers tend to take the easy route with their sword designs. Specifically, they may take a blade from one sword, graft it onto a hilt from a different sword, and sell the new combination as a completely different sword.

Personally, I find sword designs passing themselves off as something they’re not, rather dishonest. It’s like a musician plagiarizing their own work and trying to sell it to you again. I can understand that they are trying to milk every last cent of revenue out of any given sword line, but sometimes it can be a bit much, like the Punisher sword fiasco I wrote about so many moons ago.

There are, however, good ways to recycle a blade design. Basing a line of blades on the same knife profile is one way to do it, and so long as they aren’t being passed off as something else, it can be done tastefully and effectively, as the examples below demonstrate:

Flaming Bowie - Spider

Flaming Bowie - Spider Motif

Flaming Bowie - Scorpion

Flaming Bowie - Scorpion Motif

Flaming Bowie - Dragon

Flaming Bowie - Dragon Motif

Now the above blades are examples of knives that more or less carry the same profile. The edge grinds differ a little, however from a practical perspective, these knives all carry the same basic design, with a few minor differences. The only real differences between them is how they are furnished. Quite beautiful motifs as well, I might add.

These are essentially all full tang knives, with ornately finished scales, each with a different flame embedded motif. A Spider, a scorpion, and a dragon, in cast nickel silver, partially set into the acrylic scales of each of these knives. I’m not really a big fan of flames on knives, however in this case the effect has been quite tastefully applied. Beautiful knives all around

And all three based on the same design, without any pretense of being something they are not.

How about that!

Scorpion Flaming Bowie – [eBladeStore]
Dragon Flaming Bowie – [eBladeStore]
Spider Flaming Bowie – [eBladeStore]

Of Straight Razors and Demon Barbers.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

You know I have never really been a fan of straight razors. Don’t really know why. Apart from those rare occasions when they are ground into claws, brazed to copper pipes and attached to the fingers of leather work gloves, they just never really appeal to me. Normally, I find such evil and dangerous implements fascinating.

And straight razors are indeed evil. Unintentionally evil, grant you, but evil nonetheless. They are one of the few, relatively large, non surgical blades whose edge geometry is specifically designed to allow them to hold one of the keenest edges known to man. Even at the cost of strength. But in spite of my being intellectually aware of this, they just don’t *look* the part. Yes, they usually do have a little flair, but for the most part I find them waaaay to functional looking.

They are almost like box cutters to me. Equally dangerous, but they just don’t carry an aesthetic that evokes that primal awe that so many other blade designs do. Now I bring this up not for idle chitchat, but rather because I had occasion to analyze my thoughts about such a razor. Specifically a replica of the razor used by Johnny Depps character Sweeny Todd  in the movie “Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”:

Straight razor of Demon Barber Sweeney Todd

Straight razor of Demon Barber Sweeney Todd

Now this is a nice looking razor. I’m not saying it isn’t. The thing is, it just doesn’t speak to me. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know if there is any real significance to it, but on the surface, it looks to me like the miniature equivalent of a machete. Just like any other razor. All go, no show. Well maybe a little show. But not quite enough show.

The funny thing is that, shortly after Sweeney Todd came out, having been glamorized by the movie, there was a sudden surge of custom straight razors on the market. Here’s another example I found somewhat more attractive:

Tom Anderson Raze Tac Custom Straight Razor

Tom Anderson Raze Tac Custom Straight Razor

Arguably a much more modern design approach to the straight razor, and it certainly looks the part..  Black micarta scales with beautiful shiny accents, all rising up into what looks like it’s gonna be a sweet looking blade, and then… disappointment. It still looks like a folder horribly abused. So horribly mutilated that the doctor recommended that the tip be amputated. Sigh.

Here’s an arguably more cutting edge design:

Custom Straight Razor - Blue Widow Web

Custom Straight Razor - Blue Widow Web

So now maybe we’re getting somewhere. This design eschews the classic straight razor grip for a contemporary designer folder grip. Not a bad look. Personally I thought it could have done without the spider web  motif, but hey. But yet again… as my eyes travel up from the hilt, that sinking feeling returns. Dagnabbit!

OK, so I admit I am biased towards points. And curves. And organic shapes. Perhaps with a few more curves or something, I might find straight razors more appealing. But that would defeat the point of a “straight” razor. And in any case, I think it’d be like lipstick on a pig. I dunno if it’s possible to gussy up a straight razor enough to make it look good,  without changing the very things that make it a straight razor.

But who knows. Maybe my expectations are a little high…

Tom Andersons Raze Tac – [True Swords]
Sweeny Todds Straight Razor – [True Swords]
Custom Straight Razor – Blue Widow Web – [True Swords]

A Black Widow with a Deadly Stinger…

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Now we all know how lethal a black widow spiders bite can be. But how much more lethal would a black widow be if it had a stinger as well? Weeeell… I don’t know. It’s a hypothetical scenario for which I lack the prerequisite genetic engineering expertise to replicate. BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t test out the theory… In steel!! >:}

And since some enterprising sword maker has already taken the initiative and put one together for us to… drool over… Eeerrrr, I mean observe, please, step into my specimen room… 😉

Black Widow Death Sting

Black Widow Death Sting

[click image to view full size]

Yes, yes, yes my friends, the pic above is of a rare and excellent specimen of the exotic sword species “Niger Viduata Nex Punctum” – The Black Widow Death Sting.

Clearly, a very beautiful specimen indeed, a sword featuring a single piece blade/full tang construction, sporting triple pinned dark wood scales, and a matching dark wood sheath with a spider emblem carved into the side.

Black Widow Death Sting - Sheath

Black Widow Death Sting - Sheath

[click image to view full size]

The ever so mildly curved blade is tipped with a sweeping and ever so wicked point, and widens out into a lithe but lethal swathe of shiny steel that curves down into the hilt. This blade has a rather unusual feature, in that instead of a single continuous fuller, or blood groove, it has two smaller fullers, ground one after another into the blade.

The hilt is also a work of simplistic art, continuing the subtle undulation started by the blade with a slightly more prominent curve of it’s own – in reverse, and ending the pommel with a mild flare. But as awe inspiring as this swords blade is, one aspect I found to be of particular interest, is the guard. Which I shall henceforth be referring to as “The Stinger”:

Black Widow Death Sting - Stinger

Black Widow Death Sting - Stinger

[click image to view full size]

Yeeeessss… This sword has a stinger… As if the sword was not sinister or menacing enough as it was, the designer thought it would be nice to add a stinger. A very wicked stinger it is too. This stinger is actually a continuation of the sharpened edge of the blade, that flares out just before the hilt, to form a guard of sorts. An evil, sooner-stab-you-in-the-eye-than-look-at-you, guard.

Of course, as with all things in life, it isn’t perfect. Or more accurately, I’m an OC freak who will find any possible reason to fault a sword, no matter how perfect. (Pick whichever suits your fancy 😛 ) Though I think in this case my nit picking is justified.

For instance, the split fuller. In a normal sword, the fuller reduces weight and increases the stiffness of the blade. The stiffness comes from the way that flexion forces are distributed due to the resulting “I-beam” like cross sectional blade geometry that the fuller introduces.

If my understanding of the physics involved is accurate, the result of introducing a heavier, more correction: less flexible section into a fullered blade should be that the surrounding blade areas become weak points. So the blade would be more likely to bend in these areas of the blade, when subjected to shear forces, and will probably also fail there first. So splitting the fuller, in addition to leaving unnecessary weight in the blade, is kind of like building in weak spots into the blade. Yes, it works great for cars. Not so much for swords though.

And then there’s the Stinger of Doom. Great idea in theory. In practice… I have doubts. The first, and perhaps biggest issue I see is this: how would an intrepid sword fighter, with the meanest sword around, avoid getting shanked in the hip when sheathing it? Or while walking around with it? See:

Black Window Death Sting - Sheath Stinger

Black Window Death Sting - Sheath Stinger

[click image to view full size]

The stinger is great, but In addition to taking up valuable grip space that would have been better utilized for a double handed grip, why leave it out there *all* the time? Methinks not such a wise idea. And honestly, it really didn’t need to be sharpened. That section of a sword is, in general, seldom used for cutting, so that was an unnecessary detail. (But it still gets cool points for sheer menace…) 🙂

And, of course, If the blade had been in black, well… let’s just say I would be getting ready to propose… Black Widow or not. At least I’d die happy.

However in spite of it’s flaws, I am still in awe of this sword. Assuming it is made with the right steel, this kind of blade more or less captures a lot of the things I love to see in a blade, and then some. Very strong full tang construction, curves that go on forever, brutal and heartless points that crave no quarter, (and give none, even to it’s wielder), and dark wood furniture that just brings it all together.

Crikey!! It’s a thing of beauty. An absolutely exquisite creature! Ya just gotta be careful it doesn’t shank ya…

RIP, Steve Irwin… Ya nutter… I know exactly how you felt…

Black Widow Death Sting – [Swords Swords]

Black Widow… With Steel Booties?

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Welcome to another edition of Phyreblades Beleive It Or Not!! A Black Widow Spider. Born with steel knives for legs!! You don’t ever want to be caught in this spiders stainless steel and super glue web!!

OK, ok, so it’s not a real spider. But it does have knife legs. Today we have an interesting example of something that simply makes no sense… unless it is purely intended to be a conversation piece, which (I’m guessing) it is. While perusing my usual blade haunts I came across this dark arachnoid beauty.

Black Widow

Black Widow

Now this is a weird piece because I could see no real reason to substitute blades for leg segments. It would make for a difficult weapon to wield, unless used as a last resort, but only because it would be still be better than nothing. But it seems to be excellently suited as a conversation starter, as it is indeed a well crafted and beautiful piece, and the leg blades do look very menacing.

Now if this were an autonomous combat robot, this design would make perfect sense, as it would have it’s quite formidable weapons ready at all times. I’d also sharpen it’s mandibles. Or have it secrete venom. Or climb walls. Or swing from the rafters like spidey! OK, that’s just wishful thinking. I suppose it would have the weakness that you could hear it coming from miles away on hard surfaces. And it would certainly leave some nasty divots in your mom’s hardwood floors. But it still looks good as a faux lethal ornament…

The Black Widow – [True Swords]

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