Posts Tagged ‘steel’

A Glorious Morning Star…

Monday, November 9th, 2009

And I’m not talking about a celestial body either… I’m talking a big ol’ heavy spiked ball on a shaft. In this case, almost 3ft of morning star, brought to my attention by a fellow DarkBlader who was trying to decide between this and a paltry mechanical pike. HAH! It’s like the ultimate no brainer! πŸ˜€ I mean, just look at this thing:

MEGA 35 Mace Club

MEGA 35 Mace Club

I posted before about maces, those rather wicked bludgeoning weapons of medieval ages, and this is one of the more… intriguing… types of mace, The Morning Star,Β  or the spiked mace, easily recognized by the spiked nature of the head of the club. As if clocking someone upside the head with a weighted club wasn’t bad enough!

Though there was a good reason to add spikes to the already rather effective mace. Armor. Simply put, a spike is the easiest way to concentrate all of the force of a strike from a mace into small a number of spots, making it an excellent weapon for puncturing armor. This was a darn sight better than a simple club, since I’m betting people found out early on that blunt trauma was just not quite as effective against a heavily armored opponent…

And this would certainly do the job. A black 9.5″ spiked ball, sporting 2.75″ spikes, siting atop a black steel shaft just tends to grab peoples attention. Even if the grip is wrapped in some kind of faux black leather. No matter how you look at it this is a magnificent rendition of the medieval morning star, 35 inches of polished black, and shiny spikey pain, just quietly waiting to bring some pain…

It’s just soo beautiful… πŸ˜€

Mega 35″ Mace Club – [King of Swords]

Persnickety splits…

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

I like boot knives. I think they’re cool. They are small, fast, fairly sturdy (usually)Β  and best of all, easier to carry than most others. All great reasons to love boot knives. Especially if you actually wear boots. Though it is by no means a showstopper if you don’t. Lots of different leg, arm, chest, small of back, and belt carry solutions for these cool little knives.

But here’s something I don’t like; gimmicks. Like unnecessarily compromising a perfectly good blade for the sake of making it look “cool”. Dunno what I’m talking about? Here, let me show you:

Double Edged Combat Boot Knife

Double Edged Combat Boot Knife

Yes, this, ladies and germs is a so called “double edged” combat boot knife. I dunno. Lots of boot knives are double edged. This is more like double pointed. Double the pain? I doubt it. More like double the amount of effort to use this as a thrusting weapon. Ok, so that is a gross exaggeration, but when it comes to dagger points, two are generally *not* better than one.

And then there’s the issue of mechanical strength. Two smaller points, imho, are just two weaker points that will break faster than one larger, thicker point. But that could just be my tenuous understanding of physics/metallurgy at work. Who knows. All I’m sayin’ is, one mans cool is another mans DOH!

Me personally, I thought the design would have looked great without that split point. The all metal grip looks good, and the blade, had it been a single blade, would have had some awesome lines to it. The fork just kinda messes it all up for me.

But then again I don’t design knives for aesthetics over function…

Double Edged Combat Boot knife – [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… πŸ˜›

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. πŸ˜€

Signature Tekko-Kagi – [Nine Directions]

A primitive knife for the caveman in all of us…

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

SOG has built a reputation for themselves in the knife industry, and for good reason. They make a lot of good knives. They are also one of the many knife companies that subscribe to the idea of “tacticool” knife design. Meaning, they don’t just focus on making good tactical knives, but that they also try to give them some sex appeal too.

In general I cannot really complain about this way of thinking. Personally, I grade all of my blades on both functionality and aesthetics. I like knives that not only work well, but look cool. And being dead sexeh, or simply evil looking, certainly doesn’t hurt their grade in my book. πŸ˜€

However some folks occasionally tend to take it just a little bit too far…

SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive

SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive

Folks, meet Bob. Say hi Bob! My friend Bob here, is a SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive. “Wassat?” you say? Well, he’s a cave man. Or a cave knife. Actually a Cro-Magnon or prehistoric modern knife, to be exact. Yep. Prolly ought to be in a museum. With all the other primitive knives. But here he is. Looking us right in the eye, and trying to establish alpha knife dominance over the lowly pocket knives we all happen to be carrying. A modern day barbarian. Heh.

LOL OK, yes, perhaps I’m being a little mean. But it’s all in the name of a little fun. I don’t really mean anything by it. πŸ™‚ The SOG jungle primitive is not actually a bad knife. In fact I think that, apart from one or two features that are minor pet peeves, it’s actually a great knife. I think they just kinda took the tacticool thinking to a bit of a new level. But not actually in an entirely bad way either.

Lets start with the kraton grip, which should be fairly grippy, even in adverse conditions. SOG went one better by molding an artistic faux knurling to the pattern of the kraton grip, (which they are calling a “Digi-Grip”… go figure)Β  that gets irregular at the top and bottom. Nice touch actually. The shape of the grip is also very nice, with a decent guard at the top, and ridges at the bottom and top of the inside curves to help increase traction. The pommel, protruding from the grip of this full tang blade has been given a small saw tooth finish. This, I am on the fence about, for reasons I’ll get to later.

The blade on the Jungle Primitive just drips with that second kind of cool (aka Tacticool). The blade is a large 9.5 in clip point, with lots of belly, a good combination for a survival blade. Just above the grip, the first inch and a half of the blade sports a serrated edge. Just above the grip, on the spine, we have a thumb recess with the same saw tooth pattern used on the pommel. Above that, a cute little divot for who knows what. And above that, we have my main pet peeve; a section of rearward facing saw teeth. Lots more on those later.

Obviously, this knife was designed with optimal grip for both gloved and bare handed users in mind. The size and the shape of the little saw teeth both on the thumb section on the spine, and on the pommel pretty much make that fairly clear. However I tend to think the design is perhaps biased a little too much towards the gloved users. The serrations seem overly large, like they would actually become tiresome against a bare thumb over long periods of use.

But that could just be me being a wuss. The other thing, is that the same pattern on the pommel makes sense if the knife is going to be used in a reverse “ice pick” grip, with the thumb over the pommel. Again, the saw teeth would provide added purchase for your gloved thumb, but would probably become very irritating against a bare thumb. Another concern would be that because a common use for the pommel is as a hammer, and there are some things that you might end up splitting instead of hammering, because those teeth would concentrate the force of each blow into a few very small points instead ofΒ  across the whole pommel.

Now as you can probably imagine, this is by no means a small knife. It is basically a knife modeled on the large, single knife only, survival role. As I’ve said in other posts, going this route is far from ideal, the ideal would be to carry a much larger heavy knife (a camp axe or a machete), and at least one small knife. However if you have to do it with just one, this would definitely fit the bill.

But now, if you all don’t mind, I’d like to vent about my one major pet peeve with this design: THOSE BLASTED SAW TEETH ON THE SPINE!!

The most hackle raising feature of this otherwise very cool knife was how the spine saw was implemented. Rather than put an actual saw blade on the spine, the folks at SOG opted for the much more difficult “dino tooth” option. They went back in time, grabbed some hapless velociraptor, performed an X-Men, Wolverine-style dental job to replace all of its teeth with steel, then pulled it’s newly transformed steel teeth out and stuck them on the back of this knife.

No. Really. That’s what they did. What? Don’t beleive me?

Ok, fine. Maybe they didn’t. But it certainly looks like it. Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that a velociraptors teeth are designed to help them catch and eat live prey. Not for SAWING WOOD. Do any of these knife makers actually ever look at a real wood saw any more? Seriously? Have you ever seen teeth like these on a wood saw? A hand saw? A folding wood saw? Branch cutting saw? Anyone? Why is it so hard for knife makers to get that oh, so simple little detail right?

I mean I can understand the cool of having the spine of your knife look like a hungry velociraptors jaw, but this knife is supposed to be a survival tool FIRST, and cool tool SECOND. Weapon/tool aesthetics aren’t called the SECOND kind of cool for nothing. Pro tip folks: Always get your basic design fully functional before you go designing in the sexy. OK?Β  Aaaaand… I’m done. End rant.

OK. To be fair, the knife is still quite evil. In a jungle primitive kind of way. My kind of aesthetic. And it will do most everything you might want it to do. Some things (such as sawing through wood) will require a little more effort than others. But it will get the job done. Just remember that if you are looking for a knife for survival purposes.

The way I see it, there’s the tool, and then there’s the cool. Sometimes you can have both the tool and the cool. Sometimes the cool overwhelms the tool. Me personally, especially for survival use, I prefer the tool to pwn the cool. Because if you are in a survival situation, the cool ain’t gonna get you through. It will be all about the tool… πŸ™‚

Now say that 20 times fast. πŸ˜€

SOG Fusion Jungle Primitive – [eBladeStore]

Another Cool Covenant Energy Sword…

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

If any of you are fans of the game HALO, I’m sure you will know what this cool little weapon is all about:

Halo Elite Covenant Energy Sword

Halo Elite Covenant Energy Sword

This, for those of you who are not the gamer types, this is a replica of the energy sword used by the Elite Covenant forces from the game HALO. I posted about a similar, custom made covenant blade in another post, but that one was a one-off. This one is a mass produced version. You know, i’ve always liked the idea of energy blades. Much like light sabers, the Covenant energy sword is a light weight, no wear/tear, weapon that will cut through pretty much anything. However this power comes at a steep cost.

First, in reality, unlike how it is portrayed in the game, energy swords are not entirely indestructible. Your energy flow could be interrupted somehouw. Maybe the power supply or control circuit gets damaged. Then all you have is a short shiny little Yeah. And lets not forget the serious energy requirements of an energy blade. Massive power is needed to make an energy arc that can cut through steel like butter. Something along the lines of a nuclear power plant. Yessirree. Not exactly the kind of thing you could pick up at your local hardware store.

I can just imagine that conversation: “Hey, you got any enriched uranium back there? No? Well can you order some?…” Uh huh. I’m betting you find Homeland security at your front door when you get home. And as if that weren’t bad enough, unlike a regular knife, you could actually run out of juice for your energy sword. That would be a bummer in the middle of a pitched battle, now wouldn’t it? This is why I rely on steel. It never runs out of bullets, or juice, or whatever. Just keeps on going. Like the energizer bunny. Assuming, of course, that it is of any appreciable quality, and it is taken care of. But I digress.

Halo Elite Covenant Energy Sword - Hilt

Halo Elite Covenant Energy Sword - Hilt

This energy sword, unlike the last one I posted about, has a unique quality. Primarily that both of its 440 stainless steel blades have been specially treated to provide an almost titanium like color shift effect. Very cool. In fact the colors are very close in hue to those of the game weapon, and shift colors slightly depending on what angle you are looking at it. Pretty nice.

Now it has an ABS grip, so I would go trying to duel the Master Chief with it, but it is certainly a beautiful replica. Even if it is for the elite of the losing side… πŸ˜€

Halo Elite Covenant Energy Sword – [True Swords]

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