Posts Tagged ‘Switchblade’

Bladed Dogfaced Knuckle Dusters…

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

A while back I happened to run into a rather cool little weapon on our forum, Exotic Automatic (http://exoticautomatic.com). Thought today would be a good day to share…

Rob Dalton's Dogface

Rob Dalton's Dogface

I present to you the Dogface, by Rob Dalton. And an amazing piece of work, I might add. An OTF blade, attached to a unique grip, with integrated finger holes, and some rather evil looking spikes on the top to as well. Just wicked all around.

But the really cool thing I like about this blade is that, depending on how you look at it, it could be a combination of several different weapon designs all mashed into one. Can you guess what they are? Let’s play a little “Where’s Weapon Waldo…” 🙂

Dalton's Dogface OTF

Dalton's Dogface OTF

The first one should be obvious. It’s an OTF, or “out-the-front” automatic switchblade. It’s a fairly simple blade design, nothing too fancy, but certainly a nice design. OTFs are always cool. What you see next really depends on what kinds of weapons you prefer.

If you are the brawler type, you might see a knuckle duster and a pocket knife. If, on the other hand, you are the knife fighter, you might see a WWII trench styled knife, which combined the knuckle duster design with a fixed blade. Yet another knife design I’ve always liked. It’s all about the options…

Dalton's Dogface - Stainless Steel Finish

Dalton's Dogface - Stainless Steel Finish

Either way, this blade is just way freakin’ cool…

Rob Dalton’s Dogface OTF – [The Knife Auction]

A Beautiful Blade of Mixed Heritage…

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Today is a good day. Sinza, a buddy of mine, who started the Exotic Automatic forums we run, (http://exoticautomatic.com Go check it out!!) ran into a very interesting blade, and was kind enough to give me a heads up! And I gotta tell ya, this is an exotic beauty of a blade. Born of classic knife blood. My kind of heritage… Yeah… 😀

Allow me to introduce you to a unique stiletto from Burn Knives. A stiletto of mixed blood. African, Asian, and European. They call it an 11″ Italian picklock stiletto in random patterned damascus with a hollow ground tanto blade. *I* call her Aidemona. For reasons which may not be obvious right now. But I assure you, I will explain. And here she is:

Aidemona - 11" Italian Picklock Stilletto, Damascus steel, Tanto Blade

Aidemona - 11" Italian Picklock Stilletto, Damascus steel, Tanto Blade

Isn’t she beautiful? I have always been a fan of stilettos. Beautiful, narrow, usually single edged blades, automatics with will of their own, an a undeniable presence. And this one, while a major departure from traditional stiletto design, is all the more attractive to me for it’s differences. Such sweet differences… OK… I guess I ought to stop marveling at her beauty and introduce her properly. Meet Aidemona.

Aidemona - Left Side

Aidemona - Left Side

Aidemona - Bolster, Guard

Aidemona - Bolster, Guard

I call this knife Aidemona in homage to several characters from Shakespearian literature. Specifically the tragic work, Othello. In it, we have the Venetian beauty Desdemona, who falls in love, and elopes with Othello, a moor, a man of color. In my mind I imagine that if they had a daughter, she would have been called Demona. A child of mixed Italian and African blood. A stiletto in dark damascus steel.

Aidemona - Right Side

Aidemona - Right Side

Aidemona - Liner filework

Aidemona - Liner filework

But Aidemona is yet so much more than that. What if Demona had traveled to Asia, and hooked up with a Japanese man? A Samurai of noble blood? What would their daughter look like? Well, this is who I imagine Aidemona to be. An strong, exotic beauty with a proud Italian stiletto heritage, a Japanese blade, and beautiful dark damascus skin… A melding of cultures so far apart, into something… breathtaking.

Aidemona - Blade

Aidemona - Blade

Aidemona - Blade, Right Side, Point

Aidemona - Blade, Right Side, Point

Perhaps I am biased. I have always loved tanto blades. Their strong, utilitarian lines, and the pure strength of that point design. I have also always loved automatics. And what type of blade is more deserving to be the proud ambassador of automatic knives than the Italian Stiletto? I can’t think of any better. And of course, I love dark knives. Dark blued steel, patterned damascus, they look better to me than the million other shiny flashy blades out there. So you can probably imagine how knives like Aidemona make me feel.

Aidemona - Spine filework

Aidemona - Spine filework

Aidemona - Pommel filework

Aidemona - Pommel filework

And just look at the fit and finish on this blade. Sweet, jet black onyx stone scales, the intricate file work along the spine, liners and pommel of the grip, the skull safety, and the mother of pearl button… A functional, beautiful but, oh, so evil looking work work of art. I love it. I would propose to her, except I have so many girlfriends now, I think it would surely mean my demise…

Aidemona - Mother of Pearl Button, Skull Safety

Aidemona - Mother of Pearl Button, Skull Safety

Aidemona - Closed - Right Side

Aidemona - Closed - Right Side

I think I’m going to just go back and spend the rest of the day just drooling over her from afar…

11″ Italian Picklock Stiletto, Tanto Blade, Black Damascus – [Burn Knives]

Phyreblade’s guide to Altairs retractable blade (From Assassins Creed)

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I had been considering doing a piece on retractable blades for a while, and was finally motivated to do so by a post I recently got in my suggestion box. A reader, Zach B. commented about his build of an under-hand retractable blade, similar to what the assassin Altair uses in the game Assassins Creed:

Assassins Creed Poster
[view full size]

In general, I love blogging about game weapons with real-life counterparts, but obviously, this game is pretty new out, so there are no official (or unofficially) produced rip offs… err production “replicas” of the Altairs retractable blade to be had for review.

However, since the games release, there have been numerous attempts to duplicate this weapon, and while YouTube is replete with videos of home made “Assassins Creed” blade contraptions, I noticed that, due to a lot of conflicting concept art from the developers, there is actually a lot of confusion about this blades design.

So, in typical blade nerd fashion, I thought I’d try to sort things out. Not necessarily to replicate the game blade, but rather to come up with a practical, real life design for such a weapon. Now let me preface the following by saying that, for your average dweeb, walking around with a spring loaded blade up your sleeve is an incredibly bad idea. There is a reason why these kinds of weapons were not common, even when they were legal. They are highly impractical, not to mention that they are an accident literally waiting to happen.

But, for those of us who like to live on the edge, love the aesthetics and the mechanical challenge of designing wacky weapons, and are insane enough to try, (notwithstanding the very real possibility of self impalement), I’ll go on. Proceed at your own risk. But remember, Altair has no ring finger. Think about it… People, please, do NOT try this at home…

Mounting and Placement.
For any wrist mounted blade to have the stability and strength to be used effectively, it must be properly mounted. This means a solid (inflexible, like steel, very thick/stiff leather or wood) mounting platform, preferably formed to the shape of your forearm, and a minimum of two straps to keep it in place, one at either end of this base. Your best bet would be to use the entire length of your forearm, with a minimum of two straps, one placed at the wrist and the other just before the elbow, to maximize the weapons stability. Altair has this covered quite nicely, as he used full length bracers with three straps:

Altairs Bracer
[view full size]

Now looking at this concept art for the game you’ll notice that the blade seems to come out from the spot where Altairs ring finger ought to be. In the game, this is not the case, and is entirely impractical for any real life assassin, (unless they are a mutant, like Wolverine) so we will disregard this little snafu, and assume the blade is mounted under the forearm, and not actually in his hand. Next stop, blade design.

Blade Support and Design
Now here is another area that has been thoroughly bolloxed on account of multiple conflicting concept art. In the game, Altairs blade uses a nested rail delivery system, where the blade is housed inside of a set of nested sleeves, which run on an internal guide rail. The sleeves extend sequentially, outermost rail first, then inner rail, and finally the actual blade, once both sleeves are fully extended and locked:

Assassins Creed Blade with double nested sleeves

Altairs Nested Sleeve Blade system
[view full size]

Now here is where the confusion begins. Depending on which art you are looking at, Altairs retractable blade either has two sleeves, or one sleeve:

Assassins Creed Blade with single sleeve

Altairs Single Sleeve blade system
[view full size]

Now nested sleeve systems have the advantage of being able to fit in a retracted form factor that is only a fraction as long as the weapon is when fully extended. This means a much more compact housing. However this comes at a cost. The added complexity of automating the extension and retraction of multiple nested sleeves require smaller, more delicate parts, necessarily manufactured to very close tolerances, that would make the whole mechanism more prone to failure.

In fact, in my opinion, the ideal system would actually use no sleeves whatsoever. And given that you have (and should really use) the entire length of your forearm with which to conceal both the blade and the deployment mechanism, I don’t really see the point of implementing such an elaborate system. Not to mention that a single, fixed-length blade would be stronger, faster, more reliable, and infinitely easier to automate than a shorter blade mounted in multiple sleeves. Which brings us to the our deployment system.

Automation
A very important aspect in the operation of any stealth weapon is an equally stealthy activation mechanism. Preferably one that can be activated ‘hands free”, in a manner of speaking. And Altairs got one. In the first concept picture above, we can see that there is a little harness attached to Altairs pinky from the blade housing. This is intended to be his blades activation switch:

Assassins Creed Blade – Ring/Cable Activated

Assassins Creed Blade Mechanism
[view full size]
[video here]

However, in one of the promotional vids for the game we see Altair having to press a button to release a switch that activated his blade:

Assassins Creed Blade – Button Activated

Assassins Creed Blade Switch
[view full size]
[video here]

Now truth be told, this button is probably one of the more complicated ways of doing this. Indeed, you can see that it’s actuation would be counterintuitive, as it would require you to place your fingers in the path of the out going blade in order to activate it. In any case, from the numerous videos of him in action, we can see that Altair simply flexes his hand away from the blade to activate it, so we can assume that a button based activation system is not used. A finger ring cable is a much more flexible way of doing this, and the one I’d go with.

So far as the actual deployment mechanism is concerned, if we stick with the simple, single blade (no sleeve) approach, we can actually use a very compact dual spring double action out-the-front switch blade mechanism. They are simple, reliable and fairly easy to implement. I won’t go into schematic detail here, as it would extend an already excessively long post, however, I can point you in the direction of a buddy, and fellow knife fanatic Sinza, with whom I run a forum (Exotic Automatic) with a lot of helpful diagrams, as well as a break down of some common double action OTF mechanisms. Go on over and check his site out if you have the hankering for a more technical look into the topic…

The Blade.
Finally, we come to the point (pun intended) of all this, which is the design of the actual blade itself. As I mentioned earlier, I favor a single blade approach, with no sleeves, housed in a simple, dual spring loaded guide rail, in the style of your regular OTF switchblade. So far as the blade itself is concerned, we would need to meet a few specific criteria. The blade would need to be long enough to penetrate thick clothing and still puncture vital organs, thin enough to be able to slide between a persons ribs, yet thick enough to resist bending. Throw in double edges, and a sharp point, and we have a winner.

Interestingly, these are the same basic design specifications of the contemporary Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife design, which I will talk about in a future post. Nonetheless, this should give our assassins blade all of the required features to be a terminally effective assassination tool… And that’s all I’ve got to say about that…

The work of a master blade wrangler…

Friday, July 27th, 2007

A while back, one of my readers (Thanks Jon!) clued me in on a custom knife maker out of Montana by the name of Harkins. Jeffery A. Harkins. Please allow me the honor to present the work of Mr. Harkins, grand master of switchblade husbandry:

J. A. Harkins Designer OTF Switblades

J. A. Harkins Designer OTF Switblades

My two favorite Harkins knife styles are featured in the pic above, and are called the Triton, and the “Q”. These are both DA (Double Action) OTF switchblade designs, though they each feature different switch location points. The Triton features a switch on the flat side of the blade enclosure, while the “Q” features an edge mounted switch. Both are awesome. In fact pretty much every knife on the site, even the plain ones, are simply outstanding. In every way. Except for the cost of course. But you couldn’t expect any different. This level of quality ain’t supposed to be cheap.

J.A. Harkins "Q" OTF - Tortoise Design

J.A. Harkins "Q" OTF - Tortoise

Now me personally, I think Harkins makes some of the most exceptionally beautiful knives I have ever seen. While there is certainly no shortage of excellent custom knife designers, many of the designers whose weapons I have blogged about on this site so far have made a name for themselves by designing strange, futuristic, unusual or even outlandish weapons, which, while cool, are not exactly practical, or even functional.

J.A. Harkins "Triton" - Blackwork Design

J.A. Harkins "Triton" - Blackwork

What sets Jeffery Harkins apart is not only the beautiful aesthetics, high quality fit and finish, and general overall attention to detail of each knife, but the fact that all of his knives appear to be constructed to withstand the rigors of daily use, just like any regular folding pocket knife. Not that I would subject such any of these knives to such a life. No, that would be blasphemous. This is art. Functional art, but art nonetheless. No, really. I honestly don’t think I could bring myself to blemish one of these blades.

J.A. Harkins "Triton" - Ebony

J.A. Harkins "Triton" - Ebony

OK, fine, mock me if you will, but go to his site and see for your own eyes what I’m talking about. Just a little warning. If you are a knife fanatic like I am, you will need something to wipe up the drool from your keyboard as you browse…

The Triton & “Q” custom switchblade – [J. A. Harkins]

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