Posts Tagged ‘Sword’

A rather wicked bowie…

Monday, July 7th, 2008

A while back while doing some research on a little project, (the results of which you may get to see here at some point in the future) I ran across a wicked looking little sword:

Viper Night Bowie

Viper Night Bowie

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Now you may notice, if you go to the site I found this sweet looking sword on, (link at the bottom of the page) that it is called a “Black Ronin Full Tang Ninja Sword”. I chose to use the Viper Bowie because frankly there are too many Black Ronin weapons floating about, and also because this swords design, beyond anything more than being fairly straight, actually has more in common with a bowie than it does a ninjato.

However, as swords go, this one combines a rather unusual number of bowie-like design elements, such as a false edge on the spine that seems to run into a long clip-like point, opposite a blade with an almost imperceptible belly. Definitely Bowie inspired. Beyond that you have a serrated section below the straight edge that runs into thee short cut our ricasso, and into the small finger guard.

Behind the false rear edge on the spine of the blade we see a set of cut outs, much like those on the survival knives I blogged about a while ago, that runs into a small raised section that looks almost like a thumb rest with a grip slots cut into the surface. The blade itself has been rather heinously violated by a set of three slots set between the serrated section of the blade and just below the cut outs in the spine.

If you look at the profile of the blade, you can see that it is actually at it’s narrowest just above the slot area, and gets wider before and after, which, to me, makes the placement, and even the existence of those slots all the more mind boggling.

Black Viper Bowie

Why remove more material so close to one of the weakest parts of the blade? Maybe they like seeing swords bend/snap in half at inopportune moments, impaling the users big toe with a wayward slab of sharp black steel? Looking at some of these designs, I can help but ask…

Yet another interesting design cue was the black cord wrapped grip, which, in addition to having a nice gradual swell towards the open pommel, is actually biased forward a little, kinda like how a kukri is designed. I can imagine this providing a great grip for the weapon. This weapon seems to have been designed for more for heavy duty chopping, rough cutting and thrusting duty than anything else. Definitely not a Ninjato inspired sword.

But Ninjato or Bowie, between the flat black finish, and it’s wicked, no nonsense design, this sword by any other name is still freakin’ sweet…

Viper Night Bowie – [Swords 24]

Back to Mondo Sword Basics…

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Having not done a piece on an oversized sword for a while, it thought it fortuitous that I should run into this:

Giant Odachi

Giant 69" Odachi

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Under normal circumstances regular polished blades are not my forte. However there are exceptions. And this one happens to be a rather large one. This beast is a good 69″ long… He He He… 69… LOL… *solitary cricket chirp*… *cough* what? I can’t indulge a little juvenile humor every once in a blue moon…? C’mon, there are soo many possible innuendos I could slip into this post… Aw… Fine, whatever… Pfft… Y’all are no fun…

Anyway, This odachi is just a big old sliver o steel. And I like big pieces of steel. They are cool. And this one doesn’t look half bad. There isn’t much really to say about it. I like the black cording in white rayskin same-kawa that was used for the rather abnormally long tsuka. The added length is probably intended to allow greater leverage, and also act as a counterbalance to the weight of the blade.

And the blade itself is simple, unremarkable even, except for being really, really, large. Even the tsuba is a simple cut out shape. Other nice touches were the cord wrapping on the top half of the Saya, as well as the chain on the buttcap and sageo for wearing on the belt. All small simple details that come together to make a great not-so-little sword…

69″  :P  Odachi – [True Swords]

2 Special Ninja LOLsticks for the price of one…

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

OK, so I’m cruisin’ my regular spots, lookin’ for cool blades when SHAZAM! This set of swords hit me. Twice. In the head. Yes. It happens. Your truly, every now and then, gets smacked down by something so absurdly funny, (to me anyway) that for short periods of time, I have difficulties forming coherent thoughts. It all happens so fast… WHAPOW! Seriously… It’s like KRAKOW!!… Like that… and it hits ya…

THE NINJA STRIKE FORCE!!!

Ninja Strike force - black blades

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Aaaaawwwwwww Yeah…! That’s right… It’s the Ninja Strike force, Comin’ at you live and in color (in black, of course) from the heart of feudal Japan G… ‘Cause them Ninja’s, you know they got it all on lockdown, they be packing double gats shanks n stuff yo… And they stuff be all black and stealthy and stuff yo… They ain’t playin’… And stuff… Yeah..

OK… So that was a bit over the top… I’ll admit it. It’s just that the whole Ninja thing, well it hit ridiculous years ago and is now cruising at ludicrous speed… :P The name “Ninja Strike Force”, it just triggers all kinds of corniness in my head. Notwithstanding the fact that I’d kinda think that dual ninjaken wielding ninja would be pretty much as rare as, say, a US Navy SEAL running around with two M4A1 SOPMODs strapped to his back… well… You get the picture…

OK, so the swords aren’t entirely worthless. I like the black treatment of the blade… And that’s about it. The highly polished guard and pommel really kinda kill the whole “Shinobi weapon” concept… (Even If we ignore the fact that there are two of them). And the black wrapped grip is a little large and cylindrical, which would kill any orientation feedback you’d normally get from a traditional Japanese Tsuka.

Ironically, I really didn’t begin this post with the intention of totally mocking the set… I saw the black blades and (after the initial laughing fit had subsided) I thought “This might be cool to blog about…” But after taking a closer look at it… it just sucks sooo bad… I can’t help it… :P

Ninja Strike Force *snicker* – [True Swords]

Fun With Damascus Steel

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Today, I have a special treat for you. You may or may not know this, since it does not come up particularly often, but one of my favorite blade materials is Damascus steel. For two reasons. First, barring unfinished or tarnished steels, it is one of the only true “dark” finished steels that I know of.

The next reason is that, even though I have a great love for all dark weapons, (to me they have more character than most) the truth is that, most dark weapons are not inherently dark, and require special finishes, most of which rarely do any more than provide an aesthetic touch to a blade.

Damascus steel on the other hand, has an inherent dark aesthetic beauty that requires no artificial colorings or preservatives. Ok, so maybe there are some forms of Damascus that have artificial colorings. Some shades of Damascus require chemical treatments or the usage of special alloys or metals to achieve the desired effect.

But in the grand scheme of things, these are no worse than the coatings used to enhance the appearance of monosteels. Nonetheless, it is still the only type of steel that I know of, whose aesthetics are also functional, and whose enhanced cutting power does not really require any special finishes / treatments / coatings. Damascus steel has an inherent beauty all it’s own.

But the cool thing is that, in the hands of true metalworking artists, using these various other methods, Damascus can be made into patterns and colors of amazing beauty. I was quite thrilled to find a site that featured such beautifully wrought Damascus blades, each one uniquely and excellently finished to a level of detail that, much like J. A. Harkins work, totally blew me away…

I present to you a taste of the blades of Kevin and Heather Harvey of Heavin Forge. First up:

<_>

The Zulu assegai – In Damascus

Zulu Assegai in Gaboon Viper Damascus

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Now obviously, as one of my favorite African weapons, this Damascus Assegai caught my eye. Definitely a thing of beauty. Due in no small part to the very eye catching Gaboon Viper Damascus pattern on the blade:

Zulu Assegai – Close up of Blade

Zulu Assegai Blade Close Up

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Now this is a very unique spear, first because of the shaft style, which appears to have been carved to appear like a dark horn grip at the bottom, and smooths out the rest of the way up. Very cool. And the head sports a cool damscus pattern they have appropriately called called “Gaboon Viper”, as it emulates the characteristic diamond pattern found on the back of the aforementioned reptile… I’ve got two words for the head on this spear: Absolutely Awesome…

<^>

Persian Fighting Blade!

Persian Fighting Blade

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If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, I needn’t explain to you why I like this blade… It’s all about the points and curves… (I’m sure you can figure it out… :) ) And it doesn’t hurt that it has a Damascus blade. Which is actually appropriate since Damascus steel is reputed to have been developed in ye old Persia and was also called watered steel at the time. No surprise, as Damascus does look like Steel with waves in it…

<^>

Next we have a piece i like to think of as from the West. The Wild West. California gold rush and and all that jazz… It should be self explanatory why:

Gold Rush Bowie

Gold Rush Bowie

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Yep, we have a bowie knife, perhaps almost the trademark of the wild west, (besides the ever ubiquitous revolver), in an amazing gold and almost cobalt blue Damascus hue… I’ve always like gold accents on black blades, but this just takes it to another level altogether…

Gold Rush Bowie – Close up of ricasso and top of hilt

Gold Rush Bowie - Ricasso and Hilt

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There’s gold in that thar bowie!… I seen it with my own two eyes!!

<^>

Finally, but certainly not least, we find a weapon harking from the dark continent of Africa, an interesting little dagger that reminds me of an insect for some reason. A long wasp maybe? I dunno. But here is it, in all it’s insect like glory…

African Dagger

African Dagger

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Now this particularly dark brand of Damascus is one of my favorites, perhaps the only true dark steel in existence. And this sample is particularly beautiful, complementing the overall theme of this dagger very well. Between the African styled hilt, and the really very cool horn sheath, it’s perhaps one of the most intriguing implementations of a Damascus dagger I’ve seen to date…

<^>

And that’s all I’ve got for today. You can see more of Kevin and Heathers’ work at Heavin Forge. Perhaps what really impressed me was not only the creative use of color in the steel, but also the overall attention to detail, fit and finish on every weapon. Absolutely beautiful. Make sure you swing by their page.

As much as they were all great works of art, after looking at them all, I discovered I had a favorite. Probably because I tend to gravitate towards more dark colors and organic shapes, I liked that last waspy dagger best. It just spoke to me. We had a grand old chat.

I think I’m gonna give it a name. I’m calling it the Black Stinger… Yeah… In fact I think i’m gonna have to make myself similar blade one of these days. It won’t be nearly as cool as this one, but If it has half the personality, I’ll be looking forward to quite a few great conversations with it…

P.S. I’d like to point out, for the record, that I am not insane. Just a *wee bit* loopy when it comes to certain blades… But I’m totally harmless, I assure you… No really… :P

Kevin and Heathers Damascus Blades – [Heavin Forge]

Walk Softly… And carry a Sharp stick…

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

In a previous post, I made reference to a weapon called the Jitte, that is similar in many respects to an iron club. It is essentially a short iron or steel rod, with a guard, used by police in feudal Japan, in much the same way that a nightstick is used by law enforcement officers today. Except against swords. Yeah. I’m betting police work may probably have been a bit more nerve wracking back then….

Of course nowadays people have guns… Hmmm… Kinda begs the question: Which would you prefer: To be attacked by a sword and have defend yourself with a Jitte? Or be attacked by a gunman and draw your own gun in defense… Something to think about. Though I’m betting I know how most people will respond… :D But as usual I digress.

The reason this subject came up is because I thought I’d do a post on something that combines two of my favorite weapons into a single one. And is still somewhat practical for say… Home defense…?

Night Guardian Ninja Baton

Night Guardian Ninja Baton

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Of course, as all good marketing folk are wont to do, the word “Ninja” had to find it’s way into the name for this weapon, as it’s a great selling buzz word these days. Not that a Ninja would never use something like this, but it’s just so… Unnecessary… *sigh*

But anyway, back to my review of the weapon… In case it isn’t clear what you are looking at here, I’ll spell it out for ya. It’s essentially a short narrow sword, looks almost like a bayonet in design, with a black blade, set in a knurled cylindrical brass (or copper colored alloy of unspecified origin) grip.

Now what is cool about this is that the sheath for this thing is actually also made of the same metal as the grip, and is threaded at the opening. The hilt of this weapon is also threaded, both at the transition from the ricasso to the (very small) circular guard (if it can even be called that), and also at the pommel.

This design allows the metal sheath to be screwed securely to the grip when closed, making it in effect a solid metal truncheon! Very cool stuff. In addition, the threads at the pommel allows you to screw the sheath in at the base of the sword, making a kind of extended grip bayonet.

So it’s kind of like a truncheon, with a little extra surprise for when a club just isn’t enough. Which is why I have two. Actually I got them a looong time ago when they first came out, but when I recently ran into some pics of them I had to post about it because I just love these things.

Of course they aren’t perfect. My one peeve with these is that, when closed you can hear the blade hitting the sheath when it is swung with any vigor. This kinda kills the stealth factor of it, and may be a by product of a rat tail tang construction. Which is a downer, because there really would be no reason to not make this a full tang blade. Except for cost, I suppose… But that is perhaps the only major flaw in the design.

But ultimately, I’ve always been a big fan of stick weapons, and swords, and with the metal sheath screwed on, this thing makes for a pretty mean and hefty truncheon. WITH a hidden sword. ALL in a glorious black finish. What’s not to love in a combination like that?

Night Guardian Ninja Baton – True Swords

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