Posts Tagged ‘Thrower’

Pauls Problematic Projectile.

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Today, while doing a little pic gathering for a future post on shuriken, I ran across a sweet triple razor thrower I thought you all might like to see. And no, regardless of any similarity the description may have to any number of commercial disposable razors, it is, in fact, a hira-shuriken style thrower, designed by Paul Ehlers:

Paul Ehlers - Triple Razor Throwing Star

Paul Ehlers - Triple Razor Throwing Star

Now I have to admit, this is a nice looking thrower. A good 5.25″ of heavy gauge swirling steel blades. The three blades are adorned with a set of three equally wicked looking scallopped edges/points on the inside of each razor arm, accompanied by a neat cross drilled pattern. And at the end of each arm a large sweeping razor edge, looking for all the world like thier sole purpose in life is to sever the jugulars of whichever unfortunate happend to be in thier path.

If ever there was such a thing as an evil hira-shuriken, this would be it. For many reasons. Which I will, of course, expound upon shortly. No, you may not go to the bathroom. Hold it. This will only take a minute. Sissy.

Anyway, in case it isn’t obvious, this weapon is designed to kill you. Yes. Say what? No, not the person it is being thrown at, but the person who threw it. Yeah. Really. I mean look at it. Reeeaaally look at it. Do you think those absolutely sinister edges on the inside of the shuriken are intended for the target? No, I didn’t think so. And have you noticed how conveniently shaped everything is so that it would guide your fingers right to said inside edges/points should you not be paying attention even slightly? Yeah… You see that now don’t you?

And did you know there is a reason why shuriken use points instead of blades? No, it’s not really for safety, though that is a good byproduct of the design. It’s because the smaller the impact surface area, the better the penetration. A point just sticks better than a blade. So why, exactly would someone use a blade on a shuriken? Yes, I see a few neurons firing and the light bulb clicking in some of your skulls out there… Yes… That’s it. It’s so they can cut the thrower! (Yes, that means you dufus.)

So yes, this blade is wicked. Evil. Sinister. Diabolical even, in a beautiful, sexy and lethally attractive kind of way… Errrmmm… *cough* Where was I? Ah. Homicidal tendencies. Yes. As I was saying, sure, get it, if it suits your fancy, but just don’t think for a second it has your best interests in mind. And whatever you do, do not bequeath anything to it in your will. Just put it up on a wall. A plaque. A pedestal, whatever, and worship it from afar. Trust me, you will live a lot longer that way.

Paul Ehlers Triple Razor Thrower – [True Swords]

The Finer Points of Throwing Knives…

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Many, many moons ago, Sinza, over at our automatic knife forum  Exotic Automatic, had posted about an interesting throwing knife that had set a world record for throwing distance. It was used to hit an 8″ bullseye from almost 60 feet away. 59’6″ away, to be exact. You can view the thread here if you are interested. The knife in question was the Flying Knife. The site has all the details you may want to know.

The Flying Knife

The Flying Knife

Now I personally thought the Flying Knife was a very interesting design, completely forgoing any attempt to conform to the appearance of a traditional throwing knife, in favor of a highly specialized design requiring an equally specialized throwing technique. This knife was designed to spin in flight, like a bullet fired from the rifled barrel of a sniper rifle, and thus maintain much greater in-flight stability.

And as you might surmise from the diagram below, the ideal throwing technique for this design has much more in common with throwing a baseball, than it does any traditional knife.

The Flying Knife - Grip

The Flying Knife - Grip

Interestingly, this is not the only throwing knife design that has left the beaten path for more exclusive territory. There was also the Easy Stick Pro thrower from AccuFlight. I think they may have gone out of business, but this thrower, in contrast to the Flying Knife, both looks, feels and throws like a somewhat over sized dart, and much like a dart, it’s tail imparts a self correcting attribute to it’s flight. :

AccuFlight Easy Stick Pro

AccuFlight Easy Stick Pro

Both of these knives have one thing in common. They both attempt to replicate a way of throwing that is familiar to most people. Baseballs and darts are quite common pastimes, and so throwing one of these should be equally easy to learn. However, for first time throwers who intend to pick up knife throwing as a hobby, I have reservations about these kinds of throwers.

Knife throwing is a cool sport in it’s own right. However, to me, knife throwing is even more fun because once you have mastered the basics, you can apply those basics to almost any knife. Table knives, paring knives, kitchen knives, cleavers, whatever. This is one of the knife throwing skills that you may not pick up if you learn to throw using specialty knives like the Flying knife, or the Easy Stick Pro.

I have a personal set of criteria for throwing knives which I will share, since it may be helpful to others, especially if you are a first time thrower planning to get into the sport. My first criteria for a throwing knife is that it not be too small, or too light. When I first started throwing, I picked up a set of small throwing knives, like these:

Cheap On Target Throwers

Cheap On Target Throwers

They were dirt cheap, and I got quite a few of them. However in retrospect, I realize now that although they were the perfect shape, and properly balanced, they were much too short/small and light. I wasn’t getting enough feedback from them, they were too easily affected by even the smallest variation in my throwing technique, and too light to resist any random disturbances in the airflow around them, and consequently, it took me ages to figure out how to throw them with even a modicum of consistency. So I’d advise against getting cheapo knives like these.

You will also want to avoid the fancy schmancy looking throwers like this one:

Cold Steel Naga Thrower

Cold Steel Naga Thrower

These may be fine for seasoned throwers, but if you are just starting out, avoid complex knives with multiple curves, or handles with knobs, sharp divots or asymmetrical lines, as they will make getting a handle on consistent throws more difficult because of the irregularity of the grip area. What I’d recommend is something more like this:

Boker Zeil Throwing Knife

Boker Ziel Throwing Knife

or this:

Cold Steel Sure Flight Thrower

Cold Steel Sure Flight Thrower

Notice the lateral symmetry of the grip and the blade? Both have relatively straight lines, the blade and grip often have roughly the same effective length, and even when they do not, they are still symmetrically balanced, (ie center of gravity coincides with the geometric center of knife) with a nice heft, which helps with feedback, and in-flight stability. Also with heavier knives, you can feel what the knife is doing as it leaves your hand, and this will help you learn proper technique.

Yes, knives like these may be a bit more expensive, but you don’t have to get name brand knives either. Any knife constructed of any good steel, (ie won’t snap in two if it hits a target sideways) at least 9″  long overall (this should be your bare minimum length), with a weight of around an ounce per inch in length (give or take a few ounces) should make a good thrower. Heck you can even make them yourself.

Anyway, just thought I’d put my thoughts out there, I hear less and less about knife throwing these days, so I’m either seriously out of the loop or it’s slowly becoming a dying sport. Hopefully my experiences will be useful to someone. Anyway you should give it a try. It is an engaging sport, and plenty of fun, but please do be careful!!

Easy Stick Pro – [AccuFlight]
Cold Steel Naga Thrower – [True Swords]
The Flying Knife[The Flying Knife Co.]
Exotic Automatic Forum – [Exotic Automatic]
Boker Zeil Throwing Knife – [True Swords]
Cold Steel Sure Flight Thrower – [True Swords]

A “Tactical” Throwing Axe…

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Today I thought I’d share a cool find. I have always been intrigued by throwing axes, probably because when I think of an axe, I think of huge Paul Bunyan type double-bit (double bladed) throwing axes that run almost contradictory to every other design of throwing instrument I am accustomed to. Shuriken, spikes, throwing knives, Bowie’s, even tomahawks are usually all specially sized, shaped and balanced to optimize it’s performance as a throwing weapon. In stark contrast, your average axe, on the other hand, is designed for chopping down trees in short order. How did this indelicate lump of steel and wood become a throwing implement? For all of it’s grace (or lack thereof), you might as well be throwing a shovel. And yet double bit axe throwing has been a sport for decades. It is indeed a fascinating phenomenon.

However this post is about a different kind of throwing axe, one that has been specifically scaled and sculpted into a very specialized form of throwing weapon. It is the excellent Beil-Ax from veteran knife thrower and designer John Bailey.

The Beil Axe

The Beil Axe

Now this axe has the unique distinction of being designed to provide a 62% chance of sticking on the first throw, which is accomplished by designing the points of the axe so as to maximize the number of points that are presented to the target during any single rotation. This Axe boasts a 220° range of “stickable” angles. This is quite impressive. And since I’m still on the rant about “tactical” weaponry, I’ll go ahead and say this qualifies for the infamous “tactical” label, in the sense that it is a weapon specifically designed to perform a specific function very very well, under a specific set of circumstances. Is that vaguely specific enough for ya? Good. I still really have no idea what a constitutes a “tactical” weapon is, but “Tactical” weaponry supposedly pwns, and this axe pwns, I am labeling it “Tactical”. Period. Now back to the matter at hand…

Beil Axe - Point First

Beil Axe - Point First

Here is the upshot of this “tactical” (heh, heh, heh,…) design. In general your average single point throwing knife only has a small 30° window in which to stick the point. A six pointed throwing star achieves an 360° effective range because the points are so close together that their effective sticking angles overlap, so that the range of optimal sticking angles of one point ends as the range of optimal sticking angles of the next point begins.

Beil Axe - Axe Stick

Beil Axe - Axe Stick

Now the Beil-Ax, as you can see, has 5 points, that are each also designed with overlapping sticking angle ranges so that only the handle is the limiting factor, (no sharp points on the handle, see, lest you hurt your little paws). From a functional standpoint this means that it can stick in at 90°, like a knife, 180° with the handle down like a regular throwing axe, upside down, canted with the handle slightly inward, or any angle in between. This makes the Beil-Ax one of the the easiest weapons to throw and stick, barring a well-designed hira-shuriken.

Beil Axe - Upside Down Stick

Beil Axe - Upside Down Stick

Now to be fair, there are other numerous other throwing axes that provide the same sticking angle range as this axe, however none of them will provide the successful stick percentages of the Beil-Ax because they are based on traditional curved blade axes, which present such a large blade area to the target, that the energy of the impact can be distributed widely enough to prevent it from sticking. You’ll notice that, unlike your average throwing axe, the Beil-Ax relies on sharp points alone, instead of blades, so that all of the imparted energy of the throw is concentrated into one or two points of impact, which helps maximize penetration, ensuring a stick.

Beil Axe - Unusual Angle Stick

Beil Axe - Unusual Angle Stick

To be honest, I’m not particularly impressed by some of it’s aesthetic design elements, such as grooves in the handle or the cut out in the head. I would have preferred more simple utilitarian look. Straighter lines for the handle. Perhaps a black powder-coat option. (yeah…) But barring those functionally inconsequential points, the Beil-Ax does it’s job exceptionally well, exemplifying how I believe a modern throwing axe should be designed. No “8 point” or “Shuriken Style” marketing hype, no funky design gimmicks, just simple effective lines and points. If you ever decide to try your hand at axe throwing, I highly recommend this little axe.

The Beil-Ax – [Bailiwick Enterprises]/[The Great Throwzini]

Pointless Points.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

I have for you today a product of marketing hype. Specifically, a throwing axe. But this throwing axe is not ordinary throwing axe. It is an “8 point” “Shuriken” style head throwing axe. Now you might be saying to yourself “Wow! 8 points! It must stick real easy!” But the reality of it is not as you might imagine. In fact I take issue with the presumed effectiveness of the advertised “8 points”. And shortly, I’ll tell you why. Here is the throwing axe in question:

Astro "8 Point" Throwing Axe

Astro "8 Point" Throwing Axe

Now look at the head of this axe, keeping in mind that this unusual design is most likely intended to improve it’s sticking ability. Does something strike you as off? The keen eyed will notice that the 4 inner points are actually well below the contact line between any one of two outer points with each other and/or the handle. This means that for all intents and purposes, except for some particularly deeply penetrating throws, none of those internal points will have much effect on your ability to make this axe “stick”.

Now the even more astute among you will notice that of the four large points, one is safely and soundly ensconced inside the handle!! Whaa!?!? Ok, now I’m no physicist, but I’m fairly certain that a point on any throwing implement that is surrounded on all sides by flat steel surfaces will not contribute to said implements ability to penetrate any given target object. Call me crazy. But there it is.

But there is an important point to my dissertation. And that is that the net effect of all of this is that out of the touted 8 points, only 3, (Yeah, count ’em, only THREE) will play any kind of major role in determining the stickiness of this throwing axe. That makes this axe a *whopping* (LOL) one point better than your standard single bladed throwing axe.

Now this may look cool, but me personally, seeing as the whole points thing is likely just marketing hype, with no real functional advantage, I much prefer the appearance of a single or double bladed axe over this undecided cross between a shuriken and a throwing knife. However that’s just me. I will be sure to show you examples of what I think a well designed throwing axe is supposed to look like in a future post.

Astro 8 Point Throwing Axe – [True Swords]

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