A couple of days ago I got a post from a reader (Thanks SniperFodder!) with a link to a page on Geekologie that showed videos of a very, very interesting set of home made wolverine claws. Here is the first of the two, very intriguing videos in question, mostly of the maker wreaking wanton destruction on some nefarious box of doom for some seriously heinous crimes we are clearly all blissfully unaware of:
Yes, all kinds of cool and everything, if you are into that kind of thing… Oh, who am I kidding, I love this stuff… I probably would try a more blade worthy opponent than an old box, but that’s just me… 🙂
What really caught my attention, however, was the construction vid that accompanied the shameless *cough* display of aggression above…:
Now as a person who has spent countless man-hours thinking about this kind of thing, let me just say that what this guy did was actually very impressive. Not that there haven’t been countless wolverine claw replicas and home made diy Wolverine claw jobs, but this particular construction dealt very directly and extremely competently with two aspects of arm mounted blade design that I have always found to be weak links in your traditional back yard / junk yard wolverine claw project.
The first and most common point of failure I see is in the blade attachment and rail mechanism. I see a lot of people use sliding drawer rails for the rails of their wolverine claws, and while it works, (works very well in fact), and is good for show, frankly, so far as strength is concerned, the vast majority of them wouldn’t hold up to the repeated stresses of cutting a slice of gouda cheese. Nope. Not even some “finely aged”, moldy gouda, half ready to decompose into a pile of technicolor goo.
Now this dude addressed this weakness by fabricating a simple sliding plate/tongue-in-groove rail. It is a design I’ve always thought would fit the ticket perfectly, but never had the time to try. And here, you can see it in action. Now I am, by no means, saying it’s a perfect solution. It has it’s weaknesses as well. In fact, you may or may not be able to tell from watching the vids, but that plate generates a lot of friction, so while it is really strong, it is also tougher to deploy smoothly. It also looked like he used a single rail tongue for all three blades. Not really how I would have done it, but it seems to work.
But the part that I found really impressive is his bracing. Yes, it is made of bent and brazed copper tubing, which I saw lots of commenters deriding him about, however what they fail to realize is that, assuming his brazings are strong, his design eliminates one of the biggest weak points of any wolverine claw system. The arm attachment mechanism.
I see all kinds of wolverine claws or just home made arn claws/blades/ziphoids in general, with two little straps, maybe a soft leather arm band or something. The smarter ones go for a solid plate and attach that to their arms, though, again, with more little straps. The thing is, those little itty bitty strips of fancy arm floss just won’t hold up to strong impacts. They suffer from one simple flaw: They are too flexible.
No matter how strong the system itself is, straps and soft leather allow seem to allow the whole rig,to move backwards and forwards on your arm. I’ve seen this happen even with full forearm vambraces if the leather used to make them isn’t hard enough. In contrast, this guy used a solid framework of copper tubing that will not give, and is so closely fit to the dimensions of his forearm, that he should have enough stability and control with it that he could make bacon with those blades, should he deem it necessary.
What more can I say. The whole get up may look ugly, but mechanically, it’s really a thing of beauty. Incidentally, while the page I found these videos on say they are “fully functional” I think that depends on your point of view. Our friendly niegborhood Wolvie sports a set of double action, fully automatic blades. This guy, on the other hand (or, in this case, the other claw arm) made single action blades, (manual retract, automatic deploy) as far as I can tell. So it’s certainly close to the kinds of functionality Wolverine gets from his claws, but no cigar.
And just in case there is any question about what I mean by my earlier comment regarding the bacon, let me just be clear. Bacon is *always* necessary. But you don’t always have the opportunity to make bacon using a set of wolverine claws strapped to your forearms… That is just too cool for Ginsu school.. I’m just sayin. 😀