When I have made my first, very crude, knife some twenty years ago, my friend’s father commented:
Charly, people want it to be handmade, but they do not want it to be immediately apparent that it is handmade.
That advice stuck in my mind so when I have read Feet of Clay from Terry Prattchett much later, following line resonated with me:
The thing looked like the kind of pots Igneous despised, the ones made by people who thought that because it was hand-made it was supposed to look as if was hand-made, and that thumbprints baked in the clay were a sign of integrity.
It is not impossible to get a handmade thing to look just perfect, but it takes great skill and experience and I am not there yet, although I might be heading in the right direction. The pictures hide some of the mistakes and imperfections that were not intended and are apparent – for example the blade is not symmetrical against the handle and the hand guard, so when it is in the scabbard the upper part of the guard sticks out more than the lower, and it is visible. Despite my best efforts the blade got a scratch from a grain that got somehow into the scabbard, and the handle got scratched too in the meantime. Which was inevitable if ever the knife were used, and I do intend to use it at least somehow, to see how it fares.
But enough of that, let me present to you the dagger of one of the most kickass characters in fantasy literature known to me, Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, aka the Lion Cub of Cintra, granddaughter of queen Calanthe Fiona Riannon of Cintra, aka the Lioness of Cintra and daughter of Pavetta Fiona Elen and Emhyr var Emreis, Deithwen Addan yn Carn aep Morvudd the Emperor of Nilfgaard. This is my interpretation of the dagger worn by her as a sidearm in the computer game Witcher 3 – I noticed that dagger right on my first encoutner with her in my gameplay and I immediately wanted to make one. I photographed it on a bobbin lace doily that my mother has just made for her sister’s birthday. Bobbin lace is period/theme appropriate and I think it provides nice contrast and improves the quality content of these pictures by no small amount.
©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.
This blade is so lovely. I like everything about it. I particularly love the rondel, but I am so in love with the wood in the handle. The signature is as graceful as the rest.
This is not the sort of blade I use on a daily basis (mine are much shorter, as I am doing things like cutting open bales of hat etc.) but I really like and appreciate it. It has been a pleasure to see the process, thank you so much!
Ice Swimmer says
The dagger brings mental images of narrow passages and corridors in an medieval castle. Someone is moving quietly, the dagger in hand, trying not to be noticed, all senses alert and if caught, ready to go for any gaps in the armour of the guards.
Marcus Ranum says
Superb! So much work, and it was not wasted.
Charly it’s beautiful, as is your mother’s bobbin lace.
I’m adding lace cuffs and collars to Ice Swimmer’s castle creeper.
Thank you for sharing the process -- the finished product is beautiful and sleek. I love the colour of the scabbard, and the warm wood of the hilt. My favourite, though, is the daisy decoration.
It is gorgeous, and thank you for showing us how it was done (even though parts of it just flew over my head, but that’s my fault, not yours).
Do you know the German word “Macherlohn”?
It’s a word for all the small imperfections that creep into something when you actually make it by hand. Also, in cases of great quality such as yours, they will be very obvious to you, but most other people will never notice.
I am glad you like it. If I were to do this for money, I would not make enough to live by at this rate, but since I am doing it for fun, time is not too important.
I corrected a bit of Witcher trivia that I got wrong when writing the article. In my defense I must say that it was past midnight at the time and I was half asleep when I hit the “publish” button.
Ice Swimmer says
The wood of the hilt is shaped in such curves that it could have been made from a giant’s lace bobbin. It is very shapely.
Giliell “macherlohn” is a wonderful word, I know exacly what it means, we could do with an equivilent in English.
Charly I think you would have to set up as an arist as much as a blade maker, do you recall the scissor maker from Sheffield that Caine showed us about? I don’t know if you looked at her prices, but they were in the region of £6000 for a pair of scissors!
I keep coming back to admire your blade and it’s sheath (and I couldn’t think of a way of wording that minus the innuendo), but also your mother’s bobbin lace, such patience the pair of you have!
Charly I’ve really enjoyed watching you make this. Your persistence and patience impressed me right from the start and your can-do, make-do attitude was refreshing. And the result is a graceful, artful weapon that anyone would be proud to own!
Your mother is also an artist. Bobbin lace is fiddly and intricate and she is obviously a master.
That ended up being a very beautiful Dagger. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your progress with making it, and all the very creative ways you have done things that I have never even thought to attempt to do.
The photographs of the finished dagger are stunning, with your mother’s lace as a back ground.
It is just a very beautiful piece of handmade art, full of macherlohn!
It is a wonderful piece, Charly! Thank you for taking us along for the journey.
Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says
Very impressive work, with painstaking attention to detail. I’ve enjoyed the series of posts showing the progress. Very nice composition for the photos of your finished work.
Wow! I’ve been waiting for you to post the end result of this and it is so gorgeous, Charly! Congratulations on finishing your project. I love it and you should feel proud. The bobbin lace is impressive too and the two pieces look beautiful together.