There Is Such Thing as Too Much “Weapons” Regulation

Over the years I have expressed in multiple comments under various articles on FTB that whilst strict regulations of access to weapons are necessary, the strength of the regulations should be proportional to how effectively enforced they can be. Regulating automatic guns makes sense because they are difficult to manufacture and conceal. That makes it possible to effectively limit access to them and enforce the regulation in a meaningful way.

On the other hand I have always seen trying to regulate knives, swords and similar as absurd because such regulations just cannot work as intended. Making a functional knife or even a sword is trivial, all you need is a piece of cord, a flat bar of any type of steel whatsoever, and half an hour work with angle grinder. Sure, it will not be beautiful, and if the steel is crap it will not hold an edge, but that does not matter, it will be effective murder weapon of equal quality to what was used most of history in warfare. And concealing a knife on your body under clothing is trivial.

UK has nevertheless decided to pass such a meaningless regulation:

Luckily I am not living in UK and CZ has not jumped the shark yet and knives are completely unregulated here. But should such laws pass here, I could perhaps get into problems when trying to buy certain tools for my hobbies – for example I intend to work with leather at some future date and for that I will need to either buy or make a few specialized cutting instruments, aka knives. I live in rural area and I definitively have no corner shop around that could supply those things on demand.

I feel sorry for all the antique weapons dealers and all the knifemakers in UK – like the excellent Tod Todeschini, whose carefully build livelihoods can be destroyed in an instant with ham-fisted regulation.

I might add that to my knowledge this regulation has been proposed and written by conservative politicians. Similarly like the US knife regulations, which are stricter than firearms regulations in some states, were too written by conservatives. Laws that are either impossible to effectively enforce or are impossible not to break serve no other purpose than to give police a pretense to for example harass people of inconvenient shade of skin at will, nothing more.

And just for “fun” (which is not funny at all) I will list all the object that could be used as murder weapons and are in my line of sight right now, near my computer:

  1. Stabbing – screwdrivers, shears, pencils, ball-pens and admittedly a dagger that I use as letter opener.
  2. Cutting – a carpet cutter and again my dagger.
  3. Garotting – USB cable seems strong enough and definitively the camera strap.
  4. Blunt instruments – the camera (not the first choice of course), two heavy mugs, two ornamental stones, a few potted plants.

Not to mention the about 8 kitchen knives of various sizes on the kitchen counter behind my left shoulder.

If I were to go to my workshop or my garden shed I would have a wide choice of multiple potential cutting or stabbing weapons, blunt instruments and pole-arms. Should I decide to go and join a gang, I would not be unarmed. Indeed I could arm the whole gang. So could each of my neighbours.

Whilst firearm deaths can be linked to firearms availability, stabbing deaths cannot be linked to knives availability. Because stabbing instruments are everywhere and will be everywhere, always. As Sam Vimes’ maxim states “Everything is a weapon if you decide to think of it as such”. Addressing knife crime needs to address the root cause. And I do not think I am stabbing in the dark here when I say that has more to do with impoverishment and disempowerment than with sending knives per post.

Poor Man’s Belt Grinder – Mark 1

Belt Grinder

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This was the first iteration of my belt grinder. I built the whole thing out of scraps and it was completely ad-hoc process – piling stuff upon other stuff as it seemed appropriate at the moment. The base is a piece of thick particle board – specifically the piece I had cut out of new kitchen counter for the sink. Further I used a few other cuts of particle board I had lying around and an old 1,5 kW motor from old pump. The tracking wheel, the drive wheel and the platen I got from a cheapo 60,-€ belt grinder that I bought specifically for those – I expected it to be useless and I was correct. The guiding wheels I have built each out of two ball-bearings, a piece of threaded rod, a piece of metal tube as a spacer between those bearings and a stainless steel furniture leg as a shell. The furniture leg did not pass tightly over the ball bearings but I was lucky enough to find for 10,-€ a plastic tube that filled the difference perfectly. The guiding wheels were then fixed between two scraps of plywood together with the platen in hard belt + slack belt configuration.

Lever

©Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The tracking wheel was a major headache for me. I had everything done but I still did not know how to do that part. As I was mulling it over in my head I got the idea one day whilst driving home from work. I have used a garden gate hinge (a new one, because there was no suitable one in my scrap pile) on which the wheel is fixed to the short wing and the longer wing can rotate. The angle between the hinge wings can be adjusted by a screw going through the long part and pushing against the part that holds the tracking wheel. The force for tension was supplied by a spring from an old bed. The spring ws too long so I had to bend it around a strange wheel of unknown origin.

It has worked reasonably well, after all I made two knives on it and I ground the basic shape of a machete. But mainly it was a proof that I can do this and that it will work. The machine as seen on these pictures does not exist anymore. I have completely rebuilt it and only the base and frame have stayed unchanged.

Sharp and Shiny.

From Charly: This is the knife I have given to my Mom for Christmas. Scary sharp – I could slice that tomato paper thin. Seems to hold edge well, it was already used since I made it and the edge was not touched up prior to photographing.

Measurements: Overall length ~26 cm, blade ~14 cm lenght, ~2 mm thick, blade grind convex with no secondary bevel.

Materials: handle scales chemically treated Elder wood (Sambucus nigra) coated with PU, blade N690 steel hardened at home in impromptu settings.

I hope to improve the design based on my mothers feedback and make more knives like this one in the future, it was fun. Beautiful! Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved.

Pointy!

From Charly, who I think is being much too modest:

This is the first knife I have made with the help of my out-of-scraps built belt sander and my drill powered lathe. Because this was a learning exercise for me, I took a bunch of old worthless stuff – a rusty file, rusty pipe, some old hinges, broken furniture legs and a piece of cow bone dug out of the ground in the garden. I have also deliberately used only the machines to do most of the work, including polishing – I wanted to see what kind of fit and finish I will be able to get this way.

Because it was learning exercise and because the materials were of bad quality (the pipes were a bit too rusty, I sanded through them at a few places) the result is not something too great, but it is sharp, pointy and dangerous. The design is a sort of hybrid between the Fairbarn-Sykes and a medieval rondel dagger and I freehanded most of it, with almost no measurements.

Stats: overall lenght 33,5 cm, blade length 22 cm, work time approx 12 hours (not including curing of the paint)

I am not intending to stab anyone, but it is extremely good letter opener. Click for full size!

© Charly, all rights reserved.