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Sexy Integral Dagger

Discussion in 'Custom & Handmade Knives' started by Nathan the Machinist, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Nathan the Machinist

    Nathan the Machinist KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 13, 2007

    This was some tricky machining, but it turned out slick. And Coop did a great job photographing it.

    I meant to post this a while back with more pictures, but it is difficult to photograph and I soon got onto other projects.

    It is just under a foot in length. It is integral construction (a single piece of steel) of CPM 154. It weighs 5.1 oz. It balances on the first finger. It is 3/16" at the ricasso. The wood is stabilized double dyed maple burl by "Nicholas". About six hidden pins. It was machined on manual and CNC tools with aspects of this project going across about every machine in my shop. I'd be embarrassed to admit how many hours I put in this, much of it was spent shaping it and refining it with EDM stones which is a new technique for me. A special thank you to David Wesner and Billy Mace Imel for getting me started down that path.

    Even though it is an "art knife", I wanted it to be a "real dagger" with correct geometry, strength and balance. I gave it a stout tall center section the length of the blade with gradual taper from ricasso to point and I wanted a stout point that could actually "dag" something.

    It was made for a woman.

    Some mind numbing detail:
    The natural tendency for a double grind like this is for the center section to taper proportionally with the width of the blade. The problem with that in this instance is the distal taper on this blade wouldn't really start until about half the blade length where the blade width really starts to narrow. And, the tip would be fragile at the intersection of the deep hollow grinds instead of the more stout section that I envisioned for the point. I addressed these issues of grind geometry by moving the grind profile in and out from the centerline of the blade while maintaining an even edge thickness by rotating the grind. Using this technique I created a gradual taper from ricasso to near the tip and finishing with a tall stout center section at the tip. I'm pointing all this out because it isn't obvious, but it was important to me and it didn't just happen by itself. I don't know if this level of detail is interesting to others, but it is to me.

    This was taken right after I'd finished machining it on one side and I was reinforcing it so I could finish machining it on the other side. Those little bars got tack welded to the steel on the sides (not the blade). I roughed both sides before finishing both sides to minimize distortion caused by any residual stress in the bar reliving during machining. I took an unusual approach here in that I kept a picture frame of steel with a web all around it to help stabilize everything while I was cutting on it. There was about two days of machining before I could start the hand work.


    This is a side view of the blade while I was working on it that illustrates the shape.


    This was taken during the stoning process. This might be 600 grit


    The scales were 99% finished before I attached them to the dagger with epoxy and hidden pins. The holes in the handle were threaded (thread milled) 8-32 and I used 6-32 all-thread for the pins. I tweaked the threads a hair so the minor diameter of the 8-32 was the same as the major diameter of the 6-32. After they were attached I finished blending them in with a worn 800 grit slackbelt.


    The finished Nicholas wood was really pretty, like a gem.


    Thanks for looking.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2012
  2. kimsalls

    kimsalls Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Very sexy! I love the details on the constuction method. Maybe I'll understand after I read it a couple more times.
  3. Don Hanson III

    Don Hanson III KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 3, 2002
    That is Fantastic work, Nathan!!!
  4. 1dlamb


    Feb 14, 2010
    If I were Royalty, this would be my edc! "I've never seen its equal"
    Quote from "Princess Bride"
  5. billf

    billf Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 9, 2003

    that is really so sexy.........and it knows it :p:p:p

    the devil is always in the detail !

    Bill Flynn
  6. M.Griffin


    Nov 8, 2007

    I remember seeing some in progress pics of this in the shoptalk forum. The final pic was worth waiting for. Congrats on this one, it is really special.

  7. JParanee

    JParanee Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Very well done
  8. Dawkind

    Dawkind Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Apr 3, 2000
    That is magnificent!
  9. Lt.Col.Vortex


    Jul 22, 2012
    I would take this out just to show off to the bad guys...then put it back and draw a gun to do the job :)

    Nothing beats a strait bladed dagger.
  10. Kevin Jones

    Kevin Jones Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2006
    An extraordinary object of functional art. Congrats!
  11. Lorien

    Lorien Moderator Moderator

    Dec 5, 2005
    seriously impressive machining and general knife making!
    you ever done stone for handles?
    (you should :))
  12. Brian Ayres

    Brian Ayres

    Feb 4, 2011
    That's a fantastic knife Nathan! Thanks for explaining the troubles/challenges with the grind geometry. I find that part fascinating. I love Coop's picture, but I'd love to see a few more shots of the tip.
  13. David Sharp

    David Sharp

    May 23, 2008
    That's fantastic; thanks for the peek into how it was made!

    I had a tremendous conversation with Mr. Imel at Blade I received a whole lot of info about hand finishing and EDM stones; what a fount of knowledge.
  14. Joss

    Joss Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Nov 20, 2001
    That is awesome.
  15. wdtorque


    May 29, 2010
    Outstanding Nathan.
    I looked at it last night and was awed!
    Came back today to look again, and there were more pictures and details
    Amazing work.
  16. Marcel54


    Jul 30, 2005
    Awesome indeed.

  17. Erin Burke

    Erin Burke KnifeMaker...ish Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 19, 2003
    Very cool dagger Nathan. I think I remember seeing this one some time ago -- maybe on Shop Talk (which is probably where my question belongs too) -- but, can you provide any detail on how you ended up utilizing the EDM stones on this project?
  18. betzner

    betzner Home To Morro Platinum Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    I've always been a dagger lover and this one is especially slick!
  19. Lt.Col.Vortex


    Jul 22, 2012
    This is one giant mangasm thread :). Thanks for the pics and for the technical details, I loved it.

    Could you do some pictures of it in someones hand? I'd like to get a grasp of the whole size.
  20. Bobby Branton

    Bobby Branton Moderator Moderator Dealer / Materials Provider

    Dec 12, 1998
    Great job Nathan. That is one sexy dagger that I would be proud to own.

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