knives and things

Viking, Saxon, and Early Christian Irish cultures

Moderator: the_power

knives and things

Postby the_power on Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:48 am

So, I finally sat down last week and started putting a handle on a blade I bought off Billy last year sometime. It's a lovely blade - about two and a half fingers wide, and six fingers long. Beautifully pattern welded, though with a surprisingly short and thin tang. So, not long enough to go all the way through the handle, and not wide enough so I'd have a decent chance of drilling through the handle & tang, and setting a rivet to hold it all in place. I went for epoxy resin instead :)

As far as I can tell, most knives until the late medieval are like that - short tangs that are rammed into the handle. Any idea when that started to change ? Did Romans have.. more advanced knives ?

So, while working on the handle (copper beech, so it is a white wood, with a lovely purple sapwood in places) I decided to slightly mould it to my hand. It's a big, chunky, comfortable grip. I decided against making it too moulded, for fear it'd end up looking like Rambo's knife, in wood. Were handles personalised ? Usually, all we find are blades, as the wood has rotted. Oh, and if you make a tight sheath for it, the little ripples for your fingers make it hard to extract...

Lastly, is there anywhere in Dublin I could get a small roll of silver wire ? I want to channel out a little of the wood, and wrap the silver wire around a few times as decor, then hammer it into place. So, ultra-soft annealled wire would be lovely.

John
User avatar
the_power
Active Newbie
Full Name: John Looney
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Dublin 13, Ireland
Karma: 17

Re: knives and things

Postby sabrewolfe on Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:42 am

Yep there is a place in Dublin called "Yellow Brick Road" located on Bachelors walk between the Ha'Penny Bridge and O'Connell bridge (North Side of the Liffey) they sell all sorts of stuff like wire and beads and baubles for jewellery making. They should have silver wire or failing that there is a place next to Murphy Sheehys (SP) that do a fairly simlar type of stuff.
Monkey The Medic (EMT)
An Fáinne Fiá­in

Need a free Medic or First Aider for your gig check out http://sites.google.com/site/sabre151/monkeymedical
Trauma Junkie "Its not that I want you to get hurt, I just want to be there when you are"
User avatar
sabrewolfe
Active Newbie
Full Name: Paul Brangan
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:00 am
Karma: 7

Re: knives and things

Postby the_power on Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:59 am

Ah, thanks for that. I thought they just did pretend-precious-metal wires.

John
User avatar
the_power
Active Newbie
Full Name: John Looney
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Dublin 13, Ireland
Karma: 17

Re: knives and things

Postby tri on Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:02 pm

Hey John,

I'd hit Cookson Gold on Grafton Street - a bullion trader and supplier of everything you could ever possible need to make jewellery. They sell wire by the metre, in differing mm thicknesses. You can download their catalogue at www.cooksongold.com as you may need to ring an order like that in in advance. They tend to sell in BIG bulk so the types of us looking for a few quids worth of stuff can get funny looks....but they're incredibly helpful and efficient.

As for the other shops mentioned (and I fully stand to be corrected...) I've only ever seen silver plated wire and from memory, the 'plating' disappears pretty damn fast. For a daycent knife like this one, I'd definitely go for the real thing.

Trí
User avatar
tri
Active Newbie
Real Name: None Set
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:00 pm
Location: Leixlip, Co. Kildare
Karma: 27

Re: knives and things

Postby the_power on Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:09 pm

Diameter : 1.500 MM
Length : 2000mm
Quantity: 1
Weight: 36.72 GM
Price: £16.28 (£19.13 inc. VAT)

Oooh, a bit pricey. Though, maybe I don't need 2 metres of the stuff...

John
User avatar
the_power
Active Newbie
Full Name: John Looney
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Dublin 13, Ireland
Karma: 17

Re: knives and things

Postby brendan on Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:03 pm

if you are worried about the sheath being tight then put a "thumb" notch in the bit that comes up over the handle. Totally legit.

Brendan
User avatar
brendan
Active Newbie
Full Name: Brendan Griffin
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Nomadic
Karma: 66

Re: knives and things

Postby the_power on Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:59 am

So, all done. Check out the little purple bits every so often, where the sapwood of the copper beech comes out around where I've carved room for my fingers. The sheath is super-light, and yet to be oiled. I'm not going to decorate it yet, as I've no good ideas.

John
Attachments
IMG_2212-s.JPG
pattern welded knive and sheath
IMG_2212-s.JPG (187.76 KiB) Viewed 3738 times
User avatar
the_power
Active Newbie
Full Name: John Looney
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Dublin 13, Ireland
Karma: 17

Re: knives and things

Postby brendan on Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:39 am

OK, I have modified your picture (see below) to show what I mean by the thumb notch.

Though now that I say it I am nervous about making a modification before double checking..
Brendan
Attachments
IMG_2212-s_modified.JPG
IMG_2212-s_modified.JPG (53.58 KiB) Viewed 3718 times
User avatar
brendan
Active Newbie
Full Name: Brendan Griffin
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Nomadic
Karma: 66

Re: knives and things

Postby Seathrun on Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:49 am

nice knife.
I have a place with inexpensive silver wire over here if you ever need any.
http://www.ravensborg.org/
Trí labra ata ferr túa: ochán ríg do chath, sreth immais, molad iar lúag.
Three speeches that are better than silence: inciting a king to battle,spreading knowledge, praise after reward.
User avatar
Seathrun
Active Newbie
Full Name: Seathrun (Seth)
 
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: Missouri, USA
Karma: 2

Re: knives and things

Postby Andrea L Redden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:20 am

Hello John!

the_power wrote: As far as I can tell, most knives until the late medieval are like that - short tangs that are rammed into the handle. Any idea when that started to change ? Did Romans have.. more advanced knives ?

The Romans seem to have used scale tangs instead of whittle/pin tangs from the examples I’ve seen in books. According to Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 1, Knives and Scabbards by Cowgill, de Neergaard and Griffiths which date from 1150 to 1450AD “…whittle-tang knives not only form the single type found until the early 14th century, but are still the most common type found until the early 15th century. The tang is usually centrally placed on the blade, rectangular or square in section, and tapering towards the point. During the 12th and 13th centuries the tangs normally penetrate only a short distance into the handle, except in a rare example where the elements of a multi-piece handle were threaded onto the tang(No.15). which is therefore the same length as the handle. On later whittle tang knives the tang often extends the whole length of the handle.” The tangs on the knives in Patrick Ottaway’s Angle-Scandinavian Ironwork from Coppergate (which the York Archaeological Trust have recently reprinted if anybody wants a copy) are all whittle tangs. “It is not usually possible to establish the extent to which the length of the handle corresponded to the length of the tang but on 2863 and 2909, where handles survive, the tangs are about three-quarters of the length of the handle. The tang of 2938 extends the full length of its handle and on 2812 and 2898 the tangs project slightly from the handle and are bent over.” What period is the knife for?

So, while working on the handle (copper beech, so it is a white wood, with a lovely purple sapwood in places) I decided to slightly mould it to my hand. It's a big, chunky, comfortable grip. I decided against making it too moulded, for fear it'd end up looking like Rambo's knife, in wood. Were handles personalised? Usually, all we find are blades, as the wood has rotted. Oh, and if you make a tight sheath for it, the little ripples for your fingers make it hard to extract...

The surviving handles on the Anglo Scandinavian blades from York all seem to be oval in cross-section. It doesn’t tell me whether the timbers used have been identified or, if so, what they were.
“Most of the surviving handles are wooden, although they are in very variable states of preservation. Only two, those of 2812 and 2938, are complete, but enough of those of 2898 and 2909 survives for their form to be determined. All four handles appear to have been similar in expanding slightly away from the blade shoulder and having roughly oval cross-sections, although the handle of 2938 is slightly faceted and that on 2812 is decorated with inlaid brass strips. The wooden handles on 2765, 2780, 2857, 2863 and 2895 survive only as vestigial remains adhering to the tang. 2833 has two bone tubes around it’s tang which formed part of the handle, the rest of which is lost.
The poor survival of handles seems at first sight surprising, since wood and bone were so well preserved on the site. Horn, however, did not survive well and it is possible that many knife handles were made of this material. Horn remains preserved in corrosion products have, however, only been found on the tangs of 2760 and 2855.”
KnYk2812.jpg
KnYk2812.jpg (18.4 KiB) Viewed 3615 times

KnYk2833.jpg
KnYk2833.jpg (14.48 KiB) Viewed 3609 times

Maximum 3 attachments. I'll post the other 2 illustrated handles from York in the next post.
There are a couple of knives with handles, one of which is shaped like a red deer antler tine, illustrated in Patrick Wallaces article The use of iron in Viking Dublin from Irish Antiquities, Essays in Memory of Joseph Raftery, ed. Michael Ryan in figure 3 on page 208 with accompanying text:
“Knives are one of the commonest iron types of all from the Dublin Excavations. ….. Although they came in a variety of sizes, they all had the same basic shape. Lengthwise, the blades taper to narrow tangs from the handle, and crossways they have broad backs narrowing to a cutting edge. They were held in the handle with additional manipulation possible from having the thumb on the shoulder between the blade and the blade back. The cutting edge also has a corner or shoulder known as a choil. Patrick Ottaway categorised the parallel series from Coppergate, York, on the basis of blade-back form. It might as easily been done on blade size. As at York, the Dublin series includes an impressive scramasax type (forms A1 and A2)m while, also like York, few of the Dublin knives had surviving handles. Ottaway’s conclusion ‘that the majority of the [York] knives were probably suitable for a wide variety of domestic and craft tools since, on the bases of all measurements and ratios between them, they form a fairly homogenous group’ is surely appropriate also to the Dublin series’.
KnDlWal.jpg
KnDlWal.jpg (16.62 KiB) Viewed 3607 times

brendan wrote:if you are worried about the sheath being tight then put a "thumb" notch in the bit that comes up over the handle. Totally legit.

Brendan, I cannot see any "thumb notches" in Scabbards and Sheaths from Viking and Medieval Dublin by Esther Cameron. When and where was it used? :?

Bye for now,

Andrea
_______________________
Trust me, I'm female. ;-)
Andrea L Redden
Active Newbie
Full Name: Andrea L Willett
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 1:22 am
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Karma: 23

Next

Return to Early-Medieval

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron