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The Beavertail Dagger, for the kami’s consideration

Discussion in 'Himalayan Imports' started by Howard Wallace, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    The beavertail dagger was an old historical design favored by many of the Native Americans. They are double edged daggers that were carried for both utility and fighting purposes. The design harks back to some of the stone blade shapes from the stone age. I had been aware of this design but had pretty much discounted it for practical purposes. Then I happened to get one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This one was handforged from a rasp. Specs are: 13'' (33 cm) long. The blade is 7'' (17.7 cm) long, 2 1/2'' (6 cm) wide and 1/8'' (3 mm) thick. Scales are birdseye maple.

    The weight of the blade makes it a decent chopper, although you would not note that from looking at the design. The double edge gives the option of maintaining two different edge profiles for different types of work. The handle is really quite comfortable and secure, despite its unusual appearance. I can see these knives being quite practical for utility work, despite my previous (unfounded) opinion that they were pretty much dedicated weapons.

    The kami’s may want to try experimenting with this style. Historically the handle shape varied. Search the web for beavertail dagger, Colombia River dagger, etc and you will come up with some examples. One possible drawback of this design is that it may run afoul of the various “dirk and dagger” laws in the US. Nevertheless, I think there is a potential for this design to find some favor among the forumites here, as well as within the historical re-enactment community.

    I don't have a sheath for mine. I still need to find a good way to carry it. Some of the Native American sheaths I have seen for this style do not inspire confidence in wearer safety in the case of a fall.
     
  2. kamagong

    kamagong

    Jan 13, 2001
    I've always liked beaver tail dags. If the kamis ever decide to tackle this project, I hope they keep the rustic flavor of this type of knife and not "improve" it by polishing it.
     
  3. munk

    munk

    Mar 22, 2002
    Interesting personal touch, and thanks for the historical background of the blade, Howard.


    munk
     
  4. Leatherface

    Leatherface

    Dec 3, 2005
    Mr Wallace,

    Sheath?? no worries;)


    10oz leather with a 10oz wraparound welt should do the job...Maybe reinforce the tip of the sheath with piece of leather...Cut the sheath wide enough at the top to give ya some clearance for 2 belt slots and off ya go...


    OR....just use some .09 kydex and wrap it with some 4-5oz brain tanned or buffalo leather...Should get the job done and still look authentic...

    Not my thing, but it loos sweet...Should be awesome for social situations
     
  5. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    2 good ideas. I'd been thinking along those lines myself. One consideration is how the scales protrude above the blade. Thick leather could mate up with the scales. I'd also like to consider how to implement it in a dangler style instead of belt slots. I like the knife to be able to move around with me.

    I do have some kydex around here somewhere. Maybe I'll have to dig it out. Another possibility is wood. One challenge with the sheath will be having it retain the knife well.
     
  6. Svashtar

    Svashtar Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2003
    Very cool Howard, and a great idea. I had thought that I had seen most knife designs at one time or another, but that one is completely new to me. I really like the design of the blade, and the handle is very unique. I would love to see an HI model with some of the nicer woods being used now. Hill walnut comes to mind.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Norm
     
  7. Ad Astra

    Ad Astra

    Jul 30, 2004
    I'd like to handle one of these. Seems like some of the best ideas are already found in ancient designs.

    Reminescent of a Roman pugio (a little). Always a reason why something is made the way it is, just need to figure it out.

    I do like it. A lifetime of sharpening, and you'd still have a dagger (or a skean dhu) at least.


    Mike
     
  8. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    Looks great. I've always wanted to get a beavertail machete for ultralight hiking, but I find that I treat my machetes like I treat my khuks...i baton them through things. However, i do like this design for a utility knife:thumbup: :) As for a sheath, well I cannot produce quality work like Leatherface or Andy or Dan, but I would do a pancake style out of 10oz leather with a welt and mate it up as you guys have suggested. I think a 45 degree retension strap should hold it in. However, i guess wetforming the leather around the slabs with said strap would hold it in a little better than mating it. As for the dangler, i dunno. Maybe 1/4" or 1/2" D rings constructed into each side of the sheath mouth with a 10oz leather thong holding it to your belt. It should still carry pretty flat that way...if it'll balance out right in the sheath.

    I'd like to see the kami's take on these:) I think i might have to order one of those cheap cold steel beavertail machetes for experimentation purposes.

    Jake
     
  9. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    Hmmm, sheaths for them usually look like these:D ;
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sarge
     
  10. Leatherface

    Leatherface

    Dec 3, 2005
    Steely,
    Pancake is more or less what I was talking about...Just welt both sides instead of just one...ahh am I making sense?

    Flair the top for some retention and add a strap and there ya go...Shouldnt be to expensive to make...prolly around $800.00 in goober dollars OR $950.00 in Monopoly money should cover the cost

    Should work pretty good if someone other than me does it...Making it a combo would also be an option but that would add mucho $$$ to the total cost...Prolly have to add at least $100.00 to the total cost :p :thumbup:
     
  11. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Howard, can you take pictures of the handle profile from the side. This one may enjoy a Finnish half wood style sheath. I'd like to see at least a small piece of leather trim around the top of the wooden sections. I'm going to look into that style for some of mine when I get the chance. The double edge may proove problematic though. Just a thought. Sarge, did you do that sheath. It sure am perty.
     
  12. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    A wooden sheath would increase the safety factor over the traditional leather ones. I agree, the sheath Sarge displayed is indeed beautiful. Traditionally the women would make such works of art for their men. Perhaps I'll have to get Red Flower to learn beading.

    Well, I broke the camera out today and took a few pictures. The first edge-on view should give you an idea of the profile. These higher resolution photos will catch a little more of the spirit too.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  13. sogguy

    sogguy

    440
    Nov 17, 2004
    Howard, very nice, very nice indeed.

    Dick
     
  14. Kevin the grey

    Kevin the grey

    Aug 26, 2005
    Howard thats just nice . Simplicity , elegance . Eleagant in its sinplicity .
     
  15. Sylvrfalcn

    Sylvrfalcn

    Jun 4, 2002
    I wish Andy, nossir, those are just a couple pics glommed off the 'net, fine work though, the beaded one is almost stereotypical for that style of knife. Beavertail dags aren't my personal cup of tea, but they were widely traded with Native Americans (sorry Yvsa, I meant Injuns) during the fur trade era. A common practice was to wear them suspended from a thong around the neck. I reckon I just ain't manly enough to go sportin' a 13 inch neck knife. :rolleyes: ;)
     
  16. munk

    munk

    Mar 22, 2002
    If you can't, no one can.
    I must say the knife in the photo brings the idea to life and I can see why there is so much excitement. You don't need me to forward this to Yangdu; I'll ring the bell anyway.
    Keep in mind Nepal is virtually shut down right now and Yangdu can't even get a regular shipment in, let alone specials.

    When the field is calmer this blade would be a wonderful addition to the HI line. I think it could even go permanent if the demand was there.



    munk
     
  17. Fiddleback

    Fiddleback Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2005
    Well if you aint manly enough to pull it off then I got no chance at all. I can't imagine a neck knife that large. I'd be scared to take off the chain mail underwear. Even worse, I'd have to find and wear chain mail underwear.:p

    Thanks for the pics Howard. Its a beauty. I'd sure hate to get stabbed with one of those. ;) :thumbup:
     
  18. hollowdweller

    hollowdweller

    Sep 22, 2003
    I've never seen a rasp that wide. Was it a normal rasp that was forged wider? Or was it an extremely wide rasp.

    I think Track of the Wolf sells a knife like that.

    It looks similar to a smatchet and I have one of them and it's a standout chopper.:thumbup:
     
  19. Kevin the grey

    Kevin the grey

    Aug 26, 2005
    A Farriers rasp wouldn,t be that wide ?
     
  20. kamagong

    kamagong

    Jan 13, 2001
    That's exactly what I was thinking. I have a tomahawk made from a farrier's rasp, and it's about as wide as Howard's dag.
     

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