Mini Dagger Mini WIP -Final pro photos

Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
So I didn't start off taking pictures with the intent of doing a WIP thread, but I thought I had enough at various stages of the process to make for an interesting follow-along. This is going to be a little bitty dagger. OAL is about 10.5 inches. The blade was rough ground and heat treated probably 4 years ago with a batch of much larger dagger blades. This one simply used up the scrap piece of CPM 154CM left over from the larger blades. I originally flat ground it, but reground just prior to starting the complete project with a 1.5" wheel.

What triggered the completion of this blade was the acquisition of the right material for the handle. I LOVE blue, particularly the color of lapis, so I went hunting. Joe McNeely sent me a couple of large blocks of lapis TruStone composite, so I had to do something with it. For those who aren't aware of it, TruStone is a composite product made of 85% stone and 15% resin. It's REALLY hard, but seemed just right for this. Of course I had to iterate a few times. Here's an early sketch:

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I'd already ground the blade and it needed polishing, of course. There's a reason I don't do hollow grinds much, and this was a good reminder of why that is. Here it is mid polish. I took it to 600grit:
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It was time to turn the handle. I center drilled my piece on the lathe (wood lathe) and turned between centers. It sucked. A lot. I ended up running my lathe while rounding the blank with an angle grinder like the lapidary folks do. The details I cut in with a file, then polished like you normally would a pen. IT turned out (pun intended) like this:

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Note that the tang is threaded. I did that before heat treat to hold the pommel. No in progress shots of that, but I turned it and the quillons with a handheld drill against a belt on my 2x72 grinder. Not ideal, but you gotta work with what you got. Here's a pic of the pommel and the handle on the knife, with the first iteration of the quillons laying by for scale. I didn't like this look, and ended up making larger ones. The keen eye will note that this side of the blade wasn't polished yet. I got ahead of myself and finished that later:

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Here's a bass, just for fun:

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I got the guard fitted and tapped for the quillons, and thought the quillons were too long. I shortened them. Here's a pic pre-shortening:

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About this time I thought it was looking pretty good, but then I'm a glutton for punishment and decided to flute the handle. YEAH! So I made up this little jig that I saw on a Kyle Royer YouTube video and laid out the fluting pattern. Here's the jig. The toolrest on the lathe serves to keep the lines straight:

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Draw those lines, then evenly spaced lines around the circumference, then connect the corners:

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Looking good. Now the easy part is over. I cut the grooves in with a file. Tons of fun, but not as bad as it looks. I went with 16 of them. Here's the start:

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And the finish before truing up the ends and polishing everything again:


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And here's where we are today. I did a bunch of test pieces with fluting for the pommel and quillons, but I wasn't happy with those. I'm going to make the guard center piece narrower (almost round), maybe fiddle with the quillons a little more, and then I'll be done.

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I'm gonna do a pretty ridiculous sheath too. I like the fancy ones with a metal throat and chape with leather around a maple core. I've done exactly one of those, and I was pretty happy with it so why not?

So...

After some weekends of swim meets and a diversion starting 6 gallons of port wine from the wild Mustang Grapes that are having a banner year around these parts, I took a day off work and got some stuff done on the dagger. It doesn't look like a lot, but looks are deceiving. I got the center part of the guard shaped and polished, and everything dry fit. All that's left is etching my maker's mark and final glue up. Here she is in final form.

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I also got some work done on the sheath. No pics of the poplar core (didn't end up having maple on hand, and poplar is at least as good and maybe better anyway), unfortunately--I got kinda into what I was doing and forgot. I will say that my new Foredom made this a whole lot faster, easier, and cleaner than the last time. Not sure how I did without it for so long. Anyway, here's a shot of of the sewn up seam. I like to get the leather stretched and glued with contact cement with the edges overlapping, then cut through both layers for a perfect meet up. Some folks make a pucker and sew with all of the stitches running parallel to the plane of the side of the core, but that makes a tall ridge that I don't like and leaves the edges of the leather exposed. Bleh. My preference is to baseball stitch it so the edges meet in the middle. I think it looks cleaner, adds an interesting visual element, and definitely lays flatter. Flatter is better because it's way easier to fit up the chape and throat. This is some of the same goat leather I bought in Tanzania that I used on the sheath for the Memories of Tanzania Dagger. Gonna be sad when all that is gone.

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And here's a shot showing the fit up. It also gives an idea of the scale--this dagger is a little under 11" tip to tail. I realized that I don't have the stainless sheet I need to make the chape and throat, and I'm out of flux for my solder, so a supply order is required before completion. I could use nickel silver, which I have on hand and would be easier to work with, but it wouldn't match and that just wouldn't do. I'll post more pics as I make more progress.

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Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
Turns out my little scrap of stainless sheet was big enough. I mocked up all of the sheath parts with paper, glued them to the metal, and bandsawed them. Forming and bending is next. The chape bits are kinda tough since they're so small, but the first one went ok. And the throat parts are a lot simpler, so it's mostly downhill from here. The steel is 304, which is a little harder to work with, but it'll polish up nice. Still trying to decide if I'm going to bother with a frog. Probably will...

It was hot yesterday, so this is all I got done. I did also order some more flux and other stuff to finish this, so I'm hoping I can wrap it up this weekend while the wife and kid are out of town.

Progress pic:

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Travis Fry

Well-Known Member
Sorry for the delay. I got most of the sheath done when I said I would, then never got around to taking many pictures. Here's one before the frog and the tip of the chape. Soldering all these stupid pieces sucked. So I think I'll do it again :):

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Next, the glue up. G-Flex is the stuff!

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And finally...it's DONE:

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Got it in the mail today to Caleb Royer for "real" photos, so it'll be up for sale once it's back. Already on to the next project though. A hint...

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