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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Wearing daggers? Reply to topic
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: Wearing daggers?         Reply with quote

I've been pretty into daggers in the last couple of years. One thing I haven't entirely figured out is how you wear some of them. Period art like effigies and brasses often just show them attached to the decedent's hip. Paintings often do the same. I've found a little evidence, though, about how they were attached to a belt. It involves a loop that the belt goes through, or a loop that's tied around the belt.

The simple loop-a-thong-over-the-belt method works great for some daggers, but I have two where that doesn't work because of the weight of the hilt. My Tod's Stuff rondel dagger and A&A Classic/Crusader both easily swing hilt-downward when attached to a belt like in that manner.

So what do you do? I could thrust them behind the belt (between me and the belt). Is that a historical option? I could also position the dagger at belt level and let the thong pass down behind the belt and then around the whole scabbard. That eliminates the play in the thong so it can't swing downward.

How do other folks deal with this?

Historical suspensions that seem prone to "tipping over":






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Jonathan Eells





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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2008 8:24 pm    Post subject: Greek tragedy         Reply with quote

You need a little Aristophanes, a few peepers, a giant bull-roarer, some Calaveras County, have yourself some grenouille grillée, in short, get yourself a dagger frog!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Greek tragedy         Reply with quote

Jonathan Eells wrote:
You need a little Aristophanes, a few peepers, a giant bull-roarer, some Calaveras County, have yourself some grenouille grillée, in short, get yourself a dagger frog!


I've owned a number of the sword and dagger frogs you commonly see on today's market, but I don't think I've ever come across things like most of them in period art or in museums. Do you have an example of one you recommend? Is it historical?

I've spent a decent amount of time looking at monumental brasses and time looking at other period art and haven't seen frogs like you see so often sold by retailers like MRL.

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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On a practical note I do the tong thing with my cellphone holder in that I have a loop that is long enough that I can pass the loop behind the belt and then pass the holder through the loop and this does the same as putting the belt through the loop but one can do this without having to do or undo the belt. ( This loop is a fail-safe in case the belt hook loses it's hold on the belt. Oh, I use the same idea for my keys on a length of paracord ...... never risk losing my keys this way. Wink )

One advantage of using the loop this ways instead of just passing the belt through the loop is that it hangs strait down with two parallel pieces of the tong over the belt as opposed to a single loop with a belt through it that isn't as stabilized and flops around more.

I would also put the sheath behind the belt if worn at the small of the back and one can easily chose to have the handle to the right or the left or even change it's orientation at any time.

Historically I don't know except that what work well now would have worked well then. Wink Laughing Out Loud

If worn vertically and in between the belt loops of a belt pouch the belt pouch also helps to stabilize the dagger from flopping around.

With a rondel or a dagger worn horizontally or even with the hilt tilting to below horizontal I think that one needs a very secure scabbard that is either not too loose or has some sort of retaining device.

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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 1:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One solution I have seen in period art involves the dagger being worn behind a pouch, poking through between the straps that the pouch hangs on. Another is to thrust it through these straps.

The pictures you posted seem to make it pretty clear that daggers were worn hung from belts and I have a strong suspicion that the solution to the tipping problem DOES lie simply with the weight of the hilt compared to that of the blade/scabbard.

Perhaps some modern reproductions use more metal than necessary in the hilt? Either that, or they're reproducing daggers which were never intended to be worn this way.
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Thomas Watt




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 4:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you considered adding a little weight to the bottom of the scabbard?
As far as balance goes, it should counterbalance a heavy handle (leverage) without too much additional weight.
And allow for an unobtrusive mod to maintain historicity.

Have 11 swords, 2 dirks, half a dozen tomahawks and 2 Jeeps - seem to be a magnet for more of all.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A pouch would help for civilian wear, but we don't usually see them illustrated in a military context.

D. Austin wrote:
Perhaps some modern reproductions use more metal than necessary in the hilt? Either that, or they're reproducing daggers which were never intended to be worn this way.


Some reproductions undoubtedly do feature overbuilt hilts. If the two in my collection that tip, the A&A dagger is proportional with historic daggers, so I doubt it's overbuilt and unbalanced. The Tod's Stuff dagger's hilt does weigh more than the original's because, for cost reason, I went with a solid metal hilt instead of a partially hollow one. I would think, though, that other historical daggers (especially metal-hilted ones) would have this issue to some degree.

And while it's clear some daggers were worn with a thong looped over the belt, we don't know that all were, especially since so many just float at the wearer's hip in illustrations. So I'm more inclined to believe that some daggers weren't meant for the looped thong method.

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Jean-Carle Hudon




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have had the same problem as Chad. On the one hand you don't want a cumbersome frog, and the later models of daggers are too top heavy to slip through the purse or pouch as you could do with the ballock or dirk type daggers. The first temptation is to attach a modern type of buttoned strap around the grip just under the pommel. Looks like hell, you feel as if you're wearing your Buck hunting knife or a Bowie. I've ended up just thrusting the scabbard between my body and the sword belt, but I use a sturdy leather thong to tie the scabbard to the belt, just looping the thong around the belt and scabbard. It holds the scabbard in place well enough to be able to withdraw the dagger rapidly while having the scabbard remain in plce, and there is no toppling of the heavier pommel. I am sure there is a better, more permanent way somewhere out there, but that's the best I have come up with with my heavier daggers.
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have never been able to fathom why they would wear daggers dangling from a thong, even if they balance right side up, having it bounce on my hip at every movement would not take long to drive me nuts and convince me to find another way of wearing it. It seems clear from some depictions that this was common but it has never made sense to me. If part of the thong or loop were rigid (sheathed in metal perhaps?) this might reduce the problem but I don't see any indications of this in period depictions.
I try to take the balance into account at the design stage of a dagger to avoid the top-heavy issue altogether but I have yet to find a scabbard suspension for daggers that I am really pleased with.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's what I was thinking. I took the two daggers that tip and used the thong to wrap down around the back of the belt and then back around the front of the scabbard. It's a lot more secure. The A&A can still tip a bit, but never farther than just above horizontal. It flops less, too, which is what Justin would hate (me too Happy ).

Because the Tod's stuff dagger's thong/cord can be tied, I can make it as tight as I want to it won't slip and slide.



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The back.

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Eric Myers




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Aug, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most of my ideas have already been covered. I have considered adding weight to scabbards and sheaths, but have never done it. As for just sticking the dagger in the belt, I believe there is a fair amount of later period art that shows this, with the daggers either at the right side, hilt angled forward. I have also seen pictures of a small dagger or knife being worn wrapped in the belt at the back. I'll look for a picture of what I mean. Also, even later sheath can have a "clip" like you see on rapier and smallsword scabbards, but instead of necessarily holding them in frog, the clip can also go over the belt (I *think* I have seen period pictures of both options, but am not certain).
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Chase S-R




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Aug, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How do I get pictures from my desktop? The computer just says failed download? Any way the pictures i would like to post are paintings, one from 1350 the other from 1365.
the first shows a man in full harness wearing a pouch/frog to hold his dagger. The other shows the scabbord chappe shoved through the belt with the dagger hilt angling down and a thong running from the locket to the belt.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Aug, 2008 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chase S-R wrote:
How do I get pictures from my desktop? The computer just says failed download?


Use the Add an Attachment section when posting. Check the link for Allowed extensions and sizes.

Also check out the Attchment Guide in the Info section.

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Aug, 2008 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a guess, as I don't have my copy of Knives and Scabbards handy: A thong passed through two or more points on the scabbard would (theoretically) make the dagger more stable. The farther apart the holes, the more stable, right? And the closer to the top of the scabbard the less likely the dagger will tip(?) Maybe something like this cinqueda scabbard. Both of your scabbards have something like this, but not quite as complex or widely-spaced. Of course, a weapon as large as this cinqueda wouldn't have a tipping problem. Nor would a simple peasant's knife. Strange that we don't know more about this class of scabbard. Maybe Aaron S. will chime in.


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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Aug, 2008 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a knot option (at right in photo) that could help solve your tipping problem:

http://www.olofsgillet.org/images/olofsgillet_042.jpg

The purse solution seems to be the most elegant, but that seems to be a late 15th/early 16th c. thing.

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Aug, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe they had that same problem "back in the day" too and they just decided heck with it and put up with the bouncy loop?

Seriously, I have wondered the same thing for years also. But why not come up with somehing like a simplified coutner part of what ever sword suspension you are using. At least aesthetically it sort of blend with the rest of the set?

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PostPosted: Wed 13 Aug, 2008 1:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I can tell dangling from a thong was the predominant method of suspension and yes it does seem a rather odd solution to the problem of suspension but there you are......

Some daggers just refuse to balance enough to stay right way up all the time and that is partly why I try to make my sheaths secure. There are however a couple of solutions to this.

If the dagger only just over balances with a tendancy to go hilt down then try this. Punch two holes in your belt a few inches apart and pass one thong through one hole and the other thong through the other hole and just tie a stop knot in the thong. The result is that the two thongs come down toward the dagger at about 45 degrees and the dagger sits equally between the two holes in the belt. Basically the dagger goes from a single point suspension to a two point suspension which gives it a far better stability.

The other solution that is seen a great deal is that the dagger is pushed between the belt and the pouch so that it passes between the suspension loops of the pouch at an upward angle of about 45 degrees or even that the dagger is pushed through both suspension loops of the pouch and remains horizontal. Both these methods are shown in pictures and tapestries quite often. Both these systems offer a great deal of support to the dagger and so help to keep it in an aspect that you want it to be in.

I hope this helps

Tod



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Mick Czerep




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Aug, 2008 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi
Having your dagger worn through (behind) your purse is shown in period art at least as early as mid-14thC. Especially common with bollock daggers, sometimes worn in front to make them even more phallic - check with the feast scene form Tres Riches Heures (February I think). This keeps them tight and comfortable. Dangling puoches, keys, daggers and knives does, however seem to have been quite common, at least in civilian/peacetime situations.
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Chase S-R




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Aug, 2008 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All I get when I try and post pictures is
Upload Error: Could not upload Attachment to ./files/chase_prauge_104_172.jpg.

Any way one is a picture from 1350 prauge showing a man in armour wearing a dagger through the pouch, so this was done in the 14thcentury
the other shows the dagger angling downward, it seems as though it is tighter fitting maybe cloth covered wood but it is hanging hilt downwards.

maybe it is my camera it is 10mega pixles??? but I cant even post one picture at a time

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Aug, 2008 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chase S-R wrote:
All I get when I try and post pictures is
Upload Error: Could not upload Attachment to ./files/chase_prauge_104_172.jpg.

Any way one is a picture from 1350 prauge showing a man in armour wearing a dagger through the pouch, so this was done in the 14thcentury
the other shows the dagger angling downward, it seems as though it is tighter fitting maybe cloth covered wood but it is hanging hilt downwards.

maybe it is my camera it is 10mega pixles??? but I cant even post one picture at a time


Chase,
Have you read any of the info I directed you to? Your file is almost certainly too large. Pictures off my 5 megapixel camera run about 1 MB each, way too large. The maximum attachment size for the Off-Topic Talk forum (click "Allowed Extensions and Sizes" in the Add an Attachment section of a new post or reply as I directed above) is 150 KB.

The Attachment Guide in the Info section of this site (Click the word "Info" next to "Profile", the click "Attachment Guide") will also help, as it has some info on resizing pictures.

All the info you need to post a pic is available to you. Happy

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