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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 8:26 pm    Post subject: MRL "Belt Dagger"         Reply with quote

MRL's deal of the day has got me once again. I purchased their "Belt Dagger" and wondered if anyone has had any experience with it. Basically has any one handled this dagger? General thoughts? This will inevitably become one of my modification projects. Handle wrap, frog construction, possibility of a custom cross and most likely a sheath build. I am not suggesting the original sheath won't work, but am just looking for a reason to make one. Also what category might this dagger fall into historically speaking? Thanks in advance for any advice, and as usual your suggestions and knowledge is welcome and appreciate.

Link to picture on MRL's website

http://www.museumreplicas.com/popup.aspx?src=...193_2_.jpg
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's not that bad of a little dagger - holds an edge, pretty solid feel, not too hilt heavy, etc. The only problem I had was that the blade was a little too modern looking for me. But, for the price you paid, you should be happy with it! Big Grin
J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. I agree about the blade looking modern. That narrow fuller and the ricasso area contribute to the modern feel for me. Thanks again for the input.
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 7:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The blade actually would look quite at home on a rennaisance-period parrying dagger or a Landesknecht dagger. Some 15th-16th century side-ring daggers also sported blades with these features. It does look a bit out of place on a medieval quillon dagger to me, mainly because of the ricasso.
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am still learning here so excuse the ignorance. Quillon refers to the angle of the cross, and how it leans toward the blade? So if I where to mod this piece to make it a more historically accurate one, then I might want to consider a new cross guard? Would a leather wrapped twine bound style grip with risers be ok? Thanks in advance again.
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quillon refers to the arms of the cross, be they straight, angled or curved. A quillon dagger is one that features a cross type guard, as opposed to a rondel dagger which has a disk or plate, or a ballock dagger which features bulbous lobes in place of a guard proper. Not all daggers with quillons are called quillon daggers, some may be grouped under another name or type depending on other features or associations, like the rennaisance parrying daggers, which have quillons but are distinguished by having a side-ring or other type of additional parrying/binding appendage (s) on the guard and having some features in common with rennaisance rapier hilts.
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Hector Mendoza





Joined: 14 Oct 2006

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was going to buy this dagger until someone told me that anything below $100 was junk and that Windlass Steelcrafts had bad quality.

Although I guess the quality is the same if not worst, I ended up buying this instead:



Torino Main Gauche from CAS Hanwei.

Laughing Out Loud

Did you pay 100 dollars for it? Reliks.com offers this same dagger sharpened for about 89 dollars.
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I payed somewhere around 45 for it at a discounted rate due to a special they had ran. I think it normally retails for around a hundred. As long as the blade is tempered well and holds an edge, then I will be happy. I plan to modify it later.
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The ricasso on these cheaper daggers keeps me from buying them, in all honesty.

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am assuming then that the ricasso is not historical? That leads me to another question. Is there a point to the ricasso on modern blades? Is it a design choice, or is it structural?
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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin


myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 9:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luke Zechman wrote:
I am assuming then that the ricasso is not historical? That leads me to another question. Is there a point to the ricasso on modern blades? Is it a design choice, or is it structural?


Many authentic daggers, especially those of the parrying dagger variety, have a ricasso. Many do not.

To simplify the point about the term "quillons": it simply refers to the cross-guard.

See this: http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_anatomy.html

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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't see the ricasso as a deal breaker for me. It can easily be trimmed down by spending some time with a file. And since most Windlass daggers have threaded pommels, they're easily disassembled for modification.
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I received the dagger today, and so far (the ten mins I got to look at it before I had to leave for lab) the quality seems fine for around 45-50 bucks. Everything fits tightly, with no rattles or movement. The blade has very nice lines, and a good amount of spring when flexed slightly. The sheath is nicely made with solid metal fittings and the leather is sewn with proficiency. The quillon initially did not suit me, but I like it much better in person. Overall I am satisfied. MRL is obviously not top of the line, but for what you pay the quality is excellent. I will post an in hand picture after my class this afternoon or tonight.
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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Fri 09 Oct, 2009 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Again upon closer inspection I am satisfied with the quality of this blade. Nothing too fanciful, but well built none the less. the blade itself is slightly waisted. Here are some pictures.


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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Fri 15 Jan, 2010 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When i initially got this little dagger I had plans to modify it. Plans to rebuild the scabbard with some veg tan brown leather. Shorten the grip just a bit, remove a small amount of the should of the blade (and in the process a little of the ricasso), and shorten the pommel. This will give me what i need for a peen. I was thinking about adding some fluting to the pommel and quillon. Would a leather and cord wrapped handle be appropriate, or is this style too late for that application?

Dismantled photograph:



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dismantled belt dagger.jpg

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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Mon 18 Jan, 2010 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Today I lengthened the tang by heating with a blowtorch and drew it out with a cross peen hammer that belonged to my great grandfather. This was my first attempt ever to shape metal with heat. I used a rail tie as an anvil. All in all the process was pretty easy. I gained about 3/8th of an inch. I am now about 1/8th of an inch from the length I will need to peen.

I was thinking about making a new cross, and was wondering if mild steel would be sufficient? Wasn't going to do anything fancy, as the one that came with the dagger seems a little too fancy already. Any advice on shaping the cross would be great.
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Mon 18 Jan, 2010 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Luke - Mild steel would work just fine for a new cross, although if you could get your hands on some iron it would cool too. But mild steel will suffice and would better match the pommel. You can get it in a variety of different sizes at any local hardware store. You can get a decent amount for a few bucks; more than enough for a new cross and enough for practice or in case something goes wrong. You have a number of options for making the hole to accept the blade. You could heat it and punch through with a drift, or drill out some holes at the approximate width and thickness of the tang and slowly trim away the metal until you have a nice tight fit. Those are the amateur ways I might approach it, but maybe some more experienced craftsmen or smiths will chime in and give their two cents. Hope that helps a little.

Cheers,
-JM
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jan, 2010 12:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can I congratulate you Luke on a fantastic 'can do' atttiude. This is quite a project for you to undertake as a first timer, especially drawing out the tang like that.

As a thought, if you will struggle to gain another eighth, you could remove that from the grip if it is easier.

As a project it looks great, all the bits are there and look OK so a good point to start with and with a little work this could be good but I think try to master the many skills this project will expose you to and next time round start to get into some serious metal forming like guards etc but for this one there is plenty of work as it is.

I am not a fan of the ricasso either, and for my mind it is wrong for the knife, but also it is not really long enough to be correct even on a later knife - so for me a no no, but not a disastrous one by any means. If you did want to remove it though you could just remove a little of the top of the blade and so lose the ricasso and gain all the tang length you need.

Good luck

Tod

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Luke Zechman




Location: Lock Haven Pennsylvania
Joined: 18 Jan 2009

Posts: 278

PostPosted: Tue 19 Jan, 2010 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tod,
Thank you for the kind words. I would not have noticed two weeks ago before I started really looking at this project, that indeed the ricasso is too short. After much time looking at pictures of historical examples, I had actually noticed they appear to be significantly longer. I have actually removed about a quarter inch from the grip, and I am reluctant to remove any more because I don't want it to be too short and out of proportion. Was thinking about a bone grip... Well thanks again for the advice and encouragement, it means a lot coming from someone so established in this field. Cheers!!

Luke
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