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Michael Pearce
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Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

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PostPosted: Tue 16 Aug, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject: Three new Medieval daggers         Reply with quote

Thwittle in a style sometimes called a 'Peasant dagger'

Overall Length:  8-3/4  inches
Blade Length: 4-13/16 inches
Hilt Overall Length: 3-15/16 inches
Blade width @ Base: 5/8 inch
Blade Thickness: 1/4 inch
Center of Gravity: 3/8 inch from base of handle
Period: 12th - 15th C.AD
A narrow tang on a knife was, in the Medieval period, called a 'Whittle' tang and a knife featuring such a tang was referred to as a'Thwittle.'  The vast majority of Thwittles were mounted with thin working blades of a variety of sizes and useful shapes but some were mounted with thick narrow blades more like a single-edged dagger.  In the sheath these would be indistinguishable from a 'normal' working knife.  In recent years we have come to refer to these as 'Peasant Daggers' as they seem to be a way of concealing a useful weapon in plain sight.  Based on an excavated blade from London this knife features a 5160 spring steel blade 1/4 inch thick at the base with a shallow convex distal taper from the base to the point.  The flats of the blade are 'rolled' into an edge. There is a slightly raised section at the base of the spine and the base of the blade sports an incised groove on either face near the spine.  There is a brass shoulder-plate and the handle is Cocobolo wood. 

The sheath is 6 oz. top grain vegetable tanned leather.  It is dyed a light tan color and it's surfaces are decorated with period-style incised work.  When hung from the belt by the attatched leather cord the knife sits deeply and securely in the sheath.  The scabbards form and decoration are in the style of excavated examples contemporary to the knife.

While this knife seems to be primarily intended as a weapong it does retain a reasonable amount of utility as an eating knife or for light camp chores.

Dagger of the Baselard style

Overall Length:  13-3/8  inches
Blade Length: 8-3/8 inches
Hilt Overall Length: 5 inches
Handle Length: 4 inches
Blade width @ Base: 7/8 inch
Blade Thickness: 1/4 inch
Center of Gravity: 1-1/8 inches from base of hilt
Period: Late 13th - 15th C.AD
The medieval Dagger came in a variety of hilt and blade forms but the one thing thay had in common was that they were purpose- built to circumvent armor.  One of the more popular forms of dagegr, particularly in the 14th C. AD was the baselard.  They might have a narrow tang, a full tang or something in between but their defining characteristic is a hilt in the form of a capital 'I.'   This practical form prevents the hand from slipping onto the blade when thrusting but also gives purchase when removing it from the target.  This example with a full-profile hilt features a double-edged 5160 spring steel blade and Cocobolo wood scales secured by brass rivets.  The top-grain vegetable-tanned period-style single-seam scabbard has been dyed a light tan color.


Ballock Dagger

Overall Length:  16-3/8  inches
Blade Length: 11-3/16 inches
Hilt Overall Length: 5 3/16 inches
Handle Length: 4 1/4 inches
Blade width @ Base: 13/16 inch
Blade Thickness: 1/4 inch
Center of Gravity: Base of Blade
Period: Late 14th - 16th C.AD
The Ballock Dagger (or later called a 'Kidney Dagger' by squeamish Victorians) is characterized by it's hilt form.  In this style of dagger the normal cross-guard is replaced by two (or rarely three) ball-shaped lobes.  These are usually carved of the same piece of material as the handle (as this daggers is) but are occasionally a separate piece or can even be of metal.  The handle itself can be flared as this examples is of be phalliform in shape.  This dagger features a single-edged blade fo 5160 spring steel and an exotic hardwood handle with a brass shoulder-plate and butt-plate.  The hidden tang runs the full length of the handle but is not attatched to the butt-plate which is secured by four small nails.  The period-style single-seam scabbard is dyed a medium brown color and is reinforced at the throat and tip.

It is often said that such daggers were worn centered on the front of the body in a suggestive fashion but in reality this was only widely practiced in England for a short time in the mid-14th century.

More photos of these and other swords and daggers can be found here:
http://tinkerswords.com/forsale.html

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Mark Routledge
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Location: UK
Joined: 03 May 2010

Posts: 56

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Aug, 2011 5:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are rather good Michael, most impressed. I perticularly like the wittle and the scabbard is spot on.
www.wessexwildcraft.com
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Philip Melhop




Location: Wokingham, Berkshire, UK
Joined: 24 May 2008

Posts: 126

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PostPosted: Wed 17 Aug, 2011 5:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

here is a picture of a composite hilted ballock knife from the British Museum. I had Tod replicate it for me.


Phil
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Michael Pearce
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Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

Posts: 365

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 17 Aug, 2011 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words! Phil, do you know the period of that particular composite piece? I'm thinking 16th c. but could easily be wrong.

My my... the spell-check missed a number of errors! My apologies for the typos...

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Philip Melhop




Location: Wokingham, Berkshire, UK
Joined: 24 May 2008

Posts: 126

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Wed 17 Aug, 2011 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael
First I should add my congratulations on another set of really, really nice knives Eek! Superb!
As to the detail of the pictured knife, sadly there is no information in the display, no even a cataloge number.
Two things attracted me to this weapon; the composite hilt, never seen one like it with all the intricate banding;secondly the length and robust nature of the blade, a good 18 inches, single edged and lightly hollow ground.

Found a full view


The item is located in an odd bit of the British Museum designed to emulate the collections of enlightenment antiquarians.
See here http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/gallerie...nment.aspx
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