DIY: crab-hilt dagger
I have started this project already last autumn, but finished it (well, not fully) only last weekend.
For a long time I have been intrigued by crab-hilts - both daggers and rapiers. Before embarking on a more difficult path (rapier), Iīve decided to make a dagger, with a simple side-ring (crab-hilt daggers also had trapezoid plate-guards, or a full hilts, similar to those on rapiers).
The blade was made with a bunch of others ( and sent for a professional heat-treatment last autumn. After receiving it, I have first smoothed-out the hammer marks, and polished it to satin finish with sand papers. (picture 1)
The hilt has a "sandwich construction", secured by welding and rivets - picture 2 shows it before riveting.
The ring was cut from an iron tube with sufficient diameter and 4mm thick walls, and it was welded to the hilt - picture 3.
After that the quillons were bent, cleaned and did some file-work - thatīs picture 4.
I tried to heat-blue the quillons, but I had only a gas torch at hand and unfortunately it did not come out very well - picture 5 (itīs shown with a pommel, which was later replaced).

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...and the second part:

Grip was made from a piece of hard-wood (probably a red beech - picture 6), formed by a rasp and sand papers. The handle is "squarish" in cross-section, so I have decided to replace the original pommel (shown on one of previous pictures). The new one was cut from a piece of mild steel with a hexagonal cross-section, narrowing towards the top.

After some cleaning and finishing, the final piece is shown on last three pictures. However, I would take it as semi-final, because I still plan to heat-blue the hilt and the pommel (I have used a threaded tang, so it could be dissembled). And of course, I will to the scabbard, because I plan to use this dagger in stage-fencing.

Any comments and suggestions are welcome.

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Really nice! I have always liked these crab hilt guards. This came out well. I do have to say that I like the round pommel better, the square one is nice, but I think the round one helps to accentuate the curves of the guard. Do you have plans to leather wrap the grip?
hm, good point on the pommel, Tim. I still may change my mind...:)
leather wrap: I was not thinking about that, but it might be a good idea. I have to think about it and look around for some thin but strong leather. It will have to be black, as Iīve already started to make a scabbard from black leather.
In any case, I managed to get to some bits of more interesting wood from a friend of mine, whoīs making furniture. If I donīt go for the leather, I will surely replace the grip, using a darker wood. I will surely post the pictures.
Great work Radovan, your willingness to undertake complex designs is very inspiring!
The dagger looks really good. Are you going to wire wrap the grip?
thank you, Julien:)
No wire-wrap planned. I will go either for a leather wrap, or a wooden grip (but from a different, darker wood - pear, cherry, or some dark wood I got from a friend of mine, but could not identify).
Oh, wire wrap would be cool! However you decide to finish it, it will be nice.
I did not have much time to work on my project lately, as I was busy around our house and garden. Besides working on some ongoing stuff, I have only finished another crab-gilt dagger for a friend from out re-enact. group. She had asked for a different hilt design, with plate instead of a ring. This time, the quillons were shaped from a single bar of mild steel.

Unfortunately I did not take any pictures from the process as my cell-phone with camera broke down. However, hereīs the result.

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