Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

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ILikeStilettos
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Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby ILikeStilettos » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:55 pm

This odyssey started back in March when the dagger below appeared on eBay and listed as a "German Prostitute Style Dagger." Both Duke and I concluded that it was Victorian vintage, probably hand-made in ivory, and that it would sell for a price much higher than I was willing to pay. Besides, it had a few issues and I figured we could make a better one.

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The idea that a German lady of the night could have carried this one in her garter was intriguing, and my wife immediately stated that she wanted one. There are a lot of sentimental ties here, she and I both have some German blood, and while she's never been a hooker, she does subscribe to the idea that a woman should be a "lady in public, and a whore in the bedroom". The knife ultimately did sell for about twice what I thought it was worth in the condition it was in. As usual, the design and story interested me, the actual age did not.

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The knife looked to be about nine or ten inches long and had some interesting detail work on what I took to be a NS or sterling guard. I thought it needed to be longer. I also thought that it needed more ornate details to really make it a woman's blade.

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The grain in the ivory was beautiful, but that missing chunk bothered me a lot.

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I began to look for a sterling silver spoon that could be modified to support the guard and the sheath clip but didn't find much. Finally, for $26.30, I bought these Gorham Luxembourg sugar tongs in a pattern from the 1890's. This was a bargain, as it would support two knives. I planned to use part of one side for the clip, and the upper part for an overlay on the guard. The overlay part was a bust, as the repurposed part was just too small to use the way I wanted. No doubt we will find a use for it later.

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When I draw something up in CAD I can enlarge or reduce it at will to any size, even keep the dimensions on one axis while changing them on another. I figured the knife looked correct in the following picture. However, to get a real idea of what I was creating, I printed the drawing full scale on stiff paper, laminated it, and cut it out.

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Knowing how fussy Loretta is, I created multiple length versions for her to play with and this took several passes. She actually preferred a shorter, fatter blade and a smaller handle (I should have realized this). She even liked the handle from one size and the blade from another. God help the man who gives a woman choices. After many trials, this is what she settled on.

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Because of expense, recent prohibitions, and the fact that Loretta didn't much care for it anyway; we decided not to use ivory. My go-to lady was Robin McFarlane of Bear Tooth Woods, with whom both Duke and I have had many pleasurable dealings. (Take your minds out of the gutter, boys, she a sweet and knowledgeable married lady to get material from.) Loretta felt like abalone lava acrylic would be a perfect combination of functionality and a nice feminine look. It was also something that both Duke and I had several blocks of. Being the perfectionist that he is, Duke wanted to buy a wood lathe for turning handles and practice some before starting on this one.

He did exactly that, only the first lathe was damaged in transit and it took a while to get replaced and for Duke to get the hang of cutting and polishing acrylic. The results, as you can see are spectacular. Duke even personalized the sheath with Loretta's initials.

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Duke created a mirror polished and hollow ground blade out of tempered 1095, and deliberately gave it a working edge, but not a razor edge. It weighs a svelte 4 oz. by itself, or 5.5 oz. with the sheath. This is a display knife, so every aspect was considered. After it came to me I was giving it a light buff with Flitz for the pictures and a coat of Renaissance wax for protection. I rationalized that I could just work with it in the sheath, but when I went up the handle it slipped out of the sheath and when I went down on the next stroke it inserted the tip of the blade right into my knuckle. As Duke said, "It may not be real sharp, but that point is a sticker."

It was one of those deep cuts that doesn't bleed immediately, just aches deeply. So I walked into the bathroom with a tissue getting rapidly saturated and Loretta did first aid. After that I taped the blade before finishing the polish and wax. Note Duke's stamp on the bottom of the sheath and the repurposed tongs. Sterling is not a good choice for the clip, and that's on me. It's just too easily bent to permanent deformation. Again it works OK for a display knife and it looks great.

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Duke added this great NS pommel with a copper stud in the center. It really dresses things up. The picture shows a bunch of tiny flecks that are invisible to the naked eye, but photograph well. I assumed this was dust, but finally concluded that they are the metallic dust that's embedded in the material to make it sparkle in bright light.

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Duke's etch on the tang and his mirror polished NS guard. Even without the little balls from the original knife, I think this looks stellar.

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Frankly, there's just no way to show how great this material looks in a still photograph, so I have taken a short video and posted it to YouTube. It's a bit shaky, as I was holding with one hand and filming with my smart phone using the other. Watch how the colors move inside the material and fade in an out as the knife is turned.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGAx7TLIzMM

As always, your questions and comments are appreciated. No need to worry about Loretta if you approach her: 1) The sticker is at home. 2) Her tongue is even sharper. The big one, 3) She carries concealed and is a crack shot. :o
Dave Sause
oldandfat@cox.net
(405) 694-3690

"And you're telling me this because, somehow, I look like I give a shit?"

"Let a smile be your umbrella and you're gonna get your dumb ass wet."

gravknife
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Re: Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby gravknife » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:02 pm

Dave
Firstly i love the first dagger as a history piece and as a weapon.I also like the stamping on the aged german silver guard ....maybe initials of a german pimp or the prostitute herself.
Now to your rendition of the knife.
Its a beauty .
I love dagger blades anyway and this shape of slightly flared blade is a favourite of mine on french fighting knives ,but this blade a beauty on a very attractive looking knife with that ample nickle guard ,highly polished dagger blade and a handle i can only describe as a look through the hubble telescope ,its like space nebulas and galaxies entwined ,what a great material thanks for showing it Dave .
These daggers were made shiny to strike fear into an attacker and gain a pschological edge ,i reckon the attacker would stop just to take a look at your knife and ask what was used for that handle material.
I like the idea of the clip shame about bending but looks a treat on that hand stitched sheath.
All in all a lovely knife my freind and glad you decided to design and have it built.

All the best
Ian

Congrats on another stunning knife to your already magnificent collection

sammy the blade
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Re: Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby sammy the blade » Sun Oct 02, 2016 11:00 pm

Nice work!
AKA Sammy da blade

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ILikeStilettos
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Re: Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby ILikeStilettos » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:21 am

Ian, dear friend, thank you so much for the kind words and I'm glad to have hit the target so close to the center. Hearing you dwell on subtle design cues and point out ones I didn't speak to is the most sincere and authentic praise any designer or cutler can aspire to. I, and I am certain, Duke, are flattered beyond words.

The other Ian, the one no longer with us, remains bittersweet in my memory. It was he that showed me how to create effective curves in my CAD program. I've played at drawing knives, both fixed and folding for years, and it took a long while to realize that knives have very few straight lines. Rather, they curve almost imperceptibly to realize a flow from point to pommel. Folders are even more of a challenge because they have to look good both open and closed. Killbucket also taught me that aesthetic beauty comes in the tiniest of fractional differences. A design can be created that just doesn't hit the mark of pleasing. We sometimes empirically realize that it's too fat or too thin, too blunt or too abrupt. An infinitesimal change makes all the difference in the world, while falling in the range of manufacturing tolerance. It's nearly impossible to measure the change from wrong to right, but the naked eye sees it as a glaring disruption. No matter how well designed, it is the cutler who makes all the difference in the realization of beauty.

So, now that I have a tool, albeit a fussy and pernicious one, I am finding that I enjoy the design work as an end unto itself. Something piques my curiosity, or a fellow enthusiast says something in passing, and I am compelled to render it virtually. I, too, am a fan of daggers, but cramming two bevels onto a narrow blade while leaving enough material for strength is an exercise in futility. Typically, the grind angles mean a perpetually dull blade. Duke and I spent hours discussing what size and formulation of steel was available. Not only did he advocate hollow grinding to produce a sharp edge, but he talked about the size of the grinding wheels and fixturing, and how he would work largely by hand and eye. Then there was the issue of finishing the cutting edge at the ricasso, times two for a dagger. I felt compelled to either offset the ricasso a bit (as you see here) or call for a sharpening notch. Again, this is as much an aesthetic decision as a practical one. Thank you for noticing and commenting.

I have been and remain a great fan of Bear Tooth Woods acrylics for practicality and cost effectiveness. Their "lava explosion" types are visually stunning, totally homogeneous, and polish beautifully with no requirement for a finish coat. I do love the hybrids and stabilized burls, which are more naturally beautiful and even more inspirational as created by the hand of the Great Architect, rather than mortal man. We decided to facilitate that feminine look by removing some of the fussiness out of the material.

I'm a perennial fan of mirror polished blades, but hadn't considered the intimidation factor. Brilliant call, you're absolutely correct and apropos.

I am saddened by the news from the UK, especially that ludicrous zombie knife legislation with it's sweeping scope and vague definitions. Next they'll be banning fountain pens, pencils, penises, and cotton swabs for their hazards in the perpetuation of penetration. I'd otherwise encourage you to patronize Duke for his exceptional cutlery and leather work. He is a gentleman of the first order and I am honored to be associated with him.

So thank you, again, for the compliments. I owe you a long reply and commentary on your Japanese swords, but that will have to come at a later time. Later, mate. Keep calm and press on.
Dave Sause
oldandfat@cox.net
(405) 694-3690

"And you're telling me this because, somehow, I look like I give a shit?"

"Let a smile be your umbrella and you're gonna get your dumb ass wet."

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DonC
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Re: Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby DonC » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:44 pm

Good write up on the project. You and Duke are to be congratulated on your collaboration. Always nice to see the fruition of peoples labors and get the back story on the creation.
DonC

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ILikeStilettos
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Re: Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby ILikeStilettos » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:23 pm

DonC wrote:Good write up on the project. You and Duke are to be congratulated on your collaboration. Always nice to see the fruition of peoples labors and get the back story on the creation.
DonC

Thanks muchly, Mister. I'm glad you enjoyed the tale.
Dave Sause
oldandfat@cox.net
(405) 694-3690

"And you're telling me this because, somehow, I look like I give a shit?"

"Let a smile be your umbrella and you're gonna get your dumb ass wet."

Fishtail Picklock
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Re: Prostitute style boot dagger evolution & Duke Charlesworth

Postby Fishtail Picklock » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:47 am

That's great! I like it. This is something that will see increasing popularity during this Administration. We need more "self-defense" type knives to defend ourselves against the Leftist Zombie attacks! ;)
Fishtail Picklock


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