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  1. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    What would a blacksmith need to know when forging a custom blade?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Stormsong07, Jun 3, 2020.

    So I have a brief scene in my novel where my MC is ordering a dagger from a blacksmith. MC is clueless about blades, but is beginning training and her friend encourages her to get her own daggers bc she's been targeted by some nasty dudes intent on doing her harm.
    Anyway. What would the blacksmith need to know about my MC when forging her a custom blade? "Custom" just in the sense that it's specifically for her, not just a generic blade bought off the shelf.
    Here's what I have currently (Timas is the blacksmith):


    She answered a few questions from Timas about which hand she favored and how she tended to grip things and he promised to have her dagger by their next free day.


    It just sounds...weird. I dunno. It sounds like I pulled it out of my butt, which I did lol. Any advice?
     
  2. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    Rather than preempt the knowledge of the blacksmith, could you go with some elaborate routine that allows Timoras to establish what he (she?) needs to know? Toss your MC an apple to see how she catches it, get her to stoke the fire to see how she moves her arm/wrist etc. and make an expert judgement from the results without you having to specify?

    That sounds like a weird way of making a blade, but go with it if it makes you happy... I have a knife-sharpener that seems to work along the same lines.
     
  3. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    ^ He might throw her a fake wooden knife and attack her with another one, to see what kind of fighting style she uses automatically. Or just a piece of dowel. He might want to see if she grips it pointing up or down from her fist. I don't really know anything about knife fighting techniques, not really even sure if this makes a difference in the design of the knife.
     
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    size of her hand and ergo the size the grip needs to be... will it be only used for hand to hand or will it also be thrown (effects the balance), does she want it sharp on both sides or just one, does she want a guard/hand protector, how long a blade does she want ... related to that where does she intend to wear it (a blade worn at the waist would be very different to one worn strapped to a forearm for example), does she want the hilt smooth or webbed, does she want the blade engraved, does she want decoration like a pommel stone, what material does she want the hilt made from (metal, wood, ivory) and so on...

    i'd suggest speaking to some knife makers

    actually since you're in Texas , I'd suggest reaching out to Matt Carriker who part owns skif knives ... hes a good guy and will probably be happy to answer your questions and/or put you in touch with real knife specialists ... he's near san antonio. best way to contact him is probably via the bunker branding facebook account https://www.facebook.com/bunkerbrandingco/ (also Matt can probably put you in touch with Nick Irwin who lives in the same area, hes an ex army ranger turned author, and knows a thing or two about knife fighting)
     
  5. Lazaares

    Lazaares Senior Member

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    Custom dagger means it's more wieldy for her. Which'll mean the above comment well-phrased by @big soft moose. Main point is the handle/grip and the length of the blade. Can really vary between people what they prefer and a good handle can change how a blade turns and slashes.
     
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  6. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    So being a martial arts for 25 years, this is a harder question to answer than it appears. First off, no rookie would be asking for a custom blade, because customization of weapons is as much about preference as it is about anything else. And she doesn't know enough to even know what her preferences were. As the old saying goes, "You don't know what you don't know." For example, my style recommended to use a bow staff that came up to about the chin. I prefer one shorter that could pass as a walking stick. That's just my preference. I have to use Shirado Sai because most other brands have horrid balance.

    But since it is probably very critical to the plot that she not be experienced when asking for this blade, let's set realism aside and actually approach this from a knowledgeable blacksmith making a recommendation instead of a practioner asking for a custom blade.

    The blacksmith would likely have some blades in stock that he'd have her try. He'd try one that's longer. One that's shorter. He'd have her practice a few strikes with the blade to see if it's too heavy or too light.
     
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  7. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Bladesmith, not blacksmith.
    He'd size up the client and know what samples to offer.
     

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