Gentleman's Dagger

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58 Cal.
Feb 11, 2009
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Hello all :hatsoff:
It's been a while since I have posted due to working on a bunch of modern stuff.
This one would fit most any time period and I thought I would share.
It features a 4 3/4" blade of 0-1 steel
4" Cocobolo through tang grip
Nickel/Silver guard, bolster, spacer, and end cap
As always, thanks for looking and critiques welcome.

May 5, 2007
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Tall Grass Prairie
Quite a beautiful knife. Very well done.

However, as for fitting in just about anywhere I'm not sure. I can hear the purist snorting now, "weren't no such thing as cocobolo wood in 1839."

Black Hand

Mar 17, 2005
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Kansas Volunteer said:
I can hear the purist snorting now, "weren't no such thing as cocobolo wood in 1839."
You mean like there was no Logwood, Teak, Mahogany or other exotic woods imported into the US during the period...?
Feb 3, 2001
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Cardiff, CA
I haven't found anything for 1839, but...

In the 1850's a young Scotsman, John H. Monteath, traveled through Africa, Central and South America and the West Indies seeking exotic hardwoods for the English furniture industry. By 1856 John Monteath had established a business on New York's White Street distributing tropical hardwood logs to immigrant European craftsmen. The trade known in Lower Manhattan as the "Stickwood Business" flourished for several decades.

In the days when merchant ships battled the ravages of South America's treacherous Cape Horn, heavy cocobolo commanded precious little cargo space. But, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1912 changed all that. Cocobolo became common deck cargo, and tons poured into New England ports, where manufacturers turned it into handles on the finest cutlery.
May 6, 2014
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"The logwood tree was of great economic importance from the 17th century to the 19th century, when it was commonly logged and exported to Europe for use in dyeing fabrics. The modern nation of Belize developed from 17th and 18th-century logging camps established by the English."

Now, Cocobolo comes from this same general area in central America. So it would have been available that early, though I don't know how common it was for knife handles.

I found some use in early guitars and oboes, quite a few years ago. Oboes and similar 18th instruments I have forgotten the names of, probably would have been more likely to have been made of this wood than guitars that early. Though this link does not speak to what wood the instruments are made from, some may find info on the early use of guitars.

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50 Cal.
Feb 9, 2005
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Since you asked for a critique...

The use of concave shoulders on the blade and the well-defined ricasso on the blade don't look very period to me, at least for the 18th and early 19th century. I'm pretty sure that the ricasso was in use by 1840 or so, but I'm not sure when the concave shoulder would have become fashionable. Such knowledge as I have is confined mostly to 18th and early 19th century trade knives and backwoods pieces, and this is clearly neither. The overall blade shape and the guard also look like a 19th century type rather than an 18th century dagger, which fits.

Upshot is: I don't think that it would truly fit "most any time period," but it would go nicely with a cap-and-ball pocket pistol or silver-mounted Derringer.

As for design, the only thing I can see that could be improved is that it looks like the edges of the blade are parallel until they begin curving into the point. I think a slight taper might work better visually. Maybe the spacer might look a little better if it was moved towards the center of the grip just a bit? Dunno about that. Apart from that, all I can say is that it looks great.

I'm actually working on an 18th century backwoods dagger right now, so daggers are kind of on my mind right now...very different design and much plainer, but I'll be very pleased if my workmanship comes anywhere near yours.


70 Cal.
MLF Supporter
Jul 25, 2007
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He did say its was a Gentleman's Dagger :v To me that would certainly explain the beauty and elegance as compared to the common mans dagger of the day. I believe that just because something is not documented doesn't mean that it never happened . As a matter of fact I have proof ! I've got a few knives I made and I'm almost 100% certain there ain't another one exactly like them anywhere. Which is probably a good thing. :haha: