Wednesday, March 09, 2011

More Knifery

Back when I worked at the medical clinic, I got pretty good with the exam room tools. I could spin a rubber reflex hammer around one finger, and I got fairly adept with rolling an otoscope in my hand. If you could get the nervous children laughing, it made the exam easier for everybody: "Let me look in your ear ... my, what is that? Is that an elephant in your ear?"

The otoscope, a device for examining ear canals, used a rechargeable battery and was of knurled stainless steel, had a barrel about six inches long, and was a little slimmer than a D-cell battery in diameter.

I always thought that cylindrical shape would make a great knife handle, for a couple of reasons–first, it was heavy, and the butt could be used as a striking weapon. The shape and heft allowed it to be manipulated easily, rolling, spinning it from ice pick to saber would make it fun to play with, even though once you had serious need of a knife, you wouldn't be changing your grip.

I'm not sure of the best method of construction. Could be full-tang, with hardwood scales  sanded to the round shape. Or maybe a metal tube with the tang set in a handle full of epoxy or some such, and a small tsuba-style guard. Drop-point, sharped one edge, maybe a false edge on the spine over the point. It would only work if the handle was longer and heavier–4.5 inches or so, with a 3.5 inch blade.

Probably just a blade-cover Kydex sheath; leather that would hold that shape usefully on a belt, might not be easy, but what do I know?


William Adams said...

Interesting. Round handles are pretty common on the hollow-handled survival knives (I picked up a Marto-Brewer Explorer knife when I was young --- at least it's sturdy and takes a decent edge)

You could get such a survival knife, and w/ a couple of minutes w/ a grinder work up a prototype to try out (and you could adjust the balance by adding / subtracting stuff to the innards of the handle).

My concern would be indexing the orientation of the blade to how it was gripped.

Steve Perry said...

Indexing should be easy -- once you get a feel for how the knife will spin, vis a vis the weight and balance, you can adjust it so the edge faces where you want -- at least I can do that with an otoscope.

I used to play with a big adjustable Crescent wrench and discovered that the balance was such that if I flipped it up one revolution, the thing would also make a half twist ever time. I always thought that was cool.

Ed said...

CDNN has FN bayonets for $ might get some tinkering fun out of those -

William Adams said...

Can you index the otoscope w/o looking at it?

For the Crescent, you're starting out w/a known orientation --- the handle is quite flat in proportion.

My concern would be that the wielder would have to look at the knife in order to index it so as to make a cut (as opposed to a stab). Arguably if the sheath were fixed in its orientation this wouldn't be an issue, so long as the knife wasn't dropped, or twisted in the hand.

You'll have to get a knife and work up a prototype and let us know how it works out. I love symmetrical designs, so find it very attractive and intriguing.

Steve Perry said...

Good question, Wm.

If I pick up the otoscope blind, I can't index it without touching the "blade," so that could be a problem in total darkness.

I think as a design, a dimple or a bump on the handle under the edge line would fix that, knifeman's braille.
Wherever the mark is, the edge side is there.

That said, if the situation is such that I can't see well enough to find the edge of a knife in my hand, then I'm going to be cutting or stabbing blind, and that's that's like shooting without being able to see the target, which is also never a good idea.

Blindfold drills for sensitivity are good; seriously waving a knife around in dark thick enough so you can't see it? Not so much. That presupposes you know for sure you are being attacked and that it's okay to take that attacker out. If it's your son sleepwalking or you wife having a nightmare?

In light bright enough to see a target and identify it, I can also see a knife in my hand peripherally without looking directly at it

If it was in a sheath that would also solve that -- once I know where the edge is, and I'd know that on the draw. I wouldn't be changing the grip after that.

Since it wouldn't matter for a stab, and since a stab is usually more effective than a slash, orientation wouldn't be as critical.

Steve Perry said...

The bayonet's handle is round, mostly, but the blade is offset and on one edge. I'd have to cut it off.

For a mock-up, to test the balance, probably be easier just to find a knife shape and size I like and slip a piece of PVC pipe over the handle and secure it.