Author Topic: Na'vi-inspired dagger  (Read 10322 times)

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Offline Ayfa'liyä omumyu

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Na'vi-inspired dagger
« on: January 16, 2010, 10:20:00 am »
Prior to seeing Avatar, I had it in my mind to make something of a "primitive" dagger, and the viewing merely motivated me to carry out the task. It would appear that the knives in the film are fashioned from bone, and perhaps from the fangs or teeth of various Pandoran fauna. It is clear that Jake's dagger, for example, is made from a long-bone, as we can see the epiphysis serves as the pommel. If we assume that other animals there share the Na'vi trait of carbon-fibre reinforced bones, this makes it all the more interesting. While Terran knives are seldom fashioned from bone or antler (given that stone and metal afford superior performance), they are nevertheless beautiful materials and worth exploring.

Not having such exotic alien materials as, say, a Palulukan femur, nor a slab of bone sizable enough, I used instead a palm of moose antler. This project was completely free-form, in that I had a basic idea of the end goal, but allowed the materials to guide me as I went. The blade shape, then, is dictated to a large extent by the shape of the palm and its usable area. While it is certainly sharp enough to cut oneself, and to use for minor utilitarian tasks such as slicing fruit or vegetable matter, it is not durable enough to hold much of an edge. Its original intent therefore was and remains solely as a display or costume piece.

After shaping, the piece was soaked in boiled linseed oil, dried, and polished. The grip is braided hemp, laid into a groove spiraling around the handle. The sheath is leather, dyed, folded over and bound with cord. Overall it is complete, though awaiting further adornment. Suggestions are appreciated.

Materials: Antler, leather, hemp, cordage. Click on image(s) for full size.

Length overall: 50 cm (19.75")
Length of blade: 36 cm (14.25")
Width at widest point: 8 cm (3.125")





« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 10:21:44 am by Ayfa'liyä omumyu »

Offline Nìwotxkrr Tìyawn

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2010, 10:54:23 am »
Very beautiful, hard to come by good craftmanship these days.
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Offline lihass

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2010, 12:12:12 pm »
nice :o


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cost is expensive, but you can see the dagger use in the movie, and make a perfect dagger like this :P

Offline Tsway'eion

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2010, 06:29:22 pm »
Awesome, looks amazing.

Offline Robert Nantangä Tirea

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2010, 10:06:22 pm »
incredible! I love the sheath you have for it as well.

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Offline Txonyä'ite

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2010, 10:08:51 pm »
That is absolutely beautiful! Great job!

Offline Na'rìng

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2010, 12:26:36 am »
Well done, tsukean Ayfa'liyä Omumyu! I wish I had the skill to make things like that dagger! Alast, all I've done in my life is learning how to make things with my computer... I could make a 3D model of it though :D!
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Offline Nume fpi sänume

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2010, 12:52:15 am »
That looks great :D Im really not too sure what to put on there. My first idea would be some bone beading or something, attached to the sheath just for decoration.

Offline Kaltxì Palulukan!

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2010, 01:53:20 pm »
Yeah, that pretty much puts to shame my deer antler runes, my silver ankh, my driftwood walking sticks that I take soooo much time soaking in oils, sanding, bringing out the reds and bowns and whites of the wood. All of those kinda just stand on the sideline and hiss cattily.

From one artisan to another, I have to say that this is masterful work. The choice in finishing and materials really takes it over the edge. It is beautiful beyond belief, but it appears a bit plain. Lemme'splain:

Sans the sheath, it appears neolithic (expert neolithic) but the grip wrapping takes it a few thousand years into the future, where a design, or weave, or something (I am not sure exactly what) would make it more personalized and decorative, while still being functional. As far as battle/hunting functionality goes the sharp corners on the handle would hook on objects, so those would need to be rounded, but I am certainly not saying to change this graceful piece.

If I were to make any real suggestions, and it pains me to change such a work of art, I would (on the next go around) remove the sharp catches (corners) that keep the huntr/warrior from quickly and easily twirling the knife mid-ight from stabbing to punching grip (pointy-end facing the other guy to pointy-end facing back, blunt edge tight against the foremarm). I would get with our expert jeweler who made the na'vi necklace and see what she thinks about a pattern grip wrap for the interior hilt (between the pommel and the blade) and even grove the handle to give the wrap extra staying power rather than simply relying on a high-tension wrap.

Maybe a restraining cord (please forgive me for forgetting the correct term) in the pommel hole (a leather wrist strap to prevent losing one's knife if it is pried from your hands). This is of course ancillary. The thing as it is, is a beauty, and the colors are spectacular, from the sheath to the blade.

Oh yeah, and then the final owner would have to blood it (slice themselves and bond with the blade) to seal the connection between them. "Only once, and by mine own hand and volition."

Okay, so there are my thoughts.
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Offline Ayfa'liyä omumyu

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2010, 04:43:52 pm »
Thank you all for your kind words and suggestions.

My first idea would be some bone beading or something, attached to the sheath just for decoration.

Yes, the sheath is a bit plain, and also lacks any real means of suspension - though I've reason for that. I was going to carry the cord binding across and around the sheath, perhaps weaving it, to allow for various items to be slid through or under it for safekeeping (smaller utility blades, blowgun darts, protective charms, etc.). I may still do this. As far as suspension, I thought I may make a strap which accepts the sheath and can be worn either around the waist for carry at the hip or small of the back, or slung baldric style or across the chest.

As it is, relatively plain, it is a blank canvas onto which all sorts of things may be added for character.

If I were to make any real suggestions, and it pains me to change such a work of art, I would (on the next go around) remove the sharp catches (corners) that keep the huntr/warrior from quickly and easily twirling the knife mid-ight from stabbing to punching grip (pointy-end facing the other guy to pointy-end facing back, blunt edge tight against the foremarm).

I appreciate your aim of aligning function more wholly with form. I had viewed the hilt as being deep-seated so as to provide greater security. While the corners might appear as to interfere with grip-changes, I've not found this to be the case. Switching from a forward (hammer) grip to a reverse (ice-pick) grip is a bit slower than a straight hilted piece, but the retention afforded by the pommel does allow for additional grip through the change as well as the potential for extending one's reach in slashing by several inches without fear of losing the blade. I took none of this into account while fashioning the piece, though I no doubt made numerous design choices based upon sub-conscious references. Such asymmetrical dropped or bulbous type pommels appear on various arms, notably the Moro Barong, Russian/Caucasian Shashka, and Turkish Kilij.

I would get with our expert jeweler who made the na'vi necklace and see what she thinks about a pattern grip wrap for the interior hilt (between the pommel and the blade) and even grove the handle to give the wrap extra staying power rather than simply relying on a high-tension wrap.

Perhaps you may direct me to this individual then? A future community collaboration on some project might be interesting (maybe even a possible fundraiser to support the site..?). I had originally intended a braided overwrap, but also wanted to show off as much of the underlying material as possible. The spiral wrap was literally a spur of the moment choice. And the hemp is in fact laid into a grove, so is not relying merely on tension to retain it. It actually just barely protrudes above the surface plane of the grip. Something I started and may still do is apply a rawhide binding on either end of the cord, most probably in red.

Maybe a restraining cord (please forgive me for forgetting the correct term) in the pommel hole (a leather wrist strap to prevent losing one's knife if it is pried from your hands). This is of course ancillary. The thing as it is, is a beauty, and the colors are spectacular, from the sheath to the blade.

The pommel hole (which I have come to think of as the "Eye of Ewya") certainly affords the greatest potential for easily added adornment. Beads, feathers, cord, various trinkets, or a combination of these. Perhaps shattered bits of RDA equipment as a means of counting coup?



Offline Kaltxì Palulukan!

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2010, 11:09:31 pm »
Read this thread:

http://forum.learnnavi.org/cosplay-costuming/replica-of-neytiris-choker/

She seems to know her stuff--enough to consider collaborating, or even just sharing ideas (I would like to be a fly on the wall for THAT brainstorming session). AND, note her attention to detail, practicality, and passion for creating pieces that are possible given one's resources. This last trait is THE difference for my having made a jewelry piece, several elaborate driftwood creations, far too many costumes, started a few businesses and written several books, and my best friend who has spent the past decade sitting around waiting for someone to hand him a pile of money before he starts work on his dreams. She seems to know how to work with and around limitations, and her desire to craft with exacting detail is a rare flower.

I would definitely get on her good side.

;)
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Offline Fya'o Tskoyä

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2010, 09:19:16 pm »
that is hella cool ;D ;D ;D

Offline keye'ung makto

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2010, 11:01:11 pm »
wow

just wow

if it was steel i would try to make it but  bone and antler is compleatly diferent

i aplaud your skill

Offline Cb9109

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2010, 10:08:29 pm »
If you're interested I would LOVE to buy one of these from you or maybe you could post a video tutorial so that I could make one myself.  You did an amazing job!

Offline Tìng Eywatikìte'e

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2010, 10:29:31 pm »
Wow that's amazing! Fantastic job! My only suggestions would be of course some decoration of the hilt and finding if there is any possibility of getting the blade to the black they in the film.
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Offline Ayfa'liyä omumyu

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2010, 10:45:29 pm »
Thanks again for the compliments. I wasn't looking to copy any particular piece from the film or even directly emulate their look, but merely to follow the feel of the style using available materials. That said, if one wanted to darken or colour the material, it is fully possible. I have in the past used oil-based leather dyes for this purpose.

I've never done a video tutorial before, but perhaps I will consider it... This weekend I will be working on a companion piece to this one, but in steel. If there is interest I can try and document that as well. As far as offering any for sale, well, we'll see. :)

Offline Netslummer

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2010, 10:46:27 pm »
this is beautiful. I'm very envious of your skill.
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Offline Kaltxì Palulukan!

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2010, 10:47:04 pm »
Wow that's amazing! Fantastic job! My only suggestions would be of course some decoration of the hilt and finding if there is any possibility of getting the blade to the black they in the film.

Um . . . dear, that's what they invented fire for  ;D ;D ;D
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Offline Tìng Eywatikìte'e

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2010, 10:58:26 pm »
Heh, I've never worked with bone before, so I have no idea how it works. We have discussed this in the metal working thread on the Custom and Culture board and have come to the conclusion that it is the carbon fiber reinforcement that gives the Na'vi knives their look, as we are 99.9% sure they are made from bone. 
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Offline Kaltxì Palulukan!

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Re: Na'vi-inspired dagger
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2010, 11:01:04 pm »
Heh, I've never worked with bone before, so I have no idea how it works. We have discussed this in the metal working thread on the Custom and Culture board and have come to the conclusion that it is the carbon fiber reinforcement that gives the Na'vi knives their look, as we are 99.9% sure they are made from bone. 

No, I agree completely (the fire quip was another sad attempt at humor).
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