common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

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Udwin
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common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Udwin » Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:37 pm

(My apologies up front...my photobucket seems determined to flip and rotate my pictures contrary to what I tell it to do. I guess you'll just have to crane your necks. Blasted high technology).

Since first debuting my Beorning persona, I have been in need of a proper handforged long knife. Previously I’d carried either an antler-handled Green River blade, or a fullsize highcarbon Mora I received last year. (Eric C’s patternwelded blade from the Yule exchange is _lovely_, but a bit short for use against Wargs or Orcs in the wilds, and so stays at home for smaller tasks around the homestead, such as skinning critters and chopping food.)

The only real source for Mannish material culture in the Anduin cultural sphere is The Hobbit Chapter 7 (Queer Lodgings), which clearly states that “…there were no things of gold or silver in [Beorn’s] hall, and few save the knives were made of metal at all.” Knowing the regional importance of the Longbeard-controlled Iron Hills, and the zero references to non-ferrous metals in this area, I felt safe in using iron or steel to make the knife…but what was it going to look like???

In the course of my research in BC Northern European material culture for this impression, I eventually came across this 2012 article in the journal Palaeohistoria that was exactly what I had been looking for, as it examined single-edged knives from the part of Europe from which I had already drawn many elements of this kit (tunic patterns, zippered beltpouch, spearhead, &c.).
Best of all, as a peer-reviewed archeological article, it included detailed, to-scale drawings of artifacts!, and also pertinent to my project was the revelation that “a few fully iron knives identical to the bronze examples are known” (66), which means I don’t have to feel quite so guilty/anachronistic if I tell people that my gear ‘is Bronze Age’.

As much of my kit is undecorated, I was especially intrigued by a large (12-inch) socketed blade from the Schoonebeek (Dutch) hoard with distinctive markings along the spine of the blade. This knife also had a funky curve to the cutting edge (reminiscent of tanged Swiss/German BA knives) that would be difficult to forge—though this was not a problem for the cast bronze original! However, a smaller Belgian knife from Han-sur-Lesse (dated approximately 1000-800 BC) was without this curve, and another from the same site had a sharper point which I preferred. Therefore, I spliced the elements from these three knives together, chimera-like, into something that would serve perfectly as a common Beorning’s knife:
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With my pa’s help, the seven-inch blade was forged from a piece of late 19th century carriage spring (we know hobbits had carriages (FotR Ch1) so perhaps this started out as a bit of scrap Dwarvish steel from the Shire), then filed (a bit roughly in hindsight), quenched, and tempered before being polished and set in the handle.
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The handle is deer antler (‘small herds of red deer’ were found north of Beorn’s home), and is decorated with a simple linear design that I imagine a Beorning Man could have scratched in while around the fire in the evening. The grooves serve a dual purpose as well: providing extra grip if the hands get slippery while bloody.
For an extra bit of ‘Old Europe’ visual interest, these grooves were filled in with a simple and period-correct paint made of egg yolk and red ochre, applied with a goose feather ‘paintbrush’.
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Finally, to carry the knife safely, I stitched up a rawhide-lined sheath of some of my braintanned deer (sewed with deer sinew):
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Overall length is just a hair under 12 inches.
Personae: Aistan son of Ansteig, common Beorning of Wilderland; Tungo Boffin, Eastfarthing Bounder, 3018 TA
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Greg
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Greg » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:21 pm

Whole thing came together beautifully. Well done.
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Elleth » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:25 pm

Oh that is very cool!

... it's interesting how the same broad forms of tool persist across cultures, only differing in detail and execution. I suppose it's perfectly logical, but the "parallel evolution" is still interesting to see.
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Manveruon » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:39 am

Very nice! I love the logical justification behind all of the elements as well. Beautifully crafted!
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Ursus » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:26 am

Great piece, very authentic looking.
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Mirimaran » Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:57 pm

Looks great, outstanding job from conception to execution!

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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Straelbora » Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:32 am

Well done on every front.
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feti ganga framar því at óvist er at vita
nær verðr á vegum úti geirs um þörf guma
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Kortoso » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:13 pm

Magnificent blade! Full marks, lad!

I wonder, however, if those socketed blades weren't actually spearpoints, or the business end of some sort of glaive... :lol:
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Eric C » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:03 pm

Udwin wrote:(My apologies up front...my photobucket seems determined to flip and rotate my pictures contrary to what I tell it to do. I guess you'll just have to crane your necks. Blasted high technology).

Since first debuting my Beorning persona, I have been in need of a proper handforged long knife. Previously I’d carried either an antler-handled Green River blade, or a fullsize highcarbon Mora I received last year. (Eric C’s patternwelded blade from the Yule exchange is _lovely_, but a bit short for use against Wargs or Orcs in the wilds, and so stays at home for smaller tasks around the homestead, such as skinning critters and chopping food.)



Yeah, if you use that knife on a Warg or an Orc, they done got too close! :lol: Beautiful work on that blade.

P.S. Yeah, I know, I'm a little late responding to this thread.
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Kortoso
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby Kortoso » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:11 pm

It looks like these were indeed knives rather than some sort of polearm. Handles were found with some of them.
http://www.archeologischonderzoek.nl/pu ... H53_54.pdf
There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.
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Re: common Beorning's long knife (pic heavy)

Postby tygerphlyer » Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:42 am

wow

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