The official Transmission of the Klingon Imperial Weapons Guild.
I welcome all of you who appreciate the seductive curves and radiant warmth
of steel fashioned into the perfect Klingon blade - the betleH vaQqu' !! Whether
you are fortunate enough to create your own custom weapons, aspire to learn the
art or just want to associate with blade-smiths, *The Guild* is here to serve
you and the Empire.
Once again we have new members to welcome. The Guild is really starting to
take form and because of that I felt we should have an additional project
running. The Battleaxe is a glorious project but probably too much for a novice
to tackle. I will start a smaller knife project this month and use it to go step
by step through the process of knife making for the members who are new to the
craft and want to get started on their own blades. For the Warrior's knife which
this project will involve I am using my standard quarter inch stock, but the
pattern can be reduced in size and smaller stock substituted. You can also forgo
some of the details in the blade such as the *cut-out*. At any rate this will be
covered in that section.
I got a copy of the latest *Star Trek Communicator* because it had a large
section devoted to Klingons. There is an article in it by the honorable Terry
Ray Hiller who is a trained design analyst. He makes some observations that I
think we all can benefit from. The points he brings up concerning Klingon design
are ones that I have tried to stress in the blades that I make. The following is
quoted from the Dec/Jan issue of the "Star Trek Communicator" , article by Terry
"Klingons value facing their enemies in combat. While they have photon
torpedoes, disruptors, and any number of hi-tech weapons at their disposal,
Klingons still prefer the traditional weapons of their low-tech ancestors for
personal combat - the bat'leth and the d'k tahg"............"to engage an enemy
without confrontation would not have appealed to the Klingon sense of ethics."
"Klingon esthetics reflect these deeply held beliefs and behaviors. Unlike
the smooth lines incorporated into Federation objects, sharp angles and over
sized elements distinguish Klingon design with an abiding fascination with
points and blade-like edges." (Does this sound like any of *us*?) "More over,
simplicity and straight forwardness are key Klingon esthetic ideals. Calling on
the metaphor of hunting birds, Klingon visual design stresses four elements :
strength, simplicity, power and danger."
STRENGTH, SIMPLICITY, POWER and
Lets get started.
I hope you enjoy it. As always your comments and
input are welcome.
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !! (Keep holding the hammer ! )
K'Daq son of
Master of the Heart of Kri'stak
This is great news, I am real interested in how easy, or hard
titanium is to work?
Are cutting and drilling procedures the same as
steel?How about grinding?
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !!
I thought I would *revisit* this letter for anyone who comes
along and has missed our *titanium* weekly letters.
It drills and it grinds
about the same - in fact grinding seems to be a little easier but it throws an
enormous volume of sparks, so do it in a clear area. As for the rest.... it's
like cutting targh hide. My saw will never *speak* to me again and the torch
should be ashamed of itself for it's poor showing. I am currently seeking the
Plasma cutter of my dreams.
Single ,OLD, Klingon/ seeks young nubile
plasma cutter - object - instruments of destruction.
Please forward to me any information about the guild. I am looking
for some Klingon weapons, and may have enough Latinum for a trade.
I am sending you the requested
info and you should consider yourself signed up. Glad to have you aboard. Feel
free to *wade* in with any comments or questions.
I am a collector of unique, functional weapons. I also admire, and respect the
personal design and relationship the WARRIOR has with his weapons. Unfortunately
I am in NYC and I do not have access, resources, materials, or design spec.'s to
forge my own klingon weapons. Is there any way to either become attached with a
weaponsmaster willing to take on a disciple or is there any way I may purchase(
I know, how can you purchase an extension of your spirit and soul) any of
I have searched for almost a year and have been unable to gain any
information, I just so happened to stumble on your web page and now I would ask
for your assistance.
Honor me and honor our blood.
Perhaps you will find what you
seek in a relationship with the Guild. We all share the love of good blades and
we have an excellent group beginning to *gel*. The ability to make weapons is
not required to be a member of the Guild, only the appreciation of the art
involved and you seem to have a good grasp of that . I am honored to welcome you
to the Guild and I hope you will find what you seek.
I appreciate you allowing me the honor of participating in a new element of
interest for me.... crafting weapons!
I do have an email address and
would prefer you use because i can access it from home or
work. the account I'm writing on is just a work
Good to have you aboard. Any friend of M'Ikiro's is welcome
among us at the Guild.
mupwI' yIuchtaH !
I'm a very new person to the making of knives and I want to make
my own Bat'leth. My questions are: 1. What kind of price range am I looking at
for making my own sword? 2. How much would it compare if Iwere to have someone
make one for me? 3. Where and how do I start? >4. Can you include me on the
newsletter list please, I want to learn more?
First I would be more than
happy to add your name to the member's lists of the Guild. I think you have come
to the right place. If you review the first three transmissions of *mupwI'*
you'll get caught up and the transmission coming out tomorrow will be designed
to give the novices a project to work on (or at least incentive to start
1. It is hard to answer your first question as any person who has
made swords can tell you. Price depends on what type of quality you desire (
authentic or *throw-down*), what you ultimately plan on doing with the blade
(display or mayhem), and how exotic you want to get (stainless, carbon steel,
aluminum, titanium etc etc etc). Over the years I have seen bat'leths advertised
for as little as $150 but they were made out of sheet metal or worse. The metal
alone (steel) in a full sized sturdy bat'leth is close to the $3-400 range if
you buy quality material. I usually try to get material at metal scrap yards
since you only have to pay scrap prices then, but it is harder to find the piece
of steel you desire.
2. If someone makes you one it will obviously cost
you more. A good bat'leth made by a quality knife maker is going to cost between
$500 and 700 dollars.
3.Read the letters, study the articles and submit
as many questions as you'd like and I believe you will find the confidence to
fashion your own weapon. Personally I think making your own weapon makes the
weapon more significant to you. It will be a source of pride as well as a symbol
of your Klingon heritage. Do not let the scope of the project overwhelm you. In
this month's issue we talk about starting a simple knife, but all projects use
the same techniques and steps - only on larger scales. The first project I ever
did was a full sized replica of Conan the Barbarian's Sword (right down to the
*mystic runes* on the blade and hand carved bronze prehistoric sea turtles on
the hilt.).........yahhhhh I'm just a nutty old Klingon......but I really think
most people can tackle this type of project if they break it down into steps and
proceed one step at a time.
It is possible to *hire* out certain aspects
of the process that might be beyond your capabilities and still make this an
affordable project. Keep your head up and your eyes open and the Guild will get
you through this.
Master of the *Heart
As the Guild grows, we will try to enhance camaraderie by publishing
histories of our members (both Klingon and Terran). It is not necessary to
develop a family history to be a Guild member, but it does help to solidify an
image of you as a fellow crafts person and Klin.
Morac and the House of Kale
House Kale has a long history that dates back to pre-spacefaring days of the
House Kale is not a large house but has much honor. Recently things
have not gone well for House Kale. My "Father" dishonored our house by his
cowardly retreat in battle. He was killed when challenged by the first officer
of the bird of prey he commanded - for his cowardice he died and now Morac is
head of house and is considering joining house Kassara. .
Morac of the
House of Kale
The honor of a House is based
entirely on the one who leads that House. The blot placed on the House of Kale
by your father will be erased by the songs of his most honorable son. You have
the strength to lead your House but these are times of great unrest in the
Empire. There is strength in numbers and House Kasara certainly has strength.
You and I are not so different. I was led to House Kasara when my House was
depleted by treachery and now you face a similar choice. Your heritage and who
you are as a warrior will always remain no matter what house is honored to call
you it's own.
Next month: House Kasara
The history of the bat'leth
The bat'leth - Sword of Honor - is what
defines the Klingon Empire. It was the use of the bat'leth by Kahless that
enabled him to overpower a vastly superior force led by the Tyrant Molar and to
unite the tribes of Qo'noS into an Empire.
There are two histories of the
creation of the Sword that lie along the lines of fact and fiction. In many ways
Kahless has taken on proportions of *God-hood* even though he would be the first
to laugh at such a suggestion. The Clerics of Boreth await his return and keep
sacred the first of the bat'leth stories.
The first accounting is well known but it is a tale that deserves telling. In
it Kahless walked from the camps of his army prior to the final battle with
Molar. He was troubled - the weight of thousands of warrior's lives was getting
too much to bear and he had to have quiet to contemplate the situation. After
sitting down under a small tree he fell into a troubled sleep and was met with a
vision. The Gods told him to climb the slopes of Kri'stak , take a lock of his
long black hair and dip it into the lava of the volcano . This was to be plunged
into the waters of Lursor and a weapon of great power was to be forged from
this. The God's gave him the vision of the sword and Kahless forged it as he was
instructed, giving it the name bat'leth - *Sword of Honor*.
defeated and the bat'leth became not only the symbol, but the primary weapon of
the warriors of the Empire.
The second accounting involves the recovery
of some ancient documents written in Kahless's own hand. Although many tried to
suppress them, the contents did become known and the story they tell not only
honors Kahless as a leader, but as a man we can all admire and respect. God-hood
is a terrible onus. Gods are to be feared but warriors of great strength and
courage are to be admired and respected - that's what Kahless is and means to
the Klingon Empire.
In this accounting Kahless still walks from camp and has
his dream, but his first reaction is to gaze up at Kri'stak and laugh at the
ridiculous idea of climbing the slopes of an active volcano. He does believe
that the design of the bat'leth is divine in nature and he hurries back to camp
to locate a metal smith. When the call is sent out for the best weapons maker in
camp it is answered by Toragh, who makes Kahless his weapon and Molar is
This is the heritage of the weapons smith as well as the story of
the bat'leth. We who make weapons are warriors first, for who can make a weapon
if he does not first understand how to use it ? Great weapons are made by great
weapons makers but great warriors are born to the task
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !!
The bat'leth is the first of the current *large*
weapons that we will be featuring . Whenever you create a weapon of this size
you must be sensitive to the size and fighting style of the warrior. It is all
well and good to say a d'k tahg is so many inches long and so many inches wide
but you cannot lump bat'leths into tight borders like that. Each one should be
different according to the particular warrior in question. I will list the
standard starting point measurements and will also discuss what aspects of the
blade will change with the various body/fighting styles.
The standard bat'leth is one meter long (39 inches) from primary tip to
primary tip and 27 inches long from secondary tip to secondary tip. The arch
from the back of the center grip to the tip of the primary blades is 15.5 inches
deep. So it fills a rectangle 39 X 15.5 inches. Mine is made of quarter inch
OK a moment about blade thickness. I have made swords for a long time and
historically and practically a quarter inch is the optimum thickness. You can
get away with 3/16 on marginally small blades (small bat'leths and meqleths) but
on larger swords you need the bulk to give you a blade that won't be easily
deflected. In smaller pieces like knives I like quarter inch because of the
*depth* it gives the piece. In this case its partially esthetics and partially
function. A thick knife feels powerful in your grip.
In sizing your work the primary factor is the width of the warrior's
shoulders. I have the warrior stand with arms outstretched and fists clenched
with thumbs pointed inward. The measurement from the middle finger knuckle to
middle finger knuckle corresponds to the measurement from the center of the one
outboard cut-out to the other. Each cut-out should be pretty much similar but
when you make adjustments to a final width the central opening will sometimes be
changed to accommodate the size.
Next to consider is the stature of the warrior. Short warriors will require a
smaller measurement in the width. This sometimes translates into an overall
smaller sword but there are cases where the warrior has broad shoulders and is
short in which case I usually make the arch (depth) greater to maintain optimum
striking capability while reducing from the 39 inches. The same is true for
taller warriors. If you have a warrior who is slender in the shoulders but tall
you need to flatten the main blade arch and probably lengthen them as
*!*!*!* Never suggest that a sword be made smaller merely because
the warrior is a female - you might end up being fed your own liver. When I
reflect on the warriors that I would have at my side on the final days, the
majority of them are women. A wild eyed Klingon woman with an axe - now that's a
sight that would send shivers up a Jem Hidar's spine
Finally you must consider fighting style. Some warriors are slashers, some
are stabbers, some are punchers etc., etc., etc. It is a plus to observe the
warrior going thru standard bat'leth *stations* to make a determination on how
the weapon will arch in his/her hands. Ideally I like the arch of the weapon to
coincide with the arch along which the warrior swings his/her blade.
I have a plexiglass test bat'leth that I use to fit a warrior to the blade. I
can make grease pencil measurements on it and also have a chance to watch it
being swung . This is a great tool to use prior to drafting the final design.
Remember that in most cases we aren't talking about radical differences in
design here - a few inches at most generally take into account most shoulder
types, and flattening the curve of the blade is not going to involve more than a
few inches at most either. I like to maintain a constant width between primary
and secondary blade points of about 6 to 8 inches. If the arch is flattened then
both blade tips flatten. The overall look is a parallel curve of leading and
trailing edge. Try to maintain a 2.5 to 3 inch width of metal around the
openings as well to prevent torque distortion of the sword.
Final weapon construction deals with handle type/material and placement of
In all of the blades used by known warriors a hide wrapping
is used as a handle. I admire anyone who can use such an uncomfortable weapon.
If your blade is truly to be an extension of the warrior then it needs to be
comfortable to hold and the warrior must be able to reposition his hand
frequently without interference. The bat'leth is a very *active* weapon and
multiple positioning of the hands during battle is mandatory. Because of this I
like to use a smooth profile handle that conforms to the grip of the warrior. In
order to maintain strength in both the spine of the blade and in the handle
material itself, I use a full tang (see this months tips section) and solid grip
material. My preference is to use animal horn (Terran water buffalo) because it
can polish to a glass-like finish. This provides an excellent surface on which
to slide your hand while changing grips. I use steel rivets (quarter or eight
inch depending on the tang thickness) and polish these smooth with the handle
surface. You could also use wood, or any number of synthetic materials to
produce the same profile and surface. Using the full tang and riveted handle
allows you to create an oval cross-section in the handle which provides an
effortless form to grip. Flat handles wrapped with hide require constant
gripping because they don't conform to the warrior's hand and the ridges on each
subsequent wrapping act as impediments while fighting.
The cutting edges are usually placed on the leading edges of the primary
blades and the leading and trailing edges of the secondary blades, with a blunt
area in the center of the sword's leading edge for blocking and blunt trailing
edges on the primary blades to allow for hand positioning during certain
movements. This might vary depending on the warrior's preference - the most
common variation is a sharpened trailing edge for warriors who stay within the
boundaries of the grip area and do not *stray* out onto the blade itself.
bat'leth Dimensions - average:
thickness of blade -- .25
length of blade -- 39.00 inches.
secondary blade tip
secondary blade tip -- 27.00inches
width of weapon -- 15.5
weight -- 10 to 12 pounds
Next month : 'aqleH - Half- bat'leth
*Starter* project - Family Warrior's knife
This month the tips
section will start containing a step by step construction series for a sheath
knife that the new members can consider making. We will try to identify
terminology that is used in everyday knife making. The project we will be
working on is drawn in it's most complicated form, but by following certain
simplifications, this knife can become a project any novice can complete and be
This month we will have the pattern and discuss how to modify
it to fit your *needs* and cover some terminology that will be helpful for your
overall length of this knife is 13.5 inches with a blade length of 8.5 inches
and the thickness is.....yes you guessed it......a quarter of an inch. The
circle on the guard will contain your family's crest or emblem. We will cover
how to pull that off when we get to handle construction. The first steps to take
in simplifying the design for the novice weaponsmith is to reduce the material
to one eight inch thickness, eliminate the central blade cut-out, and smooth
over the *saw teeth*. This leaves you with a smooth blade shape that is simple
to cut out. You can also modify the upper bevel of the knife from a cutting
bevel to a *false edge* and reduce your work.
The next step to simplify
is to adjust the handle shape to a more simplistic form. Get rid of the central
spacer on the grip and go with a solid shape.
Now for some terminology.
1) Tang - the tang is the unsharpened rearward extension of the blade to which
the handle is affixed. 2) Handle - The handle lies between the hilt or guard and
the butt or pommel. 3) Butt/Pommel - the butt is the rear most part of a knife.
4) Hilt/Guard - dividing line between the blade and the handle. 5) Choil - The
choil is a cutout in the blade or handle designed to accommodate a finger or
fingers for more delicate control of the knife. 6) Spacers - Spacers are inserts
of plastic, metal or other substances inserted between the pommel and handle or
the handle and guard. They are largely decorative in nature.
Most of the
terms are very self explanatory but the first one *Tang* has several variations
and is probably the most important one to discuss in depth.
several types of tangs depending on your design and the knife's intended
purpose. 1) Full Tang - The full tang extends through the handle to the butt. It
duplicates the profile of the knife pattern. Handles are affixed to the full
tang with rivets. This is a strong handle design but it does not bear up against
impact unless protected by a pommel. 2) The half tang - A half tang follows the
same profile as the knife but reaches only half-way to the butt. These are seen
in less expensive cutlery and the few cents it saves you in steel does not make
up for the lack of strength it creates. Forget this one. 3) Partial tang - This
is the first of the hidden tangs and the strongest of the three. It extends to
the butt of the knife but is ground to a smaller profile than the handle so that
it can fit inside a solid handle. It is held on by an end cap, butt or pommel.
4) The rattail tang - This tang is another partial tang but it is ground into a
cylindrical shape that terminates in a threaded end that a pommel or end cap is
screwed to. It is slightly weaker than the first example since it is thinner is
size. 5) The push tang - This tang is a short rearward extension of the blade
onto which a handle is forced or molded. The forced handle is held in place by
either friction or by a pin. This is also an undesirable tang choice since it
usually offers poor retention and strength.
In most knives I use either
a partial tang with a threaded end or a full tang and a riveted handle material.
Technically the axe and half-bat'leth have riveted full tangs since the blade
material follows the handle's profile. The bat'leth with a riveted handle
material is considered a full tang for the same reasons.
The blade is
one piece of steel, but it has many subdivisions.
1. Spine - the back or
spine of the blade is the unsharpened edge or top of the blade. When a blade is
sharpened on both edges (as in our project) the spine is then defined as the
thickest part of the blade.
2. Swedge - if a spine has a blade bevel from the
point of the knife rearward, this is called a swedge, swage or false edge.
Primary Bevel - That portion of the original steel stock that has been ground
down to taper to the cutting edge.
4. Edge Bevel - The edge bevel is the true
cutting edge. It is the microscopic portion of the leading edge that has been
ground down and polished until it forms a sharp, clean V.
5. Point - The
point of the knife lies at the tip of the blade. It may take any number of
shapes, depending on the function of the tool.
Excuse the delay of the start of this project due to back-ordered steel. Next
month we'll have a lot more to go over IF the steel has come in by then. In the
meantime, print the design up and reduce and alter the profile until it meets
what you feel is a *do-able* project for you.
Klingon Battleaxe or 'alngegh
(from Okrand's Klingon for the Galactic Traveler)
Construction of the ghIt (blade)
Well for all of you who have
been *on board* this month you have heard of the labor involved in cutting
titanium. I'd like to be able to tell you how easy it was but that ain't the
case. I did manage to get two sides of the pattern cut out and smoothed to the
final lines, but to follow the tight curves on the other two edges I'm going to
need a specialized cutting device. So I am actively looking. I apologize for not
getting any farther but a number of family emergencies along with the two
holidays made this a tough month.
In case any of you missed the *blow by
blow*. The material was very difficult to cut and I *nuked* two blades on it -
they were old blades and I am going to try out a new blade on it as soon as they
get in to see what we're really up against. It does grind well though. I can't
explain the properties of this stuff - but it is hell to cut and pretty
cooperative when you grind it. The freshly cut edges smoothed to the pattern
lines with an 80 grit sanding belt much easier than with stainless. I have not
tried the large bevel yet since it would make the material unstable for the rest
of the cuts.
I have set up a meeting with a friend of mine for Saturday
the 20th of December to try his large torch out on the material. I will send a
Guild *note* out that evening or Sunday morning to let you all know how that
First cuts on the quarter inch titanium
Next month ......... Obviously I am going to be a bit more subdued this
time. Hopefully we'll have a finished blade. If I can get the pattern cut I know
it will be beveled down as well. If cutting becomes a nightmare I hopefully will
have at least the pattern completely cut.
Remember to write with any material you'd like to have discussed or placed in
mupwI' yI'uchtaH !!