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"Cygnus-Horrocks" obverse side view in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Crazy Lace Agate gemstone handle, ostrich leg skin inlaid in hand-carved leather sheath
Cygnus-Horrocks

Darach


"Darach" (Celtic Oak), obverse side view in hand-engraved 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, hand-cast, hand-engraved bronze guard and pommel, nephrite jade gemstone  handle wrapped with sterling silver, hand-carved, hand-dyed leather sheath
"Darach" (Celtic Oak) Fine Handmade Custom Dagger
  • Size: Knife: Length overall:  10.0" (25.4 cm), Blade Length: 5.5" (14 cm), Thickness: 0.132" (3.4 mm)
  • Weight: Knife: 10.8 oz. (306 grams), Sheath: 6.0 oz. (170 grams)
  • Blade: 440C High Chromium Martensitic Stainless Steel, Cryogenically Treated, Hardened and Triple Tempered to Rockwell HRC 59.5, Mirror Polished, Hand-engraved
  • Bolsters, Fittings: Hand cast bronze, Hand-engraved
  • Handle: Nephrite Jade Gemstone (Wyoming)
  • Sheath: Hand-carved, Hand-dyed Leather Shoulder
  • Knife Blade: This is a new design, and a great custom knife that was an honor to make. My client requested a Celtic leaf bladed dagger, so I named this one Darach. Darach (or daraich) is the Scottish Gaelic word for oak. I created the entire theme of the knife based around the inspiration, the mighty oak, which is a symbol of life, strength, and wisdom. The blade is a leaf-bladed dagger, a difficult and challenging blade to make. I ground the blade, finished it to pre-polish, and then hardened and tempered the steel. This was not a simple process, the pinnacle of treatment for this steel takes 15 steps and 95 hours. In it, the steel is brought to cryogenic temperatures and aged for over 60 hours, followed by triple tempering and deep cryogenic soaks at -325°F for thermal cycling, full conversion of allotropes, and the greatest condition. This makes the steel very hard and wear resistant, very tough, and extremely corrosion resistant. I ground the blade with a 1.5" radius wheel hollow grind, for a thin, sharp cutting edge and a full, wide blade flat for the artwork. The challenge here is that I hand-engraved the knife blade flats before heat treatment, since it would be impossible to engrave it after it's hardened. I could only finish the steel by removing less than a half a thousandth of an inch of material to bring it to a polish without losing any of the engraving. In the photos, you can see the gentle color gradient in the engraved lines of straw, blue-gray, and dark gray from the heat treating process. It's like a rainbow effect in just the right light. I chose a triquetra-based pattern design for the motif; it has bold and thick forms that worked well with the wide, leaf-shaped blade, filling it with visual interest and commanding structure. The forms are intertwined, knotted and complex (like life), and are extended to five-cornered designs at the ricasso and blade termination toward the guard, appropriate to the Celtic design and pattern arrangement of the artwork.
  • Fittings: The guard and pommel had to be appropriate and matching to the work, and my client requested an acorn pommel, so I hand-cast the fittings in bronze. This is done by painstakingly designing and carving the models in wax, investing the wax in a mold, burning out the wax and hardening and curing the mold, and casting the mold in molten bronze at over 1800°F. After casting, the bronze is de-sprued, fettled (cleaned and carved back to its original form) and machined, milled, hand-ground, hand-finished, and engraved. The process takes many days. I chose a full guard with rounded finials to accommodate the engraved design of triquetras and interwoven knotwork. The pommel is an acorn of solid bronze, drilled and threaded to bond the pommel to the tang and secure the handle. The bronze will age to a rich golden hue, bringing out the straw colors in the blade engraving.
  • Handle: I wanted a truly special handle, an my client requested a wire-wrapped design. I made the handle in solid nephrite jade gemstone from Wyoming, an extremely tough and beautiful deep green jade. I carved and polished the jade in a spiral domed form, reflecting the twisted vines of living things, wrapped in sterling silver twist to match. I finished the jade it to a bright vitreous finish, rich and complete. The carved jade is not only beautiful but also feels wonderful; it's tough and hard and will literally outlast the rest of the knife, and the rest of us, for generations! The deep green accentuates the focus of dynamic oak and life dominating the design and artwork.
  • Sheath: The sheath had to be special, and commensurate and dedicated to the knife, form, and artwork. I created the sheath in 9-10 oz. leather shoulder, and hand-carved and hand-dyed a special design of Celtic knotwork matching the knife engraving and pattern. The artwork is bold and strong, working with the color of the knife handle, and is appropriate in the front, back, and even in the belt loop of the sheath. The sheath is meticulously hand-dyed for just the right appearance, and stitched with black polyester for durability. Even the retainer strap is embellished with artwork and has a brass snap matching the bronze of the knife guard and pommel. The entire sheath is sealed with lacquer for longevity and easy care.
  • This is a beautiful, unique, and original piece of artwork, and was a great pleasure and honor to create for my client!

Thanks, M. H.!

Oh my God! It is beautiful! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It is PERFECT. I could not have asked for a better representation. Even the name! Perfect. I cannot wait to hold her.
I cannot wait to see it in real life. I am nearly giddy!
-and-
It is here! And it is beautiful! Thank you!

--M.


Please click on thumbnail knife photos
"Darach" Celtic dagger, reverse side view. Sheath back and belt loop are hand-carved, hand-dyed leather shoulder "Darach" Celtic dagger, handle side view. Sterling silver wire twist around green nephrite jade gemstone handle "Darach" Celtic Dagger, handle side view. Gemstone handle is deep green nephrite jade gemstone from Wyoming "Darach" celtic dagger, obverse side handle detail. Handle is hand-cast bronze by lost wax process, engraved, sterling silver wrapped around green nephrite jade gemstone "Darach" celtic dagger. Nephrite is a beautiful, extremely durable gemstone taking a high, glassy, permanent polish "Darach" Celtic dagger, obverse side, engraving detail. Note he golden to blue hue in the engaving cuts "Darach" celtic dagger, guard detail. Guard is hand-cast bronze, hand-engraved with triquetras and celtic braiding knotwork "Darach" celtic dagger, engraving, reflective, maker's mark view to show contrast of deep engraving on mirror polished high chromium stianless steel blade "Darach" celtic dagger, blade point and leaf shape detail. Hollow ground blade is extremely thin and keen, with a wide-leaf-shaped blade "Darach" celtic dagger, sheathed view, retaining strap detail. Hand-carved, hand-dyed leather throughout "Darach" celtic dagger, sheathed view, sheath mouth, retainer detail. Wide retainer is thick and solid, snap is brass, matching acorn pommel and cast bronze fittings "Darach" sheathed view. Sheath matches knife design artwork, is fully stitched with polyester for durability, sealed with lacquer "Darach" celtic dagger, sheath front detail. Design is bold and strong, graduated and hand-dyed in hardened leather shoulder "Darach" celtic dagger, sheath back detail. Design of artwork is fully covering sheath "Darach" celtic dagger, belt loop detail. Belt loop is also hand-carved, hand-dyed leather, stitched with heavy polyester for strength

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