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Edgeless daggers

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Houlahound, Oct 21, 2020.

  1. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017
    Got to see a recreation of some historically correct daggers made with modern manufacturing methods. They literally had no attempt at a sharp edge.

    I guess peak optimisation for thrust, zero slash capabilities. Clearly for armour penetration and nothing else. Probs quicker and cheaper to make back in the day as well.

    Anyone got any good examples to show or knowledge to share on these daggers?
  2. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    There's a wide variety of so-called trench daggers, some with edges, some with no edge (triangular blade) probably used mostly for piercing cans. You need an edge or (better) edges to sever arteries and create a wide wound channel.
  3. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    I purchased a Linder dagger, once upon a time, and that had nothing resembling an edge. Couldn't even use it as a letter opener
  4. unwisefool

    unwisefool Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 22, 2007
    You sure they just didn't sharpen them so no one would cut themselves?
    Danke42 likes this.
  5. Steely_Gunz

    Steely_Gunz Got the Khukuri fevah Moderator

    May 9, 2002
    While not a dagger, I just bought a Cold Steel diamond spontoon to help train myself to throw more " edge first" rather than relying on the tip of the axe bit since I am getting more into competitive axe throwing.

    It has zero edge. It's a point with two flat angles. Obviously not a tool by any stretch. Besides sticking into a target when thrown one particular way, the only thing it would be good for besides caving in a skull is maybe popping some holes in an old school can of Hi-C :D
  6. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Look at some old fight books which featured "dagger wrestling."
    With no edge, you can grab the blade for leverage in joint locks and throws.

    I prefer an edge, and plenty of old-timey daggers did indeed have edges, but some were made with just a point.

    Reality is weird. ;)
  7. Legendary_Jarl


    Feb 8, 2010

    The first two are modern reproductions of renaissance era STILETTOS, with triangular or diamond blades, these were indeed intended to pierce armor leaving nasty wounds. The next picture is a typical French prostitute dagger of the XIX century made with triangular blade shape for point strength. These were small stilettos intended for protection against 'bad' customers. Next picture is a Spanish Almarada from the XVIII or early XIX, famously carried by bandits on the Spanish roads. Last one is a medieval RONDEL dagger intended again to pierce armor. Many of these actually had single edged blades somewhat sharpened. If you want to learn how they were used investigate if there is a HEMA school near you.

  8. Legendary_Jarl


    Feb 8, 2010
    And yeah there were a few triangular blade daggers in WW1, the most commonly known is probably the American 1917 Trench Knife. Blades like those were banned by the Geneva Convention because they leave really nasty wounds very hard to treat.

    here is a French one:

    Sometimes they would turn broken/useless swords into trench or fighting knives. Look what they did to this poor sword:
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
  9. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    A couple of slight corrections if I could. Stilettos were not made to pierce armor. They were civilian weapons not intended for battlefield use, often more in the way of male jewelry that had a point. (Pun intended) Careful observation of the reproductions pictured should convince the observer that the are not nearly robust enough to pierce plate armor nor even mail and would be out of place on the battlefield. I've heard that anything called a "prostitutes dagger" is probably a misnomer applied for marketing purposes although I wouldn't really know. The last is one of Tod's Stuff's beautiful rondel daggers one of his higher end reproductions. These were again carried as male jewelry in civilian dress (hence the decorative aspects) but were also a serious weapon that COULD pierce mail although again there is very little other than a pole arm, hammer or projectile point that could pierce plate. I've got several in my collection that solve the problem of being stiff enough to be useful against mail in different ways. Some have a significant mid rib (the one in the picture works that way) others have a thick spine and are single edged. Every one that I own including several from Tod DO have edges however, they are not mere stabbing implements.
    Legendary_Jarl likes this.
  10. E.D.C.

    E.D.C. Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 7, 2016

    Triangular and cruciform blades were never meant to be more deadly than any other style. They were just simple shapes that retained strength while being easy and fast to produce.

    The idea that the Geneva conventions banned triangular bayonets is far from the truth. The Geneva conventions didn't deal in this kind of thing.

    MAYBE there was brief mention of edged weapons in the Hague accords, but the idea that triangular blades were some kind of universally feared death machine that left untreatable wounds is far from the whole truth.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
  11. Legendary_Jarl


    Feb 8, 2010
    Tod's work is excellent and his prices are surpricingly cheap. Hopefully in the future I will be able to acquire one of his pieces. Speaking of Tod here is a good video where he shows several beautiful medieval daggers:

  12. Legendary_Jarl


    Feb 8, 2010
    Btw hmmm. I did not say plate armor. From myarmoury:

    Stiletto (or Stylet)
    A short dagger with triangular- or square-sectioned blade that was strong, slender, and sharply pointed. The name seems to stem from the word "stylus," a small pointed instrument used since ancient times for writing and drawing on wax tablets. Because this easily concealed weapon was designed exclusively for delivering thrusts, it was often prohibited in peacetime in towns and cities. Nevertheless, it was a very widespread weapon in the period when mail and leather were used in civil life to protect the body, because it could easily pierce these defenses with a swift stabbing blow.

    About the prostitute dagger: They were not just for prostitutes but it seems they were commonly used by them. They are also called lady dagger or garter dagger for that reason.
  13. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017
    That is not the understanding I have, they were very much a formidable sight on the battlefield where a defeated enemy soldier could throw his hands up in a symbol of a merciful end. the stilleto was deployed in a vertical downward thrust behind the collar bone into the heart.

    That being mercy not sure I want to know what the other options were.
  14. killgar


    Sep 24, 2002
    My understanding when it comes to stilettos and daggers used by armored knights in battle is that although they were not intended to penetrate a piece of plate armor or an intact section of chainmail, they were used to slip between gaps in armor or penetrate areas of damaged mail to finish off a wounded foe. I would think a long narrow blade would be ideal for such a purpose.

    But I don't claim to be an expert on medieval combat, just stuff I read on the internet and seen on the History channel etc.

    It would also make sense to me that there would be a wide variety of stilettos carried by different people at different times and for different purposes. I would imagine that a stiletto carried by a knight into battle would have been a lot more robust than one carried by someone attending court, attending a party, going to market, etc, who wanted something light, but also stabby enough for self-defense, or as a masculine accessory (man-jewelry/status symbol as previously mentioned by Triton).
  15. Houlahound

    Houlahound Basic Member Basic Member

    Aug 2, 2017
    Poorer soldiers, pretty much everyone except knights could not afford armour or quality mail but learned they could render slashing blades to low risk with simply wearing thick layered textile clothing. gauntlets came along and were almost impenetrable to slashes.

    Daggers never lost their relevance or place on the battlefield to this day where nearly all other edged weapons are now extinct.
  16. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000

    There was an item called a misericorde that may have in fact been used as has been suggested to finish off hopelessly injured warriors. The name certainly suggests that. I have seen the two items conflated in some places and if that was the intent here well and good.

    I am reminded again that trying to categorize medieval or Renaissance weaponry by name is challenging to the modern mind due to lack of stanardization that we are so used to. Entire typologies were created to attempt to resolve just such a problem... And just gave us something else to argue about. Try arguing what a bec de Corbyn or a lang de beouf is sometime.

    Is your stiletto my misericorde? Quite possibly. Would anyone in their right mind want to use dainty pieces like these pictured against an armored opponent? It seems unlikely when more robust alternatives were readily available, even as weapons of mercy or last resort.
    Legendary_Jarl likes this.
  17. Hal


    Feb 26, 1999
    I have nothing to back this up - except a gut feeling - - but....

    IMHO - playing the game of "Look what I have", isn't all that new. I can imagine Og and Zug had club displays mounted on their cave walls - right next to the paintings.
    Daggers - as I mentioned a few times in the past - make about the nicest wall hangers out there.
  18. herisson

    herisson Apple slicing rocking chair dweller Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2013
    If you are not a spy or a kind of shadow assassin, exclusively stabbing daggers have no real use in today's world.
    However : the edgeless dagger makes total sense in some older environments. Short and easy to conceal, it's good to deliver deep and deadly wounds in one blow. You really don't need an edge to slash your target around, just end him right away. Self defense for women, mugging in dark streets, back up weapon when all goes wrong... They were popular for a reason.
    See the historical sword canes that pop up on auctions (19th century), none of them are blades, almost all are spikes.
    Zoom back further to Middle Ages. The rondel dagger was a crude, long, 4 or 3 faceted spike peened into a hefty handle with round bolster and pommel. This was for footfolk to pound into the visor or armour joints of armoured knights brought to the ground.
    Knights carried daggers allright, but having the means to carry a better weapon, why would they not prefer a stabby AND slashy dagger (think something like the V-42) ? You stick into the armour's joint just the same and have the added benefit of cutting up your enemy's internals. Win-Win...
    The "misericorde", likewise, was a specialized tool to end badly wounded soldiers. Quick stab in the heart was a gift compared to agonizing for days in what they called hospitals in those times.
    Zoom a little forward to Renaissance. Refined techniques of duelling (because that was what nobles got on high) appear and evolve quickly. Sword and dagger blades got longer and thinner. And they all had cutting edges. Why would you dismiss the possibility of cutting your opponent ?
    And, yes, the cruciform bayonet seems to have been forbidden during WW1. My source is "All quiet on the western front" with the great Ernest Borgnine. Not very historical, but there's that.
  19. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999

    This theater knife made from a Fairbairn Sykes dagger hilt and a Lebel bayonet blade is a personal favorite. It works great in an ice cooler.

    Legendary_Jarl likes this.
  20. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    They're probably just cosplay/fantasy knives at Hot Topic.

    If it doesn't have an edge it doesn't belong here.

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