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Andsigil 09-22-2008 09:34 AM

A Dwarven Knife?

I make knives as a hobby and have been giving thought to this question for a while now. I thought this would be an excellent place to get ideas.

What do you think a dwarven knife would look like- something for both fighting and field/utility? We know what an elven one is supposed to look like already:
but what about the dwarves? We know they already made swords, as Narsil was originally made by the dwarf, Telchar, during the First Age. Knives are such a basic tool that it's inconceivable for dwarves not to have made them.

As you can see from the above picture, my imagination is colored by the works of WETA Workshop, which did all of the props for the LotR films. WETA showed a dwarven love for angles instead of curves, which carries over into my own thoughts on this subject.

I'm not a big fan of tanto points. Though it's conceivable for dwarves to develop them, I grow weary of the ubiquity of Japanese blades. Knives like this just scream "Japan!" to me and I don't like it:

Tanto points could be rounded just a bit, giving something akin to the large, Finnish wilderness knife called the "Leuku":

I like this basic look. However, while the dwarves like angles over curves, they do like to embellish their weapons (look at Gimli's axes- not very ordinary looking at all!). The Leuku is a bit plain to me, but could always have some kind of additions put on.

(continued below)

Andsigil 09-22-2008 09:35 AM

Perhaps the dwarves might have had something much more complicated, yet still utilitarian, like the Pit Fighter, by swordmaker, Michael Tinker Pierce:

For some reason, the Tom Brown Tracker (as seen in the film "The Hunted") has something dwarven about its basic design to me, with its double-edges and bevels. But this knife is a bit too faddish for my tastes:

What do you think? Any ideas on what a dwarven knife would have looked like? Please, put up pictures if you have something in mind.

Andsigil 09-22-2008 04:50 PM

Anyone? No ideas on what a dwarven knife would look like?

Selmo 09-23-2008 02:38 AM

Tolkien's dwarves were craftsmen (should that be craftsdwarves?)
A good craftsman has a different tool for each task so general purpose knives would not be favoured by dwarves. Gimli said, "Dwarves make light of burdens", so the extra weight of a whole set of different knives would not be a problem.

As craftsmen, dwarves would prefer well-made, simple, functional tools but they were also obsessed with gathering wealth. I imagine that every dwarf would carry at least one fancy, (though still functional as a close-quarter weapon), bejewelled dagger, the most expensive he could afford, to show off his wealth and status.

Macalaure 09-23-2008 02:59 AM


We know they already made swords, as Narsil was originally made by the dwarf, Telchar, during the First Age. Knives are such a basic tool that it's inconceivable for dwarves not to have made them.
Actually, that same Telchar also made Angrist, Curufin's knife with which Beren later cut one Silmaril from Morgoth's crown - so there's even evidence that Dwarves really did make knives. Unfortunately, there is no description of Angrist in the Silmarillion (though there might be one in one of the many Silmarillion-versions in the History of Middle-earth - can't check right now). The only thing said in the Silmarillion is that Curufin wore it sheathless (like Aragorn wore And˙ril at first, too).

Groin Redbeard 09-25-2008 12:27 PM

Angrist immediately pops into my head when I think about dwarf knives (pity Tolkien never elaborated on the subject:(), and I like your idea of dwarves liking angles more than curves, we can definitely see this in their architecture accomplishments. The second to last picture that you have there reminds me of something a dwarf would use: something that can do multiple tasks.

I'll look deeper into this and see what I can find.

LalwendŰ 09-25-2008 04:16 PM

I'd actually think of a Dwarf owning the most practical knife possible. No fancy shapes, just the best shape imaginable for all tasks. They are master crafts...errr...dwarves (can't call them craftsmen, can I? ;)) and I would think as a result they would automatically carry the best possible knives, whatever the shape. The angularity I think would come in with regard to etching and designs. I can imagine runes being especially popular, or some of the more angular knotwork designs of Celtic/Germanic/Nordic artists.

Andsigil 10-02-2008 01:17 PM

I want to say thank you for the replies I've gotten so far. I'm coming up on some time off and will start to get some concepts sketched out on paper.

If anyone has more ideas on what a Dwarven knife would look like, please let me know here. Pictures are always welcome.

Andsigil 10-04-2008 01:19 PM

Well, I sketched out some initial designs last night and this afternoon.

#1 Gimli Axe Knife is a knife version of the walking axe that Gimli used in the film:

#2 Hatchet Knife is as close as I could get to a knife-hybrid hatchet that doesn't seem too much like one or the other.

#3 Dwarven Bowie seemed like plain enough, no-nonsense design

#4 Mountain Seax - I had a lot of suggestions for a seax design. I figured something dwarven would be a bit on the robust side, so this design calls for a blade 2" to 2.5" wide

#5 Goblin Chopper - while I was initially less than enthused about tanto points, this kind of design might actually work.

#6 Dwarven Recurve - this started out as a T.B. Tracker design, but I didn't like it, so I modified it into a recurve. I'm not sure about this one.

#7 Spelunk Fighter - I got suggestions for a leuku design, too. Like the seax, I thought a dwarven version would be fairly robust, hence the wide blade.

#8 - Miner's Companion - I had a suggestion for a utility (non-fighter) knife, that uses a chisel point and grind (for prying stones & gems) and has a hammer pommel (for driving pitons). I also decided to add a saw blade and rope cutter on the spine.


Now, a lot of these accessories can be mixed around:

Handle: I've kept to an octagonal handle design, however some use a straight handle with flared ends and some use a slightly curved octagonal handle. I could put either kind of handle on any of these blades.

Accents: I showed one blade with runes, another with a geometric design, and another with an engraving of the hammer and anvil design which Tolkien drew on the Moria Gate. I could put any of these, or something different, on any of the blade designs.

Rope Cutter: Could be added to any design

Saw Blade: Ditto


So, now that I have some designs sketched, what design or combination of designs might work?

Any other modification suggestions- handle, hilt, pommel, blade, etc?

Any other designs different from what I've already drawn?

Andsigil 10-06-2008 04:27 AM

*Bump* to see if anyone has any ideas.

Another reference to a Dwarven knife which I had forgotten: Azaghal gutted Glaurung with a knife.

Unlike Telchar and Angrist, Azaghal's example seems to be one of a knife made by dwarves for dwarves.

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