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Canotila
05-05-2011, 12:00 PM
I have a character that wants to make a knife to kill his enemy. His enemy is impervious to metal, but any other material could definitely work. Also, there can be no metal used in the construction of the knife even if it isn't the blade.

What are some good materials for this sort of thing? It would be all right if was a one use tool, as he intends to finish the job in one go. The character is an avid boar hunter, so he'd have a pretty good stockpile of trophy tusks. Would a sharpened tusk bound to a handle make an adequate stabbing tool? Or would it make more sense to use a length of weight bearing bone?

Aside from bone, all I can think of is glass or obsidian.

alleycat
05-05-2011, 12:47 PM
I'm no expert, but I would think a sharpened tusk would make quite an effective weapon.

Besides tusks and bone, there is stone and wood. A piece of pointed oak or hickory would make a nice spear.

Lapinou
05-05-2011, 12:53 PM
Why not bone? I cut myself on a sharp piece of bone the other day and it would have made a very good weapon if necessary! No handle required either!

Nugus
05-05-2011, 12:59 PM
Bone sounds good to me. Or ceramic. Maybe a large sharpened tooth - enamel is the hardest substance in a mammal's body. That'd work.

waylander
05-05-2011, 01:03 PM
Flint blades worked well for our ancestors for thousands of years.

Modern ceramic knives are popular with some chefs and are used by bomb disposal squads.

jeseymour
05-05-2011, 02:58 PM
Isn't a CIA letter opener made of plastic? Or is this a world without modern technology?

KQ800
05-05-2011, 03:45 PM
I have a character that wants to make a knife to kill his enemy. His enemy is impervious to metal, but any other material could definitely work. Also, there can be no metal used in the construction of the knife even if it isn't the blade.

What are some good materials for this sort of thing? It would be all right if was a one use tool, as he intends to finish the job in one go. The character is an avid boar hunter, so he'd have a pretty good stockpile of trophy tusks. Would a sharpened tusk bound to a handle make an adequate stabbing tool? Or would it make more sense to use a length of weight bearing bone?

Aside from bone, all I can think of is glass or obsidian.

Apart from what has been said so far, there is horn. Deer antlers make great stabbing weapons if you sharpen the ends.

Or if you don't like stabbing you can go the really bloody way with one of these:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5102/5678309793_6584c14f34_o.jpg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P0VRfEfiCo&playnext=1&list=PL5C04F18DA5FC17F2

Adam
05-05-2011, 04:22 PM
Ceramic bladed knives (http://www.heinnie.com/product.asp?P_ID=2176) have been out for a while now, thanks to decent edge retention. They're strong enough to do the job, too.
Most will have metal in the handle, or in the case of a folder, the liner lock (or fixing screws). There's no reason someone who hunts a lot couldn't have a fancy all-ceramic fixed blade hunting knife, though. Maybe that he doesn't use it much and bought because it's something fancy. :)

Or a tusk'll work. :)

Kitti
05-05-2011, 04:39 PM
What about diamond-bladed knife? Not quite sure what would go into the construction, but it would certainly be sharp....

Lapinou
05-05-2011, 04:59 PM
Or an icicle!

Steve Collins
05-05-2011, 05:53 PM
The 'Blackie Collins' CIA letter opener has now been banned from airports, in fact it is a felony. It is totally constructed from nylon polymer and should fit the bill were you buying one.

KQ800
05-05-2011, 06:19 PM
Ceramic bladed knives (http://www.heinnie.com/product.asp?P_ID=2176) have been out for a while now, thanks to decent edge retention. They're strong enough to do the job, too.

All I've seen have been designed to work as cutting tools and so have far to thin blades for combat use where the target will twist during the cut. Ceramic blades can't handle lateral stress anymore than glass can. It you make the ceramic thick* enough, then yes, but I don't think they sell any like that**.

Second, and not well known is that the material the knives are made from is a type of nonferrous metal, namely oxide of zirconium. So, against metal-invulnerable enemy, not good.


* My guess is that you would have to have a knife blade 7-9mm thick, no longer than a handwidth, and half a handwidth wide. (Of course, not having seen a fighting ceramic blade, I might be talking out of my rectum on this one.)

** According to the shop justflint.com flintknives have to be one fifth as thick as they are wide.

waylander
05-05-2011, 06:28 PM
Second, and not well known is that the material the knives are made from is a type of nonferrous metal, namely oxide of zirconium. So, against metal-invulnerable enemy, not good.


Zirconium oxide is no longer a metal by virtue of it being an oxide. It is a insulator, non-ductile, non-malleable. A non-metal by any definition

Snowstorm
05-05-2011, 06:29 PM
Ditto on the ceramic knives. I've heard they're better (stronger and sharper) than metal knives.

Mr Flibble
05-05-2011, 06:52 PM
Glass

Yeah, I know, but Venetian (?? I think??) glass daggers - had a nice feature too. If you twist as you stab, the blade snaps off in the body. The body/wound then kind of sucks it in.

I've read about them in a couple of books, but I can't find much on google sadly.

Summonere
05-05-2011, 07:06 PM
A few nonmetallic knives and other implements can be found at the links, below (most are variations of nylon plastic).

http://www.selfdefenseproducts.com/Nylon-Fiber-Knives-p-1-c-396.html

http://www.botachtactical.com/knivnon.html

MeretSeger
05-05-2011, 08:15 PM
Just a note: if you go with flint or obsidian, it takes a LOT of skill and practice to make a useable blade. They can come pretty thin, and be hafted with bone if you like.

You might find this useful: http://modern-flintknapping.blogspot.com/

skylark
05-05-2011, 08:30 PM
You can buy plastic (nylon) knives for use in nonstick cake tins.

They're not exactly sharp, but they are fairly structurally strong and the right shape. I'm thinking that they might make a good backbone for a sharp glass edge. if you need easily homemade.

Does it have to be a knife? I'm thinking of something like a carbon fibre arrow.

Sarpedon
05-05-2011, 08:32 PM
hmm, isn't calcium technically a metal?

Most things are, when you come right down to it.

Adam
05-05-2011, 09:24 PM
All I've seen have been designed to work as cutting tools and so have far to thin blades for combat use where the target will twist during the cut. Ceramic blades can't handle lateral stress anymore than glass can. It you make the ceramic thick* enough, then yes, but I don't think they sell any like that**.

Second, and not well known is that the material the knives are made from is a type of nonferrous metal, namely oxide of zirconium. So, against metal-invulnerable enemy, not good.


* My guess is that you would have to have a knife blade 7-9mm thick, no longer than a handwidth, and half a handwidth wide. (Of course, not having seen a fighting ceramic blade, I might be talking out of my rectum on this one.)

** According to the shop justflint.com flintknives have to be one fifth as thick as they are wide.

He's after killing a guy immune to metal with it (which I took to mean an immunity to harm from metal, like some enemies in D+D board games, for example). One slash over the jugular doesn't require a particularly sturdy blade. :)

Then again, a big enough clout round the lughole with a two by four would work too. :D

Of course, if the OP meant that he's immune to steel because he's armoured, then the ceramic would likely be a no go. But so would glass, obsidian and tusks. :)

waylander
05-05-2011, 10:18 PM
hmm, isn't calcium technically a metal?


Yes it is



Most things are, when you come right down to it.

Only those that conduct electricity

Aaron Wilder
05-05-2011, 10:35 PM
A sharpened ghost pepper.

Canotila
05-06-2011, 01:27 AM
He's after killing a guy immune to metal with it (which I took to mean an immunity to harm from metal, like some enemies in D+D board games, for example). One slash over the jugular doesn't require a particularly sturdy blade. :)

Then again, a big enough clout round the lughole with a two by four would work too. :D

Of course, if the OP meant that he's immune to steel because he's armoured, then the ceramic would likely be a no go. But so would glass, obsidian and tusks. :)

Yeah, the guy he's trying to kill has a field surrounding his body that repels metal. Its effectiveness seems to work based on how well the metal in question conducts electricity, but rather than making a lead knife he'd rather make one that won't be affected at all.

It sounds like the tusk would work, though the Venetian glass ones sound wicked painful! He's liking the sound of that.

An arrow would probably work better and be safer, but it just didn't fit the character. He's one of those crazy hog hunters that chases boar down with a couple of dogs and then stabs it in the heart with a hunting knife.

Thanks for all the flint knapping links and things too! Those are totally fascinating, and good to know about. That might be a route he'd go. Anti-metal dude caused the character to lose a leg and killed his brother, so he's got a lot of time to fill keeping occupied. I was trying to figure out if he'd be more interested in wood, leather, or metal working but that could be a good diversion.

The technology level is right about where America was during the civil war. Sorry for not mentioning that in the original post.

KQ800
05-06-2011, 01:55 AM
A sharpened ghost pepper.

Aw man! C'mon! that's just evil.

KQ800
05-06-2011, 01:57 AM
Zirconium oxide is no longer a metal by virtue of it being an oxide. It is a insulator, non-ductile, non-malleable. A non-metal by any definition

Ahem: "Also, there can be no metal used in the construction of the knife even if it isn't the blade."

I took that to mean that you couldn't use metal in the knife at all.

Canotila
05-06-2011, 01:59 AM
Aw man! C'mon! that's just evil.

I like it. :D

KQ800
05-06-2011, 02:04 AM
Glass

Yeah, I know, but Venetian (?? I think??) glass daggers - had a nice feature too. If you twist as you stab, the blade snaps off in the body. The body/wound then kind of sucks it in.

I've read about them in a couple of books, but I can't find much on google sadly.

AFAIK* they are mythical. At least as far as combat goes. It was supposedly the punishment for a member of the venetian glass blowers guild to be stabbed with a dagger of glass and the handle broken off if they ever revealed the secrets of the guild

The idea being that there was no way to remove the knife without crushing the glass into bits, and if left in, when he moved the glass would break into pieces inside his body causing a painful and bloody death.

But the knife itself was supposed to be a stiletto so the victim would have to have been restrained while the knife was pushed in.

*If anyone has any references of these things being used, I am all ears.

HeroicLeigh
05-06-2011, 02:06 AM
I was going to say ceramic as well, but I do love the concept of glass. That's an interesting idea.

Mr Flibble
05-06-2011, 02:18 AM
AFAIK* they are mythical. At least as far as combat goes. It was supposedly the punishment for a member of the venetian glass blowers guild to be stabbed with a dagger of glass and the handle broken off if they ever revealed the secrets of the guild

The idea being that there was no way to remove the knife without crushing the glass into bits, and if left in, when he moved the glass would break into pieces inside his body causing a painful and bloody death.

But the knife itself was supposed to be a stiletto so the victim would have to have been restrained while the knife was pushed in.

*If anyone has any references of these things being used, I am all ears.

I'd also love to see references (I've seen them used in two books where the authors are very well known for their research, so I was a bit hesitant)

But knowing how tough glass can be unless you stress it at the wrong angle, plus Venetians were damnedably good with their glass....sounds very possible (also Sotheby's had a Venetian glass dagger hilt for sale soo....)

I'd say it was possible, maybe more than that.

Lillie
05-06-2011, 02:29 AM
Our ancestors used stone tools for hunting and killing for thousands of years.
Flint knapping isn't really that hard to learn, so long as you have a source of flint. You can strike off a long thin blade with a pointed end and bind the upper part with leather, horn or wood so that it is a useful stabbing weapon.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_8yBmwXW4XEM/TEowdVE_rBI/AAAAAAAAIvQ/mSKvUUozGI0/s1600/FLINT+KNAPPING+KNIFE.jpg
This is pretty amazing. You'd have to be very good to make this, but you could make something that could kill quite easily.

Tiger
05-06-2011, 02:57 AM
I vote for flint. It could be made sharp and strong enough to kill big game and--unlike some of the other suggestions posted--can be shaped and constructed using no metal. Flint napping is an old processes which was perfected over thousands of years so finding how to information should be easy. I think there may even be flint napping clubs or associations.

MeretSeger
05-06-2011, 03:52 AM
If flintknapping was easy, we would never have entered the Chalcolithic.

Make it his hobby if you go there. It takes a lot of practice and it is an art. Not a lot to write about it because of the great sources out there, but a lot to do it. jmho.

Tiger
05-06-2011, 04:46 AM
Not easy at all. By all accounts expert tool makers occupied distinct and valuable positions within their groups. Finding information about the manufacture of "primitive" tools, on the other hand, is quite easy. Sources abound.

Underthelivingmoon
05-06-2011, 07:43 AM
I have a character that wants to make a knife to kill his enemy. His enemy is impervious to metal, but any other material could definitely work. Also, there can be no metal used in the construction of the knife even if it isn't the blade.

Aside from bone, all I can think of is glass or obsidian.

Does he have to stab him? Because a pit where he dumps the remnants from his boar hunting would be a particularly gruesome way to go (that way his enemy could get impaled by several tusks at once). Or perhaps a boar-skin garrote? Unless he can't be strangled...

If your character is aiming to off his enemy at a distance, sharpened boar teeth fashioned into an arrowhead would be a nice touch :)

KQ800
05-06-2011, 09:47 AM
(also Sotheby's had a Venetian glass dagger hilt for sale soo....)

I was highly disappointed by that.

They had a dagger handle for sale that was made of glass. == the blade was steel, with a glass handle.
:rant:Stupid Sotheby's

KQ800
05-06-2011, 09:53 AM
I have a character that wants to make a knife to kill his enemy.

If he would consider a little more brutal approach, I'd say something like this could be produced with a little practice.

http://www.heritage-images.com/Preview/PreviewPage.aspx?id=1191640&pricing=true&licenseType=RM

A stone axe can be made by grinding a stone into the right shape, and a swing from that could probably ruin your whole day.

Anaximander
05-06-2011, 05:00 PM
I spend a lot of time using (and occasionally making) bushcraft knives, and if I wanted a blade and I couldn't use metal, I'd probably go with ceramic, or failing that, a high-spec polymer or plastic. Not sure I'd entirely trust something as potentially breakable as a glass knife, although you can get some very impressive toughened glass these days. Ceramic is also easier to get hold of than the more exotic solutions - expensive chef's knives are sometimes ceramic because of how long they'll hold an edge for, bomb disposal squads use them because they don't spark or conduct electricity, and some surgeons have taken to using ceramic or even obsidian scalpels for their incredible sharpness.

KQ800
05-07-2011, 11:37 AM
An arrow would probably work better and be safer, but it just didn't fit the character. He's one of those crazy hog hunters that chases boar down with a couple of dogs and then stabs it in the heart with a hunting knife.

The technology level is right about where America was during the civil war. Sorry for not mentioning that in the original post.

If your character has lost a leg, perhaps he can't run and move around so well anymore. that might change his mind about arrows.

If the tech is civil war, he could go old school and load a musket with a marble ball. It has less punch at range than a lead ball, but it will still be very deadly.

Porcelain bullets were used as blank rounds during WWII (A device at the end of the barrel broke them to pieces) and it was found that fired through a regular barrel they could kill at several hundred yards.

Also, you would get an excuse to use the phrase "Solid stone balls" in your book. :D

Aaron Wilder
05-07-2011, 12:31 PM
Where is your MC going to stab the other guy? Because if he can get him into a museum where all of this stuff could be found, he really would have his pick of what to use (stone axes, spears, arrows, petrified wood). Then instead of him tracking down a specific weapon, he basically grabs whatever is there because it all fits the bill.

edit: also - mammoth tusk, t rex tooth, sabretooth fang, caveman rib, whale penis bone, etc.

KQ800
05-08-2011, 01:32 AM
edit: also - mammoth tusk, t rex tooth, sabretooth fang, caveman rib, whale penis bone, etc.

Ok, I officially take back everything I wrote. Of course you stab him with a sharpened whale penis bone, there is no other option!

"Give him the shaft"
"I have a boner to pick with you"
"Say hello to my little friend"
"Guess what I have hidden down my trousers"

The possibilities are ENDLESS...

wrombola
05-08-2011, 02:14 AM
I agree that flintknapping is not something easily learned. It's a learned skill and a bit dangerous. That said, Obsidian is sharper than surgical steel. It's brittle though. Chert/Flints are the best, along with crystal quartz. Also rhyolites and meta volcanic materials are harder to work but fine if you have the skill to make a blade.

GregS
05-11-2011, 12:55 AM
Lots of good suggestions. Here's two more.

Wooden weapon inset with other goodies were used for hundreds of years and to great effect. Some of those goodies included:

shark's teeth
acacia spines
stone
flint
bone

Another advantage to this is that the weapon can be improvised in the field with imperfect supplies (i.e. he has a branch, some twine, and the tusk of a boar. Now he has a pick-axe).

I'm also a big fan of jade weapons.

Aaron Wilder
05-11-2011, 03:10 AM
Ok, I officially take back everything I wrote. Of course you stab him with a sharpened whale penis bone, there is no other option!

"Give him the shaft"
"I have a boner to pick with you"
"Say hello to my little friend"
"Guess what I have hidden down my trousers"

The possibilities are ENDLESS...

"Cause of death?"
"I'd say blood loss, originating from this wound in particular."
"Blunt force trauma?"
"No. Penetrating."

glutton
05-11-2011, 05:31 AM
If only human penises had bones... imagine being stabbed in the throat with it. :D

Lillie
05-11-2011, 07:59 AM
If flintknapping was easy, we would never have entered the Chalcolithic.


I've given it a go after basic instructions from an expert.

It's hard to make anything remotely good, but fairly easy to whack off something sharp and stabby.

Nivarion
05-11-2011, 10:45 AM
Does he have to stab him? I mean, people killed each other for hundreds of years with blunt objects.

Besides the things mentioned here, you could beat his face in with a rock, or smash his bones with a tree branch. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-cgClKJbGg&feature=related) Canes are a pretty decent weapon for one who knows what they're doing with it. No one would question your character carrying one since he is missing a leg.

Canotila
05-14-2011, 10:25 AM
Does he have to stab him? I mean, people killed each other for hundreds of years with blunt objects.

Besides the things mentioned here, you could beat his face in with a rock, or smash his bones with a tree branch. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-cgClKJbGg&feature=related) Canes are a pretty decent weapon for one who knows what they're doing with it. No one would question your character carrying one since he is missing a leg.

Actually, the cane suggestion is a good one for him. I'm still not sure if he's going to carry one. From what I understand, once you get a prosthetic limb you're encouraged to try and walk as normally as possible on it. But his knee is still pretty screwed up so who knows. Hmmm...


Where is your MC going to stab the other guy? Because if he can get him into a museum where all of this stuff could be found, he really would have his pick of what to use (stone axes, spears, arrows, petrified wood). Then instead of him tracking down a specific weapon, he basically grabs whatever is there because it all fits the bill.

edit: also - mammoth tusk, t rex tooth, sabretooth fang, caveman rib, whale penis bone, etc.

Buahahahahahahha!!! You win the internet. Period. :D


Does he have to stab him? Because a pit where he dumps the remnants from his boar hunting would be a particularly gruesome way to go (that way his enemy could get impaled by several tusks at once). Or perhaps a boar-skin garrote? Unless he can't be strangled...

If your character is aiming to off his enemy at a distance, sharpened boar teeth fashioned into an arrowhead would be a nice touch :)

He doesn't have to stab him. But he wants to. He'd be able to make social opportunities that put him in close enough proximity to kill the guy at close range. And honestly he's much more comfortable and experienced using a combat knife than any other weapon. Plus I get the feeling he wants to kill the guy with his own hands, as horrible as that sounds.


If the tech is civil war, he could go old school and load a musket with a marble ball. It has less punch at range than a lead ball, but it will still be very deadly.

Porcelain bullets were used as blank rounds during WWII (A device at the end of the barrel broke them to pieces) and it was found that fired through a regular barrel they could kill at several hundred yards.

Also, you would get an excuse to use the phrase "Solid stone balls" in your book. :D

Ooh, I like the idea of different materials for bullets. Firearms are still pretty rare in their country though. Should have made that clearer. Their firearms are less advanced than civil war era ones, i.e. not rifled and pretty darn inaccurate. Plus being single shot and them having a metal shortage it's easier for them to keep using crossbows (faster reload time and cheaper to manufacture). I'll keep that in mind, it could come in handy.

Nick Blaze
05-14-2011, 07:40 PM
I hear obsidian knives are good for the heart...

I always thought crossbows had a much higher reload time than conventional bows.

Canotila
05-15-2011, 01:50 AM
I hear obsidian knives are good for the heart...

I always thought crossbows had a much higher reload time than conventional bows.

I think you're right about the reload time on the crossbows. For sure there are professional soldiers who are trained with conventional bows, but then there are the conscripts who are basically farmers and slaves. Crossbows are a lot more economical to train for use in those cases.

Wojciehowicz
05-16-2011, 05:39 AM
Civil War level of technology? Any frontiersman of the time could answer you, to say nothing of sawyers and carpenters. For stabbing, any stick will do. For cutting, there are many woods which when worked after proper drying and curing will take and hold an edge sufficient to disembowel a man or remove his head in one swipe. It's not a katana, but it will do for the one blow. Maple or harder is fine. Hickory if you can. It's also possible to condense the woods a bit if you press them properly. I've seen some antique axe handles that could pound nails and barely leave a scratch.

Of course, a boar hunter would use a boar tusk, wouldn't he?

I think you're headed for a thrust instead of a cut and an attack from overhead, like the cover of an old Tarzan paperback, hero spread eagle, face down, falling on the enemy from above, weapon in hand, gravity bringing him down in an all or nothing. Gives you a chance to work the tension and drama as they taunt each other and circle around for the final clash.