The Arms & Armor 1580 Parrying Dagger is an elegant piece we have been making for quite some time. Based on an original artifact from the late 16th century, this dagger is 17.5" overall, with a graceful but solid 12", diamond sectioned blade. It is a classic off hand dagger for use in Rapier and Dagger combat as seen in the early rapier manuals such as Agrippa.
This detailed hilt was originally made by a craftsman in the 16th century, and we have preserved his work by making a mold of the original guard and pommel, from which we use a lost-wax casting process to reproduce it exactly. The blade is hand-ground, hardened and tempered, and each grip is hand sculpted from a piece of ash wood, covered in leather that has been shrunk with beeswax. The design details on the piece are crisp and elegant, with the cusped ends of the arms matching a detail on the center of the side ring. The pommel has alternating thin and wide ridges around its center and tapers to a smooth top and bottom.
One of the interesting features of this dagger are the down-turned guard arms that lift from the plane of the blade. This detail helps the dagger to get a better purchase on the opponent's sword blade, giving the wielder a momentary advantage in the fight. If you want more information on parrying daggers in general, check out this previous blog in which we dig into the form more deeply.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985.