The House of Flying Daggers

When we last spoke, I had just set up my target and was ready to start putting holes in it. First, I wrapped the knife handles with the green tape, as I had many a tense half hour in my youth searching for a knife that I had cast into leaf litter. Remind me to move to red tape for summer.

Through trial and error, I found a distance from which I could stick the majority of my throws and began to work from there. I throw from the handle; I know that many more people are blade throwers, but when one’s knives show up sharp enough to remove a finger, it just makes more sense to use the handle. This also allows me to throw any knife, dull or sharp, without the action feeling strange.

When I first started throwing, I had a table set up near the target so that I could array the knives and keep them off the ground. Then it occurred to me that my system was rather inefficient. Why didn’t I just use the sheaths they came with, you ask? They are nice leather, and in the case of the Bökers, the fit is very tight, and I didn’t want to muck them up with mud and leaf litter.

I needed something sturdy enough to stand up to the blades and loose enough to allow me to draw and store them easily. To my mind, that required a trip to Home Depot to get a toolbelt. After perusing the leather models and finding myself unable to justify the price, I settled on this $7.00 Husky utility pouch and a nylon belt.

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I am now offically certified ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.

As you can see, the pouch rides quite low on my hip, like a gunslinger’s holster, which naturally means that I find myself, instead of drawing back and carefully taking aim, throwing knife after knife as quickly as I can let them fly, savoring the Hollywood sound of ringing metal. Now I throw both for accuracy, and to see how fast I can put a dagger into the heart of that oncoming zombie 😉

Enough backstory–Let’s meet the family, shall we?

Boker Bo-kri

Böker Mini Bo-kri

I got these because they were big knives, had a cool shape, and best of all were only about 20 bucks. I’m not even going to grace the site I bought them from with a mention. Terrible people. Incidentally, these are the knives that Glimmer uses in the movie version of The Hunger Games, probably because the design makes them look extra wicked. Or was that Clove? Cute girls held knives–that’s all I remember for sure. Anyway, when these guys stick, you know they hit. When I get back from the target, they sound much like my axe, sinking with a solid, satisfying thunk that I’m sure the neighbors can hear.

Kit Rae Black Jets

Kit Rae Black Jet Dagger

When I saw these, my jaw dropped and the 12-year-old boy in me squealed at the top of his lungs. I would say that these are what really launched my knife throwing renaissance. They are simply gorgeous, and if I had gotten them as a kid, I would have kept them in a box and only brought them out to polish them and call them my preciouses. I’ve always been partial to daggers, I suppose because of their design unabashedly screams their use: Single-blade knives can pass as respectable, but daggers are only for dark and nefarious purposes, and they don’t care who knows it. Very much like rogues, now that I think of it…

The etching on the blade gives them a real fantasy feel. While they may look delicate, they are actually large knives and quite tough, for all the abuse I’ve put them through. They stick very well and feel great to throw, but they do have a couple of downsides. The finger choil areas have very sharp edges and can easily cut if I grab the knife carelessly. They make the knives look epically cool, so I can forgive the occasional scratch. Second, they arrived very sharp, like the Bokers, but they soon dulled to a safe level. All in all, I think I’d buy more Kit Rae items again.

Gil Hibben Axe

Gil Hibben Throwing Axe

I bought this one off of a friend who was moving away. I imagine at the time he paid quite a chunk of cash, as Gil Hibben had just started to take off as a reputable name then, but all I had with me was twelve bucks. Still, home it went, for he was a desperate man who needed some quick cash. I would feel bad about fleecing him, but when I look at the axe my morality suddenly becomes rather slippery. It’s been under my side of the bed for years now, but when I built the target, I remembered it and streaked to the bedroom to gleefully unsheath it and hurl it at some pine.

One thing I will say about axes: they will tear the crap out of a target. The Hibben is a heavy piece of steel, and when it hits, stick or not, the force is enough to knock the boards loose from their nails. And if the same area of the board gets hit, the chunks start flying, and this can be the result:

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Ouch…sorry tree.

So there’s my new hobby. I hope to indulge in it more as the weather warms up. Next time, I may write a review of one or two of my recent acquisitions.

On My Newest Hobby

Everybody is all abuzz about 5.2, but to be honest, there isn’t that much that pulls me. I haven’t been excited about dinosaurs since Sesame Street was a can’t-miss-it show for me. Another daily hub in a no-fly zone. Been there, done that, and gotten a lot of t-shirts.

You know what? No thanks. I’ve had enough. Come to think of it, maybe it’s just my time played that’s affecting my perception of dailies. I took two toons through Quel’Danas, five all the way though the Argent Tournament, and three through the Molten Front. Maybe someone who came along in Cataclysm or who only took a main through all of that might not feel the same way.

Granted, the changes in rep have helped, and I’m sure the new championing system, limited though it is to one dungeon a day, will make a difference as well. Using the farm to gain rep is a good idea, but after just two toons to exalted with the Tillers, I’m done with farming. I haven’t planted anything in weeks. It just feels like I am in a real field behind a real plow, for all the fun I’m having with it.

But this post isn’t about WoW. It’s supposed to be about my new hobby…

I was perusing YouTube about a month ago when a video titled “How to Throw a Knife” popped up on my screen. I had thrown knives as a kid, but they were never true throwers designed for the task, and if I stuck one, it was pure luck. I never stumbled across anybody that could give me any real instruction on the art. I watched the video, and the simplicity of the technique was encouraging. It was then that I realized that I have a little money and a big backyard. What was there to stop me from taking up the hobby properly?

First, I needed a target. As a kid I threw at the tree not far from the porch, and the Druid in me flinches at the memory. While trees make tempting and romantic targets, it’s not good for the tree or one’s self-image. More than ever, this definitely isn’t environmentally friendly behavior. Also, it’s just bad physics. There’s a reason Roman shields were shaped differently from the barbarian bucklers: curved surfaces deflect incoming force. After viewing a few videos on target construction, I headed out to Home Depot to procure the mats. After grabbing some fluorescent green tape, some spiral nails, and some cheap drawer pulls, I made my way over to the lumber section.

Now, before we go further down this road together, there’s something you should know.

I’m a Southern male by birth, but not really by culture, so while Home Depot makes me feel like a real John Wayne testosterone factory sort of dude…the reality is different. I’d rather go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens than a Braves game. Hand me the household finances, and disaster will ensue. Gimme the laundry detergent, and I’m a fucking rockstar. Ever read that book, Ferdinand the Bull? The one about the little bull calf who watches his friends snort, charge, and dream of going to the bullring, while he sits under the tree and smells the flowers? Yeah, I’m Ferdinand. I, like so many of my WoW brethren, was “that weird kid”, probably because I grew up without a father, which is a double-edged sword. I had no male models growing up, which means that I’m a bit of a stranger in a strange land, but by the same token I am free to make my own way without feeling as though I need to conform to a template.

Thus, the anti-Bubba goes a-buying him some lumber for the manly art of knife throwin’…

I head on over to the 2×4’s and begin standing them up, measuring by eye, looking like I want to build the most economical Stonehenge possible. I flag down the most non-threatening associate I can, one who doesn’t look like she’ll confiscate my testicles when I inevitably blow my cover. She cheerfully helps me, telling me that her brother used to throw, and directing me to the 2×6’s. As I’m sorting thought the best pieces, she calls over the man doing the actual cuttin’: plaid shirt, carpenter’s apron, and a look that says “not one of us.” He asks me for the length, and I point to a conveniently-placed knothole and say, “‘Bout thar” in my most Bubbaly voice, but it’s too late. I’ve been sniffed out. Don’t get me wrong; everyone was nice, but they knew I wasn’t in the know, for I displayed the markers of someone who is a greenhorn at being male.

It didn’t help matters, I suppose, that I briskly wheeled out the lumber cart, mission accomplished, to my SUV…the one with all the shit in the back. /facepalm

I knew I forgot something.

Ten minutes later, all of the lumber was miraculously wedged into the vehicle, intricately woven around child seats and storage bins. The 2×6’s were leaned precariously on the passenger-side front seat; all that was between me and a smack on the head was a bungee cord connected to the passenger-side seat belt. God alone knows what would have happened had I been in just a fender-bender, let alone an actual wreck. Yep, when my man card comes up for review this year, it may not get renewed, but my redneck engineering card should get a commendation sticker. Anyway, homeward!

The missus is off with her folks, so the garage now becomes my workshop.

I crank up the music on my phone, pretend I’m working on a job site, and begin laying out the 2×6’s so that there is minimum gappage between the boards. There is some warping, and the fit isn’t This Old House perfect, but it works. I then use an actual tape measure to measure the 2×4’s to length. My high school carpentry teacher would be disbelieving, but eventually proud.

Hmm, no sawhorse. Then I spot the side table on my propane gas grill.

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My high school carpentry teacher’s modest amount of pride evaporates as I grab that mighty redneck multitasker, the hacksaw, and cut the 2×4’s to length. I then space them out horizontally on the boards, using the highly mathematical precept of “well, that looks ’bout right.” After merrily smacking away with the hammer for about 15 minutes, I was nearly done, only killing 5 nails in the process /flex.

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After standing the surprisingly heavy target onto its side, I then installed the drawer pulls, to give me some way to move it easily.

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Next week, off to the backyard to test this baby out!