- Own A Crysknife
- Dune (David Lynch 1984)
- Hero (Jet Li)
- Rebuild of Evangelion
- Game of Thrones
Bought myself a hand sander for the holidays. I like the integrity of manual sanding, but this baby maintains the sharp corners and angles. It’s got a vacuum function that sucks in the resin particles too–no need for wet sanding!
Sanded the crysknife on Sunday and ended up with a nice polished finish. I started with a 60-grit sandpaper to edit out the course parts of the mould. I also cut out stray resin leavings with some hobby knives and carving tools. Then I ended up polishing the whole thing with 1500-grit sandpaper.
A friend who was into knives also told me that the crysknife I was making could count for a legitimate weapon. The mould had a strong spine that could make a powerful stab. I was reminded of this when I got carried away while sanding the knife edge–I wouldn’t call it a cutting tool but I wouldn’t run it through my skin. Also, after some crazy sanding, at some degree the knife point became really sharp. I know people interested in this knife just want it for aesthetics (I could see it being a fine display in anyone’s collection!), but while sanding I made a mental note to put in a warning or two that it isn’t a toy and that it has edges that can hurt people.
I have of course, dulled the point and the blade edge since making that discovery.
I have to say am pretty pleased with the outcome. Sanding and polishing makes a lot of difference–after the resin cooked, the surface was hardly smooth. But after polishing, the knife took on the look of these old Chinese ivory carvings.
Also, whenever the tip of the knife hit a surface it would make a clean chiming sound that I find very similar to the sound of mahjong tiles washing against one another. I’ll be casting the sheath tonight, so more pictures and updates coming up.
I was late for work this morning.
But I’m pleased to tell you that the tardiness was incurred for a good reason–I spent it sanding the first cast that came out of the rubber mould I’d been experimenting on.
The new thing about this mould is that it minizes sanding, which allows the resulting resin cast to retain as much detail as possible. After two failed attempts, this last one was successful, producing a nice and smooth result that’s almost like the original wooden positive or plug. All that’s left to do is some minor sanding and editing here and there before I’m perfectly happy with the result.
You’ll notice from the pictures that there are droplets all around; sanding resin produces a lot of resin dust, which is harmful to humans when inhaled. You can avoid dust particulates from occurring by doing the sanding underwater or under running water. Surprisingly, I enjoy this process a lot, especially the detail work. So much so that I lost track of time and came to work late this morning!
There’s still a lot of work to do. After sanding is polishing, then detail-work like painting and weathering. Of course there’s also the sheath; I’ve yet to create a silicone mould and cast for that–although I’m confident this time around since I’ve got the “new” rubber technique pat down.
More updates as I go along. To those interested in getting the knife, my apologies for it taking so long. I’ll be getting this rolling before the holidays, and that’s a promise! Would appreciate your thoughts via the comments section or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first step into creating a good replica is, of course, having a well-detailed original to use as a “positive mould”. The next step, creating the rubber mould, or “negative” is probably the next most important, since the quality of this “negative” determines what comes out when you cast another positive made out of resin. I’ve made a couple of rubber moulds of this particular crysknife but I’m trying to improve the quality of the outcome and also the process of casting.
Here you’ll see that rather than working with halves am trying out a different technique of creating a single “negative” mould–which gets rid of the seams. The tricky part here would be making sure that the “negative” is built a) flexible enough to be turned inside out when a resin positive has finished casting, and b) strong enough to withstand the process (that it wouldn’t rip when turned inside out). Will post more updates as I go along this week. The wait is nearly over; we’re almost there.
It being the rainy season, it’s not very ideal to work with resin and silicone; the warmer it is, the less catalyst I have to use and the less time I have to wait for my materials to set. The rain isn’t helping much in that regard, but I’m carrying on anyway.
Casting a rubber mould out of a master mould (also called the “male mould” or the “plug”) may be tedious and messy and time-consuming, but it’s certainly an important part of the process. The purpose of which is to let the rubber capture the likeness of your plug (it this case, the wooden model of a crysknife). The silicone rubber is initially liquid so it will flow over and around the plug and around into all its details.
When the rubber sets and when you remove the plug you’ll then have a negative imprint of your plug made out of rubber. That’s why it’s critical that you do the rubber moulding process properly or you won’t get the details right and mistakes you make at this point will show up on your subsequent casts.
This is just meant to be an update but am planning to write some build tips as I go along.
Stuff I’ve been working on this weekend are some of the integrated circuits I’m putting into the unfixed crysknife–a version of the crysknife that radiates a flickering light (meant to depict the it’s interaction with the body’s electrical field). Am quite excited about this part and looking forward to see if my vision of a knife with a subtle, flickering light will turn out the way intended it to. Am starting with one LED for now–too many might make it look like a lightsaber!
More updates as I move forward.
The week is almost at an end, and am ready to leap from my office cubicle to my workbench to start casting the first of the 15 Dune crysknife replicas I plan to put out.
This week I’ve been exchanging emails with Mark Bennett, who runs duneinfo.com and we talked about the nature of the “glow” of the crysknife, as described in this quote from Dune by Frank Herbert when the Shadout Mapes confronts the Lady Jessica:
“She took sheath in one hand and handle in the other, withdrew a milk-white blade, held it up. The blade seemed to shine and glitter with a light of its own. It was double-edged like a kindjal and the blade was perhaps twenty centimeters long.”
I got into the crysknife replica project not just because I wanted my own Lynch version crysknife–I wanted to make a version of the knife that had a faint, flickering, almost organic glow.
Admittedly, it’s a pretty literal translation of Herbert’s description of the crysknife from the Shadout Mapes scene. In my head however, I thought it made sense because some of the blades are, according to my research, “unfixed”. An unfixed crysknife can only remain stable if it is in contact or proximity to a living human body; outside of the body’s electrical field, the knife seems to lose molecular integrity, weakening and crumbling within hours. I don’t know if this is just one of those inane non-canon Brian Herbert + KJA addenda to the Dune universe (to me only Frank’s six novels are canon); nonetheless it’s a concept I find very cool (does the knife respond to any electrical field though or only to it’s owner’s particular signature though?).
I thought it would be cool to portray this kind of interaction between the knife and its user–hence the motion-activated flickering version of the crysknife replica that I’m building.
Mark seems to think otherwise, saying: “I took that quote more to mean it was something like being iridescent, rather than literally being a source of light, although a subtle light effect might be interesting, but I’d imagine it being hard to get the balance right between either not being noticeable and looking like a short lightsaber!”
He’s spot on about that last part; the last thing I want is for the knife to look anything like the ubiquitous lightsaber! In any case, people who might not be fans of the glow-effect will be pleased to know that i’ll be casting non-glow versions, so don’t despair.
Anyway, have a great weekend! I’ll update you on the casting.
After watching the Dune Extended Edition, getting a sheath to go with the crysknife replica I had in mind was imperative. In the extended cut of the film, we see the sheath during the scene between Shadout Mapes and the Lady Jessica, where Mapes was making the decision between killing Jessica, or entrusting her with the knife.
Existing crysknife replicas have never featured a sheath before. In my research I’ve only ever seen one attempt towards creating a sheath for the knife, but I haven’t heard about this since.
That’s why my crysknife replica features a matching sheath to go with it. And why not? After all, in Fremen culture, one has to be very careful about showing other people the crysknife blade—it’s important to keep it hidden. In fact, according to the book, a cryknife should not be placed back into its sheath without drawing! It makes the cryknife sheath all the more essential for the serious Dune fan and collector.