Intro: Wire Weave Sting Dagger
Sting is a dagger that appears for the first time in the book “the Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien. Found alongside two other daggers in the troll´s cave, by Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and the dwarfs. Bilbo keeps Sting because it matches his size.
Gondolin elves fabricate weapons that are well-known for its blue glow when orcs are close. In “The Lord of the Rings”, by the same author, Bilbo hands Sting to his nephew, Frodo.
For a long time I wanted to create something related to The Lord of the Rings, but couldn’t decide on what it was until I came across a blue aluminum wire that instantly reminded me of Sting; and now here we are. What we’ll be doing here is not a replica of Sting, but a version that represents its elven origin; using wire weaving techniques.
Step 1: What You’ll Need
- 12.5 gauge galvanized wire [for the body]
- Blue 1mm aluminum wire [for the blade]
- 27 gauge nickel wire [for the guard]
- 27 gauge copper wire [for the guard]
- 21 gauge galvanized wire [for the grip]
- 27 gauge copper wire [for the grip]
- Grip tape (the ones that are for tennis rackets) [for the grip]
- Styrofoam rectangle [for the grip]
- Flat anodized aluminum wire [for the pommel]
- Large needle nose pliers [for cutting the wire]
- Nylon work gloves [for safety]
- Masking tape [for securing the wire]
Step 2: Safety
When not used to working with galvanized wire I highly recommend wearing nylon work gloves or any sort; in order to avoid getting cut and having a better grip when handling the wire.
Step 3: Define the Final Design of the Dagger
With the final design of the dagger ready, we’ll start shaping the body because all the weaving will be done around and over it. When shaping, having a reference is very helpful, either one with a 1:1 scale in order to continuously have the wire over it or just having a drawing that guides you.
Step 4: Shaping the Body
The first step is to unwind the 12.5 gauge galvanized wire, it usually comes in coil and it’s difficult to shape; because of that we’ll straighten it by grabbing the length that we are comfortable working with.
Now start shaping the body, first start at the pommel, move onto the grip, then the blade, and then shape the other side of the blade, grip and pommel, creating the perimeter of the front view of the dagger; try to leave extra wire at the start and end and cut it with the pliers. The guard will be made separately. Now create a second perimeter that will be the side view of the dagger, this one will start at the blade (this shape will be flatter than the first one), continue to the grip, then the pommel; and return to the blade again.
Remember not to cut the wire until you have the desired length and shape, we need a continuous shape to have a strong resistant structure that can be weaved without breaking.
Step 5: Joining the Body
Now we’ll take the Styrofoam rectangle and cut it to size that fits our grip and place it in the middle of the front and side perimeters. Present it and when it looks like everything fits in its place, grab a piece of the 21 gauge galvanized wire and secure it at the base of the pommel and up to where the guard will be. To make sure it doesn’t become loose secure it with some 27 gauge nickel wire.
Take the 12.5 gauge galvanized wire, create the shape of the guard for the right and the left side and add them to the body.
Step 6: Weaving the Blade
When weaving there is no right or wrong way to do it, you may cut the wire to a length that helps you not getting lost or weave the entire thing on a single strand; it’s up to you.
We’ll start weaving the blade. Grab the blue 1mm aluminum wire and wind it two times in any side of the blade, remember to leave extra wire. This weaving will require you to wind it in the sides of the perimeter of the front view and use the left view sides as support. You may choose from which side to start, but when making the turn don’t forget to direct it under the wire.
I tried a previous weaving but decided to keep going with this one because it makes the blade stand out; although if you find a better weaving for this part I’d love to see it.
Step 7: Weaving the Guard
For the guard we’ll use 27 gauge nickel wire and 27 gauge copper wire. First, take a long piece of both wires and interweave them. After that, start weaving as close as you can from the grip and onto the end of the guard making a turn in each end, one up; and one down. When you are done, leave some wire loose and wrap it around both ends of the guard to secure it.
Step 8: Weaving the Details
For the grip, I decided to simulate the elven motifs that sting has by weaving 21 gauge galvanized wire and 27 gauge copper wire into a long strand that was wrapped to the grip after placing the grip tape (just like you would do to a tennis racket). It’s easier to add the details after adding the grip tape and making the pommel, allowing you to tuck all the wire inside the structure.
This weaving requires 4 long strands of 21 gauge galvanized wire and the 27 gauge copper wire, which will be used to create the pattern by weaving them along. We will start at strand 1 bottom, make 2 turns in that strand and the third goes up to strand 2 and after 2 turns the third goes to strand three, until strand 4 where will repeat the steps but downwards and continue until we have the desired length.
For me this was the most laborious part of the whole dagger, so I strongly recommend to do it when you are in high spirits.
Step 9: Pommel
For the pommel, we’ll be using flat anodized aluminum wire. This step is easier if when placing the grip tape you cover the area of the pommel as well. Now grab strands of the flat anodized aluminum wire and start to cover the pommel area, it’s easier if you start at the bottom, leaving extra wire for each strand and then continue on the sides until you fill every space; you may use glue for this part if the wire is not staying in its place.
Step 10: Finished Dagger
Now go fight some orcs!