All my blades are fabricated out in my shop, but all of the designing takes place upon my kitchen table. It is here that the thrashing out of ideas and the eliminating of bad aspects of a design takes place. Indeed, the kitchen table of a Klingon weapons maker is, in a sense, a battlefield where conflicts are resolved.
The conflict needing resolving with the Super Bat'leth handle concerned which of the two styles of batleth handle I would appropriate. This Super Batleth is meant to be DaQo'tah's MASTERPIECE. Everything about it should show the signature of DaQo'tah's creativity.
I had made my first Bat'leth over a year ago with the standard three-part handle as demonstrated on the many Tv shows. But I soon found this design lacking in some aesthetics to my eye. I believe I successfully corrected this flaw in the handle design of my second batleth.
The flaw that was corrected was the little gap between each individual handle. I just didn't like the look of that little space. It seemed out of character with a true battle weapon. My correction entailed continuing the handle in length until it became one solid piece of wood connecting all three hand-holes.
Although I had a general direction of where I wanted the Super Bat'leth to end up at, the actual pattern design proved to be most troublesome. Now with the smaller weapons I have made, I normally just transfer the outline of the weapon to a piece of paper, then simply write on the piece of paper where I want the handle to stop at. Then using a scissors, cut the paper pattern out. I then trace around this pattern onto the piece of oak which is to become the handle.
The problem I faced with the Super Bat'leth handle was the fact that its great length (nearly two feet long) tended to make the paper pattern unreliable. The paper had a tendency to bend as I laid it on the wood to trace around it. One end of the pattern might trace correctly, but the other end might be up to three-quarters of an inch out of proper plane.
My first attempt to solve this problem was to use a stiff cardboard like paper. And this worked... sort of. However, I still noticed a tendency of the cardboard to warp as you pressed it down onto the wood.
So I abandeoned the template idea completely and traced around my Super Batleth directly onto a 6 inch by 7 foot, half-inch thick piece of oak. I then used my cardboard transfer to only help me with finding where the end of the handle should be, and what shape it should take.
(helpfull hint- mark one side of the batleth as the "up' side, and keep this same side up in all traceings)
Once the pattern had been transferred directly onto the wood,
,it was a simple process to cut around the pattern using the jigsaw and a brand new scroll cutting blade. I have found through trial and error that with each weapon it's best to buy brand new drill bits and brand new jig saw blades.
The scroll cutting jigsaw blade being my favorite, for it allows me to acheive the tight cornering cuts that are inherent in DaQo'tah-type weapons.
When you cut out the wood handle scales, I've always found it best to cut them a little wider so that I have something to sand down to later. I normally leave about the thickness of a dime of extra wood all the way around the pattern.
The next thing that needs to be done is to find out where to put the brass pins that will help hold the Handle in place.
Now my Super Bat'leth handle will be glued with J-B WELD and I've never known that glue fail me yet, but you never know what might happen in the future to this Bat'leth, so thats why I made up my mind to add brass pins to the handle as well.
To put the pins in the right place, I marked out on the paper pattern where I wished the pins to appear. I wanted the pins in position between each hand hole and on the ends.
Then useing a paper punch and made 1/8 inch holes in each mark on the paper pattern.
I then placed the pattern back down on top of the Bat'leth and used a black marker to mark the hole placements onto the steel of the Bat'leth.