Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker

Quality Without Compromise

Maker's Mark:
Knife Maker's Mark for Jay Fisher Knives
New to the website? Start Here
"Orion" obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, Rio Grande Agate gemstone  handle, hand-carved leather sheath inlaid with frog skin
"Orion"

Daggers

"Sister to The Sword, and worn by Kings"
- Ancient India
"Amethystine" dagger in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, diffusion welded copper, nickel silver fittings, Lace Amethyst, sterling silver handle with Amethyst crystal, Ponderosa Pine burl and Red Oak stand
More about this Amethystine Dagger
"Amethistine" dagger, obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, diffusion welded copper, nickel silver fittings, sterling silver gallery wire wrap and accents, Amethyst crystal gemstone pommel, hand-carved leather sheath inlaid with black rayskin

"Vesta" Dagger, obverse side view in hot-blued O1 high carbon tungsten-vanadium tool steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, Australian Black Jade and Apache Gold (chrysopyrite and slate) gemstone handle, hand-carved leather sheath inlaid with stingray skin
"Vesta" Black Rune Dagger/Athame

What are daggers?

Here on the internet, there seems to be some confusion as to what officially constitutes a dagger. On one "official" site, I read that a dagger is defined as a pointed weapon used for stabbing that has no cutting edges! I don't know what world history these guys are looking at for their definitions, but it's not English, and it's not current. A dagger is strictly defined as a short weapon used for stabbing. This says nothing about the cutting edges. The word dagger is only the general definition, other specific types of daggers by historical definition are: athane, athame, poniard, stiletto, dirk, misericord, and anlance. The only commonality these words share are that they are describing a pointed knife used to stab, or a ceremonial tool of specific symmetrical design. Even the term Bowie knife has been used to describe a dagger, but this refers only to symmetrical styles and not to what most modern Americans call a Bowie knife style.

The current and prevalent definition of a dagger is a double-edged knife that is isometric in relationship to its axis. In simple terms, the word dagger refers to knives that have symmetrical double edged blades, and usually have symmetrical handles.

Return to Topics

"Amethystine" obverse side view: hand-engraved 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel guard and pommel, sterling silver wire wrap and ferrules, Sodalite Gemstone handle, blue Stingray skin inlaid in hand-carved leather sheath
More about this Amethystine Dagger
"Achelous" in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, Indian Green Moss Agate gemstone handle, hand-carved leather sheath inlaid with frog skin
More about this Achelous

Where do daggers come from?

Double edged cutting tools were created in the stone age, so no one knows when the first dagger was made. Perhaps a large spear point from early prehistoric times was adapted for use in the hand. Some of the earliest daggers are made of solid bone, which negates the notion that daggers come only from sword tips that have broken off in battle. Daggers have been created in nearly every culture, and I believe that the basis for the double edged design was based on nature's symmetry, such as the leaf of a plant. The very word "blade" originates in our language from the word blaed, which means the leaf of a plant.

The origins of our English word are Celtic: "dag" (a point). The dagger is probably the most recognizable of all the edged weapons, and though daggers may have been at times used for hunting, survival, and rescue, and they are more universally recognized as stabbing or thrusting weapons, ceremonial objects, and less often working tools.

Return to Topics

"Ariel" custom Athane Dagger in hand-engraved 440C high chromioum stainless steel blade, sterling silver and nickel silver in fluted twist Nephrite Jade gemstone handle, pommel if 304 stainless steel and Italian green goldstone gemstone handle, hand-tooled leather sheath
More about this Ariel Dagger

How are your daggers made?

Though I do make dagger-style combat knives, most of the daggers I make are investment grade works of art. Even knowing that they may never be used, this does not negate the fact that they are made to the highest quality, with modern high alloy tool steel blades, properly hardened and tempered, with durable handles in gemstone, horn, bone, ivory, and exotic woods. A razor-keen double-edged thrusting blade inspires trepidation, and commands immediate attention from those who see those graceful double grinds, particularly when executed in a piece of mirror-finished high chromium stainless tool steel, hardened and tempered, tastefully mounted with full guard, brilliant gemstone handle, and matching intricate pommel. Add a fine sheath or sculptural stand for a stunning display. Truly, today's fine handmade or custom dagger is an investment in a work of art.

Return to Topics

"Amethistine" dagger, obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, diffusion welded copper, nickel silver fittings, sterling silver gallery wire wrap and accents, Amethyst crystal gemstone pommel, hand-carved leather sheath inlaid with black rayskin
More about this Amethystine Dagger

Why are good daggers so hard to make?

It's not easy to make consistent fine daggers. Four symmetrical edges must come to their zenith at once, the spine not neglected, the balance just right. I try to make my daggers elegant, graceful, and imposing. To match four independent grinds at once on one piece of steel is a challenge, and I don't use jigs to grind. You might hear that making a dagger is like making two knives, back to back. This is misleading, because all the grinds in a dagger must match as closely as possible, and be centered along the blade spine. The dagger must be thick enough in the ricasso area of the grind to support the blade length. The handle is usually also be symmetrical, as most daggers are designed with symmetry and central axis line balance. The handle must not be too large, as removal of so much blade material in four hollow grinds usually leads to a lightweight blade. Some designs require a small contact wheel for a clean, tight hollow grind that does not sacrifice central spine strength. All my grinding is offhand, and you can read more about that on the blades page here. Most of these are high alloy or high chromium stainless tool steels, and most of them are mirror finished. Some have decorative milling, and all have commensurate and suitable sheaths or stands. The bolsters or guards and pommels are hand-ground and fitted, balanced and detailed. They are owned by collectors, connoisseurs, and tactical specialists and prized for their value, beauty, and fine workmanship.

Return to Topics

Fine handmade dagger: "Troll's Tale in hollow ground and polished 440C stainless blade, 304 stainless fittings, rare Covalite gemstone, Rhodonoite/Franklinite gemstone mosaic handle "Venus" etched collector's large dagger with amethyst geode base, lace amethyst handle, amethyst crystal pommel, diffusion welded copper, nickel silver fittings Group of handmade daggers in stainless steel, various fine polished gemstone handles, hidden tang and inlaid full tang handle types Fine sculptural art dagger: "Soul's Flight" in 440C stainless steel blade, brass, mahogany obsidian, carved sodalite  gemstone handle, elkhorn, petrified wood base "Conquistador" in twist carbon steel damascus blade, antiqued steel fittings, sterling silver, rare Piedersite gemstone handle "Taos" dagger, double edged stainless steel blade, unusual fully inlaid full tang handle, rare Indonesian blue obsidan gemstone handle, copper spacer Stingray skin inlaid sheath "Achelous" in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, Indian Green Moss Agate gemstone handle, hand-carved leather sheath inlaid with frog skin
"Charax" dagger in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Australian Black Jade, California Jade gemstone handle, stingray skin inlaid in hand-carved leather sheath
More about this Charax Dagger

How long does it take to make a fine dagger?

It's not unusual for me to sink several hundred hours into a fine dagger. I'll spread out the work with dozens of other knives, and it may take six months or more to complete a fine dag. It all depends on the amount of work, size, material, and embellishment that goes into the dagger. You can read more about that on my FAQ page here. Often, such elaborate work begs for fine detailing and I'll embellish with detailed filework, etching, or hand-engraving. I even make military and rescue daggers, with mechanisms like locking hookblades, gemstone handles, and full engraving.

Return to Topics

"Stinger" Fine Milled Stainless hollow ground dagger, fusion handle material, stylized "The Kid" Locking Hook blade Dagger, All Stainless Construction, Brecciated Jasper Gem Handle, Locking Kydex, Stainless, Aluminum Sheath "The Kid" Hook Blade Double Edged Tactical Dagger- All Stainless Construction, Hand-Engraved Bolsters, Jasper Gemstone Handle, Locking Sheath "Ariel" athame, athane style dagger in mirror polished hollow ground hand-engraved 440C stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel, nickel silver, sterling silver fittings, Nephrite Jade gemstone handle, hand-tooled leather sheath "Ariel" athame, athane type dagger pommel detail. Pommel is nickel silver set with carved Green Goldstone gemstone "Ariel" athame, athane type dagger, sheathed view. Sheath is hand-tooled and dyed leather shoulder, hand-stitched
"Cassini" athame dagger: 440C stainless steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, British Colombian Jade handle, hand-carved and tooled, engraved leather sheath
More about this Cassini Dagger

Daggers are not typically blades for daily use.

Because of the double edge, the dagger is a knife that has to be gripped with care, and is often unsuitable for daily chores. If you have to bear down on the blade, your hand would need to apply pressure at the top of the spine, and in a dagger, another cutting edge is at that location. Also, if you need to cut a container open, you might find that the back cutting edge slices where you don't want it to. When the dagger is used for piercing, you must be ready for the blade to travel either direction, and though it seems a simple thing, you might be surprised at how accustomed we've become to knives that cut in only one direction. Being covered in cutting edges, the dagger blade is somewhat more dangerous than a single edged blade, and it is mostly dangerous to the person holding it. Sheaths, also, must accommodate the double edges, and while pulling or extracting a dagger from a sheath is usually a simple operation, reinserting it may require attention so that the point and edges do not pierce the sheath.

Another concern is that being a dagger, and being small, the hollow grind is usually shallow to preserve spine thickness, so you won't get the longevity of repeated sharpenings of a dagger that you would of a wide single-edged blade with a 10" hollow grind. As the dagger is sharpened (and it will be sharpened if it's used in daily carry), the metal will be worked away, and it can become thick in the grind. I talk about this in detail on my Blades page at this bookmark. Most people who have daggers use them sparingly, or they are for display or fine collections only.

Another concern is a legal one. Most locations in the United States prohibit carrying daggers in public areas. I know this sounds a bit foolish, as a large kitchen knife with an 8" blade could do as much or more harm or injury. These same public places may allow carry of a firearm, as long as it is not concealed. In our state, as in many others, it is up to a jury to determine the character of a knife if it plays a role in a crime, and a dagger's character is traditionally regarded as strictly a weapon. I've heard of beautiful investment grade daggers being "confiscated" by overzealous authorities, never to be seen again! They're probably in private collections now... with other confiscated daggers.

The final concern might be investment value. A beautiful gemstone handled dagger can be a solid, serious investment, but the value of the investment must be preserved. If the knife is used daily, repeatedly sharpened, scratched and dinged, the value of the knife diminishes, sometimes considerably depending on condition. A collector cannot reasonably expect an increase in value if a knife has been used enough to deface it or show serious signs of wear.

Return to Topics

Fine Athane, Athame, Leaf Blade Dagger, double hollow ground, gemstone handle, stainless steel, leather basketweave sheath, New Orleans "The Kid" in custom etched 440C high chromium stainess steel blade, 304 stainless bolsters, African Budstone gemstone handle, kydex, aluminum, steel sheath "The Kid" reverse side view in 440C stainless, custom etched design, African Budstone gemstone handle, nickel plated steel, aluminum, kydex sheath "The Kid" locking hookblade dagger in 440C stainless steel, 304 stainless steel fittings, Petrified Black Palm Wood gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath "Lynx" tactical combat dagger, CSAR grade in bead blasted 440C stainless steel, 304 stainless fittings, canvas micarta phenolic handle, kydex, aluminum, steel sheath "Warrior's Quill" parrying dagger in piecrced, hollow ground 440C stainless steel, hand-engraved blued pas d'ane, guard, pommel, Labradorite gemstone handle, Canarywood (Arririba) scabbard with hand-engraved chape fittings
"Grim Reaper" obverse side view in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Petrified Palm Wood gemstone handle, kydex, aluminum, nickel plated steel sheath, Python skin inlaid in hand-carved leather sheath
More about this Grim Reaper

How much do your daggers cost?

Like any fine handmade or custom knife, a dagger's cost and value depends on a variety of factors, and these are outlined on my FAQ page at this bookmark. A dagger is more challenging and expensive than a single edged knife or even a non-symmetrical double-edged knife because of the time and effort to create those balanced grinds. It would not make sense to take the time and effort to make an expertly ground dagger blade in a cheap way. Many daggers have fine and sculpted components, detailed embellishment, and rare handle materials. Sheaths, stands cases, and accoutrements should be commensurate with the quality of the blade, handle, and overall theme. For the beginning range of cost of a fine dagger, please refer to my Knife Prices page here. Please email me for a quote on your next dagger!

Return to Topics


"Conquistador" Fine Art Dagger: twist carbon damascus steel blade, antiqued blued steel guard, silver and Pietersite gemstone handle, engraved leather and silver sheath

Here's a knife I made many moons ago... back in 1993. Conquistador is a fine art dagger. The theme can be best described by a poem I wrote that accompanies the knife on an engraved black lacquered brass plaque:

Panting horses bear the strain
Of leather and steel in endless-chain.
Blazing sun in unfriendly land
Sears the temper by royal command.
Warriors march in reverence
Of holy faith and providence.

Conquistador has a blade made from low and high carbon steel, pattern welded damascus, hollow ground, etched, and highlight blued. I made the crossguard from mild steel, antiqued to match the finish of the damascus blade. The handle is a breathtaking stormy piece of polished Pietersite Agate gemstone from Africa, wrapped in sterling silver royal cross gallery wire. The accompanying sheath is made of engraved (yes, engraved) leather shoulder, with engraved silver plate  chape mouthpiece and chape tailpiece and decorative screws. The knife and sheath rest on a gemstone stand, sculpted from polished Indian green moss agate (pillars), lapped and polished Brazilian agate (base) and Pietersite agate and silver accents. A gorgeous piece reminiscent of time past.

Return to Topics



Main Purchase Tactical Specific Types Technical More
Home Page Where's My Knife, Jay? Current Tactical Knives for Sale The Awe of the Blade Blades My Photography
Website Overview Current Knives for Sale Tactical, Combat Knife Portal Museum Pieces Knife Anatomy Photographic Services
My Mission My Knife Prices All Tactical, Combat Knives Investment, Collector's Knives Custom Knives Photographic Images
The Finest Knives and You How To Order Counterterrorism Knives Daggers Modern Knifemaking Technology  
Featured Knives: Page One Purchase Finished Knives  Professional, Military Commemoratives Swords Knife Patterns  
Featured Knives: Page Two Order Custom Knives  USAF Pararescue Knives Folding Knives Knife Pattern Alphabetic List My Writing
Featured Knives: Page Three Knife Sales Policy  USAF Pararescue "PJ- Light" Chef's Knives New Materials First Novel
Featured Knives: Older/Early Bank Transfers  27th Air Force Special Operations Hunting Knives Factory vs. Handmade Knives Second Novel
Email Jay Fisher Custom Knife Design Fee  Khukris: Combat, Survival, Art Working Knives Six Distinctions of Fine Knives Knife Book
Contact, Locate Jay Fisher Delivery Times The Best Combat Locking Sheath Khukris Knife Styles  
FAQs My Shipping Method  Grip Styles, Hand Sizing   Business of Knifemaking Videos
Current, Recent Works, Events    Tactical Knife Sheath Accessories   Jay's Internet Stats  
Client's News and Info   Military Knife Care   The 3000th Term Links
Who Is Jay Fisher?   Serrations   Serrations  
Top 22 Reasons to Buy   Concealed Carry and Knives   Skeletonized Knives Site Table of Contents
My Knifemaking History       Handles, Bolsters, Guards  
My Family       Knife Handles: Gemstone  
What I Do And Don't Do       Gemstone Alphabetic List  
CD ROM Archive       Knife Handles: Woods  
Publications, Publicity       Knife Handles: Horn, Bone, Ivory  
Letters and Emails       Knife Handles: Manmade Materials  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 1       Knife Sheaths  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 2       Knife Stands and Cases  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 3 Knife Embellishment
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 4       Knife Maker's Marks  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 5       How to Care for Custom Knives  
Funny Letters and Emails, Pg. 6       Knife Making Instruction  
        Larger Monitors and Knife Photos  
  Copyright and Knives
        440C: A Love/Hate Affair  
        ATS-34: Chrome/Moly Tough  
        D2: Wear Resistance King  
        O1: Oil Hardened Blued Beauty  
Knife Blade Testing
        Cities of the Knife  
Heat Treating and
Cryogenic Processing of
Knife Blade Steels
        Knife Shop/Studio, Page 1