After such a productive first week, I got very little done today. Jo had her oldest school friend and her partner visit. I did manage an hour or so either side of their visit. I started by tracing out a male plug (mold) from the 2 half female mdf molds that came in the kit. I mistakenly thought they were molds for the dagger cases so I had Schionning post me a full size paper plot sheet which they gladly did. When I realised I already had the plot in the 2 female mdf halves I traced onto mdf the male opposite and cut them out with a jigsaw. It took me 4 goes to get 2 good ones, they need to be as close to exact as can be.
The reason they give female half molds in the kit is most people plane and sand the dagger blank down to shape and use the female to run along the dagger to ensure they have the right shape and profile as they go not stopping sanding or planing until the female half matches exactly their now shaped blank. This is a difficult, laborious and time consuming method. I have seen pictures on a few websites of an alternate method with the use of a router and rails to adjust the router height to a male mold attached to the end of the blank. Marcus is another Schionning builder in WA who kindly sent me pictures of his set up of the same method and it strikes me as a lot easier way to make a dagger.
The usual method of making a dagger either from foam or solid cedar is to make strips of varying width the length of the board so that the minimum of shaping is needed and the minimum material wasted. Whilst I agree with this, it does mean a little more work than just making a thin strip of foam to pad out the blank in the middle sections where the foam is not quite thick enough, by about 10mm for about a 100mm wide strip either side of the spine.
The spine of the dagger has recently been revised from a solid western red cedar strip 120mm wide the length of the board to 3 13mm duflex sheets 120mm wide the length of the board laminated together. I cut the duflex parts for the spine and will laminate them tomorrow. Then once they are laminated each side of the spine then has 7 layers of 450g uni staggered the length of the board laminated to each side. The spine is then glued to the foam either side and once set the blank can be shaped.