Commando Dagger Project

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
As with all things commando, the origins of me getting started in the project are a secret (for now).

Long story short, is I am gonna make some old school commando daggers. Marine Raider, Fairbairn / Sykes, V42 kinda old school.

In fact I am gonna start the proto work on the tracer lathe at school on Monday.

I am pretty stoked about this little project. I only had a passing interest in these daggers until this was brought to me a few weeks ago.

Now that I have been studying these knives more, I have a better appreciation for where we have come with military knives over the last 75 years. I imagine I will have even more after I have made a few.

I have some serious knife project ADD and I think all my plotting is starting to annoy the Wife. I think that she wants me to actually finish a project before I start another. Weird, must be an Austrian thing?




Denny Eller

Well-Known Member
Great idea, Les! I bought a Fairbairn-Sykes from a A/N surplus catalog in the late 50's. It was my favorite thrower with great balance. Then one day it just snapped in two. I remember the metal looking real grainy inside, sort of like pot metal. The design, however, was fantastic. Side note: I also bought a 1917 Enfield Bayonet with scabbard that I still have today. It is built like a tank and weighs about the same. I think I paid around $5 or $6 for it (from my lawn mowing money). The surplus company was P&S Sales, if any of you old timers remember them. I always found their ads in the back of my Dad's hunting magazines.
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Les George

Admin - Founding Member
I hear ya Denny! :)

The Marine Raider's knife and the F/S are very similar. The Raider's knives handles where cast outta some kinda zinc junk that likes to eat it's self and fall apart. As a result most of them are in poor shape these days.

I have been reading the book that Wilkinsons Swords of UK fame put about about their work on the F/S daggers. They talk about the Shanghai Knives that inspired the F/S designs and according to this book W.E. Fairbairn received a knife from Yeaton and Moore, both United States Marines in 1933.

Lt.Col. Yeaton was the Commanding Officer of 3rd Marine Raiders Bn in 1943.

From Wickipedia:

The U.S. Marine Raider Stiletto was designed for one purpose: killing the enemy, and its design was not compromised. The stiletto was a finely designed, almost delicate, single-purpose weapon, which did not include a variety of other tasks normally associated with a machete or utility knife.
The KA-BAR was and still is an excellent all around, multi-purpose utility and fighting knife, but when it comes to the thrust to a vital portion of the human body, the slender straight blade design of the stiletto is more efficient, concentrating more force than a broad bellied blade, such as a bowie knife.
Marine Raiders were instructed not to use their stiletto for throwing because once the knife was thrown; the Raider would no longer have a knife to use in combat.
USMC Major General Oscar F. Peatross a veteran of the famous, Makin Island raid and author of the book, Bless 'em All: The Raider Marines of World War II ISBN 0965232506 recalled about the stiletto:
“ "It was pointed out that it should never be thrown (Denny), as it was designed as a hand-held weapon to be used only in combat. It was also pointed out that it was brittle and would break even if just dropped, particularly the point." ”
— M.G. Oscar F. Peatross, USMC retired​
Due to the thin tip, even thinner than the tip of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife, the stiletto was not designed to be used for opening ration cans or as a pry bar to open cases.
The Marine Raiders found they could fit the sheath behind the standard issue M1911 pistol holster by inserting the sheath body between the holster body and belt attachment flap and tying the tip of the sheath and holster together with the tie-down thong. This gave them more room on their web belt and made the pistol and stiletto available to the right hand.
Quite an education it's been.... I'm already thinking about some M1918 Trench Knives.... :):)


Super Moderator and KD Blade Show Boss
The F/S is one of my all time favorite designs. Time and time again I have debated over purchasing a repro, but have always steered clear of them. Of course, I'd love to have an original but the price is just more than I can afford for a look pretty that I would never use.

So, when are they going into the inventory Les. I'd probably buy a George interpretation.

Denny Eller

Well-Known Member
Les, try telling a 12 year old boy not to throw a knife that sticks almost every time. I was doing fine throwing it into an old dead elm tree with no bark. But when I threw it at a telephone pole it broke about an inch in front of the guard. My heart broke shortly thereafter. I really liked that knife. I've been looking at the WWI "Pigsticker" trench knives lately, too.

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
Did a little rockin on the old lathe today. Lathe is probably old enough to have turned the very first F/S dagger, if it would have been on the right continent. Heck the thing is probably older than Denny! :)

Aluminum trial #1 - Aluminum is too light for the real deal.



Well-Known Member
Looks good but i think you are missing a design point you can take advantage of with the Al handle. The handle can be weighted precisely with the use of carbide inserts it is a lot better then the pot metal used in WWII and post.

Les George

Admin - Founding Member
Here we go!

OK, few min to go, time for a little breakfast! :)

Time stamp and some materials...

Get that CPM 154 up in the mill and get some machining in progress! :)

So here, I'm a jackass. I wanted to machine the fullers in and thought it would be cool if I ran it up one side then stepped over .005 inches and down the other, so I could get a nice clean cut on both sides.

This is what happens with a fancy pants CAD program when you put the mill bit on the wrong side of the line....

So, I get to start over....

But now we are back on track!

Now some steel for the guard... Fist I cut the inside pocket for the blade.

Then the outside..

I was thinking about going thicker, now Im glad that I didnt. I will end up thinning this out quite a bit.

I need a nap, but it's back to work for me! :)