Dune Crysknife - Book Version?

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nick daring

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Has anyone ever constructed a custom Crysknife based on the description from the book?

While I truly love the look of Lynch's Dune to death the crysknife design never matched up to what I had in my minds eye when reading the book.

From Frank Herbert's origianl Dune novel-
Slowly, Mapes reached into the neck of her dress, brought out a dark sheath. A black handle with deep finger ridges protruded from it. She took sheath in one hand and handle in the other, withdrew a milk-white blade, held it up. The blade seemed to shine and glitter with a light of its own. It was double-edged like a kindjal and the blade was perhaps twenty centimeters long. "Do you know this, my Lady?" Mapes asked.
It could only be one thing, Jessica knew, the fabled crysknife of Arrakis, the blade that had never been taken off the planet, and was known only by rumor and wild gossip.
This description is troubling since he uses the word "blade" to not only describe the cutting part of the knife but also the knife as a whole object. This makes guaging the length of a crysknife troublesome. I would either be a total length of 20 cm or about 32 cm with a 20 cm blade and a 12 cm handle.

Also to add to some wierdness, I found this quote from God Emperor of Dune-

Leto placed the box on the bed of his cart, opened the glowing lid and removed a crysknife. Idaho recognized the blade immediately--the hawk engraved on the handle's butt, the green jewels at the hilt.
The crysknife of Paul Muad'Dib!

While the movie design visually communicates the worm-tooth origin of the Crysknife but it sadly doesn't match the book version.

crysknife.jpg


Nick
 
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Forsaken

Well-Known Member
Frank Herbert’s Dune is a true masterpiece of Science Fiction.
I’m going to have to reread it again soon.

Al
 

PlanetLII

Well-Known Member
I too am a big fan of the books. I am currently re-reading them again and slogging through the boring and IMO pointless prequels first.

I wanted a knife and did quite a bit of looking around and couldn't find any made using the books description. That is not to say no one has made one but I didn't turn anything up and believe me, I put quite a lot of hours into it.

I settled on a film version that was a third gen casting from a production piece made by a very helpful member here and I am absolutely thrilled with it.

Although it doesn't match the books description, I always imagine the films imagery when reading them now anyway.

I think that in a lot of ways, Lynch and the design department got it spot on and though the film lacked in confusing story, visually it is amazing.
 
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dualedge

Sr Member
I'm a fellow fan... I have a nice replica of the Lynch version and an original prop that was used in the not-so-stellar Children of Dune series on Scifi though it's the exact same style used in the Dune mini-series.

I can't say what's definitely 'right' or 'wrong' obviously... I guess it's really more of a 'salt-to-taste' type of thing. To me, the miniseries version is closest to the book version in my opinion though it's definitely not remotely "milk white" and lacks the finger grooves.

I don't like the fan renderings above. My impression from the quote from Dune above is that the blade itself is 20 cm long not including the handle which would make the overall length longer. That's my take on it and has been from the first time I read the book. Just my humble opinion.

I still get the feeling that the whole knife is carved from a tooth, including the handle so the fan renderings above don't work for me at all in that respect. Also, I'm not sure the blade should have the s-curve either.

I think if I were going to make one, I'd take the mini-series version, straighten the s-curve of the blade, remove the leather wrapping, carve finger grooves in it and make it very white... preferably a strong white color and, if possible, cast it so that it'd be ever so slightly translucent like a real tooth would be.
 

morpheus13

Well-Known Member
While it might not match the description I have always really liked the Lynch knife. Very organic and believable, in a sci-fi sorta way :) I am particulary fond of the FX prop you have pictured above ;)

I also like the mini series version but in many ways I think they just based it off the Lynch version but made it much more simple. I have 4 of those from the series, both the small and larger versions in both the stunt rubber and hero metal. I also own the Lynch knife above.
 
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SmilingOtter

Master Member
Of course, with the vast number of Fremen, in the large number of seitches, I'd be very surprised if every crysknife were identical...
 

Force Commander

Sr Member
I just so happen to be reading these again myself. I have been paying close attention to the descriptions trying to design one for myself. It has been more of a challenge than I expected.

One more item of note: It says the blade has a hollow up the center where the nerve went through. It is in this hollow toward the tip of the blade that one can add poisons to the blade.
 

dualedge

Sr Member
One more item of note: It says the blade has a hollow up the center where the nerve went through. It is in this hollow toward the tip of the blade that one can add poisons to the blade.


Interesting... is that in the first Dune novel or one of the sequels? I don't remember that part but it makes sense.

I know in one of the prequel novels where they explore the origins of the Fremen, it covers a bit about the boy that first manages to get one of the sandworm teeth and he uses it as-is.

I'd also agree with Otter... I don't think every knife would necessarily be 100% identical. Similar but not identical, thus the more ornate version of Paul's later on in the series.

Also, as I'm sure you guys will recall, there were "fixed" knives and "unfixed" knives. The "unfixed" knives would disintegrate if not kept in close proximity of the owner's skin for a period of time which is another reason why the Harkonnens couldn't ever manage to find one. I believe there's a mention of that where the book states the Harkonnens had a reward for any captured crysknife. Obviously most of the knives would have been "unfixed" judging by the way the book talks about them. And there's no description in the first book as to how you could tell the two apart...

Mike, the one I got was one of the cast aluminum hero blades from Children of Dune. I was surprised they made them out of metal instead of resin...
 

morpheus13

Well-Known Member
Mike, the one I got was one of the cast aluminum hero blades from Children of Dune. I was surprised they made them out of metal instead of resin...

Crazy right? The possible explanation that I tend to believe in was that it was actually cheaper to pour them in metal in a foundry rather than import quality casting resin to where ever it was in Europe that they fabricated them.

Of all the stunt knives and guns Ive owned that were supposed to look like metal but were made in foam, I found it really funny that a knife meant to look like bone (or resin for that matter) would be made of metal.
 

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terryr

Sr Member
I had the impression it was a worms tooth, unchanged, just like a sharks tooth, with a handle around the 'root'.
Funny that a worm couldn't tolerate any moisture but its' tooth could be held in a sweaty hand.
 

Force Commander

Sr Member
The books actually suggest that the fremen don't sweat much, let alone cry. But it you cut someone with a knife, you'd be expecting blood. Hard to bleed dust.
 

Robot Monster

Sr Member
I had the impression it was a worms tooth, unchanged, just like a sharks tooth, with a handle around the 'root'.
Funny that a worm couldn't tolerate any moisture but its' tooth could be held in a sweaty hand.

I never thought that the teeth would have a problem with water. I do also remember that Freman do apply some kind of plant matter to the hands to prevent moisture loss. Can't tell you what book it's been years.
 

dualedge

Sr Member
I had the impression it was a worms tooth, unchanged, just like a sharks tooth, with a handle around the 'root'.
Funny that a worm couldn't tolerate any moisture but its' tooth could be held in a sweaty hand.



In one of the prequel books, as I mentioned, it chronicles the early years of a boy that eventually founds the fremen way of life. He uses an unmodified tooth but otherwise the first Dune book describes the knife as double-edged like a kindjal with a carved hand grip. That doesn't sound "unmodified" to me.

Also, the nature of the knives disentegrating to my understanding didn't have anything to do with moisture and even so, it is apparent in the first book knives can be "fixed" so that they won't disentegrate at all. Unfixed blades had to be kept close to a living body or they would disentegrate. I'd have to look up the specific part to recall how Herbert phrased it but it wasn't due to moisture. If it were moisture that caused it to disentegrate, it wouldn't make a very good knife. Everybody sweats and the knives were stuck in people (i.e. covered in blood) from time to time.

In the first book it talks about how baby sandworms were drowned for their bile, otherwise called the 'water of life' (bile, of course, would naturally have to have moisture to be bile). It doesn't say they have no moisture in their bodies. Chemically altered 'water of life' (altered by the reverend mother of the tribe) was then used to booby trap a pre-spice-mass in order to threaten the destruction of all spice production on the planet.

I'm not as familiar with the sequels but the first book never gives any indication that the worms have a *complete* lack of moisture and can't tolerate ANY moisture... I mean, they can't swim and they wouldn't like water in any amount but everything living has to have moisture.

Do the sequel books say the worms can't tolerate *any* amount of moisture?
 
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PlanetLII

Well-Known Member
Sandworms don't like moisture at all.
The sandtrout (pre-worm silica organism) trap all the water which is why Arrakis (Dune) is a desert.
In The God Emperor of Dune Leto (who merges with the sandtrout to become a worm human hybrid) actually feels pain at moisture in the air.
If I remember right he mentions the pain of water a few times.
 

nick daring

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The knives in their unixed state must keep in contact with a human electro magnetic force or they slowly crumble away. That is why they are never found laying around for non-fremen to get a hold of. Aparantly fixed blades are rare.

And also, I believe a Crysknife is not supposed to be sheathed without spilling blood first.

Nick
 

PlanetLII

Well-Known Member
The first encounter of a worm's tooth from 'The Butlerian Jihad' found by Selim wormrider:

He looked up at the daggerlike fangs, curved shards that lined the wide smelly mouth.
The young outcast grabbed it with both hands, feeling how hard it was, a material even stronger than metal.
With a supressed grunt, Selim uprooted the fang.
It was as long as his forearm, curved and pure and glistening with milky whiteness. It woul make an excellent knife.

Selim also finds another later in the book:

Selim saw something glint in the moonlight, lost in the broken rocks against which the furious worm had smashed itself. Another crystalline tooth, a longer one. Selim reached down and plucked the curved, milky weapon.

The references of crystalline and milky appear throughout the books.
As to the length, I suppose if you measured your forearm you wouldn't be wrong as they varied slightly in length.

As Sandworms have rings of teeth, I suppose it make sense that they would be of varying sizes as with sharks teeth.
 

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