The history of the Dha, dha-lwe or daarb, is the history of cultural exchanges with neighboring China and its Dao, and the later influence of Japanese swords as can be seen at the bottom here.
My interest in swords is divided into their beauty and their usage. In the later case, I am more interested in studying, absorbing and developing sheathed techniques with swords or disarming than in purely staying with one style.


These dha have different blade shapes. The left one is very much based on the exchanges with neighboring China as the blade widens where it is most needed. The right one is much less wider and therefore closer to a Japanese katana in shape.


The design that will unfold has a basic utilitarian basis: the scabbard and handle are to be used as first defensive weapons, while the blade itself is a "last resource" weapon.
For this reason the scabbard has to be made with a strong wood, and the same applies to the handle.

The blade is to be a work of art in W2 steel as suggested by Jesus Hernandez.

Once the preliminary explanations have been given, it is time to provide some specifications.

Nagasa: 21 inches
Section: hira zukuri
Nakago: 9.5 inches
Thickness at mune: 5 mm
Motohaba: 3.5 cm (35 mm)
Curve: this blade, due to its length would be a tori-zori, with it's deepest curve below 1 inch. This is final
Habaki: for security purposes I suggest the hybridation of the blade with a thin 1 inch/1.5 inch habaki in copper. The hold of the blade is very important.
Comments: The blade width (motohaba and sakihaba) should never exceed 35 mm so as to provide a good hold of the saya's mouth.

Blade edge hardness at 60 RC

This is a rendition only of the blade in sanmai with a flaring handle using tiger figure maple for the middle part of the 12.5 inches long tsuka. The fuchi would be of blackened wrought iron.
The blade should not have too much niku and be very sharp. The tip (kissaki) should be created by Jesus Hernandez for maximum strength. Does not need to be so pointy if it weakens the blade.

In this other side rendition we can see the handle with two horn mekugi, a fuchi in blackened wrought iron, a horn koiguchi to ensure a good grip and a hard wood painted black and clear lacquered, finished by a wrought iron kojiri.
It is important to understand that the kojiri is a striking point, while the handle's end is another striking point along with the entire handle. The scabbard should be strong to be able to block forearms movements, mainly kiri-oroshi and it would also be used to blows to the rib cage, to the forearms or lower parts.
Scabbard should be 26 inches long.

This is a top view of the mountings, therefore indicating that the entire set of mountings is not of oval shape but rather a rectangle with rounded edges. It allows for a thicker wood which means stronger.
Note: concerning the handle, the tiger maple could be just a thin piece of veneer glued to the full handle for added strength. No compromise on strength.

The inspiration for the figured curly maple came from this billiard queue. It looked very beautiful.

Here are the dha perspective of the sections and in the far right it is the saya and tsuka section shape: a rectangle with rounded corners.
Here the kashira can be seen as well as the horn koiguchi.


The handle and the scabbard sections are aligned. The saya minimum width is 5.5 cm (55 mm) with a 10 mm are each side for a stronger gluing. With this size the surface to be bonded is wider, thus ensuring a stronger bond.


The blade will be used to cut paper only, and will be drawn by pulling the scabbard with the left hand and the blade out with the right hand. It is a left hand held weapon for study and blade beauty display.
In no way the blade beauty is underestimated. I just concentrated more on the rest for explanation purposes.


Jesus Hernandez came back with his Auto CAD renditions with accurate measurements.

The tsuka section will be a rectangle with rounded corners measuring 1.5 inches by 0.75-0.85 inches. The radius of the corners will 0.25-0.3 inches.

-Wrought iron kashira measuring 0.25 inches in length.
-Followed by an ebony section measuring 2 inches.
-Followed by a bubinga section measuring 6.5 inches.
-Followed by another ebony section measuring 2 inches. This part flares at the end to meet the next section.
-A final section of wrought iron of 0.25 inches length that will match in transverse section the dimensions of the saya (2 inches by 0.75-0.85 inches). I will call that a pseudo-tsuba since it functions as a tsuba but is is glued to the tsuka as an integral part of it and not detachable.
Antonio's comments:
Agreed entirely but would suggest a little bit more of curve on the wood flaring towards the fuchi-tsuba.
Suggest that tsuka is epoxyed to nakago for added strength.

Saya size is perfect for a good grip.

Tsuka looks perfect seen from top.
Clear lacquer should be a hard and resistant one.

As a methodical person and smith, Jesus Hernandez drew the blade straight for his own guidance and sent the photos of the drawing. In fact the dha as is it is a light and fast blade. By adding the wood handle we both had the same concern about the weight of the handle. So JH decided to reduce the weight of the tang (nakago) and lengthen it more to absorb the end part of the ebony handle.





Working Project for Jesus Hernandez by Antonio Cejunior