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Myles Mulkey





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PostPosted: Tue 13 Oct, 2009 1:17 pm    Post subject: Messer distal taper?         Reply with quote

Hello everybody,

I'm wondering what the blade properties of your typical "grosse messer" or "langes messer" are like, specifically in terms of distal taper. I've developed a real liking for messers lately, and I'm curious to learn more about their typical dimensions. Thanks.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2009 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a bump to keep this current.

I guess I should be more specific about what I'm asking.

It's my understanding that messers are mostly straight except for a curved portion near the point. My question is, first of all, what degree of distal taper exists on these swords? And second of all, is the distal taper uniform down the whole blade, or does it start at a specific spot, halfway down the blade for example?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2009 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Myles,
You probably won't like this answer, but here it is anyway:

It depends. Happy Messers come in quite a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are completely straight with an iscoles triangle profile, while others are curved. Some have a straight spine and a curved belly, and others are mostly straight with a slight curve near the point. Taper is also a quite varied. I've seen some that had a "T"-like cross section, with the edge being very thin right until it reaches the spine, and with very little distal taper. I've read of others that start thick at the base and have a lot of distal taper towards the point. I'm certain there are many other variations as well. So, unfortunately, asking what the distal taper is like on messers is somewhat like asking "How long is a piece of string?"

Hope that isn't too frustrating, but unfortunately these kind of answers are the case more often than not.

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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Hi Myles,
You probably won't like this answer, but here it is anyway:

It depends. Happy Messers come in quite a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are completely straight with an iscoles triangle profile, while others are curved. Some have a straight spine and a curved belly, and others are mostly straight with a slight curve near the point. Taper is also a quite varied. I've seen some that had a "T"-like cross section, with the edge being very thin right until it reaches the spine, and with very little distal taper. I've read of others that start thick at the base and have a lot of distal taper towards the point. I'm certain there are many other variations as well. So, unfortunately, asking what the distal taper is like on messers is somewhat like asking "How long is a piece of string?"

Hope that isn't too frustrating, but unfortunately these kind of answers are the case more often than not.

Haha, no that's not frustrating at all. That actually gives me room to play with when it comes to producing my own. Thanks for your help, Bill. I'm thinking of doing a relatively straight blade with a curve towards the tip, with a slight (nothing too drastic) distal taper throughout. I hope it turns out in steel as nice as it is in my head Laughing Out Loud Thanks again. Cheers.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Oct, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to add to this topic but I do want to add one tidbit. As of late, I've become much more informed abuot these things (by asking the right questions of those who have first-hand experience with various types of messer). I've been surprised at how thin many examples of the grosse messer are, particular at the tip. These things really are just large knives and, perhaps more often than not, taper to quite a great degree towards the tip. Many are quite thin--perhaps seeming almost fragile to modern collectors--and the overall pieces much lighter than what we have often seen in the reproduction market.

I remember Eric McHugh (former head of R&D at Albion) making a comment about a very different type of weapon (in this case, the original on which their Tritonia was based) where he mentioned surprise at how thin the last quarter of the blade was. He said it was almost like having a steak knife on the end of another sword blade. Happy I always liked that comment as it made me re-think many swords' design attributes.

So, to those wanting to make these types of weapons, I encourage one not to be afraid to go too thin and to avoid overbuilding them. Remember, of course, that these weapons really are large knives.

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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri 16 Oct, 2009 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot to add to this topic but I do want to add one tidbit. As of late, I've become much more informed abuot these things (by asking the right questions of those who have first-hand experience with various types of messer). I've been surprised at how thin many examples of the grosse messer are, particular at the tip. These things really are just large knives and, perhaps more often than not, taper to quite a great degree towards the tip. Many are quite thin--perhaps seeming almost fragile to modern collectors--and the overall pieces much lighter than what we have often seen in the reproduction market.

I remember Eric McHugh (former head of R&D at Albion) making a comment about a very different type of weapon (in this case, the original on which their Tritonia was based) where he mentioned surprise at how thin the last quarter of the blade was. He said it was almost like having a steak knife on the end of another sword blade. Happy I always liked that comment as it made me re-think many swords' design attributes.

So, to those wanting to make these types of weapons, I encourage one not to be afraid to go too thin and to avoid overbuilding them. Remember, of course, that these weapons really are large knives.

I'll keep that in mind, Nathan. Thanks for your help. I've never actually held a messer, reproduction or otherwise, so it's good to hear from people who have the experience. I should have my forge repaired by Thanksgiving (would be sooner but college comes first, you know...). By December, I should have a finished messer and I'll post some picks. Which reminds me, I never put up pics of my pattern welded migration sword... because that did NOT go well, haha Laughing Out Loud
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