Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > By-knive, prick configutation on Messer scabbard Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Michael Pikula
Industry Professional



Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 07 Jun 2008

Posts: 411

PostPosted: Mon 01 Mar, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject: By-knive, prick configutation on Messer scabbard         Reply with quote

I have been doing some research and looking at period art trying to figure out how the by-knives and pricks were incorporated into scabbards. Got a few hopefully quick questions.

Was the by-knife set above or below the pricker?
If there were two by-knives, was the pricker above, in the middle, or below the two knives?

Does this orientation even matter or perhaps personal preference?

If there were two by-knives would they be the same, or would you expect to see a different size or blade shape between the two?

It seems like most of the by-knives/prickers are located fairly high up the scabbard which would make them easily accessible, although there is at least one picture where it is located further down the scabbard. Is there any indication, first hand or research, that suggests if the scabbards where made so that the messer would have to be drawn to remove and use the by-knife? Most of the grips on by-knives seem to be at least halfway covered in their sheaths so I don't think one would have to worry about them falling out.

If needed I can attach pictures or links to what I have been looking at but they are posted so many times that I don't know if yet another posting is warranted.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Peter Johnsson
Industry Professional



Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 3
Posts: 1,757

PostPosted: Mon 01 Mar, 2010 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Often, but not always, the by knives are placed so that you need to shift the big blade to remove the smaller knives (as the nagel interferes with the drawing of the by knives).
The garniture of smaller blades is as a rule arranged side by side with the awl/pricker/steel placed among them/along side. It is like a small bouqet of flowers :-)
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Michael Pikula
Industry Professional



Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 07 Jun 2008

Posts: 411

PostPosted: Mon 01 Mar, 2010 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent, Thanks Peter.

Would it be more common to see both the by-knives the same size or should there be some variation?
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 664

PostPosted: Tue 02 Mar, 2010 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael, in the early 18th century French forager's hanger I owned a few years back, the two bye-knives were slightly different - one had a clip pointed blade, while the other had a slightly longer, more slender leaf shaped blade. The pricker was seated between them, in a slightly outside and just a bit below pocket. The knives' pocket was a bit more "incorporated" affair with the main scabbard. The entire thing was cored with extremely thin wood, covered in leather, with a locke and chape of thin brass. The hanger had to be slightly drawn from the scabbard, so its shell guard uncovered the pommels of the bye-knives, allowing them or the pricker to be removed. The whole affair was very light - probably no more than a pound, perhaps a bit less, and right at 24 inches long. The bye-knives and pricker were all around 6 inches or so. Hope this offers further useful insight!
Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
View user's profile Send private message
Johan S. Moen




Location: Kristiansand, Norway
Joined: 26 Jan 2004

Posts: 259

PostPosted: Tue 02 Mar, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Pikula wrote:

Would it be more common to see both the by-knives the same size or should there be some variation?


I'd think that, if you're going to have two by-knives, it wouldn't make sense to have two identical ones(unless one is your favourite all-rounder, and you think you might need a backup...); you'd probably have two knives for two or more different purposes. Granted, they could end up the same size I guess, but I'd at least expect the blades to be different.

Johan Schubert Moen
View user's profile Send private message
Michael Pikula
Industry Professional



Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 07 Jun 2008

Posts: 411

PostPosted: Tue 02 Mar, 2010 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been searching and looking at various by-knives, and most of them seem fairly similar in their shape. The length and width of the blade is the main changing factor that I have run across. Would one that is long and skinny, and another that is shorter and wider seem like an appropriate pair to find grouped together?

I haven't been able to find a clip point by-knife, I found several that are larger then what I would expect to see on a messer scabbard. If it is any help I am looking at around mid 1400 for a time frame.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 09 Jun 2007
Likes: 7 pages
Reading list: 11 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 425

PostPosted: Wed 03 Mar, 2010 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I scanned a couple of images of what I think could be considered some blades that would fall under the classification of "clip point". They're from "Knives and Scabbards" written by J. Cowgill, M. De Neergaard, and N. Griffiths, published by Boydell Press and reproduced here with permission.


 Attachment: 55.2 KB
scan0002.jpg
86. Blade length 109mm, width 16mm, thickness 2mm.

 Attachment: 116.92 KB
Right of #45, Blade length 120mm, width 19mm, thickness 2mm, whittle tang length 61mm. [ Download ]

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > By-knive, prick configutation on Messer scabbard
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum