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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Jan, 2011 8:27 pm    Post subject: Messer trainers from Arms and Armor         Reply with quote

A little while back I called Arms and Armor up to discuss a project. I wanted a steel messer for training purposes on the market that was in the price range of the Arms and Armor Scholar Sword. And I didn't just want -my- ideal messer; rather, I wanted something that would be available on the market to everyone, so that when students of mine say that they want a trainer in the $400 range, I would have an answer for them. I had several ideas, and talked it over with Craig Johnson on how we could keep the quality and functionality up but still keep the price down. Craig succeeded with flying colors.

Pictured are the two prototypes. I've had them for a couple of months now and have put them to use. Also, people who were at the recent event Longpoint in Maryland got a chance to check them out and use them. There are a few tweaks Craig is going to do to the final model, but this is basically what you're going to get. (Most people have commented that they like the looks of the guard with the diamond cross section, so I suspect that is the guard that will go on the final version, but I don't know for certain.)

I don't want to publish official stats, since these are only the prototypes and the final version will have some minor changes that will alter the stats, but all in all these are quality trainers. They handle very well, they move easily, and they are tough as nails. In fact, after a couple of months of use they still look surprisingly new, with only some minor scrapes in the finish.

Bottom line: If you are looking for a high quality steel messer trainer that is in the mid-range price of the market, you finally have an option, and it's a damn good option.



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Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Michael B.
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PostPosted: Mon 24 Jan, 2011 8:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GREEAAT. Just when I thought my quota was filled for the year, this comes along.
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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Jan, 2011 9:58 pm    Post subject: messers         Reply with quote

Wow! Those look awesome! Can't wait to see the final product Big Grin
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Jan, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael B. wrote:
GREEAAT. Just when I thought my quota was filled for the year, this comes along.


Wow, and to think later this spring I'll be covering the messer in my Longsword class.... too bad you don't live in Anchorage to take advantage of these classes.

Oh wait, you do... Razz

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Mark T




PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 2:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
.... too bad you don't live in Anchorage to take advantage of these classes.

Oh wait, you do... Razz


Wish I did! Happy

Back on topic: thanks for this, Bill ... great timing: looks like you've just saved a few of us from going for the new Hanwei option ... this will be so much better. Now, where's Craig's phone number ...

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Thomas R.




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not familiar with Messers, but they seem a wee bit too long for me? I always thought the Messer were shorter, more lika a one handed Sword or a long Bauernwehr?
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
I am not familiar with Messers, but they seem a wee bit too long for me? I always thought the Messer were shorter, more lika a one handed Sword or a long Bauernwehr?


Well, it depends on the messer, as some are quite long. You see the exact same range as you do with any single hand sword.

Despite that, I did actually suggest to Craig that he make these a couple of inches shorter. The length now is perfect for me, but I'm also 6' 2", so I recommended he make the standard model slightly shorter so as to make a wider range of people happier.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Aron M.





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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why is it that the training messers being produced (Hanwei, Albion, now AA) bear little resemblance to the ones pictured in manuscript? From Lecküchner, to Kal, to Falkner, the illustrated messers have wider blades, clipped points, etc.
Most of what I'm seeing appear to be a sword blade with a quasi-messer hilt (where are the bird's beak pommels?).
So, I guess I'm asking... Is it historical messers bore no resemblance to the ones depicted in the manuals, or is there some other reason for this departure from the depicted form?
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 7:14 am    Post subject: Messer prototypes         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

While we have not got the final form of these set as yet, part of how we go about developing training weapons, I can add a few things to Bill's description to let folks know where we are focused on these.

As with all of our training pieces we want to be in the historic design envelope of period examples at a price that was attainable for the mainline practitioners. This all needs to be done with a sword that will give a long and solid service to its owner. Probably much like the makers of the period would have approached the issue Happy

Our length will probably end up in the 35 to 36 inch range, the items pictured are a bit longer. Its always easier to knock a bitoff than try to add something Eek! Weight will probably be 2.5 lbs or under. It will be affected by final guard design size of nagel and such.

The center of gravity is not set as yet as some of the changes we plan will probably affect this but I would think we are in a 3 plus inch range?

Our process for developing the training items is a bit different than our replica process. After some intense research we discuss with Those teaching and practicing the style of combat the sword will be used for. Then prototypes are put through extensive use and practice with these Western Martial Artists and their feed back and needs are incorporated into the final products. This, we think, produces a better product and one that is user friendly than just trying to create a piece in the style. It also allows use to get something that meets a larger percentage of the people interested in the piece with a sword they feel good about.

If there is one aspect to building training items for the WMA community has taught us is there is no one sword that will satisfy everyone. This is one aspect of why we design to modes in which some variability is possible down the road to meet the needs of as many as we can.

We like to think of it as we do not make swords for everyone but we do make swords for people who love swords Happy

As this process has gone quite well for these items and the need seems strong, already had someone put a deposit down on the first one off the line Happy we will be fast tracking some of our production on this so I hope others will be interested and it will full fill a need for all that feel it!

Best
Craig
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aron M. wrote:
Why is it that the training messers being produced (Hanwei, Albion, now AA) bear little resemblance to the ones pictured in manuscript? From Lecküchner, to Kal, to Falkner, the illustrated messers have wider blades, clipped points, etc.
Most of what I'm seeing appear to be a sword blade with a quasi-messer hilt (where are the bird's beak pommels?).
So, I guess I'm asking... Is it historical messers bore no resemblance to the ones depicted in the manuals, or is there some other reason for this departure from the depicted form?


I mentioned this on SFI, but a lot of those details will raise the price. While certain features are easier in a one-off weapon, when you are making a mass-produced one it changes some of the methods. Making a historical pommel line up with the wood with the slab grip is tricky, so A&A ended up using the modern kitchen knife method of rivetting two slabs of metal to the tang rather than making a historical pommel because it helps keep the price down. Likewise, a wider blade requires a lot more grind work to keep the weight in reason, so that would also jack the price up.

Albion's messer does have a clipped point, but for the A&A I told Craig that I wanted these to be in the range of the Scholar sword, otherwise there's almost no point in making them. In that light, Craig added as few "frills" as possible while still making something that looks more or less like a historical messer.

And then there's the other aspect where historical messers come in all sorts of different shapes and designs (even within the fencing treatises alone), so any messer you make is going to look very different from a lot of other messers.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aron M. wrote:
Why is it that the training messers being produced (Hanwei, Albion, now AA) bear little resemblance to the ones pictured in manuscript? From Lecküchner, to Kal, to Falkner, the illustrated messers have wider blades, clipped points, etc.
Most of what I'm seeing appear to be a sword blade with a quasi-messer hilt (where are the bird's beak pommels?).
So, I guess I'm asking... Is it historical messers bore no resemblance to the ones depicted in the manuals, or is there some other reason for this departure from the depicted form?


I don't speak for any of the manufacturers, and I don't know if what I'm going to say applies in this case, but it has often been noted that a training blade of exactly the same dimensions as a sharp won't have the sharp's dynamics, which would miss the point of training. A blunt with the historic blade profile would be too blade heavy.

-Sean

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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 7:24 am    Post subject: Objective         Reply with quote

Aron M. wrote:
Why is it that the training messers being produced (Hanwei, Albion, now AA) bear little resemblance to the ones pictured in manuscript? From Lecküchner, to Kal, to Falkner, the illustrated messers have wider blades, clipped points, etc.
Most of what I'm seeing appear to be a sword blade with a quasi-messer hilt (where are the bird's beak pommels?).
So, I guess I'm asking... Is it historical messers bore no resemblance to the ones depicted in the manuals, or is there some other reason for this departure from the depicted form?


Hi Aron

While I can not answer for the other makers, I can add a bit to my description of objective I stated above. For me it is trying to create a piece that is as close to the originals in handling while giving the most durability possible at a cost that the average user can think about. I have made trainers that look exactly like the pieces in the manuals but these cost quite a bit more due to labor and construction needs.

The distinct details, birds head pommels or nagel shapes can all be done but if the customer is cost conscious they may opt out for less in these areas for a sword that will work great and last a long time.

The variety of messer designs in the historic examples is huge so one could get many different specifics and when style choices like that are made one can make adjustments to standard models or custom items can be produced to your needs.

Best
Craig
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 7:31 am    Post subject: Hilt Pic         Reply with quote

Here is a snap shot of the hilts to show a bit more detail of what these will look like.


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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi folks,

@Craig: This is excellent! I'm looking forward to playing with some of these.

@Aron: The problem with a significantly forward-weighted trainer is that, while it would be great for drilling, it'll be a pain stick for bouting. I love the two Albions we have, but even with their very conservative forward weighting, they hit HARD. I would never let junior students bout with them.

Cheers,

Christian

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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 10:29 am    Post subject: Messer Production         Reply with quote

Have had a couple of emails on this so wanted to say drop me a note aa@armor.com and I can send out some info for folks that are interested in ordering. I do not want to turn Bill's thread into an order list.

In ref to Sean's comment:
This is a very important point, when we look back at the training items left to us and the illustrations there of, it gives us a good idea what the best minds of weapon use and production (probably the best that have ever lived) came up with to solve the need for training weapons. Sometimes our modern mind set gets us thinking we are smart enough to come up with better options and this may not be true.

The use of different shapes to accomplish these needs seems to have been one of the answers they turned to. I sometimes think some practitioners short change themselves when they want their practice sword to look just like a sharp. But that is an opinion and your mileage may vary Happy

Best
Craig
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Greg Mele
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig,

These look very intriguing. I love the diamond cross-sectioned guard. Very, very sharp.

I think having three different messer trainers now on the market, at three different price points and different handling qualities can only be a good thing. One thing for everyone to remember, though; at least early on the master's really don't differentiate between the messer and the arming sword, so I don't think we need to worry too much if one messer is more falchion-like and the other more like a sword. Truth be told, the differences will probably reveal themselves within moments of hefting the weapon.

(Much as I love the broader blade and clipped point, too. Wink )

Greg Mele
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 6:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello All,

I take my hat off to Craig for doing this. While we all want training weapons that look like sharps I'm 99% sure a
blunt steel clip point Kal or Talhoffer messer with a thick enough edge would end up weighing 3.5 to 4 pounds unless major stock removal was used on the body of the blade. Trust me, after working with messers over that last 3 years, getting hit with a 4 pound trainer would *suck*. My hand and collarbone hurts just at the thought. WTF?!

Major stock removal, distal taper, hook nose of the pommel all add up to a very expensive trainer. Who wants to drop 600, 700, 800 dollars on this? I'm sure Craig might do a custom one if the price is right.

If you want a clip point messer or Kal look messer there is a guy in Germany who would make you one... in Aluminum.
We have a few of his messers in Alaska with my group, I know I let you (Arron) try mine out at CW, but what Craig is doing here is offering you STEEL at a tasty weight & price point.

If it handles right and the kreig nagel lets me do the Talhoffer wrist turn, bogen and all those other cool messer moves it's ok that it doesn't look like a sharp...

as long as it handles like a sharp with out leaving my training partner's hand laying on the floor like a Talhoffer plate . Wink

Craig, Jolly good show, man!

Or if you prefer

Wunderbare Arbeit, mein Freund!

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 25 Jan, 2011 9:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
If it handles right and the kreig nagel lets me do the Talhoffer wrist turn, bogen and all those other cool messer moves it's ok that it doesn't look like a sharp...


Oh, these definitely do all that and more. Happy I'm really, really happy with what Craig and crew have turned out here.

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Mark T




PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2011 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great: now that we've got all that sorted, the next question, of course is:

Craig: does this mean A&A will be making messer sharps? Pretty please? Wink

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PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2011 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig


As always a fine looking training weapon. I can say that we at SIGMA are waiting with baited breath for these to be available.


Mike Ahrens

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