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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon 06 May, 2013 5:46 am    Post subject: question: brass / bronze used on bauerwehr         Reply with quote

Im planning a bauerwehr DYI project inspired by a picture below. Id like to use different materials for scales - a combination of brass (or bronze) and horn. However, I dont remember I have ever seen other than steel used on surviving examples from late 16th/early 17th century. Is brass / bronze completely out of picture? Thanks in advance for any advice.


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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
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PostPosted: Tue 07 May, 2013 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's a cost thing. Even back in the day, brass and bronze cost more than steel and iron. You could shape iron and steel by heating them up and hammering them; brass and bronze, you tend to have to either cast or file. You can shape them to some degree with hammering, but (I could be wrong on this) they tend to work-harden a little more than iron and steel, so if you do extensive hammering without stress-relieving them by regular annealing, they fracture.

That said, I imagine that if someone wanted a 'blingy' bauerwehr or whatever, they could probably just ask the local cutler or whatever to use some brass and pay extra... no reason it couldn't be done. Cost is the only issue, really.
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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 2:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thank you, its a logical argument. but hell, Ive spent two days browsing and searching for any original example, with no result. I think I will have to go with steel.
never mind if I find something in brass / bronze later, at least Ill have an excuse to make one more messer Happy
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 10 May, 2013 4:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tubular rivets and sometimes "spacers" were commonly made of copper or copper alloy on baurenwehr and messers. Below is an example of two knives from the 16th century. One has tubular rivets by a yellow-ish metal: a brass / bronze alloy of some kind. The other has tubular rivets of copper with domed iron nails inserted for a two color effect. One of the iron nails has fallen out, clearly showing the construction.

I cannot remember seeing copper alloy being used for guard and pommel cap: these would be made of iron/steel as a norm. This may be since the man/men who forged blade and hilt were not the same who put scales on the tang and finished the knife. The cutler may not have worked with hot metal, only doing cold work with sheet metal and filing/fitting forged parts to finished blades.
The use of materials in different parts of knives and swords may reflect the specialization of the craftsmen rather than, or as much as any material cost involved.



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Radovan Geist




Location: Slovakia
Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Mon 13 May, 2013 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for your reply - and for pictures. those coper-iron rivets are really interesting.

I went through gallery on this site, and found this messer: http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/displayimage.php?pos=-2104
unfortunately it provides no details (except that the source is Hermann Historica), but its guard seems to be from some yellowish metal. Maybe an example of copper alloy? I will have to try to find it at Hermann Historica...

Anyhow, it looks like a super-exception, plus its a different type than the one I took as an inspiration, so Im still sticking with steel. I have already started to work on the blade, will post it later as a DIY project.
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