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Ismael Torres




Location: México
Joined: 20 Jun 2009

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon 14 Aug, 2017 11:25 pm    Post subject: Medieval butcher "machete".         Reply with quote

Hello all.
recently i forged a "machete" inspired on butcher blades in Tacuinum Sanitatis Lat.9333, a famous Medieval book of health.





Looks like a simple blade with wooden scales, four rivers and a integral hoop.

Is a leaf spring.











is a 51 centimeters long, 5 millimeter thickness on start of the blade and thinning to the end. 760 of weight.

After finishing i found this picture, is a Fra Angelico's depiction of Saint Peter of Verona, a very similar blade, but larger appears



Thanks for watching!

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Last edited by Ismael Torres on Sat 19 Aug, 2017 3:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Guillaume Vauthier




Location: France
Joined: 16 Jun 2016

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Tue 15 Aug, 2017 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The result looks very neat! As I'm interested in kitchen knives too, this kind of creation naturally catches my attention.

The blade is quite nice, I love it. What is its length?
I don't feel so much affinity with the handle (it is too long for me), but it sure matches well with the blade.
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Joseph Montemarano





Joined: 30 Mar 2012

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 15 Aug, 2017 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nicely done. I like to see people making something a little different than the norm. Looks like it could work well with chopping anything from meat to brush to arms (if used like it was historically intended).
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Ismael Torres




Location: México
Joined: 20 Jun 2009

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue 15 Aug, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you both!

Guillaume Vauthier wrote:
The result looks very neat! As I'm interested in kitchen knives too, this kind of creation naturally catches my attention.

The blade is quite nice, I love it. What is its length?
I don't feel so much affinity with the handle (it is too long for me), but it sure matches well with the blade.


The blade length is 33.5 centimeters. There are several pictures of similar tools in the book, I will try to forge other interpretations, I like them very much these tools.

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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Tue 15 Aug, 2017 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An earlier variant, with clip point and umbrella handle: BNF Latin 320, fo.311r, http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84260526/f635.image


 Attachment: 127.32 KB
BNF Latin 320 fo311r-messer.jpg


ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Ismael Torres




Location: México
Joined: 20 Jun 2009

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat 19 Aug, 2017 12:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Mart.

Looks like a weapon, i never see before. The handle remember me the famous "Maciejowski Chopper". It's a very interesting design, I'll keep it for the future.

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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,280

PostPosted: Sat 19 Aug, 2017 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's almost certainly a cleaver, rather than a purposed weapon, as it's being used to butcher a pig. That said, I suspect many of these big knives saw double duty in time of need, like your Fra Angelico painting indicates. My mother used to utilize her Old Hickory kitchen butcher knife in the yard with some frequency to clear small saplings and roots. Do we really know that most of the "choppers" in the Maciejowski Bible weren't, in fact, tools for the city militia's common trades - thatching knives, butcher's cleavers, etc.?
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Guillaume Vauthier




Location: France
Joined: 16 Jun 2016

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sun 20 Aug, 2017 1:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mart Shearer wrote:
It's almost certainly a cleaver, rather than a purposed weapon, as it's being used to butcher a pig. That said, I suspect many of these big knives saw double duty in time of need, like your Fra Angelico painting indicates. My mother used to utilize her Old Hickory kitchen butcher knife in the yard with some frequency to clear small saplings and roots. Do we really know that most of the "choppers" in the Maciejowski Bible weren't, in fact, tools for the city militia's common trades - thatching knives, butcher's cleavers, etc.?

I'm sure that it was indeed the case. The shape of this tool reminds me this kind of billhook, that is widely used even today in western Europe (under the name serpe in french):



You cut the hooked tip and you have the very same shape. I guess you could efficiently use it simultaneouslly as a bushcraft tool, as a kitchen cleaver... and it would be a nice weapon too.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 20 Aug, 2017 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's no wonder that this design has lasted until the present day. If it works, why change it? I love a good rustic looking piece like this. I'm sure a medieval butcher shop keeper would be overjoyed to have this to work with...OR a soldier on the field. Wink Excellent piece of history here!......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

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PostPosted: Sun 20 Aug, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Villard de Honnecourt's knife in his self portrait is another plain design.


 Attachment: 71.09 KB
BNF Français 19093 fo.2r [ Download ]

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Ismael Torres




Location: México
Joined: 20 Jun 2009

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 20 Aug, 2017 10:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for comment!

I said it because the silhouette seemed to me something uncommon in a tool, but you're right. For a second I thought it perfect on a battle, like the Maciejowski chopper, even that we are not sure.

I love the billhooks, last year I forged one based on another illustration (Is an risky interpretation). I do not have it any more, i miss it a lot Cry



A good thing about these tools used as weapons is that they are very easy to make,

Thanks for the new cleaver example. I've always had a doubt about the umbrella handles like these great examples or Maciejowski cases, never seen rivets considering the high level of detail, I don't know if they had scales... although I suppose it is the most likely.

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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Mon 21 Aug, 2017 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I commend you for punching holes, not drilling them.
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Guillaume Vauthier




Location: France
Joined: 16 Jun 2016

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Mon 21 Aug, 2017 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I took a quick look on the Latin 9333 on gallica.bnf.fr, and in the illustrations I found a recurring design for meat cleaver, which is this one:



You can find it here, here, here and here, and other variations in the book.

And now, look at this modern variation of italian billhook...
And this other one. Both are designs for northern Italy. I guess that the same general shape would not have changed through centuries.
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JG Elmslie
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Location: Scotland
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Aug, 2017 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ismael Torres wrote:
Thanks for comment!
Thanks for the new cleaver example. I've always had a doubt about the umbrella handles like these great examples or Maciejowski cases, never seen rivets considering the high level of detail, I don't know if they had scales... although I suppose it is the most likely.


I am extremely sceptical of scales on Maciejowski bible weapons.

the term I tend to use for them is "proto-messer", in that they are a knife-like construction, analogous to that of civilian cutlery. civilian cutlery at that date isnt scale tang, its whittle tang. So I believe that these weapons, going by the depictions, are a whittle tang, no pins, instead held with cutlers' resin.
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Iagoba Ferreira





Joined: 15 Sep 2008

Posts: 154

PostPosted: Tue 22 Aug, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A sidenote:

The word "machete" was used in Castille at least since 1480's, and about little more than a decade later probably were several different types, as in the first shippings to La Hispaniola were included more than a hundred "machetes vitorianos" (machetes from Vitoria, also the place of the oldest mention I know of). Probably they were straight sided, with one edge and no handguard, perhaps more used as tool than a weapon.
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Sa'ar Nudel




Location: Haifa, Israel
Joined: 02 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 25 Aug, 2017 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Partly tool, partly weapon:
https://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=32368

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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Guillaume Vauthier




Location: France
Joined: 16 Jun 2016

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Sat 26 Aug, 2017 12:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice thread you did there! Apparently, there is a modern form of the cleaver-shaped beidana, which is called manaresso in Italy. Those are used like machetes or billhooks, but can be used in the kitchen as well. There is many variations in Northern Italy (like billhooks here in France) :

Piemonte
Reggio Emilia
Bologna
Brescia
Santa Giustina


And so on...

Now, let's take a look at this. It was my grandmother cleaver, and very highly possibly my great-grandmother one too. It is quite the same shape, except for the classic "french handle" in place of the traditionnal italian one. The dimensions of the blade and weight, and even the blade thickness seem to match with, for example, the Brescia Manaresso. It is freaking huge, and the blade and edge are so tough that I'm sure that it can be used as a billhook if you need.
I guess that back in the days in the coutryside, and perhaps even today, many objects were not so specialized and could be used at various tasks.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2017 4:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is heavily fibrous iron/steel, heavily tapering blade and tang (both at base are circa 1cm thick, end of bladeis around 2-3 mm, tang tapers almoost into a point )

Blade length 24cm, total 42.5 ca


Early form that would alter evolve into roncone, clearly derived from a ronca (branch cutting tool), but tapered like a weapon and nimble in handling (bare hands handling, not hafted, already very good and authoritative)



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