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Rich Knack




Location: Charlevoix, MI
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 12:29 pm    Post subject: Any decent messers for ~$300?         Reply with quote

I am considering buying a messer-type sword, but I am having a problem finding what I am looking for. Cold Steel is out - their blade is a two-handed weapon, and I am NOT into two-handers at all (if I want to use two hands, I'll stick with a polearm). The one from Darksword Armory looks nice, but I hear they have quality issues, especially where the "nagel" attaches to the guard (prone to breakage). Albion is WAY outside my price range (I am shooting for around $300 or under). Scorpion Blades makes a very non-authentic short-sword that does not interest me in the least.

Can somebody help me out in the right direction?

"Those who 'beat their swords into plows', will plow for those who don't."
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Christopher Denby




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.thetimeseller.com/product.aspx?p=4...=1&l=2

I purchased one of these from a local retailer when they had them in stock last year. I'd consider it more or less a beater for re-enactment . Its quite heavy (heavier than my longsword) and I don't think the blade is tempered well, if at all. I believe the pommel is welded and hilt assembly is all very solid and sturdy.

For the price, you get a decent looking messer that is very usable.

Heres a pic I posted of mine with my longsword in another thread. I had done a quick cord grip because the default wood pieces were a bit dodgy.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/files/longsword1_929.jpg

I hope this helps.
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Rich Knack




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Denby wrote:
http://www.thetimeseller.com/product.aspx?p=4171&t=0&c=0&s=1&l=2

I purchased one of these from a local retailer when they had them in stock last year. I'd consider it more or less a beater for re-enactment . Its quite heavy (heavier than my longsword) and I don't think the blade is tempered well, if at all. I believe the pommel is welded and hilt assembly is all very solid and sturdy.

For the price, you get a decent looking messer that is very usable.

Heres a pic I posted of mine with my longsword in another thread. I had done a quick cord grip because the default wood pieces were a bit dodgy.

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/files/longsword1_929.jpg

I hope this helps.
I assume, then, that this is a blunt blade intended for re-enacting? If so, that puts it out of my category as well - I am looking for tempered, sharp blades capable of taking a decent edge and cutting.
"Those who 'beat their swords into plows', will plow for those who don't."
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

$300 is tough. Another $100 or so and you can get a messer from Arma Bohemia or some other Eastern European smiths.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 4:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They might be a bit above your price limit, but Baltimore Knife and Sword makes come way cool messers and falchions. Not really high up on historical accuracy, but they are built like tanks.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only way you are likely to get a decent messer for that price is if you make one yourself and don't count your labor as part of the cost unless you pay yourself $1 an hour. I would really like to start doing messers, but it will take at least a couple of years just to finish the projects I have started. If I do reprioritize and try some messers, I'll shoot you a PM. The problem with messers is that people expect them to be relatively inexpensive because they are often shorter than other swords and seem more simple, but in reality can require as much or more labor to make than a sword. What sort of characteristics are you looking for in your messer?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is Windlass Falchion on MRL's deal of the day for $99. You could maybe customize it into a one handed messer...
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Rich Knack




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
What sort of characteristics are you looking for in your messer?


- Blade no longer than 24"

- Reasonably historically accurate (though not necessarily a direct copy of any particular historic piece)

- One-handed use

- Proper weight and balance for a sword of its type

- No frills (just a plain, working, utilitarian example of its type) - a common soldier's blade rather than a noble's, in other words.

- Sharp and properly tempered, and fully functional, not a blunt "reenactment blade" or wallhanger

"Those who 'beat their swords into plows', will plow for those who don't."
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Christopher Treichel




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can make one from a thick carbon steel machete if you have access to a grinder. Mark out the shape with a sharpie and then go at it slowly... Have a bucket with water and keep your hand on the blade... as soon as it gets warm dunk it in the water.... To drill the hole for the nagel your going to need a diamond tip drill. Harbour freight has them for dremmels for $5. Make sure you put a drop of oil on the bit as you dril and once the hole starts.... Your probably also going to have to make a new handle and regrind the shape. The easiest thing would just be a large hauswehr. It will probably take you 4-5 hours and about $30 for a nice machete.
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Rich Knack




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm afraid I don't trust my skills well enough for a project like that. Not and have it come out looking halfway decent. My metalworking skills are all in CNC milling and lathe-work, not in cutlery. And I don't even have "free access" to CNC machinery, at that.

Besides, I am actually looking for a messer-type shortsword, not the simpler hauswehr or bauernwehr.

"Those who 'beat their swords into plows', will plow for those who don't."
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rich Knack wrote:
Scott Woodruff wrote:
What sort of characteristics are you looking for in your messer?


- Blade no longer than 24"

- Reasonably historically accurate (though not necessarily a direct copy of any particular historic piece)

- One-handed use

- Proper weight and balance for a sword of its type

- No frills (just a plain, working, utilitarian example of its type) - a common soldier's blade rather than a noble's, in other words.

- Sharp and properly tempered, and fully functional, not a blunt "reenactment blade" or wallhanger


I'm sorry to say that this list cannot be satisfied at your price point.

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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 7:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan, I understand that no-one is currently producing such a messer at this price point, but why do you say that it can not be done?

Last edited by Scott Woodruff on Sun 23 Dec, 2012 9:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rich Knack




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as blade length goes, 24" is the MAXIMUM. I am actually looking at a range from about 18" - 24". As for sharpness, I am not looking at "cut-though-five-executed-criminals'-corpses" katana sharp, just sharp within what would have been historically reasonable for this kind of sword. Rough-and-tumble utility/combat sharp, in other words, tempered well enough to take and hold that edge, but not so hard as to be hard to sharpen or likely to chip out.
"Those who 'beat their swords into plows', will plow for those who don't."
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out this thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpost.php?p=...ostcount=1
Notice the fitting of the guard. Close fitting is not really necessary because the nagel is what really holds the guard in place. Also notice the waviness of the fullers. Somewhere I have seen pics of a messer with wooden plugs holding on the grip instead of rivets, I'll try to find that one too.
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Scott Hanson




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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 8:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
reasonably historically accurate- historical accuracy is more a matter of what the smith knows than labor cost or materials, so that does not need to affect price.


I would disagree with this point, to some extent. A smith who has the knowledge is going to charge more, and they should. They need to make a living, after all, and getting that knowledge is generally not something easily or cheaply done.

Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another"

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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 8:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
Nathan, I understand that no-one is currently producing such a messer at this price point, but why do you say that it can not be done?


Because any maker who made such a piece for that price point would be under-priced and I'm not aware of any in the market that would provide this item at this point. The only options are 1) Incredibly new/inexperienced people or 2) People working in countries with wages that battle a stronger American dollar.

Quote:
24" blade- no reason that should make it expensive.


Really? Why not? I've paid over $2000 for a dagger with a blade much shorter than that.

Quote:
reasonably historically accurate- historical accuracy is more a matter of what the smith knows than labor cost or materials, so that does not need to affect price.


And boom, here's your error: labor isn't the only cost here. It's only one of the costs. Materials cost money. Shop equipment costs money. R&D costs money. Concept costs money. Planning costs money. Many other things costs money. Thinking that labor is the only cost is simply wrong.

Historical accuracy requires a maker who is experienced and knowledgeable. Obtaining experience and knowledge requires investment. Investment warrants a return.

Quote:
Sometimes historical inaccuracies will increase the cost rather than decrease them. (This was recently discussed on another thread here, I'll see if I can find it.)


It's irrelevant. Don't look for it.

Quote:
1-handed use- no effect on cost


Quote:
no-frills, utilitarian- this seems synonymous with lower cost


Perhaps. But but who knows? Sometimes it has zero effect. Either way, it doesn't lower the cost to $300.

Quote:
sharp and properly tempered- this depends on how sharp sharp is and what one considers a proper heat-treat. There was a lot of variation in sharpness and heat-treat among historical messers, so it would be really easy to fall within historical parameters here. Now if nothing short of a "razor-sharp" blade of 60rc 5160 will do, then you have a problem.


Again, you're thinking of labor costs alone, perhaps thinking that a real sharp blade is more labor and thus more expensive?

This whole train of thought is off-basis.


The cost of a sword that is "reasonably historically accurate" (not overweight, not dynamically unfit, not materially inferior, not having features/details/blade geometries/shapes/constructional details, etc. wildly different than those from history) requires a skilled maker with experience and knowledge. Refer to my first point. This requires a maker who is 1) Incredibly new/inexperienced or 2) is working in countries with wages that battle a stronger American dollar.


Having said there, there are low-cost options that are not historically accurate that may be very satisfying to many buyers including the topic author. The ones that came to my mind were already mentioned by him and ruled out, however. There are "decent swords" for this price point, though, but they don't really fit into the topic author's list and so I stand by my original response to it.


Adding one additional thought: I'm not aware of any maker who makes reasonably historically accurate custom swords for the $300 price point that does not fall into the two categories I described above. Thank goodness for this.

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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nowhere did I suggest that labor is the only cost. Of course an investment warrants a return, but nothing says that that return absolutely must be monetary.

I doubt that the shortness of your dagger was the cause of its expense. I assume that the cost was more likely due to excellent fit and finish, well-executed decoration, complex cross-sectional geometry, expensive or labor-intensive materials etc.

I have found in my own experience that sharpening much beyond what I consider a reasonable sword edge ( good paper-cutting sharp) does entail an increase in labor, and that one quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns. I don't know what it costs to send blades off to be marquenched to a very specific hardness, but I bet it costs more than heat-treating in the back-yard forge.


Last edited by Scott Woodruff on Sun 23 Dec, 2012 9:25 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Woodruff wrote:
Nathan, I hope that you did not take my questions the wrong way. I am percieving a bit of defensiveness, though I could easily be misinterpreting.


Yes, you're misinterpreting. What would I be defending? I'm simply answering your questions in the most matter-of-fact manner I can.

Quote:
Nowhere did I suggest that labor is the only cost.


It's the only cost you mentioned and then it was followed by a conclusion of the final cost.

Quote:
Of course an investment warrants a return, but nothing says that that return absolutely must be monetary. So, we can add a third alternative: someone with experience who does not necessarily make profit the primary concern.


I'm talking about business owners who sell their items for a cost. Since $300 was mentioned as a price point, one might make a reasonable assumption that a sale would be taking place. Businesses must make a profit to continue to exist, but even if they do not, they must break even. My statements would still fall true for a break even point.

Now if you want to include people who are hobbyists or want to donate work out of the goodness of their hearts, you go right ahead, but it would appear to me that the original topic author was asking where he can buy an item with the qualities he listed at the price point he specified. To me, this seems like a simple question and I've answered it best I can.

Quote:
I doubt that the shortness of your dagger was the cause of its expense. I assume that the cost was more likely due to excellent fit and finish, well-executed decoration, complex cross-sectional geometry, expensive or labor-intensive materials etc.


Thank you for making my point better than I did. The size is not significantly relevant to the cost in the context I provided.

Your assumption was wrong. The cost was because a great deal of concept, research, study of an original, travel, and specialized knowledge was used in the making of the item. The labor of creating excellent fit and finished/decoration/details and cost of materials was a fraction of the cost of the "intangibles" that I listed. This backs up my entire point expressed previously.

Quote:
I have found in my own experience that sharpening much beyond what I consider a reasonable sword edge ( good paper-cutting sharp) does entail an increase in labor, and that one quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns. I doubt that anyone will seriously argue that 5160 or other "fancy" tool steels are no more expensive than the old leaf-spring in my back yard. I don't know what it costs to send blades off to be marquenched to a very specific hardness, but I bet it costs more than heat-treating in the back-yard forge. I may not be able to heat-treat to within a point or two of a specific hardness in the forge, but I can certainly get it to fall within the very broad historic range.


All of that is off-topic to the point I made.


Tell you what: give the guy a name and contact info so that he can purchase his product from that person immediately. Debating my opinion on the matter is not really all that fruitful given the lack of any choices/options on the subject.

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E Stafford




PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 10:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You MIGHT try this. http://www.seekyee.com/privateerarmoury/ But, for swords, might have to adjust the budget.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 10:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok, Nathan. I may not agree with everything you have said but I do agree with that last. Sorry if I caused any friction or if anyone felt that my posts were too off-topic. I am still learning how to use this communication medium to best effect and sometimes I make mistakes. I appreciate your feedback. I will do as you suggest.
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