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Alex Indman




Location: NYC
Joined: 13 Sep 2012

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2018 8:34 am    Post subject: Pieter Bruegel - inspired Messer (DIY project)         Reply with quote

I have long been interested in those big bold fighting knives that Pieter Bruegel shows XVI century peasants wearing in his paintings. Especially the one in the "Peasant Dance" of 1568 (see detail of it in attached picture). This is basically a messer with a roughly heart shaped nagel, long knuckle guard, and short straight back quillon. Pommel is not visible but I imagine a typical messer style curved buttcap would fit it well. Scabbard has a metal chape, and is worn on a very narrow, rather loose hip belt.

Recently I finally ran into a more or less suitable blade for this project: a Rifleman blade sold by Crazy Crow (it was discussed on this thread: http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=11707&start=66 ). Not quite what I wanted (a little short at 11", should have been several inches longer) but close and very cheap. So I decided to do this project as a learning experience - I have never before done a Messer style hilt and wanted to try.
I had to put a lot of effort into modifying/fixing the tang (discussed in detail on the above thread) but in the end it came out pretty well. The blade is approximately 3/16" thick, and with some "reverse distal taper"! I mean it is 11/64" at the guard and 13/64" at the start of false edge. Cross section is rather thick, and I sharpened it with a convex edge to preserve strength (since it isn't very hard, I would say like machetes typically are). So it is a front heavy beast for its length, which is actually good for this project - has a feel of a decent chopper it is supposed to be. Kind of compensates for relative shortness.

The guard, nagel, buttcap, and scabbard fittings are all 1018 mild steel satin finished to 220 grit, blade 400 grit.
I imagine this level of finish (rather than mirror polish) would be a reasonable expectation for a XVIc peasant's weapon.
Handle scales are curly maple, finished with tung oil, fixed with 1/4" brass tube pins.
Overall handle is 4 3/4" long, 3/4" thick.

Scabbard is thick leather, hardened in hot beeswax. This treatment made it contract by over 1/4" in length, so I had to add a rather awkward extension covered by steel collar (wasn't planning on it originally). The blade to scabbard fit turned out very tight (because of the blade's reverse distal taper which I didn't think of until too late), takes something like 20 lb of pull. So leather work was only a partial success. But I like how the chape turned out, this is the first time I managed to fabricate a chape with a finial at the end rather than just a flat bottom.

I am attaching some pictures here, but more are available in an album at: https://public.fotki.com/aindman/bruegel-inspired-pe/


Any comments / critique?

Alex.



 Attachment: 268.01 KB
Peasant Dance painting detail [ Download ]

 Attachment: 257.16 KB
Messer and scabbard [ Download ]

 Attachment: 291.85 KB
Buttcap view [ Download ]


Last edited by Alex Indman on Thu 14 Jun, 2018 8:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alex Indman




Location: NYC
Joined: 13 Sep 2012

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2018 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some more pictures. Note the loops formed on the back of the scabbard to fit 1/2" wide belt tightly. I tried this on a scrap piece of leather first and tried to tear it off - turned out the arrangement is much stronger than it appears (especially with hardened leather).


 Attachment: 199.51 KB
Scabbard chape [ Download ]

 Attachment: 204.15 KB
Scabbard suspension [ Download ]

 Attachment: 261.63 KB
Handle closeup [ Download ]

 Attachment: 310.36 KB
Nagel view [ Download ]
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Julien M




Location: London
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,059

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2018 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very good work - from documentation to execution.
You should load your pictures on photobucket and link them here - shame not to get full pics displayed on your post.
Cheers,
J
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P Ullrich





Joined: 26 Apr 2013

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2018 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice work Alex
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,145

PostPosted: Sat 16 Jun, 2018 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice work on the hilt, and the bevels and geometry looks near perfect.

I personally prefer a satin finish over a mirror finish so I like your choice of doing a satin finish.

A mirror finish with a lot of use would show the smallest scratch and hard to maintain, with a satin finish it's easy to sand out minor scratches or remove staining unless one want to leave a natural patina if it develops.

In any case good work. Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Alex Indman




Location: NYC
Joined: 13 Sep 2012

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2018 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words, guys!

Julien, I took a quick look at photobucket free account and description says "The free account does not allow any image linking or 3rd party image hosting. If you are interested in image linking and/or 3rd party image hosting, you will need to subscribe to one of our Paid Accounts. " Is this true, even with the "myArmoury photobucket fix"? You use image linking feature to post photobucket pictures here, right?
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