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WIP: Langes Messer

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Hi guys,

time for a new project ;) A good Messer should be on the list of every HEMA enthusiats and also every sword maker. The tricky aspect about these pieces is the hilt assembly, it really takes a lot of careful work to get all parts to fit together well (regular swords are much easier). I have experimented with this when making the Rugger and I think I'm ready to tackle a full size Langes Messer now.

This Messer isn't based on one original but rather takes several aspects that I like from multiple originals as well as Messer shown in fencing treatises, such as the double clip point (Paulus Kal).

The proportions are what I consider pretty ideal for Messer fencing in the Liechtenauer tradition, a 71cm blade with an overall size of 88cm.

Here is the profiled blank next to the full-size drawing:



Stay tuned and Happy Easter!

Edited by Lukas MG
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I am a big fan of the double-clip messer profile. This is going to be cool!
I'm working on a smaller but similarly-constructed blade at the moment (honestly I'm not sure whether to call it a bauernwehr or a messer of some sort), and I'm very curious to see how you fabricate and fit the guard and handle, because that seems like the most technically challenging step of the process. I'm sure yours will be fantastic, of course.

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Thanks guys. Adam, the hilt will indeed be the tricky part, I hope it will go as planned. We'll see... ;)

Here's some period art for inspiration:


Edited by Lukas MG
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Outstanding piece! I love to make messers. They are  a great shape, and they are challenging.

The hilt is the trick. It is a great deal of fun.

Adam, contact me if you want any help close by. I have done several baurnwehrs and messers.


Keep us posted!

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5 hours ago, Kevin (The Professor) said:

Adam, contact me if you want any help close by. I have done several baurnwehrs and messers.

Oh don't worry, you'll ALL be hearing from me if it's been seven days and I still can't make the fittings work.:lol: I should go get a post started for my thing and stop hijacking Lukas's thread. 

Thanks,  Kevin. 

Edited by Adam Betts
Left some words out of a sentence.
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  • 2 months later...

Finally an update! I got a full day at the workshop today (yay, weekend ;) ) and made great progress on the Langes Messer. The blade is ready for heat treat now.

The final handling characteristics are already present in the blade (with Messer, the wide tang plays a big role in mass distribution) and I'm very happy with how it's shaping up. It will be a wonderfully smooth, light and agile handling piece.

Current weight is 550g. The final weight will probably be in the 700-800g range. Base thickness is 6mm with a strong concave distal taper.

Finer work:


Ready for heat treat:




Edited by Lukas MG
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Sooo, things took an interesting turn with the Langes Messer. The blade decided to do this during heat treat...
I'm not too bummed out actually, I know what to do next time to avoid it (leave thicker and pre-curve in the other direction) and other than the forward curve, the blade's heat treat is perfect. It stayed arrow-straight when looking down the edge (or spine) and hardened up well. It is differentially tempered with the edge left at 58Rc and the spine drawn back to the low 50s.
Question now is: what do I do with it? Finishing as a Messer would probably look weird (and might handle funny). Hilt it Yatagan-style? Go fantasy-crazy?
I'm open to suggestions!
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This is really beautiful design!

Triangular shaped blades are a pain in the ass to heat treat - I can feel with you, if, after many hours of work a piece gets ruined in HT. You handle it the right way - as a learning experience :D

I am looking forward to your next one!!

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Bummer Lukas. I have been looking forward to this one. So we learn I suppose. I'm kinda thinking Lord of the Rings right now. Looks kinda elf-ish to me (though they curve the other way in the movie). Perhaps a shapely D-guard recurring over the spine?

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Thanks guys. Yes, I treat it like a learning experience and, on top of that, I do get a nice piece out of it anyway. Not what I originally wanted but whatever ;)

This is my current favorite design:


I kept the Messer-like grip construction but shortened the handle and gave it a new guard (without Nagel). Not sure what it is but I like it. Oriental recurve messer? :D

Edited by Lukas MG
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  • 2 weeks later...

The blade is final ground and ready for polishing. The hilt components (I altered the design a bit) are in varying states of completion but one already gets an impression of what the final look will be. All metal parts are crafted from wrought iron and should look awesome once etched. Contrasting the gnarly wrought iron will be a brass liner and some wonderful light maple wood.

By far the most finicky bit of work was hollowing out the inside of the "pommel" pieces. One slip with the angle grinder could have been ruinous. The fine work with the dremel wasn't pleasent either, hunched over and carefully grinding away bit by bit, constantly checking the fit.
I am very happy with the resulting fit though, the tang and the brass liner nestle neatly into the recess in the pommel pieces. Epoxy and a pin (or two, might add another, there's enough room) will keep it all together.



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  • 2 months later...

Finished! I again changed the design a bit because I needed a lighter pommel...

I‘m calling it a „Fantasy Recurve Sabre“ but you‘re free to pick whatever term you like ;)


Steel: 56Si7, differentially tempered to 58Rc at the edge and around 45Rc at the spine
Overall length: 83.5cm (33“)
Blade length: 70.5cm (28“)
Blade width at base: 3cm (1.2“)
PoB: 17cm (6.7“)
CoP: ca 50cm (20“)
Weight: 590g (1.3lbs)

I actually had a pretty hard time deciding in which direction to go with the blade and went through what felt like a dozen different hilt designs. I found it challenging to find a design that worked well with with the most characteristic feature of this piece, the sweeping forward curve, neither overstating it nor detracting from it. The final design is a mixture of elements seen on a variety of bladed weapons from several cultures as well as purely fictious aspects. Though it may not work for everyone, I quite like it. It wasn‘t easy to find the correct pommel weight... I found a wide range of weights „kinda“ worked but it took a while and one discarded pommel (too heavy) until I was really happy with it.



A simple elongated disk serves as the guard. The pommel still has characteristics of the original Messer design. Both guard and pommel are crafted from roughly 150 years old wrought iron and etched to reveal their structure. For the wooden grip scales I selected some beautiful lightly colored maple wood. Brass liners between wood and tang, a steel spacer above the guard and a peen block add a small extra touch. Both pommel and grip are octagonal in cross section, their clear and straight lines gently contrasting the forward curving blade. All in all, this probably is the most complex hilt assembly I‘ve made so far, many interlocking parts that took a lot of time and careful work to fit together. A very different challenge compared to making a regular sword hilt.

Weighing slightly over one pound, this is a very light weapon. The balance still makes it a good cutter, with a definite bias towards the blade. It turns and flows wonderfully through cuts, always with pleasant forward pull in the hand but never sluggish or hard to redirect. Though the design and balance encourage cutting motions, thrusts do not feel unnatural and while the blade shape doesn‘t make accurate thrusting particularly easy, it definitely can be done comfortably enough.
Despite the aggressive concave distal taper and thin cross section, the blade is quite stiff. This is an advantage of single-edged designs, the blunt spine giving rigidity to the blade.



Thin, forward curving, with a long single bevel and an acute edge geometry: this sword is a very potent cutter. Not a shield or helmet splitter but very effective on soft targets. The sharpened double clip point aids in thrusting and allows for techniques that utilise the short edge.
As usual, I hope to soon add a cutting video.

Overall, I‘m happy that I was able to make something satisfying out of this blade. I‘ve found flexibility and a bit creative thinking to be quite helpful in this hobby (or profession). It often enough doesn‘t go according to plan... and had it not been for the mishap in heat treatment, I probably never would have made such a blade... wouldn‘t that have been a shame ;)

Cheers and thanks for looking!



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Now, would you consider making a try to quench such a single edged blade edge first?

The Yathagan effect is well known to sabre and catana makers, but the tend to deal with it by preseting certain ammount of curvature before the quench.

I have not did such very long messer like yours, but I did shorter and had no deformation - I suspect it is because the edge will become solid first, thus the back cannot overcome it so easy.


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