When one picks up this custom-crafted dagger by bladesmith and artisan Ádám Bodorics they may well be struck by how comfortable it is in the hand, both in its contoured grip shape and also its balance. In the hand it becomes immediately apparent that a great deal of attention went into making this dagger feel like an extension of the hand. Ádám took great care to hollow out enough of the pommel so that it would not be hilt-heavy despite its size and the results speak for themselves. The uniquely shaped bolster butts nicely up against the knuckle and a closer look shows how it has been deliberately offset to best fit the natural contour of the hand. In its profile this sidearm has a fine and very pleasing arc to its entire shape. Its paired with two byknives of fine craftsmanship and a signed Certificate from bladesmith and artisan Ádám Bodorics which details his though process when creating this piece. Read on to see his thoughts for this dagger in his own words:
The Bauernwehr is a dagger-sized sidearm with a knifelike grip construction. The archetypal form appears in the 15th century and survives several centuries with the later pieces being more hunt than
combat oriented. This specific piece is based on Albrecht Dürer’s circa 1497 engraving, Three Peasants in Conversation. It is not a direct copy as my version is definitely smaller even though we can’t see the entire piece in the illustration.
The robust and sharp blade is hand-ground from 6150/51crv4 steel. Even with minimal distal taper and a beefy cross-section, making the pommel solid would’ve messed up the handling even though my interpretation is smaller than what we see on the illustration. To avoid making a useless hilt-heavy piece, I hand-forged and filed a mandrel with which I created a three-piece hollow pommel out of 1.5mm mild steel. The parts are assembled by silver solder and are secured by hot peening the tang. Hollow pommels are far from being rare on swords and knives – due to the relatively low number of surviving Messers, we
can’t tell if it’s true for them as well, though certain pommels shown on illustrations have no other way of working without making the weapon in question cumbersome or unresponsive. The bolster is a simple piece of folded-over mild steel, barely extending beyond the edge. A couple of years later it would be more fashionable to add a protrusion to the bolster, almost like a miniature half- cross.
The Nagel is massive. It is possible that Dürer made a mistake at illustrating this part, but my interpretation is surprisingly comfortable. While this will definitely vary between people, in my case my hand locks perfectly between the pommel and the Nagel. It is peened on the other side as proper Nagels are supposed to be. The grip is made from hand-picked walnut (juglans regia) and is affixed with a
combination of gluing and tubular brass rivets made from folded-up sheet.
The delicate bypieces consist of a byknife and a pricker/awl. Both are heat-treated, though the pricker is softer to lessen the chance for breaking. The knife is sharp. While the prickers are often believed to be used for eating, I find it unlikely. In my personal experience, they are very uncomfortable for this role, but they are a surprisingly handy multitool able to undo knots even in soaking wet cords and tongs, punch holes, remove splinters and so on. Both have hand-picked walnut grip slabs and the knife has cast bronze bolsters.
The sheath is somewhat crude but functional. It is made by first sewing the subsheaths from vegatable-tanned cow leather, then forming them to conform to the pieces they will house with the flesh-side out. Then the subsheaths are glued together using hide glue, and the same hide glue secures the covering layer of vegetable-tanned goat leather. The dyeing is decidedly imperfect for a somewhat used and abused effect. – Ádám Bodorics
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