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Thread: Polearms - Thoughts on Construction methods

  1. #1
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    Polearms - Thoughts on Construction methods

    Ok, I know they aren't swords. But, anyone have thoughts on the best ways to make the strongest, most durable, never-break pole arms? My thought is a tang the length of the pole. Then cover it with half-round pieces of wood and pin it, so you have a metal surface for blocking. Thinking of having Badger Blades, (the sword makers I sell for) make me a pole arm with 12"-18" doublesided blades (fullered and distal tapered) with a 36-42" tang between them that I can put a hardwood handle on to use as a doublebladed pole arm. Any thoughts?

    (Weight, sizes, construction method...all comments welcome from those with experience and speculating.)

    Peter Marchetti
    "Meddle thou not among the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy, and do taste well with ketchup."

  2. #2
    That'll be heavier than it needs to be, plus more work, and the parts you'll be doing the parrying with will still get chewed up. I definitely agree that you need something going down the haft a ways from the head, or else the first hard parry will send the head flying (this happened with the cheapies we had at a medieval faire this Summer). I think a historical design with the slats down the outside makes more sense than a tang, though- easier to make, you have the metal out there to take the abuse of parries, it's reinforced, and you don't have the weight of a full tang going the whole length.

    I haven't handled one, but Therion arms seems to do a nice job with theirs:
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  3. #3
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    Re: Polearms - Thoughts on Construction methods

    I wouldn't think full-length, full width tangs would be the answer. For one thing, the wood absorbing impact shock is what makes really hard-hitting pole weapons useable, such as billhooks, long axes, etc. With a full-width tang, you lose that. You're also adding more weight than you need to.
    I'd go socketed polearm, myself. If a good socketed axe can chop down trees, than the design's gotta be able to take punishment. I'd weld on a couple of straps to each side, to keep off sword blows, but with a good seasoned wood, sword blows should not damage it excessively in any case in normal use.

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    Re: Re: Polearms - Thoughts on Construction methods

    Originally posted by Al Massey
    I wouldn't think full-length, full width tangs would be the answer. For one thing, the wood absorbing impact shock is what makes really hard-hitting pole weapons useable, such as billhooks, long axes, etc. With a full-width tang, you lose that. You're also adding more weight than you need to.
    I'd go socketed polearm, myself. If a good socketed axe can chop down trees, than the design's gotta be able to take punishment. I'd weld on a couple of straps to each side, to keep off sword blows, but with a good seasoned wood, sword blows should not damage it excessively in any case in normal use.
    That's a good point, about the socketed wood-axes, and one that I had not considered in my own mental perambulations about the ideal pole-arm.
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  5. #5
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    Polearms - Thoughts on Construction methods

    Thin walled chrome molly tubing it is very strong and light in weight,
    take two halfs of wood a few inches longer then the blade tang . Use the extra length below the tang to drill and pin it to the pole latter on.
    In let the tang , glue the to pieces togther pin the blade then shape the wood to fit ( a good tight fit ) inside the tubing and pin it to the tube/pole below the tang end add a end cap and you have a very strong pole arm .
    I have read that the blades broke at the pin hole in the tang it is the weakest point .
    This is how I will mount my next Yari.
    Mushin

  6. #6
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    If I were going to use a metal tube, I'd probably go with oversized aluminum or even, if I truely go nuts, titanium.

    But I think wood is stil the best bet for a polearm.

    Interesting thoughts guys.

    Thinking about it a bit more, maybe Slot the pole, use a tang about 3/4 the length of the blade, pin it through the handle, and then put one or 2 steel bands around the pole? Think that would be strong enough?

    I really want to be able to block with ALL parts of the handle. (Sword blows AND blunt weapons.) I understand one can't be made thats indistructible...but I want it want it to be hard to break.

    Best methods for seasoning wood? I am going to build this weapon, and plan to use it for combat. I want it as light as possible, but I still want to be able stop or deflect full strength blows from heavy weapons.

    Does anyone know where/who has good polearms? Maybe someone with lots of experience using different kinds.

    All comments welcome.
    "Meddle thou not among the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy, and do taste well with ketchup."

  7. #7
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    Don't forget the handle material

    When choosing handle materials try to use hickory. It is an excellent choice for impact tools. If you can't use hickory then ash wood can be a good choice, the same species used in baseball bats.

    There are companies out there that will take custom orders for making handles to your specifications, though you will probably have to order a couple of thousand handles.

    I remember seeing one website that used what looked like shovel handles for their axes. It didn't look too good, mixing a shovel handle with a war axe.

  8. #8
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    Wood choices: Ash or Hickory.

    Which one? Depends upon the length of the haft/shaft, the weight of the "head", and the intended use. Ash is far more springy than hickory, which is a dense, non-flexing wood.

    IMHO: A general rule of thumb is anything over 5+ feet needs ash. Anything under that length, use hickory.

    I would ask the various poleweapon makers/sellers (A&A, Therion, etc.) about why they use what they use.
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  9. #9
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    Hard walled copper

    I did it simmilar to Henry's idea with copper. Where to get Chrome molly? Drilled the hole for the yari and cut and inlet the tang for the KC Nagi II
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  10. #10
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    Red oak Bo for hard contact

    I still need to embed these(yari and nagi) and drill and pin. The other handles are hickory in copper. drilled and steel tension spring pins
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    Last edited by Joe Pittman; 09-23-2002 at 04:43 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Originally posted by Karl Foster
    Wood choices: Ash or Hickory.

    Which one? Depends upon the length of the haft/shaft, the weight of the "head", and the intended use. Ash is far more springy than hickory, which is a dense, non-flexing wood.

    IMHO: A general rule of thumb is anything over 5+ feet needs ash. Anything under that length, use hickory.

    I would ask the various poleweapon makers/sellers (A&A, Therion, etc.) about why they use what they use.


    Also keep in mind that hickory tends to be a bit more vibration/resonation prone than other woods... my primary bokken is hickory, and while it is quite nice, extended full power shiai with it an be a bit painful from the vibration..

    for a naginata, Japanese white oak, shiro kashi, is probably the best way to go - I'm getting ready to mount up a naginata II with a shiro kashi pole, ishizuke from bugei, and I'll do the slotting, lacquer and metalwork myself...
    Christopher A. Holzman, Esq.
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    "[T]he calm spirit is the only force that can defeat instinct, and render us masters of all our strengths" -Settimo Del Frate, 1876.

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    KNow where I can get the Japanese white oak, and about how much it would cost?

    Anyone have a good guideline for thickness? I like my fingers to just barely overlap my thumbs, wich gives me about 1 1/2" to 1 4/3" diameter handle.

    Peter Machetti



    Originally posted by Chris Holzman




    Also keep in mind that hickory tends to be a bit more vibration/resonation prone than other woods... my primary bokken is hickory, and while it is quite nice, extended full power shiai with it an be a bit painful from the vibration..

    for a naginata, Japanese white oak, shiro kashi, is probably the best way to go - I'm getting ready to mount up a naginata II with a shiro kashi pole, ishizuke from bugei, and I'll do the slotting, lacquer and metalwork myself...
    "Meddle thou not among the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy, and do taste well with ketchup."

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by Peter Marchetti
    KNow where I can get the Japanese white oak, and about how much it would cost?

    Anyone have a good guideline for thickness? I like my fingers to just barely overlap my thumbs, wich gives me about 1 1/2" to 1 4/3" diameter handle.

    Peter Machetti



    1.25inches in height, roughly .75 in width, ovalized, is pretty much the norm... thats what bugei's ishizuke are sized for.... Ash would work as well for the pole, and be less expensive probably... and easier to find... regarding the shiro kashi source, i'd like to keep that up my sleeve, at least until i get my own shaft ordered - feel free to email or send me a private message though, and i'll help you out - I just dont want my source getting flooded with inquiries, nor do I really feel comfortable just giving out his email address.

    Chris

    BTW - If you want an idea of what I'm going to do with the naginata construction, grab a look in the home improvements forum over the last several months, someone else posted a similar inquiry there, and I gave a detailed plan of attack for the naginata..
    Christopher A. Holzman, Esq.
    Moniteur d' Armes
    "[T]he calm spirit is the only force that can defeat instinct, and render us masters of all our strengths" -Settimo Del Frate, 1876.

    Author of The Art of the Dueling Sabre
    ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana

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