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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Bronze Lion Danish Axe         Reply with quote

I finally got around to taking pictures of my custom Danish axe from Bronze Lion of Oregon. It's not entirely finished; I have a temporary haft on it but I'll post pictures once it's done.

I got the idea from a picture of an axe in the Museum of London that Sean Flynt Posted. I've grown to really enjoy axes in general, but specifically the type L and M large "Danish"axes. There are half a dozen manufacturers that make long axes, but they were IMO either overly heavy like the Paul Chen axe or very, very pricey like the gorgeous A&A axe. I also looked at having one made by manning Imperial but shipping and price became an issue again.

Finally I emailed Shawn Johnson at Bronze Lion. I had stumbled onto his website some time ago and kind of forgotten about it. He has pictures up of his other work but he's definitely more of a craftsman than a photographer, so I was a bit apprehensive about having something custom made. This was my first custom piece I was really nervous about project, but Shawn understood what I was looking for right away and did a great job capturing the piece that I was trying to recreate.

Weight: 4 pounds 6 ounces
Haft length: 65 inches
Cutting edge: 10.35 inches
Head depth 9.57 inches
CoB : 14 inches below the top of the haft
CoP: Somewhere in the thoracic cavity, with any luck

Fit and Finish
Like the original this axe has a reinforced bit with a diamond cross section. The body is a little thicker than I had intended, but at 4mm average is still reasonably thin. After some discussion we decided to leave the blackened finish on the axe after tempering. It's a bit of a rough finish but it just makes the axe that much more intimidating. Only the edge was polished out to a high shine. I added a leather cover because I take it to SCA events and don't want to poke any unnecessarily.

Some time this winter I'll be putting a new haft on the axe, and capping it with brass similar to the original. I'll probably write a longer article at that point as well.

Handling
I use hold the Dane axe somewhat like a quarter staff or poleaxe. There isn't a lot of subtlety in an axe of this size, but it is certainly not unmanageable. If I slide my grip down to the bottom of the haft I can throw monstrously heavy blows. A descending stroke against the opponent's sword arm is probably the most natural and powerful strike. The axe also thrusts surprisingly well and both hooks and thrusts leave a nasty triangular wound. Cuts on milk jugs were surprisingly clean but predictably brutal.

Conclusion
Shawn did a great job making the axe that I just couldn't find anywhere else. It is every bit the beast that I had hoped for, but is also very pleasing to the eye. Even better, the price was stunningly low and took only a few weeks to complete from my initial inquiry. Next year I'll be having a skeletonized axe head made based on a find in Gotland, and I'll definitely have it made by Bronze Lion.



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There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 11:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice looking axe. Good to hear about a new craftsman as well. (New to me anyway)
" I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood. "

Faramir son of Denethor

Words to live by. (Yes, I know he's not a real person)
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
Joined: 15 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now that is impressive!
I love the "reinforced" bit on the blade---is it a one piece forging, or is the edge forge-welded to the body?

I owned the A&A Dane axe for a while, and it was a nice weapon.

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 797

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a great looking axe Gavin! I am looking for someone to make an axe for me as well and this adds someone to my list. How was Bronze Lion to work with?
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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Posts: 650

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
That is a great looking axe Gavin! I am looking for someone to make an axe for me as well and this adds someone to my list. How was Bronze Lion to work with?


Bronze lion as far as I can tell is a husband and wife team, so a very small operation, but the production time was really very fast, less than two months from the first email to my door.

We corresponded via email which worked out just fine, and as I mentioned Shawn was very quick to pick up on what I wanted. You can tell that he has a genuine love of weapons and armor.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Tony Peterson




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Reading list: 8 books

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice axe indeed.

do you have any example pics of the Gotland skeletonized axe that you plan to get?

Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!

The time of heroes is dead: the christ god has killed it, leaving nothing but weeping martyrs and fear and shame.

If we die... it will be for GLORY, not gold.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually I do.

From this excellent website and thier huge gallery of artifacts.
http://www.frojel.com/_index.html



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There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 797

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 6:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Bronze Lion Danish Axe         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Some time this winter I'll be putting a new haft on the axe, and capping it with brass similar to the original. I'll probably write a longer article at that point as well.



Gavin,
Was the haft provided by Bronze Lion? If so for what reason will you be replacing it if I may ask? I am also curious as to how sharp the axe was shipped to you sa most of the items in their gallery seem to be geared towards live steel stage combat.

Scott
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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Posts: 650

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Bronze Lion Danish Axe         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Some time this winter I'll be putting a new haft on the axe, and capping it with brass similar to the original. I'll probably write a longer article at that point as well.



Gavin,
Was the haft provided by Bronze Lion? If so for what reason will you be replacing it if I may ask?

Scott


The original plan was to put a brass cap on the top of the haft, but resources and time were lacking , and frankly I just got impatient to swing my baby...er...axe. I made this haft out of oak handrail, as that is the cheapest way to buy oak where I live. The current haft is the right length for me but is a bit small for my large hands and I had I planned an oval design much like a modern axe but ended up with a more rectangular haft.

Further I plan to do some carving and or wood burning on the haft, so it will need to start a bit thicker than it is. The brass cap with also include some decoration similar to the original and I'll likely cap the butt as well.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 797

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Bronze Lion Danish Axe         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Scott Kowalski wrote:
Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Some time this winter I'll be putting a new haft on the axe, and capping it with brass similar to the original. I'll probably write a longer article at that point as well.



Gavin,
Was the haft provided by Bronze Lion? If so for what reason will you be replacing it if I may ask?

Scott


The original plan was to put a brass cap on the top of the haft, but resources and time were lacking , and frankly I just got impatient to swing my baby...er...axe. I made this haft out of oak handrail, as that is the cheapest way to buy oak where I live. The current haft is the right length for me but is a bit small for my large hands and I had I planned an oval design much like a modern axe but ended up with a more rectangular haft.

Further I plan to do some carving and or wood burning on the haft, so it will need to start a bit thicker than it is. The brass cap with also include some decoration similar to the original and I'll likely cap the butt as well.


So only the axe head came from Bronze Lion then. Did you decide not to have the haft done by them or do they not offer hafts? I guess I could just as easily ask them though I suspect.

Scott
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Tony Peterson




Location: United Kingdom
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 99

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Actually I do.

From this excellent website and thier huge gallery of artifacts.
http://www.frojel.com/_index.html


Very nice, It will be great to see the end result. do any other skeleton style ones exsist from this era?

Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!

The time of heroes is dead: the christ god has killed it, leaving nothing but weeping martyrs and fear and shame.

If we die... it will be for GLORY, not gold.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 7:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've only seen such a design one other time, on a reenactor's axe. I thought it was creative license until I stumbled on this picture. It is a very intruiging design, and it tends to support my growing sentiment that although types are a useful tool for understanding trends, there's always a creative person out there that chose to do it differently from the norm. It keeps me from using unqualified statements about historicity.
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice axe and I like the way the top " horn" is angled and the way it gives the edge a diagonal shearing stroke + it looks very good.

I have an old Albion sold but India made L or M type with a 12" edge that I think weighs in at close to yours: Your I assume is much nicer but I can also say that these axes although heavy are more manoeuvrable than expected as one can slide the hands in such a way to maximize power or maximize recovery time.

Oh, one hand can be held close to the head and the " queue " can move fast if the axes needs to be used defensively.

The " Le jeux de la Hache " is a later source of axe fighting techniques that are mostly about the use of the poleaxe or maybe halberd but I think these techniques must have their origins in the use of these large Viking axes.

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




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jean. I really see the long axe as a proto-halberd that would give rise to the bardiche, Lochaber axe, and halberd.
Most of my opinions on fighting with the longaxe come from the input of several of my SCA friends who fight with this type of axe, and not suprisingly, Le jeux de la Hache.

I also think that the Bayeux tapestry has some very interesting depictions that are not artistic license. One section shows what looks to me like a huscarl working in tandem with a shieldman. The shieldman holds his shield high to ward off a horsemans' lance while the axeman reaches out from under the shield and chops at the rider's mount. In the same section a different axeman throws a blow over the shield of another man. Everything that I've seen in SCA combat suggests that this pairing of shieldman and axeman is ideal.

A lot of the conclusions that we reached via trial and error back up Le jeux de la Hache very well. Most of the wards work very well, though some of the attacks have to be modified because you cant thrust in a straight line without a top spike.
Leg hooks work in a group fight but open you up far too much in single combat. As a single combat weapon it really isn't very effective; you can fight with it more often than not you'll take shots to the legs in particular. Assuming that the wielder has the heaviest armor of the day, a full maille hauberk you can fight with it much like a polehammer, leaving the bottom third of the haft to jab, block blows, and lever your opponent out of position then follow up with a big overhand blow.

These combined led me to believe that the haft should be longer than the industry standard four foot pole. The axe has to be long enough to reach over a shieldwall. Anything shorter than about chin height doesn't leave you a lot of grip options, but you still lose the protection of a shield.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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Posts: 650

PostPosted: Mon 08 Sep, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Cooksey wrote:
Now that is impressive!
I love the "reinforced" bit on the blade---is it a one piece forging, or is the edge forge-welded to the body?

I owned the A&A Dane axe for a while, and it was a nice weapon.


Everyone loves the A&A Axe, but I just couldn't afford it. It seems strange that a custom axe costs less than a production piece, but there you have it.

I didn't ask Shawn if he welded on the edge, but I doubt it. The steel is probably the homogenous anyhow so the reinforced bit is for show at this point. I don't even know where you would get iron anymore.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Ted Bouck




Location: Northe East Ohio
Joined: 04 Jul 2007

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gavin,

This axe is wonderful, and exactly what I have been trying to find for a while now. Would you mind telling everyone here how much you payed for this axe from Bronze Lion?

Does it have a hardened edge?

Thx for posting this awesome weapon!
Ted Bouck

New member
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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Posts: 650

PostPosted: Tue 09 Sep, 2008 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It does have a hardened edge. They will put a haft on the axe if you so desire, but shipping goes way up when you add the haft.
There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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