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Michael Olsen





Joined: 28 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Sep, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Pollaxe Hafts         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I'll begin directly with my question: What were the common historical cross-sections of pollaxe hafts during the 15th century?

I've recently been looking over various images of pollaxes and have seen quite a few, but I am also aware that some of the hafts in the images may not be extant, or even based on the extant haft that was originally attached. In the images I've looked at, most of the hafts seem to have a truncated circular cross-section or an octagonal cross-section with short 45 degree angled sides. It seems that the simple rectangular cross-section was less popular or, at least, is under-represented in the imagery I've looked at.

For examples of what I'm talking about, please see the following image:



Thanks,

Michael Olsen

Michael Olsen
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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2008 3:26 am    Post subject: Re: Pollaxe Hafts         Reply with quote

Michael Olsen wrote:
It seems that the simple rectangular cross-section was less popular or, at least, is under-represented in the imagery I've looked at.


Hi Michael,

I'd have to agree with you there. For most polearms of this period, a round/oval or octagonal haft seems to be more common than a square/rectangular one. For good reason too I'd imagine. I can't see a haft featuring right angles being particularly comfortable to lug around all day, let alone fight with.

Darren.
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Michael Olsen





Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2008 6:02 am    Post subject: Re: Pollaxe Hafts         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
Michael Olsen wrote:
It seems that the simple rectangular cross-section was less popular or, at least, is under-represented in the imagery I've looked at.


Hi Michael,

I'd have to agree with you there. For most polearms of this period, a round/oval or octagonal haft seems to be more common than a square/rectangular one. For good reason too I'd imagine. I can't see a haft featuring right angles being particularly comfortable to lug around all day, let alone fight with.

Darren.


Hi Darren.

It certainly makes sense that such would be the case. Unfortunately, just from pictures alone, I can't discern the difference between a rectangular haft that would have it's corners rounded for wielding purposes and the octagonal hafts. Does anyone have hands-on experience or has anyone seen hafts close-up to discern between the two?

I'm also thinking that haft shape may change as it moves from the head downwards - many appear to go from a rectangular cross-section where the head is mounted to a more ovoid one where it is gripped (remaining elongated, I would think, in the same manner as a sword grip to help with blade/hammer/bec de corbin alignment).

Best,

Michael Olsen
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D. Austin
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2008 6:21 am    Post subject: Re: Pollaxe Hafts         Reply with quote

Michael Olsen wrote:
I'm also thinking that haft shape may change as it moves from the head downwards - many appear to go from a rectangular cross-section where the head is mounted to a more ovoid one where it is gripped (remaining elongated, I would think, in the same manner as a sword grip to help with blade/hammer/bec de corbin alignment).


I should clarify that I have seen hafts which are rectangular near the head, especially between the langets, which do change shape further down. One of my favourite war hammers however appears to be rectangular all the way.



 Attachment: 89.03 KB
war hammer.jpg

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Michael Olsen





Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is quite a nice hammer. Interesting little grip down at the bottom, too.

Michael

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Alex Spreier




Location: Central Oregon
Joined: 21 Nov 2006
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Posts: 82

PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, not necessarily from a pure historical point of view, but Arms and Armor's Knightly Poleaxe has what I would call a rectangular haft with the corners shaved down and rounded, rather than a true octagonal haft, ala the Purpleheart poleaxe trainers. I found that, surprising to me anyways, the rectangular-ish haft was vastly more comfortable to use, as well as allowing for easy "edge alignment" recognition.


My two-cents
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Alex Spreier




Location: Central Oregon
Joined: 21 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Oct, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey just got back from practice and I noticed that the Arms and Armor Knightly Poleaxe is indeed a full rectangle from the rondel up. On the actual grip, the haft is as described above.
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Hendrik De Coster




Location: Belgium
Joined: 20 Jan 2007

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Mon 06 Oct, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

my own made pole axe has the 2nd picture shaft on it,they other guys from our club have the same shafts
from my own combat experience it's pretty nice to have in your hands and doesn't hurt
a square shaft i tried first and it hurts like hell!
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