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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 4:46 am    Post subject: Oakeshott mace weights?         Reply with quote

I don't usually question much that Oakeshott wrote but I'd like to query the average weights he gives to maces. His type M1 apparently averages 3.75 lbs and his M2 averages 5-7 lbs. I have been collecting weapons weights for some years now and have rarely come across a one-handed mace that weighed much more than 2 lbs.

Shawn Caza's online collection doesn't list a mace weighing more than 2 lbs.
http://otlichnik.tripod.com/medmace2.html
http://otlichnik.tripod.com/medmace3.html
http://otlichnik.tripod.com/medmace4.html

Even the Windlass replicas weigh well under 2.5 lbs
http://www.myArmoury.com/review_mrl_gmace.html
http://www.myArmoury.com/review_mrl_rtmace.html

Does anyone know of any historical one-handed maces that weigh 3 lbs or more? From where did Oakeshott derive his averages?
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wrestled with this as well. Oakeshott was known to estimate weights, but his mace writing seems more concrete than that. I owned and reviewed one of the Windlass maces and couldn't quite figure out where the weight loss would be since the overall dimensions are not that far from originals (it's a bit smaller, I think). I finally decided that the extra weight of originals must be in the wall of the tubular shaft. An increase or decrease by even a millimeter would be outwardly invisible but might account for the weight difference. I wonder if historical mace shafts were made like gun barrels--thick stock formed around a mandrel and shaped and forge-welded on swaging blocks.

Consider the historical examples with chiseled grip sections--I don't think you could get away with that on the Windlass mace I reviewed. The wall is too thin, but those historical examples must be quite thick to do that without compromising the shaft.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 7:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let's see.

Using the statistics from our M1/M2 transitional Windlass German Mace review, and a steel density of approximately 7.9 g/cm^3 (variable as steel is an alloy), I get that a solid steel tube of 11.5" with 0.91" diameter weighs approximately 8.7 lbs.* So clearly the thickness of the tube walls will make a big difference in weight as Sean said.

*Volume of (29.3 cm * pi * 2.31^2 cm^2) = 492 cm^3; * 7.9 g/cm^3 = a weight of 3.887 kg or ~8.7 lbs. Apologies for completely ignoring sig figs and rounding intermediate answers but I just needed an order of magnitude.

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Last edited by Gabriel Lebec on Mon 05 Jan, 2009 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oooohh...math. I have to be barefoot to count to 20 so I'm especially appreciative of what you numerate folks can do. Thanks for the calculation!

I think there's an image somewhere on the tubes that suggests the wall thickness of original maces. I'll try to track it down.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You know, I thought I knew of heavier examples, but I can't find them. The only one I know of is Cat. 341 in Arms and Armour from Iran, which is seemingly all wood, 101 cm long, and 2910 g in wight. Some of his other maces weigh over a kilo when complete, but 800-1200 g does seem pretty common for his one-handed axes and maces.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't doubt that some of the maces that Oakeshott examined would have weighed more than 3 lbs but I have a lot of trouble believing that the average weight is as high as he claimed. I've looked at a few museum catalogues but they rarely give weights. The Iranian example mentioned (Cat. 341) is a two-handed mace. I'm specifically looking for one-handed examples.

For completeness here are all the maces (Per. gorz) in Manouchehr's book where the weight is mentioned. They are listed in the order in which they appear in the book pp.253-261.

Limestone globular head; 8cm diameter: 670g
Limestone globular head; 6.8cm diameter: 511g
Limestone globular head; 5.8cm diameter: 372g
Hematite globular head; 4.4cm diameter: 272g
Bronze globular head; 8.7cm diameter, 11cm neck: 828g
Bronze? truncheon; 2.8cm diameter, 22cm length: 235g
Steel and wood two handed globular mace; 101cm length: 2910g
Silver inlaid iron? globular; 13cm, total length 75cm: 1220g
Bronze knobbed head; 6.7cm diameter: 289g
Bronze knotted/spiked truncheon; 4.8cm max. diameter, 18cm length: 816g
Iron and wood flanged mace; length 83.5cm: 810g
Steel flanged mace; length 63.5cm: 1150g
Steel flanged mace; length 64.5cm: 1230g
Iron? goathead macehead; 3.5cm diameter: 624g
Bronze human face macehead; 14.3cm length: 649g
Bronze globular head; 7.2cm diameter: 616g
Steel? bullhead mace including haft: 825g

Here is Shawn Caza's collection, from the links the original post.
Copper globular head; 6cm diameter: 400g
Copper globular head; 3.94cm diameter: 200g
Copper "claw" head; 11.1cm x 5.2cm: 140g
Copper globular head; 4.4cm diameter: 240g
Copper truncheon mace; 17.4cm long: 320g
Bronze flanged head; 5.5cm diameter: 360g
Bronze? knobbed head; 5.35cm wide: 90g
Iron knobbed head; 8.2cm diameter: 390g
Iron knobbed head; 8.25cm diameter: 260g
Bronze knobbed head; 6cm diameter: 160g
Bronze knobbed head; 5.8cm diameter: 150g (damaged)
Iron knobbed head; 7cm diameter: 410g
Iron flanged head; 6cm diameter: 180g (damaged)
Iron flanged head; 5.5cm diameter: 240g
Iron flanged head; 5.4cm diameter: 260g
Iron flanged head; 6-7.5 cm diameter: 550g
Iron flanged head; 7.7cm wide: 670g
Iron flanged head; 9.8cm wide: 660g
Iron elongated flanged head; 6.7cm x 7.4cm: 500g
Iron elongated flanged head; 10.6cm x 4.0cm: 290g
Bronze and wood flanged mace; length 28.5cm: 840g
Bronze flanged head and neck; 22.5cm length: 410g
Chinese bronze truncheon mace; 51cm length: 750g

We need to add the weight of a haft to the examples that are only the head. I'm guessing that 500g would be a high estimate for a one-handed mace. Adding this to the above weights we get nothing weighing over 1400g except for the two-handed one that weighs 2910g. You can double the weight of the haft and still not get many maces weighing Oakeshott's 3.75 lbs.
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D. Austin
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I wrestled with this as well. Oakeshott was known to estimate weights, but his mace writing seems more concrete than that. I owned and reviewed one of the Windlass maces and couldn't quite figure out where the weight loss would be since the overall dimensions are not that far from originals (it's a bit smaller, I think). I finally decided that the extra weight of originals must be in the wall of the tubular shaft. An increase or decrease by even a millimeter would be outwardly invisible but might account for the weight difference. I wonder if historical mace shafts were made like gun barrels--thick stock formed around a mandrel and shaped and forge-welded on swaging blocks.

Consider the historical examples with chiseled grip sections--I don't think you could get away with that on the Windlass mace I reviewed. The wall is too thin, but those historical examples must be quite thick to do that without compromising the shaft.


I've read (but don't ask me where) that tubular mace shafts were often not forge welded, but brazed, probably with a copper based solder. This seems a lot easier to achieve without deforming the nicely shaped tube and would be more than strong enough, considering that there is not a lot of pressure applied to the joint.

Regarding the weight, a thicker wall section would probably be advisable and could account for the difference. Another possibility, although this is pure speculation, is that the shaft could be filled with lead at the business end of the weapon.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If he just handled a mace and estimated the weight the fact that the weight is so concentrated in the head may have influenced him to overestimate the weight ?

A thin walled metal handle can be made much stronger if there is a wood core inside the metal tube: The wood keeps the metal from folding in easily, and to bend or break it, the metal has to be defeated in tension and compression. A hollow tube can collapse and buckle and once buckling has started it becomes much easier to deform.

Don't know if historically a hollow handle would have a wood core but the idea works.

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Etienne Hamel




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2009 7:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Say it to me if im wrong but is it possible that Oakeshott took the estimation of a full metal mace? like one of these (not very historical i guess but its for the idea) http://www.vie-medieval.com/images/perso/armes/masse01.jpg
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2009 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are "full metal" maces in the list I posted. None of them weigh 3.75 lbs.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check the Wallace Collection catalog for a few European examples. In my own experience, 15th c. maces that I have handled in the Royal Armouries' reserve collection were less than three pounds, with a good, nimble feel, although length is a crucial factor to the weight. Right now I am cleaning a somewhat ornate mace that is very 1550's (Italian, I think) that weighs about 3 3/4 pounds, way heavier than anything I would ever want to use. I have to wonder to what extent these massive mid 16th c. pieces are working weapons, as opposed to badges of office, like the overweight clunky 'bearing swords' as opposed to working 'great swords'.
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Fabrice Cognot
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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James is right as to maces being "badges of office" in addition to weapons - this role tends to get more important over the 'functional' one in the 16th century, hence the extremely fancy and over-decorated (and sometimes oversized) maces you had then, sometimes even cancelling entirely their efficiency as a proper weapon (and yet still being admirable works of art).

Maces parts were copper-brazed. Mace shafts are generally (except for the thin, often hexagonal in section, maces of the late 15th/early 16th often onsidered of German origin) hollow and trunconical - sometimes with a wooden core, sometimes not.

Copper-brazing such objects (I know, I tried and failed - mainly due to rushing the job) requires a high technical skill and a near-perfect control of the working atmosphere and temperature.

But I'll try again some day.

Maces amaze me Happy

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Tue 06 Jan, 2009 11:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

I have not actually weighed any maces I have gotten to handle from the 15th and 16th but I cannot imagine an average so heavy. Not sure what he is saying as I have not read it in many years and cannot recall his statement but it does seem rather high.

RPM
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Jan, 2009 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are 15 maces shown in Muller's book "Europaische Hieb-und Stichwaffen". These are from the Museum Fur Deutsche Geschichte.

With the exception of item 115, they are all all-metal maces. #115 is just a head and would have been mounted on a wood haft. The average of the all-metal ones is nearly three pounds, though there are some outliers that no doubt skew that a bit. Here they are:

#112 (head only): 0.704 lbs
#113: 2.684 lbs
#114: 2.244 lbs
#115: 2.926 lbs
#294: 3.52 lbs
#295: 2.816 lbs
#296: 3.146 lbs
#297: 2.772 lbs
#298: 1.188 lbs
#299: 2.024 lbs
#300: 3.696 lbs
#301: 3.388 lbs
#302: 4.752 lbs
#304: 3.41 lbs
#311: 3.366 lbs

Happy

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Rick M.




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PostPosted: Fri 09 Jan, 2009 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I weighed the Thames mace that I recently got from Arms & Armor. It's 2.48 lbs. including the haft. I can understand how Oakeshott may have overestimated the weights of maces. I would have guessed mine to be about 3.5 lbs. As was stated above, the concentration of the weight at one end is deceiving.

Rick
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