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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 7:39 am    Post subject: Halbed construction question         Reply with quote

Hello! Long time since Ive posted.

I have a question that hopefully a couple of folks here can help me with. I will begin forging a late 15th century halberd soon.

http://www.rogue-artist.com/gothicgermany/hreweapons.html

The very top image with the array of halberds is an example of the type what I will be reproducing.

I plan on starting with a bar stock of carbon steel, forge-heating it and hammering it into shape. For the socket where the shaft fits into, I will use a cast-iron last, insert it into a split in the bottom and hammer around it for the depth and shape. The langets will also be hammered atop this last.

My question is this:
Is this a viable way to proceed? These were munitions weapons, made by the hundreds. So I cannot help but wonder what was done to make the process easier.

I am completely open to all suggestion and discussion. I would be especially appreciative of any close-up pictures of the area around the sockets of existing halberds. I have seen the back and front of an original and it is split at the back, while the front is a solid sheath. So Im still thinking they inserted a last like I originally plan to do.

*NOTE: I say "last", like what they use to shape shoes. But I am unsure what the correct term should be. My apologies.

Kindest regards,
-Jason

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
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15C re-enactor:
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Gregg Sobocinski




Location: Michigan
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PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 12:01 pm    Post subject: Halberds described in J. Waldman's "Hafted Weapons"         Reply with quote

From an academic perspective (not from a blacksmith's), John Waldman (2005) goes into quite a bit of descriptive detail regarding halberd construction in his book about hafted weapons, and includes many closeups and some x-rays. The book is a little pricey (see the myArmoury bookstore), but you may be able to find it at a university library.

Hafted Weapons in Medieval and Renaissance Europe: The Evolution of European Staff Weapons between 1200 and 1650 (History of Warfare 31)
by John Waldman

Good luck.
~Gregg
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Sun 17 May, 2009 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Excellent Gregg!!! Thank you ever so kindly for that lead.

-Jason

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 20 Sep 2007

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 3:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jason,

I think the term you’re looking for is “mandrel” rather than “last”. These were certainly used in manufacturing halberds and can easily be forged from mild steel, any undesirable deformation resulting from use, being easily repaired.

Rather than attempting to split the steel and drive the mandrel in as a punch, halberds of this type were generally made using two leaves of steel, forge welded around the mandrel. The langets were then, as you mentioned, hammered atop the mandrel, or perhaps hammered on to the leaves before they were joined, although I feel that this is less likely.

I’d also like to second Gregg’s book recommendation. It’s almost required reading for those of us looking to make polearms. As much as I'd love to, I haven’t come across a more informative resource on this topic.

I hope this helps, and I’d love to see photos of the end product.

Darren.
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Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
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PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: Halbed construction question         Reply with quote

Jason Adams wrote:
I plan on starting with a bar stock of carbon steel, forge-heating it and hammering it into shape. For the socket where the shaft fits into, I will use a cast-iron last, insert it into a split in the bottom and hammer around it for the depth and shape. The langets will also be hammered atop this last.

hi all,
If my translation is correct.
From a metallurgical point of view it is wrong to put together a carbon steel with cast iron.
If you need to use the molds, before the part that you must enter the auction, then opens the rest.
A single material, not cast iron, one piece only.
If it is necessary to add pieces, weld hot hammering.
regards
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

D. Austin wrote:
I think the term you’re looking for is “mandrel”


Mandrel! excellent. Thank you Darren.

D. Austin wrote:
Rather than attempting to split the steel and drive the mandrel in as a punch, halberds of this type were generally made using two leaves of steel, forge welded around the mandrel. The langets were then, as you mentioned, hammered atop the mandrel, or perhaps hammered on to the leaves before they were joined, although I feel that this is less likely.


Thanks again! I have been e-mailing with a couple of armour artists and they also have suggested this method. Which makes me feel a lot better. I was not sure I had the skill to make it all of one piece, just by drawing the metal out.

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
From a metallurgical point of view it is wrong to put together a carbon steel with cast iron.


I understand Maurizio, thank you. I meant to use the cast iron for the form, or Mandrel. The halberd will all be one carbon steel. Thank you for the warning however!

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
If it is necessary to add pieces, weld hot hammering.


Thanks again. It seems to be a good idea Happy

Okay, so I will hammer weld the leaves onto the blade. I do not have a brick work forge. I had been using oxy-acetylene, but the cost is prohibitive. Someone said to use a rosebud nozzel on a propane torch. That sounds good. However, I have a stop-gap in mind I would like some advice on......

I was donated a round outdoor charcoal grill. My idea is to line the bottom with gravel (to protect the metal from the heat) and burn charcoal and coal atop this. Thus making a little forge. But Im not sure how much heat I can get away with in something like this.

Originally I was going to use it for armour-making. Where I need only heat the metal a little for easier dishing. Do you think I can get away with heat high enough to work on high carbon steel and the like?

If not, no biggie. I want to build a brick forge this summer anyway. Is there any specific brick that must be used? Ceramic tile is expensive as all heck. The brick forges at the historic villages I see seem to be the same normal red brick our houses are made from.

any suggestions please?

Thanks ever so kindly everyone!
-Jason

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The method described above appears to be the most common means of construction, and it's elegantly simple. You can use two separate leaves but I am under the impression that the steel is a single sheet folded around the mandrel, heated and forge-welded. I assume that means that both sides of the sheet would have to be at welding temperature, which might be a challenge without a forge. I'm not a metalworker, though, so that's just speculation.

It might be worth the time to buy a box of Sculpey polymer clay, roll it out to the desired thickness and practice with that to make a model/pattern that can be transferred to the steel sheet. Given that socket it might be easy to underestimate the size of the sheet you'll need.

-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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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
It might be worth the time to buy a box of Sculpey polymer clay, roll it out to the desired thickness and practice with that to make a model/pattern that can be transferred to the steel sheet. Given that socket it might be easy to underestimate the size of the sheet you'll need.


That is brilliant Sean! Happy I hadn't thought of anything like that. and its always been a trouble for me, guess-timating the metal amount.

Thanks kindly!
-Jason

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to make a more durable template you can model in clay, unroll the model onto a sheet of thin foam material (sheets in all colors at your local craft store,) trace and cut. That gives you a flexible but durable template. Cardboard would work just as well but might be less convenient to store.
-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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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thats a great idea too. Ive been using some surplus coated paper. Much stronger and more flexible than normal paper, but the foam is a great idea because it wont permanently crease or tear.

I think Walmart caries sheets called "foamies" or some such in the crafts section. IVe gotten them before for crafts with my son.

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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D. Austin
Industry Professional



Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You will need a forge, and you will need to practice forge welding. It's quite a skill to get the steel hot enough without burning it, then hammer it together quickly and accurately.

I have seen forges built in old round BBQs so it can be done. You will certainly need a blower to make the coal burn hot, and it should be lined with fire bricks or fire proof clay. You may be able to find books in the library on making forges. I'm sure there are resources somewhere on the web too.

Darren.
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed 20 May, 2009 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

cool beans. I will see what I can dig up.

I made my first knife this afternoon Happy I will post pictures when I get more batteries for the camera.

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2009 12:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
The method described above appears to be the most common means of construction, and it's elegantly simple. You can use two separate leaves but I am under the impression that the steel is a single sheet folded around the mandrel, heated and forge-welded. I assume that means that both sides of the sheet would have to be at welding temperature, which might be a challenge without a forge. I'm not a metalworker, though, so that's just speculation.

It might be worth the time to buy a box of Sculpey polymer clay, roll it out to the desired thickness and practice with that to make a model/pattern that can be transferred to the steel sheet. Given that socket it might be easy to underestimate the size of the sheet you'll need.


I have observed attentively the halberds at Marzoli and I totally concur. An early one is clearly made in this way with the folds joined by two big rivets plus forge welding, with some degree of cold shutting being evident along the join line.

The only thing I doubt is that the langets were added later.

Langets are a single body with halberds, showing no signs of forge welding: as such halberds are ever overpolished welding lines often surface and for what I have seen there are no signs of langets being welded.

This would have been impractical as well, due to the thinness of langets and of the halberds bodies.

PS

Forge welding modern slag free metals is an hell.

I forge welded a dagger using the real medieval method of pattern welding eight strata of the same metal, using early steel from a window grate that was likely non bessmer but bloomery made.

I got an 80% success and 20% of material to be used with some cold shutting . Usable, the tang had some cold shut so we twisted the metal and it came out well enough to be useable and elastic..

I would not dare using modern steel without silica slags without experience in modern pattern welding, you should start your halberd project by buying wrought iron and possibly carburizing it later.

Despite this I feel you are starting forging the harder way.
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
Joined: 03 Dec 2004

Posts: 60

PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2009 5:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So should I just weld it with a torch or arc welder then?
~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Adams wrote:
So should I just weld it with a torch or arc welder then?


Hm i guess the langets won't be easily made but with the use of modern welding techniques. Or you could hammer them out ofthe initial block but that woudl require a careful study of the shapes such block would go through before reaching for the final wrappable form.

Not ane easy task, such studies require time and experience.
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
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PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2009 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Im planning on having each langets and socket half being one full piece. Then welding each half it its side of the blade.

Does that make sense?

~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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D. Austin
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2009 6:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd have to agree that a halberd is a very ambitious project, even for a fairly accomplished smith. Modern welding techniques will certainly make the project a lot easier, although it will lack the strength of a good forge weld.

quote="Jason Adams"]Im planning on having each langets and socket half being one full piece. Then welding each half it its side of the blade.

Does that make sense?[/quote]

This seems to be the way a lot of reproductions are made and it can certainly produce the desired shape. If you have a socket extending to the other edge, just behind the spike, you may want to make the blade from two pieces, the axe and spike from one, and the beak and flange from another.

Hope this makes sense.

Darren.
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
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PostPosted: Thu 21 May, 2009 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, that does make sense. Im just going to have to find a balance. I want to make as much by-hand as I can. But I do not have the capability of getting extremely hot temperatures over large areas yet.
~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2009 2:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This page has a lot of German halberds of the most diverse form, some are simple enough to be dealt with from a beginner point of view.

http://www.rogue-artist.com/gothicgermany/hreweapons.html
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Jason Adams




Location: Gibsonburg OH
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PostPosted: Fri 22 May, 2009 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

LOL yeah, that's my website actually Happy Those are the halberds I want to try my hand at too. So it works out Big Grin
~Jason Banditt Adams
www.Rogue-Artist.com
illustrator and concept designer

15C re-enactor:
www.GothicGermany.org
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website


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