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Dustin Faulkner




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 4:39 pm    Post subject: Poleaxe "meat tenderizer" head question         Reply with quote

Hello Everybody:

I was wondering if any of you (especially those who make reproductions) can explain to me how the head of a poleaxe was made. I am refering to the part that looks like a modern meat tenderizer with rows of small, four-sided pyramids.

I studied manufacturing in college and can only suppose that a wooden pattern of the whole head is made. Then this wooden pattern is pressed into firm sand, and then the metal is poured. At least this this might be part of the process. I don't know. Do you?

Just curious. Hopefully, I can get a poleaxe made one day since I can't afford AA's. I don't doubt their quality. I just can't afford them.

DUSTIN FAULKNER
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Jim Mearkle




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The alternative to casting would be grinding them. Since they had water powered mills, the valleys between the point could have been ground out. However, casting would be a more efficient use of materials. They could also be rough-forged and cleaned up with a file or mill. This has the important advantage of not needing as hot a fire as casting.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 5:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

They were forged. The speed at which such a form can be forged by a team of skilled and experienced smiths would amaze you.
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C. Gadda





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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
They were forged. The speed at which such a form can be forged by a team of skilled and experienced smiths would amaze you.


Definately forged - cast iron makes far too brittle a poll axe head. In any case, I don't think European technology was up to the challenge of casting iron in the first place (if I am wrong, please correct me)

Take the historical originals that the A&A Knightly or the Burgundian Poll Axes are based upon. The head, consisting of the axe and hammer heads, is one piece, forged. The spike, I believe, is actually separate, and attached to the langets, which also serve to attach the head to the haft. Basically, the langet is one piece and wraps around in a "U' shape that clamps the head onto the top of the haft. Note that the head has no socket for the haft - it is attached to the langet which is in its turn nailed to the haft. Waldman's "Hafted Weapons in Medieval and Renaissance Europe" goes into more detail on construction techniques.

Seems to me there was some fellow on this forum who posted pix of a poll axe similar to the Burgundian that he had hand forged himself - outstanding piece as I recall.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Europe had the capability to melt iron. They did not, however, because it wasn't exactly an efficient use of fuels.

M.

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 10:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cast iron is frail, it woul easily shatter.

After being created in a blast furnace it has to be reduced i carbon content, when the metal is going to beused for pieces who have to bear strong impacts.

You could use cast iron for a stove (as in the last two centuries), but you couldn't have a hammer of cast iron.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jul, 2009 11:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bruno Giordan wrote:
Cast iron is frail, it woul easily shatter.

After being created in a blast furnace it has to be reduced i carbon content, when the metal is going to beused for pieces who have to bear strong impacts.

You could use cast iron for a stove (as in the last two centuries), but you couldn't have a hammer of cast iron.


I'm pretty sure that cast steel is very different from was is called cast iron which is very high in carbon content and feels greasy to the touch as the carbon forms a graphite like coating on the cast iron.

Cast iron is fairly strong and O.K. for many applications and used to be popular in the 19th century and the early 20 th century for heavy machinery parts not subject to certain stresses like impact as it is very hard strong in compression, weak in tension, but also brittle and because of the high carbon greasy surface sort of naturally lubricated and I think somewhat resistant to rusting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cast_iron
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucible_steel

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 8:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Historically, the face of the hammer was mostly likely filed. It looks impossibly complicated if you think of creating each of those little pyramids individually, but that's not the most efficient way to do it. Rather, you'd use a file of triangular section and work in a grid pattern. The pyramids are created by that action alone. I happen to have some Sculpey in my desk ( WTF?! ) so I'll demonstrate how this might be done. Of course, steel wouldn't deform like my Sculpey but you get the general idea.


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sculpey.gif


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sculpey2.gif


-Sean

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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nope. The pyramids were forged. Ask a seasoned blacksmith how he would do it, and he'll fill you in (although, if you play with your Sculpey, you could figure it out).
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Nope. The pyramids were forged. Ask a seasoned blacksmith how he would do it, and he'll fill you in (although, if you play with your Sculpey, you could figure it out).


Thick chisel hammered into the red-hot face in the same grid pattern?

-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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Justin King
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Nope. The pyramids were forged. Ask a seasoned blacksmith how he would do it, and he'll fill you in (although, if you play with your Sculpey, you could figure it out).


Thick chisel hammered into the red-hot face in the same grid pattern?


Basically, although the tool used would likely be called a fuller or swedging tool rather than a chisel (modern terminology), and would likely be made by the smith for the particular purpose, and re-shaped as needed. The tool itself may be held over the work and struck or mounted on an anvil and used by driving the workpiece onto it.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jul, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:
Sean Flynt wrote:
James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Nope. The pyramids were forged. Ask a seasoned blacksmith how he would do it, and he'll fill you in (although, if you play with your Sculpey, you could figure it out).


Thick chisel hammered into the red-hot face in the same grid pattern?


Basically, although the tool used would likely be called a fuller or swedging tool rather than a chisel (modern terminology), and would likely be made by the smith for the particular purpose, and re-shaped as needed. The tool itself may be held over the work and struck or mounted on an anvil and used by driving the workpiece onto it.


Our clever ancestors....

-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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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 3:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Bruno Giordan wrote:
Cast iron is frail, it woul easily shatter.

After being created in a blast furnace it has to be reduced i carbon content, when the metal is going to beused for pieces who have to bear strong impacts.

You could use cast iron for a stove (as in the last two centuries), but you couldn't have a hammer of cast iron.


I'm pretty sure that cast steel is very different from was is called cast iron which is very high in carbon content and feels greasy to the touch as the carbon forms a graphite like coating on the cast iron.

Cast iron is fairly strong and O.K. for many applications and used to be popular in the 19th century and the early 20 th century for heavy machinery parts not subject to certain stresses like impact as it is very hard strong in compression, weak in tension, but also brittle and because of the high carbon greasy surface sort of naturally lubricated and I think somewhat resistant to rusting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cast_iron
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucible_steel


If you mean doing it by casting the usual low carbon steel of that period, well, it was likely feasible but with some difficulties for sure as the master must insure a perfect flow of the molten material within the model: Cellini reports he might have difficulties casing silver or bronze whose melting point is lower than that of steel.

I'm quite familiar with medieval style mass production of agricultural tools in northern Italy which survived in small ancient factories provided with hydraulic power hammer as main tool.

A skilled forger can obtain impressively fast and consistent results in a single workday just by simple means, ie. with an intelligent algorithm involving various intermediate passages that once learned will become easier and easier to perform.. this working at just red hot in an oven heated often even just with plain wood.

We that are used to modern machinery, having lost or never had any training into building something complex with our hands and intelligence often underestimate the capabilities of such old masters whose problem solving ability overcame the apparent paucity of tools.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Jul, 2009 11:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the cast steel is for modern reproductions and certainly not the way it would have been done in period.

As to the qualities of cast steel versus cast iron I only mentioned it in the modern context where cast iron would be too brittle to use for anything other than something 100 % decorative and in any case something totally non functional would probably be made of pot metal.

Forged or maybe filed pyramid teeth on the " meat tenderizer " hammer face.

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Barry C. Hutchins





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PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2009 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Originals should show evidence of how the rows of pyramids on the head were formed. Sharper, more uniform points would tend to favor filing; less sharp, and less uniform points would tend to favor the fuller/swage method in my opinion.

A compendium of Alexander G. Weygers work entitled "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" ISBN0-89815-896-6 shows making a 9 point bush tool for stone work out of 1 1/2" dia or square stock by filing, then the head is tempered to a hardness suitable for crushing hard stone. ('modern' refers to the early 1970's, the compendium is three of Weygers books on blacksmithing from that period)

Efficiency of work is the key to re-discovering old techniques; is it faster to forge the head or file the head (in both cases the final result must be tempered); is labour used to file cheaper than the fuel for the forge or vis versa; etc.?
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Aug, 2009 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Barry C. Hutchins wrote:
Originals should show evidence of how the rows of pyramids on the head were formed. Sharper, more uniform points would tend to favor filing; less sharp, and less uniform points would tend to favor the fuller/swage method in my opinion.

A compendium of Alexander G. Weygers work entitled "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" ISBN0-89815-896-6 shows making a 9 point bush tool for stone work out of 1 1/2" dia or square stock by filing, then the head is tempered to a hardness suitable for crushing hard stone. ('modern' refers to the early 1970's, the compendium is three of Weygers books on blacksmithing from that period)

Efficiency of work is the key to re-discovering old techniques; is it faster to forge the head or file the head (in both cases the final result must be tempered); is labour used to file cheaper than the fuel for the forge or vis versa; etc.?


In all probability historical pieces would be forged as close to shape as was reasonably possible, and then filed where necessary to obtain the final shape. Before the mass production of steel, stock removal would generally be done very discriminately. Complex shapes were more likely to be forge-welded together from multiple elements than cut/filed/ground out of a single large piece.
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