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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Best chopper? Reply to topic
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Which is the best chopper?
Cutlass
1%
 1%  [ 1 ]
Falchion
90%
 90%  [ 59 ]
Katana
7%
 7%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 65

Author Message
R Ashby





Joined: 12 Feb 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 12:24 am    Post subject: Best chopper?         Reply with quote

Which of these would be the best general chopper? A cutlass/falchion or a katana?

Thanks!
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Stephane Rabier




Location: Brittany
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 12:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
I would say "a machete" but since there's no machete in the list, I think the falchion is the closest candidate...
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 1:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephane Rabier wrote:
Hi,
I would say "a machete" but since there's no machete in the list, I think the falchion is the closest candidate...


That's useful too- thanks.
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Stephen Curtin




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 2:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm I think I'm going to have to give this one to the katana, not because of it's 'legendary' cutting ability, but because it's a two hander and so, more powerfull. I would like to say though, that there were two handed, single edged swords used in europe i.e. the kreigmesser (sp?), that would have equal if not greater power than a katana.
Éirinn go Brách
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 2:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If by "chopper", one includes "cutter", then a falchion, perhaps. For soft targets. For harder targets, perhaps a katana. Healthy traditional blade with niku (i.e., appleseed edge, not a thin wedge) should be more robust than a thin slicing falchion.

But the list is missing the best choppers! Maciejowski Bible choppers, zhanmadao, nagamaki, bills, halberds, kampilan, kora, khukri, ayda katti, and more.

For a combination of effectiveness and beauty, I suspect that St Maurice of Turin would beat the typical katana/falchion/cutlass with ease.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
If by "chopper", one includes "cutter", then a falchion, perhaps. For soft targets. For harder targets, perhaps a katana. Healthy traditional blade with niku (i.e., appleseed edge, not a thin wedge) should be more robust than a thin slicing falchion.

But the list is missing the best choppers! Maciejowski Bible choppers, zhanmadao, nagamaki, bills, halberds, kampilan, kora, khukri, ayda katti, and more.

For a combination of effectiveness and beauty, I suspect that St Maurice of Turin would beat the typical katana/falchion/cutlass with ease.


I'm working on another novel, and looking for an ideal chopper for a character. Something small, concealable and powerful. I added the katana to the list because I could have gone in that direction as well.

I'm thinking falcata...
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James Head





Joined: 09 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 5:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best 'chopper' is a workman's billhook.





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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 5:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

that's intriguing! Thanks!
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 5:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For a small chopper, a kukri is great. Concealable? Well, perhaps, depending on what you're wearing. I don't have experience with falcatas to know whether they'd work similarly.

What would be appropriate in the context? Not necessarily realistic to randomly raid history. A whole bunch of small choppers will be functionally equivalent - seax, bowie, the various Indian-and-nearby cleavers (kukri, ayda katti, etc), the various Chinese-and-nearby cleavers, a multitude of Indonesian/Malay/Filipino weapons.

Why find a special name or special shape? It's a long-bladed heavy knife, so why not just call it a "knife"? Unless context gives a sensible specific name, at least it doesn't jangle. (And it works in Chinese, too!)

If it's useful for it to be a tool, rather than a weapon, a lot of the Indonesian/Malay/Filipino goloks/parangs/etc might do. One-handed small billhooks/brushhooks. Japanese hand-axes ("nata") are nice, and good choppers.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
For a small chopper, a kukri is great. Concealable? Well, perhaps, depending on what you're wearing. I don't have experience with falcatas to know whether they'd work similarly.

What would be appropriate in the context? Not necessarily realistic to randomly raid history. A whole bunch of small choppers will be functionally equivalent - seax, bowie, the various Indian-and-nearby cleavers (kukri, ayda katti, etc), the various Chinese-and-nearby cleavers, a multitude of Indonesian/Malay/Filipino weapons.

Why find a special name or special shape? It's a long-bladed heavy knife, so why not just call it a "knife"? Unless context gives a sensible specific name, at least it doesn't jangle. (And it works in Chinese, too!)

If it's useful for it to be a tool, rather than a weapon, a lot of the Indonesian/Malay/Filipino goloks/parangs/etc might do. One-handed small billhooks/brushhooks. Japanese hand-axes ("nata") are nice, and good choppers.


I don't need a name, but to give it a measure of realism I need to understand how the weapon works, and also be able to describe any idiosyncratic things about it.

I'll have a look at your suggestions- a bowie knife could be good too. I was after something more in the short sword range, but that's an interesting option.

The book is an urban fantasy, so set in the near future, so anything goes.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R Ashby wrote:

I'm working on another novel, and looking for an ideal chopper for a character. Something small, concealable and powerful. I added the katana to the list because I could have gone in that direction as well.

I'm thinking falcata...


With this definition I would go for the Kukri.

Concealable ? What clothing are you wearing ! T-Shirt and shorts, not really. Ample clothing/cloak ? No problem even for something a lot bigger.

Then there is hidden and then just discreet and not obvious and the social context make a great deal of difference: In a society where carrying weapons is something unusual or alarming and not culturally an every day thing the level of concealment would be more important than in a society where everyone travels with a machete and would attract zero notice.

In some societies looking as if you have no weapons would more attract attention or even " unwanted and dangerous " attention.

The Maciejowski Bible choppers would be my choice as a weapon/general purpose tool. Even has some negative curves in it near the tip having similar design features of a bill hook.

Katana is pure weapon and not a wood chopper. Wink

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





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A 2 handed falcion like the coldsteel Grosse Messer which is a messer....but you get the point: http://www.teraasekeskus.com/tuotteet/keskiai...serNet.jpg
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Luke Zechman




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you would like to chop something... get yourself a good axe.
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Tom Kinder





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

for a near future urban fantasy I think I like goloks. check out traditionalFilipinoweapons dot com. they have really cool stuff.
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Ron Reimer




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd go for a seax.Its the original Viking Army Knife (lol) it cuts,chops,thrusts and its also a do everything knife.It'll split wood,dress game,flip a burger on the bbq, etc.As for being concealable ,well that depends on the length but under a light coat , or strapped to the thigh and drawn through the pocket ,its fairly concealable.
I've played with quite a few seaxes both as weapon for wma and re-enacting, and as a tool in the garden,camping and bushcraft and I can understand why this ancient design is still around as the bowie and similar knives.It WORKS!!!
Ron
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think a Kukri would be the go. I originally thought of a messer- it was my first choice, but kukri would be better, being a weapon with a legendary reputation.

The Maciejowski Bible chopper is totally cool, and would fit the bill, but it's too big, as is the messer. Likewise, the bill hook and axes are too big.

It needs to be inconspicuous under a flowing, long coat.

This is awesome guys, thank you all so much!
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Boris Bedrosov
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 3:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would like to add some in the list:
- kopis and very similar to it falcata;
- our Bulgarian predecessors' primary weapon - Thracian rhomphaia;
- Ottoman yathagan, which on my opinion is later derivation from kopis/falcata

"Everyone who has the right to wear a long sword, has to remember that his sword is his soul,
and he has to separate from it when he separates from his life"
Tokugawa Ieyasu

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 5:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

R Ashby wrote:
I think a Kukri would be the go. I originally thought of a messer- it was my first choice, but kukri would be better, being a weapon with a legendary reputation.


Also many readers will know what a kukri is.

The various small choppers generally chop well. What you might find useful to know is what else you can do with them. Some work well as cooking knives, others don't. Some work well as pry-bars, screwdrivers, etc, and others don't. Depends on the blade shape and the tip. As far as weapon use goes, some you can stab with, and others you can't. Again, depends on the tip.

So, this brings up another reason why a kukri is a good choice: easy to find a decent one, and play around with, see what you can do. (Although there are lots of bits of junk labelled as "kukri" out there.) Get one, chop some stuff up, stab some stuff, slice some stuff. It's said that a kukri makes a good throwing weapon (something not said of many of these small choppers).

For lots of these types of weapons, it's usual for the scabbard to be tucked into a belt or sash, across the belly, rather than suspending the scabbard from the belt. This keeps the grip near the right hand, and places it rather differently for concealment. Again, if you have one to play around with, you can try these things out for yourself.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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David Clark





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Oct, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Derp! I thought this was for 2 handed choppers, but I miss read. I have to agree with Ron, the seax is the way to go. Exellent versatillity and very durable....and smexy.
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R Ashby





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PostPosted: Sun 17 Oct, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Clark wrote:
Derp! I thought this was for 2 handed choppers, but I miss read. I have to agree with Ron, the seax is the way to go. Exellent versatillity and very durable....and smexy.


Smexy is good!

Thank you all so much! Your input is awesome. If I ever get the rewrite on the first book finished and get it off for publication, (the one you all helped me with before, I'll have to give you all credit somewhere). You can all mock me if I make a hash-up of the swordplay, as well.
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