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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Tue 18 Jan, 2011 10:11 pm    Post subject: Just got my Windlass German War Hammer         Reply with quote

Just an initial impression, not a full review here.

Received my new Windlass German War Hammer from KoA today. Ryan did a great job of getting this right out to me on the Great American Frontier, thanks, Ryan.

The fit and finish seem pretty good given the price point, some small tool marks are visible but I think it gives the piece a bit of that local smithy, hand forged/finished, look, and I like the satin, natural finish. The head seems well attached to the haft, although I'm not sure what type of wood was used for the haft, definitely doesn't look or feel like hickory or ash, but the grain is reasonably straight and so far I've not found any cracks or splits.

The width of the haft is a bit big for my hand but not unmanageable and it would benefit from some gentle profiling and tapering. The wood is a bit light and I'd like to see a darker, more aged look. The langets and brass rivets or tacks that are used are well executed but look a bit machine cut (understandable at the price point). The brass round head nails on the lower third of the haft do help a bit with grip but a wire or leather wrap wound do a lot more. Still, a short test drive wearing heavy gloves showed it stayed put in the hand just fine. The wood's a bit smooth for use with bare, sweaty hands or if there was rain or other liquids on the haft.

I like the head on the beastie. I was afraid it was going to be too small and light, but it really is a good size for a one handed weapon and works well when gripped about one fourth up from the butt with one hand. This also leaves room to quickly grab the haft with the off hand and go to town with a two handed grip for times when you really want to make a big first impression on your opponent. Also, I like the back spike; it looks long enough to penetrate plate and an underlying arming jacket or cap and subsequently the wearer of said armour but not so long that it would get hung up when you extract it from said plate. The hammer face could use a bit more profiling of the bec de corbin points bringing them to a diamond point, but it's weighty enough to still get someone's undivided attention if properly applied. The spike is also just long enough to use as a hook for pulling and trapping either weapons or limbs.

The haft is just about the right length for employing baton and tessen techniques and if you reverse the hammer and grip it just below the head it turns the haft into a good baton for non-lethal strikes and nerve point presses. My initial impression is also that it could benefit from a metal butt cap and a lanyard hole.

All that said, it is a pretty agile thumper and moves easily from guard to guard and can be reversed quickly. All in all I think this will make a darn useful knight opener and all around attitude adjuster for the well equipped late 14th cent through 16th century warrior. Cool

"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Jan, 2011 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a great write-up. I received one of these not too long ago and have never posted about it. Like you, I was impressed with it for the price point. I quite like it!
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Pauli Vennervirta





Joined: 12 Mar 2009
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Posts: 61

PostPosted: Wed 19 Jan, 2011 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What about the quality of the handle? In recent reviews it has been said that Windlass polearms and hammers have problems in that area.
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Larry Bohnham





Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 98

PostPosted: Wed 19 Jan, 2011 12:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well as I said previously, the haft does not appear to be hickory or ash, but it seems to have a good grain and reasonable solidity. The only way to know for sure is to take some test whacks with the critter and see what happens but I don't want to do anything extreme with it until I'm sure I'm gonna keep it and not return it. One of the design features that contributed to my purchase decision is the long langets that run close to half the length of the haft. I think these will do a lot to reinforce the haft and distribute the impact loads evenly through the haft and lessen the likely hood of a failure. Although even a good aged hickory ax handle can fail over time, so nothing is certain. The big advantage of these types of weapons is that they can be re-hafted without major tooling or expertise, and I accept the possibility that I may have to re-haft it at some point in its life-cycle.

I've had more time to work with the thing today and it really comes alive in a two hand grip using langenschwert techniques. It recovers well and is pretty quick for how it's balanced. Like most good designs it's beauty lies in its simplicity.

OBTW, the boss really likes the beastie too, and she's a good judge of steel in her own right, so I guess that makes it a good gift idea for that special woman in your life. Big Grin

"No athlete can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows; he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack under the fist of his adversary..."
Roger of Hoveden, d.1201

a furore Normannorum libera nos Domine

"Henry, get down off that horse with that sword, you'll put someone's eye out!" Mrs. Bolingbroke's advice to her son, Henry, on the eve of the battle of Agincourt
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Jan, 2011 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These are big enough to remount as long fussstreithammers. They work beautifully in that mode.
-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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