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Jon K.

Location: US
Joined: 12 Feb 2011

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 7:23 pm    Post subject: John Barnett Warhammer         Reply with quote

I recently came across a War Hammer that is being sold in the UK. Apparently it is made in Scottland by John Barnett. The cost is around 95 US Dollars + 45 S&H from the UK. Here are the listed features.

Historically Accurate
Fully Functional
High-Carbon Head
Overall length: 25
Point length - Back & Top: 2 1/2
Weight: 1.1kg

I understand John Barnett swords did not get such high reviews on this site. I am wondering if this is the case for War hammers. I am looking for a functional piece, that has a reasonable price (can't do A&A), and somewhat historically accurate. I like some of the Windlass models, but the New Warhammer and the Heavy Warhammer won't be available until the spring. Any opinions if this John Barnett Warhammer is worth the money?



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Ant Mercer

Location: Leeds, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 199

PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 6:01 am    Post subject: Re: John Barnett Warhammer         Reply with quote

Hi Jon,

I have one of these, but it was less of a hassle for me to get it, what with being in the UK already. You're right that the JB swords didn't see great reviews: I had a few of these aswell, and apart from a couple of exceptions they were turkeys: overly built, clunky, and the steel was too soft.

As far as the warhammer goes, I have to advise you not to expect anything great - it won't be worth $140. The wood's some sort of dark tropical stuff - nice to look at but I don't think it's particularly historical. The head on mine came loose quite quickly, just from dry handling. After I'd removed the head, I found that it was held on by a pin running through both it and the haft.

I ended up reshaping the head, grinding off the top spike, and re-hafting it on a longer bit of ash. I quite like it now, but I wouldn't expect you to have to put so much effort in when it's already costing you a fair bit to get it shipped over the pond.

I've taken a look over at KoA and they have a couple of good alternatives for less than you're expecting to spend, and of equal or better quality:

If you like the look of the JB warhammer, then KoA also sell one by Ritter Steel which is very similar, and judging by looks alone, of a similar quality:


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Victor R.

Location: Klein, Texas
Joined: 28 Jan 2008
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 342

PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have both the Barnett item, and the Ritter Steel warhammer referenced in Mr. Mercer's comment, both purchased before I really knew anything about what I was doing. Not that I know much more now, but enough to know I should have done a lot more research.

The Barnett piece is very lightweight (compared to the Ritter Steel, at least) and, while I haven't attempted to bash anything with it, question whether it would hold up very well. It's visually attractive, and looks nice stuck in the belt of my XVth gothic plate harness guarding my second floor landing. Just not sure it would hold up to actual use against armor.

The Ritter Steel piece is an overbuilt beast with a brutal, munitions feel to it - no refinement whatsoever. It's very head-heavy for a single hand weapon, but, in my opinion, doesn't seem hafted for easy two-hand use. The haft itself is overly thick for me (I'm 5'6", medium hands) to use comfortably single handed - think of a 2x4 shaved down about 1/3 - that, by the way, is painted/stained black.

I'm contemplating planing the haft from a basically 4-sided configuration to a hex configuration and sanding off the blackening. This will have the benefit of making it fit my hand better, and might improve the overall aesthetics. As for what it will do to the balance, well, it's not exactly balanced as it is. Given it's size and weight, it might be better suited to a two-hand length haft, maybe as much as a full "pole arm" length of 60-70 inches.

Just my opinions. Your mileage may vary...
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