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Mike West




Location: North Carolina
Joined: 06 Dec 2003
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Posts: 84

PostPosted: Thu 04 Aug, 2011 7:34 pm    Post subject: Optimal length for a Lochaber Axe haft?         Reply with quote

I read an article suggesting that the long, 7 to 8 foot hafts on Lochaber axes were more for show and, perhaps for town guards. The typical Highlander used an axe with a haft between 4 and, 5 and a half feet. It said that the typical highlander was closer to 5 feet tall, than 6 feet, so a shorter haft might make more sense.

For someone 6 feet tall, would the same lengths apply? I think a Lochaber axe would be used in a similar fashion to a Dane axe and, they seem to have similar haft lengths. A poleaxe would be another weapon that would be used in a similar fashion. Most poleaxes seem to be around 5 to 6 feet in total length.

I thinking about getting a Lochaber axe made and, was wondering about the haft length. I would think between 60" and, 66" would be optimal.

Any thoughts?
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Neal Matheson




Location: sussex UK
Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Thu 04 Aug, 2011 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are two penicuick sketches showing lochaber axes, the hafts on both look like the blade starts just below the point a man can reach above his head (not a great description).
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Fri 05 Aug, 2011 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well according to George Silver (not Scottish, but still...) for most staff weapons that have a light or no head (Staff, spears etc.) the overall length is as far as a man can reach with his feet planted on the ground, plus two fist widths more.
However for heavier heads like halberds, bills etc, he suggests a haft only just taller than your overall height in order to account for the change of balance.
I think though it really only depends on personal preference and ones chosen "style" of fighting (e.g. more or less stabby, like to cleave alot etc.)

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Neal Matheson




Location: sussex UK
Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Fri 05 Aug, 2011 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

sorry, I forgot to add that there are other depictions of lochaber axes in McBane and Hope's treatises both show a shorter weapon which looks floor shoulder or "top of the armpit" long.
Neal
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