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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject: Attaching langets to pollaxe.         Reply with quote

I am making myself a reenactment pollaxe and need an advice on how to attach langets. I will have 4 narrow langets running along most part of the octagonal ash haft. If I remember correctly using nails would be historically accurate for the middle of the 15th century. However on my one-handed war hammer nails start coming out after strong blows, especially on the langets that run on "top" and "bottom" sides of the haft. I find making new hafts too bothersome and expensive so I want my axe to be as sturdy and "maintenance-free" as possible. So what would more knowledgeable and experience guys here advise me to do? Should I use rivets (it would be bothersome drilling the holes straight since I don't have a drill press but I can do it more or less OK using a drill) or should I use nails? If I use nails, than what nails would be the best (strongest) and is there any trick to make them stay in place? How thick and long these nails should be?
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Attaching langets to pollaxe.         Reply with quote

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
I am making myself a reenactment pollaxe and need an advice on how to attach langets. I will have 4 narrow langets running along most part of the octagonal ash haft. If I remember correctly using nails would be historically accurate for the middle of the 15th century. However on my one-handed war hammer nails start coming out after strong blows, especially on the langets that run on "top" and "bottom" sides of the haft. I find making new hafts too bothersome and expensive so I want my axe to be as sturdy and "maintenance-free" as possible. So what would more knowledgeable and experience guys here advise me to do? Should I use rivets (it would be bothersome drilling the holes straight since I don't have a drill press but I can do it more or less OK using a drill) or should I use nails? If I use nails, than what nails would be the best (strongest) and is there any trick to make them stay in place? How thick and long these nails should be?


Nails, my suggestion, there are probably other viable ways to do this:

A) Pre-drill the holes so as to not stress the wood and the hard wood is probably too hard for easy nailing. The holes should be a little smaller than the nail diameter.

B) As is the nails would probably fall out but what I have done is fill the hole with epoxy or coat the nails with epoxy and then hammer them in. Use rubbing alcohol on a baby wipe to remove the surplus epoxy that will ooze out of the hole.

I find that rubbing alcohol easily removes the sticky epoxy before it has set but doesn't affect the epoxy in the holes holding the nails.

C) Nail type: I have used hardened masonry nails that have long longitudinal groves and ridges as the epoxy will grip there well.

The nails are flat headed and usually coated with some sort of protective coating against rust and to make them more interesting I use a belt grinder to made the heads hemispherical and polished bright. I use a locking vice grip type pliers to hold on to the nail as it gets hot and would be hard to hold to the grinder using just fingers.

D) Pounding in the nail makes a small flat on the hemispherical head or one can hit it from different angles to make a facetted head that will look forged or hand made.

E) Nails should be shorter than the diameter of the languettes and not reach the opposite languette, the nails should be staggered on each side of the languettes so as to not all be at the same level and risk weakening the wood.

The masonry nails I use have a shank about 1/8" in diameter: Too big probably makes the hole large enough to weaken the haft, in my opinion, and too small would be weak.

NOTE: This is not a historically correct way to do it but it depends on what your standard of historical accuracy has to be ?
Does it have to be assembled the way it was in history or just have to look right with the non-historical things like epoxy only needing to not be visible and the nails looking somewhat hand made ?

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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun 09 Oct, 2011 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Jean!

I only need my axe to look somewhat historically accurate. Its main goal is not to look good, but to hit hard Evil and to last forever Happy It is anyway rather crude (similar to GDFB pollaxe in make and finish I suppose), made of mild steel and blunted everywhere to be safe (well, as safe as a heavy pollaxe can be). So nails + epoxy would be perfectly OK. Now I only need to buy suitable nails and some slow-hardening epoxy.
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