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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sat 24 Mar, 2012 10:19 pm    Post subject: BKS Bardiche.         Reply with quote

I recently purchased a BKS Bardiche from Kult of Athena ( Usual excellent customer service ) and here is a review and a few comments about mounting it on a haft since I purchased the head alone and mounted it myself.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...diche+Head

First a few statistics:

From the KoA site,
Quote:
This Bardiche head is made of carbon steel with a hardened and sharpened edge. Socket is approximately 1 3/8' inches across.

Overall Length: 20 1/2'' Width: 5 1/2''
3 lb 6 oz


Total weight mounted on Ash haft 1 3/8" diameter: 5 lbs 1 oz
Total length mounted: 65 7/8"
Length of Haft: 58 "
Length of Blade 20"
Width of blade counting in socket: 7 1/2"
POB, mounted: 47" from butt, note this coincides with the inside curve of the bottom of the axe blade where it meets the tab.


The Ash haft I bought has very good and strait grain and fitted the eye of the axe perfectly, so I didn't have to do any fitting at all to make it work.

For the tab I used and old bolt head I had lying around for probably a century or two ( Joke, but my Dad never threw away any metal bits so who knows how many decades it's been lying there quietly rusting. Wink )

I cut it to slightly less than the total of tab thickness + haft thickness and polished off any rust.

The diameter of the bolt was a few thousands of an inch smaller than the hole in the tab.

Drilled through the tab hole into the haft after I had mounted the socket on the top end of the haft and glued it on with 5 minute epoxy inside the eye. The hole was drilled with a bit slightly smaller in diameter than the bolt so that the bolt would be tight when nailed into both the tab and haft + 5 minute epoxy.

Oh, sanded down the haft to a nice 1200 grit finish although only to the degree of having a smooth surface but not enough to remove completely earlier larger grit marks or wood imperfections in the direction of the grain.

Oiled the haft with Tung" N Teak oil, but the finish needs many more repeats of oiling and light sanding.

The cord warping around and at the tab doesn't serve any purpose in holding in the bolt or securing the bottom of the Bardiche head on the haft but does reinforce the haft above and below the tab to keep the haft from splitting by taking up some of the sock of a heavy blow: I don't know if this is historically correct or not, but it seems to me useful and structurally useful + I like the look of it. ( Note: Cord was wetted with carpenters glue as it was wrapped around the haft and more glue rubbed into the cord after tying it off ).


In handling this is not an overly heavy axe but similarly to a Danish axe or any large headed axe the weight is all at the top. This weight is very controllable with both hands on the haft bit one must get used to the feeling of the axe wanting to rotate in the hands when swung sideways in a horizontal blow. An oval haft might be better for this than round.

I selected the length of haft for a number of reasons:

A) If made too long I would risk hitting the ceilings of my house. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud
B) Too long and the head would be hard to manage as this Bardiche and any Bardiche with the same scale of head would be too heavy for a very long polearm in my opinion as this type of weapon is for medium to close work relative to a very long Bill, Halberd or Spear that could easily be a foot or two longer with much lighter heads.
C) Didn't want to go shorter than this for the haft because at this minimal length the haft is long enough to cover and protect the legs and lower body using the " Queue " of the Bardiche using Poleaxe techniques.


The BKS Bardiche head seems to be of excellent quality and the socket curves well onto the blade in a smooth curve as it should. The blade came in very sharp with a minimal secondary bevel that could be rounded out into an apple seed edge with a bit of work if one wanted to do this.

The finish is a smooth but not overpolished satin finish that I may eventually do some campaign aging/pattination but I took the pics before doing any antiquing on the blade to better show how it looks when purchased. ( Note in fitting and removing some epoxy from the blade I may have added some very light scratches, but I didn't worry too much about this since I am probably going to do that special finish anyway ).

As a weapon it is very scary impressive and I would guess that it handles very much like a Danish Axe, so why the differences from the Danish Axe in blade shape ?

Just speculation and I would enjoy some opinions and ideas about the advantages of the Bardiche, if any, over the Danish axe, but here are some of my thoughts about it:

A) Longer edge permits some use in draw/push cuts when fighting in close with a hand very close to the head.
B) The top part of the blade extending beyond the top of the Haft can cut right though a target as opposed to the part below that would maybe " jamb " because of the thickness of the haft. A Danish Axe with a long top horn might be able to do the same but with a much shorter unimpeded section of edge.
C) The top horn of the Bardiche more effective in a thrust.
D) The scalloped section(s) could be used tactically to block or parry or immobilize another weapon.
E) One has hand protection if holding the haft near the top socket when using the Bardiche up close and with a widely spaced grip.
F) The tab helps in not having rotational forces concentrated on the narrow eye alone and also serves as a retention device instead of having a wedge holding the head in place. ( Don't know if a wedge was also used or not historically but none would seem to be needed in my opinion ).

G) And it looks cool and scary for a psychological effect.



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Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Sat 24 Mar, 2012 10:43 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 24 Mar, 2012 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A few more pics detailing from different angles and close ups.

Oh, I decided to have the haft extend a bit out of the socket for aesthetic reasons but one could cut it shorter off flush with the top of the socket for a slightly different look.



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You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jan J. Gahy




Location: Slovakia
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PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome bardiche! Ive always wanted a bardiche and this one looks amazing!
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
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Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

ahhhhh just look at all that steel!

tung oil, love the stuff - no fooling around and it's so nice and thin it really gets into the grain of wood and makes a real pop that poly can't match.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 25 Mar, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Wallace wrote:
ahhhhh just look at all that steel!

tung oil, love the stuff - no fooling around and it's so nice and thin it really gets into the grain of wood and makes a real pop that poly can't match.


I also like oil finishes because they are in the wood and not a film on top of the wood and any scratches in the future can be fixed by an occasional wipe on/wipe off of oil.

I do like to build up a nice finish over time by multiple applications with light sanding in between.

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




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Mar, 2012 12:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it looks big, broad and vicious.. i like that

jean you seem to have a knack for buying the most nasty yet awsome looking polearms around,

to see THAT coming at you at the battle of nations would be a frightening sight indeed.


on a side note, to me it UNCANNILY reminds me of the ancient egyptian crescent axes.

although jean. the bardiche is an evolutionary offshoot from the danish axe much like the poleaxe and sparth axe is.
the poleaxe likely developed from examples of danis axes that developed small hammer shaped polls' seen best in the evolution of the axes of the rus in the works of A.N kirpitchnikov. who is essentiaally russias version of ewert oakeshott, he did an extensive review of finds of swords, and sabres , armour shields and helmets plus other weapon types like spears axes and precussion weapons like maces and flails.

for anyone who wants to reconstruct kit for the russians from the eras of the 9th to 14th C, his articles are the works upon which all other books on the rus are based

though strangely the bardiche makes no mention in the book, ith might be too late for the scope of his book

its a definate improvement over the danish axe of the 10th century.

also another benefit is that during the 16th and 17th century, right up till the late 18th, russian troops called streletky used the bardiche as a musket rest.

whereas the matchlock armed troops of western europe during the 16th and 17th century used a specialised forked stick, the russians used bardiches, to give their otherwise poorly armed troops much more striking power. and experimenting with a shinai and my nearly 5 foot danish axe i can see the benefits, although my axe has a flat and flared out butt so it doesnt stick in the ground easily, i can see how it might be used as a musket rest.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Mar, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:

whereas the matchlock armed troops of western europe during the 16th and 17th century used a specialised forked stick, the russians used bardiches, to give their otherwise poorly armed troops much more striking power. and experimenting with a shinai and my nearly 5 foot danish axe i can see the benefits, although my axe has a flat and flared out butt so it doesnt stick in the ground easily, i can see how it might be used as a musket rest.


In that case I would add a butt spike so that it doesn't slip but also to be able to jamb it into the ground and have hands free to load, shoot and reload, and pluck it out of the ground when moving to another shooting position, marching forward or running away. Wink

If the musket was equipped with a sling it makes it even more convenient to transition to using the Bardiche when going into hand to hand combat.

Oh, and yes it big and scary and very sharp as received and I don't even want to think of it really sharpened to the max. Eek! Wink Laughing Out Loud

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




Location: Pennsylvania USA
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Mar, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

butt cap with a little more of your leather work would give it a little balance visually.

Jean, one of these days you're going to have to get your collection professionally photographed and one display somewhere in here, i know you've probably got lost of goodies in it Wink
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Mar, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel Wallace wrote:
butt cap with a little more of your leather work would give it a little balance visually.



Well it could have been done with leather but I used some sort of cord and it's saturated and glued with carpenters glue giving it an appearance off maybe being leather.

Functionally a butt spike might be a good idea, and if used as a musket rest it would be essential, but I sort of like the simplicity of it as it is for now. Additionally a heavy butt spike might bring the point of balance back a few inches for faster recovery and handling but butt spikes don't seem to have been used with Danish axes and maybe most Bardiche ?

Also, what seems like awkward handling become comfortable when one becomes used to it.

There is also the question of using a butt spike or butt cap that would have the right aesthetics for this style of axe historically: If I forget about historical accuracy I think that this one from Kult of Athena made by Windlass would balance the head very well as the spike is very long and heavy and functionally be very useful.

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...ar+Buttcap

( Currently not in stock and may not be available for a while but I already have one I could use ).

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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2012 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.bighobby.ru/articles/top.jpg
ive been told that some of the axes shown here. particularly the ones on the top of the page are more or less the ancestors of the bardiche.
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Apr, 2012 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some more:

http://znaleziska.org/wiki/index.php/Topór_z_Poznania-Lubonia

http://znaleziska.org/wiki/index.php/Topór_z_Łunowa

Hard to really say anything about 'ancestry', but they definitely share some functional traits. [/code]
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Decided to do the patinated campaign field finish using Dijon mustard dabbled on with a clean wipe for a random pattern of staining the blade.

This doesn't seem to be so much a rusting process but more a staining and etching by the natural acids in the mustard.
I did add a little lemon juice a a little vinegar to increase acidity.

The mustard best used when still thick as one wants it to be thin in places and thicker in other places by dabbing on the surface creating a texture of small irregular globs or dots of mustard. ( Heat and evaporate a bit the mixture if it got to be too liquid, also heated acid heats more aggressively ).

A) Dab the surface.
B) 20 minutes to an hour later clean off with soapy water.
C) Lightly polish with synthetic steel wool ( The finish is not very fragile so unless you over polish you are basically just removing crud that the washing with soapy water didn't remove and also removing any soap residue to that the next coating will bite into the finish ).
D) Re-apply a new coating of the Dijon mustards.

E) Repeat cycles of this until the finish is dark enough.

F) Do a final cleaning and add some gun oil, rub in lightly with the synthetic steel wood, leave a coating of oil to penetrate into the steel and let the finish mature.

Note, I find that this finish seems as durable or even more so that a cold blue finish and only hard sanding with something more aggressive than the steel wool will remove the finish.

One can also re-polish to bright and this may leave some etching on the steel if the acid pitted the steel deeply enough: This seems to vary a great deal with different steels as I have gotten much more etching with some brands like Windlass and only very light pitting/darkening that could be completely sanding away with other brands using different steels.

If the steel is in any way close to stainless this won't do very much.

So here are some pics of the re-finished Bardiche.



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This last one without the flash: A little dark but it avoids reflections.

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Sebastian Pachmayr




Location: Alberta, Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2012 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, that really is a brutally awesome looking axe! I really like what you did with the finish.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Apr, 2012 9:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sebastian Pachmayr wrote:
Wow, that really is a brutally awesome looking axe! I really like what you did with the finish.


Thanks, and welcome to the site. Big Grin Cool

It may be just a psychological effect, but somehow a surface like this almost makes a piece of steel seem more real and hard and strong than a shiny surface ? Maybe it's because most real tools we use get to be patinated, like the old hammer or axe still in the family that my grandfather's or great-grandfather's purchased maybe a century ago ?

Childhood playing with these old tools, and feeling their weight, sort of have programmed my perceptions to view a patinated steel object as having mass: One's muscle memory being activated by the look of aged steel more than the shiny stuff that can look like thin aluminium foil. Question Laughing Out Loud

Not too surprising that movie props representing weapons often have this look that makes then seem more menacing to the eye.

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




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2012 3:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Sebastian Pachmayr wrote:
Wow, that really is a brutally awesome looking axe! I really like what you did with the finish.


Thanks, and welcome to the site. Big Grin Cool

It may be just a psychological effect, but somehow a surface like this almost makes a piece of steel seem more real and hard and strong than a shiny surface ? Maybe it's because most real tools we use get to be patinated, like the old hammer or axe still in the family that my grandfather's or great-grandfather's purchased maybe a century ago ?

Childhood playing with these old tools, and feeling their weight, sort of have programmed my perceptions to view a patinated steel object as having mass: One's muscle memory being activated by the look of aged steel more than the shiny stuff that can look like thin aluminium foil. Question Laughing Out Loud

Not too surprising that movie props representing weapons often have this look that makes then seem more menacing to the eye.

i reckon theres other reasons too, less obvious ones as to why we see a darker patinated finish as more menacing,

darker metal is, well dark, like the continuous association in the european mind with black = sinister (no racism intended, naturally) a darker blade has a more menacing look, in the same way the balack knight has, forever been the classic epitomisation of the bad guy.

also, darker colour somehw seems to give the impression its some other material/ or maybe gives the impression of something less sophisticated, and while sophisticated weapons are still deadly we fear the chaotic, primally violant and savage things far more as a species, that dark ccolour makes the bardiche seem more.. raw somehow.
i think im thinking somewhere similar to your line of thought jean.
maybe it also makes one think of stone like granite and while we normally compare the strength of newfangledmaterials to steel, stone like granite still have that forboding quality as part of them being the makeup of those high and forboding, and simply invincible castle walls.
its still a material we asociate with having weight and mass to it.
maybe my train of thought is different to yours but that much darker look does make it seem menacing.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 09 Apr, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good job on the treatment, it really improves the appearance IMHO. Happy
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