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Cole B





Joined: 05 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Sun 10 Jun, 2012 7:44 pm    Post subject: Polearm Project         Reply with quote

Hey guys. I am currently formulating a fun summer project, putting together and antiquing a nice polearm on a student budget. Definitely been inspired by some of the awesome projects you guys have posted.

I am leaning towards the GDFB German Halberd for several reasons:
    Aesthetically I like it
    It has less welds, so less 'failure points' than a more complex poleaxe head. I know this can be an issue at this price point.
    Very reasonable price



The pole has been causing me more trouble - wheelbarrow handles seem to be a common and reasonable idea, but I don't have the tools to reshape it, and they seem a bit short for a halberd.

The ash poles offered at many arms sites seem to be mostly round, and generally quite expensive to ship.

I stumbled upon these and at first glance they seem perfect - http://www.sherrilltree.com/Ash-Wood-Pole-140 octagonal, plenty of length, and even a nicer taper at the end for the socket, at about half the price shipped of the ones offered on arms & armor sites. What do you guys think, am I missing anything that disqualifies these?


As far as the actual mounting - what is the best and/or historical method? Drilling?

Thanks for any advice, as usual I don't know what I'd do without you guys.
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That head looks pretty nice for the price point. Your plan seems like a good one, just drill some holes through your shaft and make some rivets out of some annealed nails and your'e in business. Sometimes one can not be too picky when it comes to hafts, it can be really difficult to impossible to find the "perfect" haft. I work as a tree-trimmer and even I have trouble getting my hands on good poles. Those octagonal poles look great and even if it does not fit the halberd head well it would be a great thing to have around for the next project ( and if you are anything like me there will inevitably be a next one Wink .)
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those seem like a great option, although it's not clear what shipping would be.

The facets of the haft may be narrower than the langet, in which case you'd plane or rasp opposite facets until they match the langets. That would improve the section anyway, because historical hafts were not equally octagonal. They tend to have four broad facets with the corners shaved down to create equal narrow facets. All of this improves the grip and ability to orient the blade properly.

Straightness and continuity of grain would be my greater concern with these. A pruning haft doesn't have to be perfectly straight to get the job done, but a noticeably warped polearm haft could have implications for use. Likewise, a pruning haft isn't going to fail just because it has a knothole or other disruption of grain. it's not meant to withstand hard side impacts. A polearm haft with significant flaws could be dangerous, both historically and in modern test cutting.

Maybe if you call the company and explain your project/concerns, they'd be willing to send you a select piece.

-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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Cole B





Joined: 05 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks! Your endorsement is good enough for me, since your projects are what inspired me to try something similar.

I am asking them about it specifically and also trying to find somewhere that has the polearm heads in stock. Vendors need to mention if they have them or not on the item page, only kultofathena is good about this Worried
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 4:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not sure how easy, difficult or commonly one can find Ash in plank form, but if you have a local woodlot that has planks in long enough sections and that you can pick out a piece with strait grain some woodlots offer a cutting service where a wide suitable plank could be cut by them into square sections ?

You would probably have to buy the entire plank and pay for the cutting service but you could end up with 3 or 4 pieces suitable for polearms use.

Use one for your Halberd and keep the others for future projects.

A lot depends on how good your are with hand tools as you could then plane the square pole into an octagonal one.

Get the wood cut slightly oversized so that you can fit it to the halberd head precisely.

I've done this with a 5' plank of Macassar Ebony that I had sawn into 2 square poles to use for a Walking staff: One piece was sound and used to make the Staff but the second piece had a flaw/crack, so I am using that piece cut into short sections for other projects as cane handles.

Luckily for me there is an Exotic Woods woodlot near where I live that has a wide selection of woods rare and common and in select quality, so I can go and choose the wood type and the specific piece of wood that will work for a project.

Here are a few pics of the Ebony Staff, that started out as square, planed octagonal over the top 1/3 and rounded for the bottom 2/3.

NOTE: Another source of very oversized poles are round staircase railings that I've seen locally in Ash or White Oak that are1 3/4" or more in diameter: With one of these you could go from round to square with a plane.



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Staff1 01.JPG
Staff next to a Walking stcik with a steel head.

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Staff1 02.JPG
Close up of top with copper cap.

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Staff1 05.JPG
Octagonal section with carved grooves.

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Staff1 06.JPG
Extreme close-up

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Staff1 07.JPG
Medium close-up of staff with wrist strap.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

check with Therion Arms for the head. I got a spearhead and pollaxe head from him and was very pleased with the experience.
-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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Steve Shimmer




Location: Wickford, England
Joined: 03 Jun 2012

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2012 9:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some great ideas here. I had a hell of a job finding a suitable pole for the poleaxe I made last year, and wasn't satisfied with what I ended up with.

I may end up redoing the whole thing when I have time as I could only find a circular pole which looks less than authentic!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

those octagonal ash poles are ideal for spear projects, by the way.
-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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Cole B





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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2012 3:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Shimmer wrote:
Some great ideas here. I had a hell of a job finding a suitable pole for the poleaxe I made last year, and wasn't satisfied with what I ended up with.

I may end up redoing the whole thing when I have time as I could only find a circular pole which looks less than authentic!

Sadly the opposite is true for me. Hal @ Therionarms (cool guy, give him a look) informed me that no one has the halberd heads in stock because GDFB hasn't sent any in over a year although they may get a limited quality 'soon'.

Gives me plenty of time to get the pole finished and looking good but the future is looking a bit uncertain as I'll be off at ucla in a few months.

I'll update if anything changes.
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F Hynd




Location: Bristol
Joined: 08 Oct 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2012 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had similar issues getting their poleaxe head here in the UK. I think that its probably related to the large fire that destroyed the factory a year or so ago and they have only really just got back to production.
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Iagoba Ferreira





Joined: 15 Sep 2008

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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2012 2:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another one in the queue...I also have the problem of the staff, buying them for spears, polearms and javelins is harder to buy the metal bits of them Confused
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cole B wrote:
Steve Shimmer wrote:
Some great ideas here. I had a hell of a job finding a suitable pole for the poleaxe I made last year, and wasn't satisfied with what I ended up with.

I may end up redoing the whole thing when I have time as I could only find a circular pole which looks less than authentic!

Sadly the opposite is true for me. Hal @ Therionarms (cool guy, give him a look) informed me that no one has the halberd heads in stock because GDFB hasn't sent any in over a year although they may get a limited quality 'soon'.

Gives me plenty of time to get the pole finished and looking good but the future is looking a bit uncertain as I'll be off at ucla in a few months.

I'll update if anything changes.


Well, I would look at BKS or A&A for polearm head if my budget was for at least $300 to $500 for one of their standard products or a custom polearm head.

http://imakeswords.com/axes.htm
I bought a similar one to this one below a while back and it is an excellent quality product:
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...foil+Cross
The one I bought:
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...foil+Cross

Link to my DIY BKS Bardiche project, pics of it when I first assembled it with it's original finish and more pics towards the end of the Topic of my refinishing/antiquing it:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight=

From A&A this one is a good halberd substitute although you could probably order a custom halberd like the one you want:
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/pole030.html
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/custom927.html

Link to my DIY A&A English Bill:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...highlight=

Obviously the GDFB choices are much lower priced for a DIY project and at the higher prices you can get a mounted polearm solving the finding a pole question: But the fun in making your own has it's own merits + shipping just a polearm head is a lot less expensive.

Note if you do find a suitable pole I would avoid working it too much before you have a head chosen and in hand because you might take away too much material from it, so I would then put it aside and not do too much more to it than make a square sectioned pole octagonal but you might find that you might want to keep the part of the pole where there will be mounted the languettes square with just a very minor bevel.

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





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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jean for the wood advice and alternate suggestions. BKS and A&A definitely make some drool-worthy stuff but they're both a little out of my price range for this one - I like to get the cheaper options and then work on them until they look nice. Not only is it a lot more affordable but I feel like I have more of a connection with the finished piece than just buying one of the perfect 'off the shelf' types, although if I was rolling in money I'd have some of those too.

I don't plan to do any fundamental altering to the pole until I see what I'm putting on it - at most I'll sand it if it comes rough and maybe stain/antique it if I get really bored, possibly attach a butt cap if I can find one.

Meanwhile, does anyone know the historic lengths for halberds (overall or pole-only)? I'm not much taller than our underfed medieval brethren so whatever they used should work for me.
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2012 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cole - If you haven't already decided on a pole, then I recommend this: http://www.garden.com/item/ash-pole-8ft/G26598/

It's a few dollars more than the one you posted, but the shipping is less so you end up saving overall. Happy Although it's cool to be able to order in 12' lengths from the site you had posted. Eek!
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Cole B





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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2012 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ooh, that is a nice deal. I already ordered the other one but I'm gonna bookmark that.
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Cole B





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PostPosted: Mon 18 Jun, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pole came today! It's quite nice and straight with a good grain, so if anyone is looking for octagonal poles in 8' or 12' that's not a bad source.

Time to sand, stain, and beat up some nails to make them look historic. Hopefully the head gets stocked soon.
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Cole B





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 3:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Triple post. Got some pictures and questions this time.


Nails rusting with a plain one for comparison. I stop and clean everything but the top because I'm a bit worried about compromising the structural integrity. They should be done by tomorrow.


I think I like how the stain came out. I'll probably have to fiddle with it if I need to square the sides down to fit the langets.


The piece I chopped off to leave the main pole at 70'. It was also my stain test and got a double dose - made quite a difference. I'm thinking it would be a good handle for a mace, but no one seems to sell mace heads except one rather plain model on KOA.

Questions
    Would it be difficult to just nail all the way through and peen the other end? I'm wondering if the nail would wander and not find the corresponding langet hole. I figured if I had that problem I could drill a guide hole or do one shorter nail from each side.

    I ordered a butt-cap but it doesn't appear to come with a mounting hole, would shaping the bottom of the pole to fit + epoxy be reliable or does it need to be drilled?

    Speaking of epoxy - I am debating whether to use it at all in the socket of the polearm head. My gut tells me that leaving a small amount of 'wiggle room' might be better than solidly fixing it with epoxy, allowing it to move slightly with impact and stress rather than focusing all the force on a single solid piece. Thoughts?

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That haft looks great! Gotta get one for a spear!
-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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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cole B wrote:

Questions
    Would it be difficult to just nail all the way through and peen the other end? I'm wondering if the nail would wander and not find the corresponding langet hole. I figured if I had that problem I could drill a guide hole or do one shorter nail from each side.

    I ordered a butt-cap but it doesn't appear to come with a mounting hole, would shaping the bottom of the pole to fit + epoxy be reliable or does it need to be drilled?

    Speaking of epoxy - I am debating whether to use it at all in the socket of the polearm head. My gut tells me that leaving a small amount of 'wiggle room' might be better than solidly fixing it with epoxy, allowing it to move slightly with impact and stress rather than focusing all the force on a single solid piece. Thoughts?



A) A good idea to first drill any holes for nails slightly undersized so as to not spilt the wood: I assume you know this, but just mentioning it in case. Wink Big Grin

B) Epoxy should be enough but a nail or pin is extra security and it gives the appearance of being only pinned + closely fitted.

C) A little looseness can be a bad thing as repeated chocks may make the " slop " in fit get worse and worse and if you concerned is about dismounting should the haft need replacement or you want to change it out for some reason, epoxy will let go if heated between 200 to 300 degrees F. At 350 degrees the epoxy will start to bubble and melt but this is not hot enough to ruin a good heat treat.

I had to remount a spear head because it wasn't strait on it's shaft and used one of the electric element of the stove to heat the socket and after a few minutes the head was easy to take off ..... careful to use an oven mitt when pulling on the spearhead.

NOTE: With a pin one also has to drill into the wood after sawing it off at the socket mount to expose the nail or pin. A series of closely drilled holes and chisel out the wood.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's possible, but difficult, to drill straight through and out the opposite langet hole. There's no need to do that. Simply drill as straight as possible to the middle of the haft through each langet hole. Those pilot holes will meet in the middle neatly enough to guide a nail through, even if it has to bend a small amount.

Then either cut the nails short and use one in each hole or pass one nail all the way through the other side, cut and peen. I've done both, though I used JB Weld under the entire length of the langets when using one nail in each hole. Just make sure the nails are cut short enough that they won't hit each other.

As you may already know, the historical solution was to use small diameter tacks that would clinch against the opposing langet. Can't do that with these big nails, unfortunately, and I've had no luck finding the smaller-gauge tacks with big heads.

-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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