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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 18 May 2013
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Posts: 150

PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Latest Cold steel polearms         Reply with quote

Today they just showed many new blades and among them, I find their polearms are the most interesting to me.

Tell me what do my fellow MA users think about it?

Billhook: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcJDeSFFiek
Swiss halberd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVPNNmjJb4I
Renaissance halberd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hrQbfOha7g

The shape of Bill and Swiss halberd look really good to me, but I am not sure about renaissance halberd's shape.

Descanse En Paz
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
Joined: 05 Aug 2008
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Posts: 450

PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2014 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I can see from material they provided, Bill looks really decent, seems to have good weight as well!

Halberd are somehow off to my humble eye, mounting looks awfully like on my snow spade. Wink
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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

Posts: 112

PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2014 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the videos linked above they look rather fine - sadly the images of the products on the C.S. website suffer from the usual modern machine made, black coated finish that ruins most of Cold Steel's historical polearms.

Neil.
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Fri 07 Mar, 2014 9:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For me, Cold Steel cutting videos are forever laughable due to this amazing parody:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaWUQXx7u9w

...Sorry for the off-topic post, but I felt that it was necessary to be done.

Razz
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sun 09 Mar, 2014 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Out of the three the bill is the closest to being a reasonable replica. All three are let down by the awful socket but of course they need to mass produce them and its unlikely any of them are made by hand forging the socket as the originals were.

Quote:
This ancient forestry tool was used by peasants to hook creeping vines and hard-to-reach branches, clear foliage and -- when necessary -- even lop heavy limbs from trees.


Go on then, you try using that to lop a limb off a tree that's anything other than 5ft or less of the ground or less than about 5cm across. Creeping vines? In the British isles? Now I know the 'old mans beard' (our only plant that can come close to being described as such) was collected in great amounts but that was by people dressing the fake trees at Elstree to create the swaps of Dagobah. But no where have I seen any description in any medieval gardening treatise or picture describing such an action or need. And you can pull that down by hand as a bit of it sprouts from the ground like the vast majority of plants.

Lastly, the old 'evolved from an agricultural tool' trotted out again. Go on, show me an evolutionary pattern. What you need for agriculture is a tool. What you need for war is a weapon. The two have co-existed alongside each other for ever. I have many hand bills that I use on my land and many have specific shapes for specific work but I wouldn't dream of taking a 5-6ft heavy weapon out into the woods and start waving it at trees, vines or pigs that have sadly tangled their chutes in branches. Or take my 1.5ft long hand, side, twy or back bill into war.

At some point someone may have said 'ooh that would make a mess of someones head, if only it was 3 times the size'. And got their blacksmith to knock something up. But I constantly hear this 'evolved' and its just repeating a very old misplaced assumption.

True, there are ADAPTED agricultural tools (like the scythe with the hastily welded on sharp fluke in the Royal Collection at Windsor) or smaller agricultural tools pressed into hasty service in desperation and put onto a longer stick (usually to chase marauding monsters uphills and into windmills etc) but if anyone can show a family tree of the english bill as produced by Cold Steel, I'd love to see it.


Griff

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sun 09 Mar, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:

Quote:
This ancient forestry tool was used by peasants to hook creeping vines and hard-to-reach branches, clear foliage and -- when necessary -- even lop heavy limbs from trees.


Go on then, you try using that to lop a limb off a tree that's anything other than 5ft or less of the ground or less than about 5cm across. Creeping vines?


A long-handled billhook is an excellent pruner of high limbs. If it's 5' or less, you use a one-handed hook or an axe; for higher stuff, you use a billhook on a long handle. Rare today to see these longer than about 5' total length, but that doesn't mean longer-handled ones don't work. My main pole-billhook came with a 4' pole, and it's spent time mounted on 4 metre, 2 metre, and 6' poles, and has done good work on all. 4m was because I needed that length to reach stuff I wanted to prune, 2m because I cut that 4m pole in order to move house, and 6' because that's what I put it on when the 2m pole broke. Best for me now would be to have one on a 5-6' pole, and another on a 9' pole.

So over 5' high, no problem. Anything about 5cm or less thick can be cut through in one hit, bigger stuff might need some repeated chopping. For thick branches where you don't have room to swing, a pole-mounted pruning saw is better (thin stuff can be cut down with the hook of the hook, without a swing, but you don't want to do thick branches that way). Where there is room to swing the billhook, it can be much faster than a saw.

Hooked tools are good for vines - I prefer a large hooked pruning knife, but a small one-handed billhook is good too. I've never felt the need for a long-handled hook for vines, but it would be good to clear big patches of thorny vines. Long-handled tools are nice when dealing with thorns - Romans used long-handled billhooks for thorny bushes ("bramble-grubber").

Mark Griffin wrote:

Lastly, the old 'evolved from an agricultural tool' trotted out again. Go on, show me an evolutionary pattern. What you need for agriculture is a tool. What you need for war is a weapon. The two have co-existed alongside each other for ever. I have many hand bills that I use on my land and many have specific shapes for specific work but I wouldn't dream of taking a 5-6ft heavy weapon out into the woods and start waving it at trees, vines or pigs that have sadly tangled their chutes in branches. Or take my 1.5ft long hand, side, twy or back bill into war.


As above, 6-8' long billhooks can be very nice and handy agricultural tools, and such billhooks could be taken straight into war. Not optimal weapons - they'd benefit from spikes. (Some tool billhooks do have spikes, but I've only seen those on one-handers.)

(Many people have taken one-handed billhooks to war, but with cutting brush as the main purpose. Emergency sidearm as a secondary purpose.)

Mark Griffin wrote:

At some point someone may have said 'ooh that would make a mess of someones head, if only it was 3 times the size'. And got their blacksmith to knock something up. But I constantly hear this 'evolved' and its just repeating a very old misplaced assumption.


Isn't this an example of evolution of a weapon from a tool? "This tool would make an excellent weapon if we make these changes" is exactly that. The actual evolution would have been a smaller one - the military billhook would have evolved from the large pole-mounted tools, not the one-handed tools. "Hmm. I'll put a long spike on this to poke people with, and a little spike on the back, and it'll be a nice weapon."

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Chuck D.




Location: NW FL
Joined: 22 Feb 2014

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sun 09 Mar, 2014 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I freakin love CS's test vids, they never cease to make me chuckle or smile, silly as they are. I also agree, if only they'd offer a satin polish/ natural finish etc on the blades instead of that black paint, and maybe darker or stained wood for the handles it would be a huge improvement.
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Chuck D.




Location: NW FL
Joined: 22 Feb 2014

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Sun 09 Mar, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OMG, the halberd vids are too much. I was cracking up when he started all the spear throws. Pretty darn cool, my inner 14 year old was giddy Happy studying the hafts the wood actually seemed to have a nice color, but again, the black paint has to go. The socket mounts are also silly, these aren't shovels. Me personally, I'd mod them and weld some reinforcement straps on the sides of the socket to attach below with some studs.
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
Joined: 16 Feb 2010

Posts: 163

PostPosted: Mon 10 Mar, 2014 1:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That bill is somewhat appealing.
Of course it is far from a perfect replica - you can't really expect those from Cold Steel anyway, that's not their line of business - but it is close enough once you take off the black paint (I hope at least) and given that the only other non-custom-order Bill in the classic english style out there seems to be the A&A one (which is about 3 times as pricey though undoubtedly more beautiful and better made), I might give the CS Bill a try once it hits German retailers.
It'd be more of a costume piece anyway, I like the idea of a proper billman kit and a cheap-ish Bill is just the right thing for that.

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Mon 10 Mar, 2014 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

some of my bills, remarkably cheap considering they are hand forged. All by a chap in the UK called Andy Kirkham who is a great historical blacksmith. Have a few more somewhere... The two on the right are just generic sharp nasty things, the left is a late 15th cent one, probably italian but been in an english location since the start of the 16th cent.

They scare people lots.



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Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Mon 10 Mar, 2014 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wonder how their shaft would hole up to use. I had a spear from A&A and after 3years of extensive use the wood below the head snapped.
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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 18 May 2013
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Posts: 150

PostPosted: Mon 10 Mar, 2014 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
some of my bills, remarkably cheap considering they are hand forged. All by a chap in the UK called Andy Kirkham who is a great historical blacksmith. Have a few more somewhere... The two on the right are just generic sharp nasty things, the left is a late 15th cent one, probably italian but been in an english location since the start of the 16th cent.

They scare people lots.


Does he have any website??

Descanse En Paz
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Mark Griffin




Location: The Welsh Marches, in the hills above Newtown, Powys.
Joined: 28 Dec 2006

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Wed 12 Mar, 2014 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sadly I don't think Andy is up with the wonderful world of the web. He might be on FB, I'm seeing him Friday and will ask.

Like a fair few trades in the UK you see them at any of the three big markets, place or discuss and order and follow up with call, its ready for the next market to be picked up. None your e-commerce stuff for some people! :-)

Quote:
I had a spear from A&A and after 3years of extensive use the wood below the head snapped.


Blimey, that lasted well then. I've always assumed them to be a bit on the disposable side.

Currently working on projects ranging from Elizabethan pageants to a WW1 Tank, Victorian fairgrounds 1066 events and more. Oh and we joust loads!.. We run over 250 events for English Heritage each year plus many others for Historic Royal Palaces, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and more. If you live in the UK and are interested in working for us just drop us a line with a cv.
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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 18 May 2013
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 150

PostPosted: Wed 12 Mar, 2014 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Griffin wrote:
Sadly I don't think Andy is up with the wonderful world of the web. He might be on FB, I'm seeing him Friday and will ask.

Like a fair few trades in the UK you see them at any of the three big markets, place or discuss and order and follow up with call, its ready for the next market to be picked up. None your e-commerce stuff for some people! :-)

Quote:
I had a spear from A&A and after 3years of extensive use the wood below the head snapped.


Blimey, that lasted well then. I've always assumed them to be a bit on the disposable side.


Too bad I live in Malaysia where seeing these kind of event is, basically... impossible.

Descanse En Paz
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Rich Knack




Location: Charlevoix, MI
Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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Posts: 86

PostPosted: Sat 14 Nov, 2015 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have one of the Cold Steel bills. Just the other day, I actually put it to..."agricultural" use - and it performed admirably! Our high back deck had a heavy growth of weeds, and even a couple of small trees (poplars grow like weeds around here) underneath it. The weed growth was so heavy our string trimmer barely touched it. As for the aspens (poplars)... no go. The bill, on the other hand, mowed down the thick weeds (some of the milkweed stems were as big around as my little finger) and hacked the saplings like there was no tomorrow. When I was done, I wiped the blade and sprayed it with some WD-40. It balanced and swung very nicely. Quite happy with it, actually.
"Those who 'beat their swords into plows', will plow for those who don't."
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