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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Dec, 2016 2:12 am    Post subject: Questions on historic pikes         Reply with quote

Hello,

Do antique pikes of the types we see spanning the 16th through 18th century always have langets? If some don't, do they appear to be in a severe minority? I've seen spear-y things without them from the period but I'm never sure if they're the lengthy foot long devices we term "pike" rather than something shorter like a lance, basic spear, or "boarding pike".

Has anyone established any kind of study or categorization on pikes / pike heads or anything of the sort? Looking around trying to answer my own question, I see all kinds of head types.

I have a generic socketed spearhead laying about and I am wondering if it would be fine enough to serve as a pike head, or if the details would be too far off:

http://www.kultofathena.com/images/SNAW1110_2_l.jpg

Pike heads actually also seem to be usually pretty short, so I'm wondering if I should get one of these instead:

http://www.kultofathena.com/images/SNAW1111_2_l.jpg

Can't say I can be liable to go welding langets on the things if they're a key part of calling it a pike, that's for sure.

Thanks,

M.

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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Dec, 2016 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can't tell you about langest, I'm afraid--I probably knew more 20 years ago...

I had seen those KOA spearheads, though, and find them dissatisfying. That "rough polish" is clearly modern harsh grinder marks and black paint. If it were *hammer* marks and natural forge scale, I'd love them! But if you have to spend the time and effort to clean them up, might as well spend a couple bucks more and get one of these:

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=1823092800

http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=1823092900

You could still paint them black and be ahead of the game. And you *might* get away with just nailing langets on the shaft after mounting the point, not necessarily welding the langets to the socket, but I don't know how accurate that is. (Then make some fringe out of a piece of red wool and tie it on around the joints to hide them!)

Mind you, if I got hold of one of those KOA black spearheads free or really cheap, sure, I'd be happy! But only after a session with the angle grinder and buffer to clean it up. I just don't see the point in spending money on a bad one and then improving it when a better version is available.

Yay, pikes!

Matthew
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Dec, 2016 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Matt, long time no chat! I believe we used to be on the Bronze Age forums together, years back. And it dawns on me we're on the same state.

Yeah I had picked up the larger one when it was on sale - quite inexpensive. At the time I had thought to just make a regular 6' or so spear. Hadn't bought a proper pole for it, though. I'll agree that it is pretty clear to me that it is machined and painted though from 3' it looks alright.

Some little ways back I interfaced with a very local living history group for St. Mary's City, and that reminded me I've wanted a pike (and an old style lance) for ages, and that's where I got the idea of seeing about reusing the head I've already got. If I'm able I may start being involved with the group since it did seem like fun; if that's the case, I'd naturally want to make my kit as accurate as I can get it.

The ones they had on site both had and did not have langets (and had a variety of head tyes, see this picture here: link. That said, I'm aware of "reinactorisms", and spotted a fair few things less than accurate in some of their kits (breastplates going down to the hips being one). Not that I'm knocking their effort, just using my context clues. According to the master at arms for that group, all of the heads were made by a now-decised individual back in the late 80s/early 90s.

It's not a super immediate project, since if I'm going to bother, I figure I'd get proper wood for the haft (the living history group uses pine, since it's available and they don't hit things with them), and that's something like nearly $200 for a 16' one when you ship it. Gives me some time to see about heads of different types and the like! Worst case scnario I can always just hang it on my wall.

M.

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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Dec, 2016 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heck, I had forgotten that you are in Maryland! Why the heck weren't you at Saint Mary's in September? It was a pretty good turnout. Good grief, that's pretty much in your back yard! You're sitting on Longship Company turf, too.

Up north here (near Baltimore) we have World of Hardwoods, 809 Barkwood Court, Suite 1, Linthicum, MD 21090, http://worldofhardwoods.net

I went there and they were kind enough to rip me a 10-foot+ length of "8 quarter" ash for 20 bucks for my Macedonian sarissa. Give 'em a call to see if they have anything longer, but I think the piece they used for mine was a good 13 feet. (Longer than would fit in my minivan!)

With a square-section piece instead of a dowel, you can mark lines for a nice tapered shaft and cut to the dimensions you want with a circular saw, then knock off the corners and round it.

There must be other specialty wood stores that are closer to you. Or scope around for a local place that carries handles for tree trimming companies, they might have 12' ash poles in stock. And even a round one can be tapered, it's just a little tricker eyeballing it. Hmmm, or just snuggle up to the Vikings of the Longship Company, and heist a spare oar or spar when they're not looking, to whittle down, hee hee hee...

In the end though, it's all futile. I'm a musketeer, see, and I'll cheerfully let you close to 20 yards before drilling you.

Good luck!

Matthew

PS: Wanna do Greek hoplite? I got spare kit...
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Dec, 2016 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt,

I was at the Muster in September - first I've ever attended in the 28 years living in St. Mary's.

Pictures for the interested: Link

While I've been aware of the militia and St. Mary's City the entire time, I'd never been free to attend a muster and had only visited the site two other times my entire life. Not out of lack of interest so much as transport - life was not conducive of this kind of thing at all until quite recently. Even right now things are rather tenuous on that front, again.

I looked around at some local hardwood places a few years back but none were dealing in anything of length at the time - was looking to do quarterstaff back then, as I ran a small HEMA club briefly. Might be worth a look again. I'm occasionally up near Baltimore, though I drive a Civic these days so nothing lengthy would work too well, I think.

What diameter pole do you think is ideal?

I did have a very brief interaction with The Longship Company - just over a decade ago now - on their ship outing. Sadly things got in the way and I was never able to keep up with them. I'm not even sure where they are, if they're even still together.

Not done the kid of wood work involved in shaping squares to rounds (I had been wondering how to do an even taper for a spear head for a while). It would be a learning experience. And an equipment buying experience.

On a long enough timeline I would like a musket (been on my to do list for more than a decade). If I did anything in the militia I'd probably generally prefer a bill or suchlike.

If you're selling off said kit, maybe - depends on timetable and finances meeting an agreement. Shoot me a PM with details.

M.

EDIT: Fixed link to photos.

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Last edited by M. Eversberg II on Wed 28 Dec, 2016 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec, 2016 11:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wade Allen and his collection of pikes are somewhere in northern North Carolina.

You will also want the volume from Brill on staff weapons.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2016 5:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Matt,

I was at the Muster in September - first I've ever attended in the 28 years living in St. Mary's.


You were there!? Well, cool!! I was a tallish musketeer in a yellow doublet. Really sorry that I don't know you by sight! Maybe I talked to you anyway?

I certainly understand that "real life" thing and how it gets in the way...

Quote:
I looked around at some local hardwood places a few years back but none were dealing in anything of length at the time - was looking to do quarterstaff back then, as I ran a small HEMA club briefly. Might be worth a look again. I'm occasionally up near Baltimore, though I drive a Civic these days so nothing lengthy would work too well, I think.

What diameter pole do you think is ideal?


Hoo, not certain, but it shouldn't be hard to find some good data. And it should be easy enough to find something 1-1/4" to 1-1/2", which is what most folks use. Tapering the shaft just makes it VASTLY nicer to handle!

Quote:
I did have a very brief interaction with The Longship Company - just over a decade ago now - on their ship outing. Sadly things got in the way and I was never able to keep up with them. I'm not even sure where they are, if they're even still together.


Oh, they're definitely still going! http://www.longshipco.org/ I've know Bruce Blackistone since I joined Markland back about 1980, but have only had the pleasure of rowing on the longship twice. Just been doing other things!

Quote:
Not done the kid of wood work involved in shaping squares to rounds (I had been wondering how to do an even taper for a spear head for a while). It would be a learning experience. And an equipment buying experience.


Well, I didn't know how to do it before I did it, either, ha! Grab a scrap of wood and an $8 rasp, and give it a test. Granted, I do as much with my electric hand planer as I can! Wonderful machine, worth every penny.

Quote:
If you're selling off said kit, maybe - depends on timetable and finances meeting an agreement. Shoot me a PM with details.


Shall do! I'm not selling my Greek stuff, as a rule, though I have made a few pieces for my local guys. Hopefully Deepeeka will have more usable stuff to offer in the not-too-distant future. But most of my hoplites just borrow stuff from me for the day--I can outfit at least 2 other hoplites, a Macedonian phalangite, a peltast, and a thureophoros. Plus 3 Bronze Age warriors.

Stand by for that PM!

Matthew
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2016 6:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We may have spoken, but I can't recall. I did mill about with the members asking questions (still got the membership sheet sitting on my desk - need to submit that).

Corrected photo link for those interested - the one above has also been fixed: Link

I spent most of the time around the weapons tent (of course) and also the field medic's display. I'm inordinately shorter than most, so I'm easily misplaced in a crowed.

I'll see what I can find around here next time I'm out in town - if the whole thing must taper evenly from start to finish, it may be best to start thicker than the socket by a fair bit, as it would counterbalance the weapon well. I live close to an 84 - if they're able to source and cut, it's well within walking distance.

I may be needing to touch bases with Bruce again - I last saw him at a job I'd worked and he had recently suffered a heart attack. I learned the essentials of forgework (another thing not done in ages) from him at his old shop.

I may budget for a hand planer first - trying to do...14 or 16 feet with a rasp would probably send me to the madhouse. Still need to figure out the head, anyways!

M.

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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2016 6:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aha! Photographic evidence! I see me in my bright yellow doublet, wearing my helmet because of the wind. And that's my armor and helmet leaning against the tree. Hey, video of the battle, cool! Hot little action, eh? My old bang stick went off every time.

There were several groups there, and at this point I frankly don't remember the name of the greencoats I fell in with! Usually I turn out with McLean's, just cuz I know most of them. Maybe you have a form for the St. Mary's militia? Logical choice to go with what's closest.

The *proper* hand tool for a weapon shaft is a drawknife, but they can be tricky to use. You have to reverse direction when you get to the other side of the piece or you can rip too deeply into the grain. Also a spokeshave, which I don't have--there is apparently no such thing as an inexpensive spokeshave! (Well, I may not have just browsed Amazon!) Rasps are much more forgiving, but you need to sand more afterwards.

Thanks for posting the photos!

Matthew
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Dec, 2016 8:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

According to Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, some pikes in the second half of the seventeenth century in the British Isles lacked langets, but he recommended against such pikes and encouraged langets.
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To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Jan, 2017 6:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Aha! Photographic evidence! I see me in my bright yellow doublet, wearing my helmet because of the wind. And that's my armor and helmet leaning against the tree. Hey, video of the battle, cool! Hot little action, eh? My old bang stick went off every time.

There were several groups there, and at this point I frankly don't remember the name of the greencoats I fell in with! Usually I turn out with McLean's, just cuz I know most of them. Maybe you have a form for the St. Mary's militia? Logical choice to go with what's closest.

The *proper* hand tool for a weapon shaft is a drawknife, but they can be tricky to use. You have to reverse direction when you get to the other side of the piece or you can rip too deeply into the grain. Also a spokeshave, which I don't have--there is apparently no such thing as an inexpensive spokeshave! (Well, I may not have just browsed Amazon!) Rasps are much more forgiving, but you need to sand more afterwards.

Thanks for posting the photos!

Matthew


Yeah, I should contact my POC and see when their next gathering is - I know it is January sometime. Will need to find time to go by a woodshop - can't be any time this week unfortunately. Likely this project can't go anywhere until the spring, considering my lack of workshop space - would need to be an outdoors project for sure!

Where did you source your armor? Been meaning to look around to see who can create 17th century stuff - those I saw wearing breastplates at the event, I think they were mostly mass-market repros. Noticed most of them went to the hip, which is awfully long for a breastplate. Wasn't able to break out a measure, though.


Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
According to Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, some pikes in the second half of the seventeenth century in the British Isles lacked langets, but he recommended against such pikes and encouraged langets.


In that case, I will need to either find someone who makes pikeheads, or modify an extant spearhead in some way (most likely).

M.

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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Jan, 2017 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I actually only got my cuirass a couple years ago from a friend who was selling it off. I believe it was made by an armorer named Cole in the UK. The helmet, too, though I've had that longer. I trimmed the sides of the cuirass because it was a little big on me, and replaced the odd tasset attachments with simple straps and buckles, but never bothered about the length since there wasn't much I could do about it. Overall it looks better than anything I could make myself! So I'm glad I didn't have to try.

Yeah, I hate winter. Any decent Saturday might see me out with the planer or angle grinder, making a mess on the deck!

Matthew
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