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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 04 May, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Product Review: Tod's Foundry Mace Heads         Reply with quote

Review: Tod’s Stuff Mace Heads

I recently ordered a couple of Tod’s Foundry mace heads, and they arrived in the mail today. The subject of my review will be two of the Kiripichnikov type IV (later type) heads. In Western Europe, these seem to have been most common during the 13th and 14th century.

Statistics
Type: Kiripichnikov IV (later)
Geographic Spread: Byzantine, Norman, Eastern and Western Europe, Scandinavia, UK.
Dating: 11th-14thC.
Weight: 217g/7.5oz, 81mm across, shaft dia. 28mm

Construction and Finish

Both of the mace heads are made from cast bronze. This means that there substantial irregularities on the spikes of the head: “pitting” in some places, the occasional seam, some spines with slightly more rounded apexes, and the like. As for the finish, Tod has not polished the metal which gives the bronze a matte hue.

Despite the presence of seams, both of these mace heads feel highly durable. The smaller spikes around the top and bottom are completely solid, while the large spines in the middle have been hollowed out, undoubtedly to prevent the head from becoming clumsy. Yet the hollow spikes are also thick and well built, and would undoubtedly be able to stand up to forceful strikes against helmet, shield, or mail armour.

All in all, the impression created is that these are very much hand-made items, akin to a mace head that was newly made in the Middle Ages.

Handling

Obviously, since I have not hafted these heads, I won’t be able to comment on how they handle and perform yet. For now I will note that these mace heads are stout and hefty. At approximately 78 mm across at the widest point, from spike to spike, and with 28 mm shaft diameter, these mace heads are solid and dense at 217 grams/7.5 ounces. Struck against an unarmoured man with force, the result would be severe if not catastrophic. Even wearing a great helm I would not want to be struck hard with one of these; its mass feels sufficient to cave-in a helmet with a powerful blow.

Nevertheless, the size of these mace heads means that when hafted, the weapon will not feel cumbersome in hand. Instead, the mace heads will add extra and solid mass to a wooden handle, enough to deal fearsome harm while remaining light enough to make quick follow-up strikes as appropriate.

Conclusion

At £60 at the time of this review, these mace heads are a good deal; they are perhaps underappreciated for their merit. Tod has made solid, stout heads that look and feel fully functional, and yet have a level of quality often missing at this price point. In particular, the fact that the mace heads are bronze is a nice touch; one often sees steel used, despite the fact that bronze seems to have been far more common on early mace heads. These are fine mace heads, and I look forward to using them in my HEMA training.



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Last edited by Craig Peters on Tue 09 May, 2017 7:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Mon 08 May, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig,

Thanks for this and I think a fair review. As in all my work, I try to emulate what was done, rather than a modern interpretation of it and this is reflected in their tough and businesslike build and appearance rather than focussing on a modern 'perfect' finish.

Tod

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Michael B.
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Location: Chugiak, AK
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PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just hafted up a Grotesque mace head from Tod on a piece of turned cherry wood over at my buddies place. Neat looking piece and feels like it could do some serious damage. Really want one now for myself.
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Michael Bergstrom
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Gregg Sobocinski




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PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've always been drawn to Leo's mace heads. Thanks for sharing this review! I would love be to read your thoughts after hafting them. Perhaps a picture "in hand", before or after hafting would also be fun. They sound larger than I imagined. Congrats on your new toys.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a few photos of the hafted maces. I bought the wood hafts from a martial arts store, and I'm not certain what kind of wood was used. To haft these heads, I literally screwed them on to the wood, shaving off bits of the wood by screwing down the mace head. Needless to say, they've got a pretty snug fit.

I'm not sure whether I will saw-off part of the hafts. Presently, they are 25 inches long, which seems a touch long to me. However, they do have pretty nice reach and handling at this length. I've included a shot with my Albion Norman for perspective.



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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 09 May, 2017 10:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Handling Part II

I was thinking of how I should try to explain what it feels like to handle these maces, especially since any written explanation is inevitably far from the actual experience of really holding a particular weapon. The idea that came to mind that seems most suitable is that Tod has really hit the “sweet spot” with these maces. Imagine taking a fighting stick and then adding just a bit more mass to the end and some spikes. Suddenly, your fighting stick has gone from being a dangerous to a formidable weapon.

These maces are a joy to wield. You can easily perform strikes, follow-up actions, and recoveries. The mass on them is such that they really move with nearly the same speed and agility as a light sword. Of course, owing to the fact that the mace head is wider at the tip, there is a subtle difference in moving it versus a sword; you can feel just a hint more air resistance with the mace than with a sword. But this is a subtle difference indeed, and would be hardly noticeable when fighting or sparring.

These maces are fine weapons, and while they may not be able to do everything that a sword does, they are nimble and effective in hand. Paired with a shield, they present a dangerous fighting combination.
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Terry Thompson




Location: Suburbs of Wash D.C.
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PostPosted: Wed 10 May, 2017 8:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think those hafts are wood. They look like shaved rattan (which is related to bamboo, and grass) and what is used in SCA combat.
-Terry
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 10 May, 2017 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Could well be. They are quite light for wood. Unfortunately, the obviously wooden versions of these fighting sticks were too wide to use, and neither I nor the store owner had the means to shave them down.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 11 May, 2017 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig,

Any wood working/carpentry shop should easily fit these up any wood sold for hammer or pickaxe handles will be very suitable even if it is a local wood I don't know, so in the UK £10 and an interested shop will probably solve the problem if your hafts are not up to the job.

Tod

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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2017 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How are you even going to use them in HEMA training without inadvertently bashing people's heads in?

(I'm genuinely curious. Can't really think of a way at the moment.)
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Sep, 2017 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How are you even going to use them in HEMA training without inadvertently bashing people's heads in?

(I'm genuinely curious. Can't really think of a way at the moment.)
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