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Hamish C




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2016

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat 06 Jan, 2018 10:58 pm    Post subject: Fitting Polearm Heads to Shafts         Reply with quote

Hi, I am currently fitting an ash stave to a halberd head that I got from Wulflund. I have hand wrought nails with square shaft/pins to fit the langets to the stave. The langets have no predrilled holes. Should I just drill holes, try to fit a square peg into a round hole, or drill the holes undersize and open them up in a square shape to match the shaft of the nails?
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Greg Ballantyne




Location: Maryland USA
Joined: 14 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2018 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for asking this question, Hamish. I don't have an answer, but I am interested in hearing from those who have done this - I have also had interest in buying heads requiring hafting.

I can imagine advantages to both approaches you've mentioned, the square fastener thru the round hole cutting into the head material to result in a tighter fit, or getting a closer fit without stressing the head material. Having never done it, I don't know if any of that is actually valid....
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2018 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Round hole and square shank will be fine; trying to drive a square shaft through a smaller round hole will be difficult.

Pre drill the hole in the shaft with a small hole to help prevent it splitting out.

Tod

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Hamish C




Location: Sydney, Australia
Joined: 27 Jul 2016

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 07 Jan, 2018 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Guys.
The heads look reasonable for the price of 110 euro. I have a Swiss halberd, and an English Bill. Halberd has a square, tapered, and slightly curved front to back socket. The tip of the stave needed a small section cut out as the internal base of the axe part continues into the interior of the. Quite time consuming to fit.

The bill has a conical socket, the stave should more straightforward to fit.
Both heads look to be made out of flat stock, rather than hammer forged hot. Thickness is fairly uniform. I think many originals would have had variations in thickness, eg the spear parts are usually a bit thicker than the surrounding area, especially at the base. Nevertheless they seem plenty strong enough.

False edges are currently blunt, but could easily be sharpened with some grinding, filing and stoning.
Even blunt they feel like the could do substantial, even lethal damage, to an armoured opponent. Devastating to an unarmoured opponent..
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Jan, 2018 12:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
Round hole and square shank will be fine; trying to drive a square shaft through a smaller round hole will be difficult.

Pre drill the hole in the shaft with a small hole to help prevent it splitting out.

Tod


I was going to mention pre-drilling the holes in the metal and wood because with hard woods splitting would be a very high probability, and even hammering the nails in might be near impossible without having the nails bend instead of going into the wood.

If you don't mind not being 100% historically accurate you can put a little bit of epoxy adhesive or super glue in the pilot holes before you hammer the nails in: This will secure the nails even in a slightly over sized holes.

Ideally your pilot holes should be just barely undersized so that the square corners of the nails with bite a bit into the wood and be secure even without the added adhesive: Not a bad idea to do a test with different diameter drill bits on a piece of scrap wood to find the optimum fit.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Jan, 2018 1:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote
Quote:
Not a bad idea to do a test with different diameter drill bits on a piece of scrap wood to find the optimum fit.


Always a good idea!

Tod

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S Cunningham




Location: Montana, USA
Joined: 26 Sep 2017

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PostPosted: Fri 12 Jan, 2018 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another suggestion:

If the langets aren't pre-drilled, you could fit the head to the shaft then drill through both the langets and the shaft. You can get a 3' piece of 1/8" brass ($4 at Lowes), cut pieces slightly longer than the holes, fit them through and peen the heads.

I've found with some other makers this doesn't work when the langets are pre-drilled because the holes don't always line up.
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