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James Rogers





Joined: 31 May 2010

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 6:02 am    Post subject: Poleaxes other than A&A?         Reply with quote

I've felt a strong urge to get a poleaxe lately. Arms & Armor (the American one) has one based on the Wallace Collection sample that's absolutely gorgeous, but seems to be very overpriced at over $900 shipped. Unfortunately, that's the *only* quality poleaxe I've been able to find reviews of.

There are other similar offerings out there from Arms-Armor Mfg (the Czech one), Lutel, Arma Bohemia, and White Well Arms. All of those seem to cluster in the $400-$500 range, which seems much more reasonable.

Does anyone have first or secondhand knowledge of those products, or at least some advice on dealing with any of those makers as opposed to Arms & Armor? I'm something of a stickler for quality, and am willing to deal with wait times to get something good and historically accurate. I just don't want to get fleeced in the process, and it seems like A&A costs more than it should.
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Preben B




Location: Norway
Joined: 02 May 2017

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 6:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I second this, been wanting a good quality, decent looking warhammer or poleaxe myself.

It just seems more difficult to find reviews and details about them and I'm not about to drop $500 on something I don't know exactly what is.

I have eyed some of those you mention, there is also Armory Marek which I have heard -should- be decent quality, but I don't feel confident enough to buy anything.

Would love someone who has experience with these vendors give some feedback as well.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The MRL/Windlass pole axe looks pretty good for the modest price, if you just wanted to go that route. Reviews seem to be pretty good, except for a few saying the wood is not that great. I've been thinking about picking one for a few years now. The wood should not be a problem, as it will only be for display. Wink .......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 7:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

White Well Arms for me!






Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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James Rogers





Joined: 31 May 2010

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Awesome, Blaz! Can you tell me anything about the price, working with the maker, and your impressions of the quality and fit/finish?
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Preben B




Location: Norway
Joined: 02 May 2017

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I think I know where I will get my future polearm then.

Did some googling on white well arms and even found one youtube video showing off one of their poleaxes.

Looks great and seems to be around 500 for a poleaxe, not too cheap but seems absolutely fair.
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

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Posts: 389

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I ordered a pollaxe from Josef Dawes from White Well Arms back in 2014 after I have seen some beautiful photos around. I ordered a simple undecorated pollaxe. Three months later Josef informed me that he got a bit carried away while making my pollaxe, and decorated it to a much higher level than ordered, and he even didn't want to take the difference for the embellishment. So I can't really talk about the price, but I must say it would be worth even the full price, it's one of the favorite pieces I own (and I have Albion Earl, and Tod's rondel dagger)... Back in 2014 it was about 300 pounds for the unhafted decorated pollaxe, it has since gone a bit up (or pound down, depends how you look at it).

I think the photos speak enough about the finish quality, but I must also say that I like the fact that it's not "too perfect" - this is mostly handwork, no fancy CNC grinding, decorations are simply punched, filed or ground... Material is really tough, it is hardened - we didn't do much fighting with it (it is quite sharp and pointy and dangerous), but it is harder than most reenactor sword blades so it doesn't even scratch that much, let alone damage.

The only downside I could find is haft dimension and weight. It is about 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds), which is a bit on the high side as historic pollaxes go, but not unheard of. Haft was just a bit too wide and hard to hold as I received it (I ordered it hafted, although it would be cheaper if I hafted it myself) - I have since ground some of the wood on the corner chamfers so it's a bit closer to octagonal - it's much easier to hold now and a bit lighter. Well, I didn't specify any details about that, and Josef Dawes is a smith and a bohurt / Battle of the Nations fighter, and I'm a 75 kg weakling - I'm sure old haft fitted his hands perfectly! Cool

Some photos from the Josef Dawes, they really show how perfect it is:







What can I say, I love this pollaxe!


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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James Rogers





Joined: 31 May 2010

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

O_O That's pretty.

The weight is a bit concerning to me, since I would want to get four langets instead of two and have the hand-disc at the base. What do you think contributes to the weight over similarly-built poleaxes? I might be able to ask him to thin out some parts.

I'm also intending to portray someone of less extravagant means, so I would likely go with simpler decoration on mine. Not sure if that'd help keep the cost down or not.

(BTW, I like the whole kit you've assembled. Late 15th century? The Earl is competing with the Kingmaker for my next sword, now that I've sold the Steward I once owned)
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, every piece of pollaxe is made of quite a thick stock - langets, spike, blade starts very thick and then thins out to a blade, hammer part is massive, back spike is very substantial (and useful for making holes in the ground for posts...).

If we look some historic weights:

From the Wallace Collection (A925)
Possibly French, 1400-1450. Blade length: 6 inches. Top spike: 9 inches. Total weight: 6 pounds, 10 ounces (3 kg)

From the Wallace Collection (A926)
Possibly French, about 1470. Blade length: 7 1/2 inches. Top spike: 7 5/8 inches. Total weight: 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2.5 kg)

From the Wallace Collection (A927)
Italian, about 1530. Blade length: 9 1/4 inches. Top spike: 10 3/4 inches. Total weight: 5 pounds, 2 ounces (2.3 kg)

From the Royal Armouries, Leeds (VII.1510)
First half of 16th century. Head length: 11 1/4 inches. Overall length: 93 1/5 inches. Weight: 7 pounds, 11 ounces (3.5 kg)

3.5 kg doesn't seem unreasonable - 500 years old dried wood is also quite a bit lighter than a new haft. And I'm sure Josef Dawes is capable of meeting the lower required weight. For my pollaxe Josef assembled a brutal armour opener, and people on events really understand the function of the weapon when I hand it to them - it is completely solid, well balanced, and completely rigid! Big Grin

Unembellished (or lightly decorated) pollaxe would of course be cheaper, the shape I tried to ordered was this one:



I'm glad I got the fancy one. Big Grin

This is a bit of topic, but yes, my armour is "a bit of a mix":



Pauldrons and besagews: Art of Steel (Ukraine)
Tipping sallet: Craftsmen of Taurica (Ukraine)
Breastplate: I have no idea, something from Germany
Arm harness: Aplaisance (UK)
Rondel dagger and belt: English Cutler / Tod's Stuff (UK)
Purse: Willy Trambone / Gleb Borisov (Ukraine)
Arming doublet: Historic Enterprises (USA)
Sword: Albion Earl (USA)
Scabbard: DIY (with bits from English Cutler, UK)
Standard: Cap-A-Pie (UK)
Pollaxe: Josef Dawes, White Well Arms (UK)
Hose: Matuls (Poland)
Gauntlets: Therion Arms (USA)

German gothic armour, focused around 1470, it tries to represent something a mercenary would assemble over time - some fancy bits, some older ones. Not a lot of fluting, but this seems consistent with imagery from my lands (Slovenia):

Armour in Slovene lands in 15th century (work in progress):
https://www.facebook.com/426374157419878/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1678914102165871


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
Likes: 10 pages

Posts: 493

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Is Lutel delivering product these days?

http://www.lutel-handicraft.com/?p=productsLi...amp;page=2
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James Rogers





Joined: 31 May 2010

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the weight info! I wasn't really worried about *yours* being too heavy, so much as getting one with three more pieces of metal (two extra langets and a rondel) being a bit too heavy. I hadn't considered the aging of the wood to be a contributing factor, though, as I'd have thought they would season wood used in weapon/tool handles before use. Was that not done?

As for poleaxe shapes, since you mentioned it. This one has a flat edge, which I find attractive, but I've also seen many with a curved axe edge. To your knowledge were different shapes better for different purposes? Did different regions favor certain shapes at different times, or was it more of a random spread throughout Europe?

Lastly, you say you made your scabbard yourself. I was looking to get my father to help with mine whenever I get another Albion, since he's both a carpenter and an 18th century leather worker, and he mentioned possibly steam-bending wood to fit around the sword rather than carving it. What method did you use to make yours?
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
Joined: 26 Aug 2003
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 4
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know enough about pollaxes to make educated guesses about shape preferences. I must say I like straight bladed better too, curved bladed ones remind me too much of halberds (but most halberds in 15th century had straight blades too)...

https://myArmoury.com/feature_spot_poleaxe.html

Another bit of off topic: I made scabbard with shaping of wooden slats. I didn't use steam, just soaked 5mm poplar slats in water overnight, then compressed them over the blade (protected from water by wrapping film) - I used rigid foam above slats, and then thick wood boards, and clamped really tight, and left it for a day. It dried nicely shaped to the blade, and then shaped the slats, glued them, glued canvas over them, and then silk brocade over that.


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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Mark Goble





Joined: 27 Apr 2010

Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu 01 Mar, 2018 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have owned an Armoury Marek poleaxe, and while a very nice piece, it was very heavy. Josef at Whitewell arms is very experienced with making poleaxes, and I would definitely go down that route if I had the money. They are also accurately reproduced and constructed.
I sold myArmoury Marek poleaxe and went for one made by Jason at Wieland Forge. Not so accurately constructed, but suitable for what I needed, looks good, and a cheaper price. Very pleased with it, but again is slightly heavy, but better than Armoury Marek.
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