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Joe Maccarrone




Location: Seattle, WA USA
Joined: 19 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject: Quarterstaff thickness?         Reply with quote

I'm gearing up for Terry Brown's class at WMAW; one of the items of equipment is an ash quarterstaff.

Based on the photos in Mr. Brown's book, it seems that a rather hefty staff is in order; they look to be at least 1-1/2" in diameter, though it's difficult to tell from the photos.

Can anyone weigh in with historical info here? 1-1/2"? 1-1/4"? I'm thinking the 1-1/8" ash poles commonly sold as spear shafts are simply too light to function as a quarterstaff...

Thanks
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Paul Wagner says, in his book on Silver, that an eight to nine foot staff should weigh close to five pounds. This seems about right to me.

The shaft width on some polearms could make a decent staff. Take my A&A English Bill's ash shaft for example. It's about 1-1/8", though not perfectly round. Make it nine feet long and it'd weight about 4.9 lbs. A little thicker couldn't hurt, but that's not bad...
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Joe Maccarrone




Location: Seattle, WA USA
Joined: 19 Sep 2003

Posts: 162

PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 11:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, thanks.

Just checked the staves that Purpleheart sells. The 8' long, 1-1/4" ash staff is listed at 3.2 pounds. The 6' long, 1-1/4" hickory staff is listed at 3.1 pounds.

Hickory is a good, heavy wood, but it isn't historical for England, is it?

Here's another question: does anyone have a period illustration of a 'tipstaff' -- a quarterstaff that was iron-shod at the tips, and usually about 6' long? Mr. Brown mentions these in his book, and I'm interested in having one made, but I don't know what the iron tips would look like... A regular buttcap? A series of langets?
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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2005 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hickory isn't historical for England though in my own opinion its not obviously different from an ash or spruce (to an untrained eye). I've personally been using old oak wagon tongues, which are about 1 1/4 octagonal, and I find them nearly unbreakable. I suppose the full wagon tongue would be worth 10x the cost of buying a similar amount of stave, but I use what I have Happy

It was my understanding that 'ironshod' staves were merely capped staves, which would move the center of percussion out a bit, as well as add a bit of mass for tip strikes. Opinion only, apologies.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2005 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The 8' long, 1-1/4" ash staff is listed at 3.2 pounds.


Yeah, and I don't understand this at all. My English Bill weighs about 5.5 lbs, is 89.5 inches long, and balances 29 inches down. This means that that 60.5 inches of shaft weighs half the total weight, or 2.75 lbs.

So either my math is wrong or that shaft really ain't 1-1/8" like A&A claims it is...

Quote:
It was my understanding that 'ironshod' staves were merely capped staves, which would move the center of percussion out a bit, as well as add a bit of mass for tip strikes.


Actually, on such staves, the shodding was usually heavier on the butt, moving the CoP back... you can see this pretty clearly on the staff Silver is holding.
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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul, 2005 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would disagree that a heavier butt-cap would move a CoP back (or 'in'), I believe it moves it 'out'. In other words; away from the rotation point, just like the pommel on a sword. Of course I'm unfamiliar with historical use of the quarterstaff, but my limited viewings of historical manuals leads me to believe their construction follows the same constraints as swords, poleaxes or any 'percussion' weapon.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 27 Jul, 2005 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm... yes, you're right, I guess I was confusing CoP with CoM/CoB. It would move the CoM back though, which doesn't help much for striking.
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Cole Sibley




Location: Montana, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Jul, 2005 3:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thats a good point. One would think a 'stick' would not require complex features to make it work, but there you go. One must give some credit to our ancestors, who no doubt had a far greater grasp of the application of blunt force than I likely ever will.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




Location: New Mexico
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PostPosted: Wed 27 Jul, 2005 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, and with all that said, I'm pretty sure a four and half to five and half pound staff will have more than enough power to get the job done, without or without shodding. As for durability, it's hard to say. Swetnam warns that a blow can break a staff, but he says the same thing about swords. Silver never mentions it...

It is an interesting point about the CoP, though. That's an advantage of heavier butt shodding that I hadn't thought of (moving the CoM back, of course, gives greater control for thrusting). Silver seems to have preferred the hands set reasonably closely together, with the back by the butt (in my reading, at least), so this makes sense.
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