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Allen Johnson





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Mar, 2006 11:40 am    Post subject: Macquahuitls         Reply with quote

any know the possibility of someone who makes and sells 'Macquahuitls'? Or similar type weapons?
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Mar, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not afraid to show my ignorance . . . What's a Macquahuitls?
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Mar, 2006 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's the South/Central American "sword" which was made by taking a stick and strapping lengths of obsidian to two opposite sides to make a very sharp edge. Sorry if this description is a little rough.

It looks vaguely like this:



I think we had a topic about this a little while ago, I was thinking about it the other day.
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Matt G




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Mar, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only thing like a macuahuitl on the market that I am aware of are the "Mayan War Swords" (The advertiser's description, not mine!).

http://www.5stardeal.com/expand.asp?pro=8925&subcat=235

I'd personally like to own a good quality, historically accurate repro and making one from scratch is on my long list of things "I might get around to" (I can just imagine all the small cuts I'll get from trying to fuss with the obsidian. Ouch!).

It may be that in order to get a good quality reproduction of a macuahuitl , it might have to be a custom order or a do-it-yourself project.

Good luck with your search.

"Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)


Last edited by Matt G on Thu 02 Mar, 2006 11:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Allen Johnson





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PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yeah im not too impressed with that one. Is that the EXCALIBER!! pommel on that thing? Happy Also it just looks like the "blade" parts are wood and not obsidian. I am terrible at making things- this might be a challenge...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Obsidian is basically " volcanic glass " I believe ??? So black tinted glass might be a useable substitute for the obsidian if that is too hard to find.

Shaping the glass so has to reproduce the effect of knapped stone ??? Not sure how to do that or what the real obsidian would look like ? Rough rectangular shapes or were the real ones finely finished and crisp sharp rectangles ?

Just a suggestion of one approach to make one or have one made.

There are some people who do work with flint and stone to make reproduction stone tools or weapons: You might be able to get the obsidian pieces made by them ?

Just Google Knapping and maybe you will be able to find something. Any stone age living history groups out there or Mayan groups ?

Sorry, for all those ???????????? Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 3:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's the Wikipedia article:

Quote:
Aztec obsidian-edged sword-club, was a devastating cutting weapon capable of easily cleaving to bone, but lacked a point (and thus couldn't be used for thrusting), and did not balance like a true sword. These shortcomings placed the Aztecs at a considerable disadvantage when fighting against Spanish sword-and-target men. The maquahuitl, despite its obvious flaws, is interesting in that it serves as both an edged weapon (due to its obsidian blades) and an impact weapon (due to its stout hardwood body). As well, it was self sharpening.




The caption says that there are ten pieces of obsidian, and this macahuitl is 25 inches long, so I can't imagine it would be too hard to make, especially since it wasn't balanced like a sword. If you're handy with wood, I don't think you'll have a problem. As to locating obsidian, I'd suggest the Tuscon gem show but it's already over. Not really sure where to get large pieces of obsidian, but I'm sure a little time online will yield results.
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Matt G




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PostPosted: Thu 02 Mar, 2006 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's my understanding that macuahuitl for use with a shield were on average, about 3.5 feet in length with some longer for two-handed use (See image).



I've yet to try making one but, I think a few key points to making a good macuahuitl would be:

1. Limit the amount of gaps along the obsidian edges. I'd think anything more than small gaps would cause it to possibly snag in a cut/slash.
2. Try to align the edge of each obsidian piece to create a somewhat uniform edge. The idea behind that would be to make one big cut instead of several small cuts.

This link shows a macuahuitl DIY project. A pretty nice attempt overall!
http://www.allempires.com/Forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=1955&PN=1

"Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today."

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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Mar, 2006 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Addison C. de Lisle wrote:
Here's the Wikipedia article:


The caption says that there are ten pieces of obsidian, and this macahuitl is 25 inches long, so I can't imagine it would be too hard to make, especially since it wasn't balanced like a sword. If you're handy with wood, I don't think you'll have a problem. As to locating obsidian, I'd suggest the Tuscon gem show but it's already over. Not really sure where to get large pieces of obsidian, but I'm sure a little time online will yield results.


I don't think assembling the various pieces would be all that difficult, but from what I understand knapping the obsidian "blades" is NOT trivial.

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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Mar, 2006 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On finding obsidian - I have seen a lot of obsidian just lying around in areas near ancient volcanos. I recall visiting an ancient cone near Yosemite National Park in California. There were tons of the stuff, and it could be quite dangerous since some of it was already razor sharp.
Russ Ellis wrote:
...from what I understand knapping the obsidian "blades" is NOT trivial.

I think it would be very easy to get a razor sharp edge, but getting the material to the shape that YOU want, versus the shape it wants to be, might be a challenge. Keep your first aid kit handy.

"...dismount thy tuck, be yare in thy preparation, for thy assailant is quick, skilful, and deadly."
- Sir Toby Belch
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Jeff Pringle
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Mar, 2006 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
getting the material to the shape that YOU want, versus the shape it wants to be, might be a challenge


I knapped my way through many hundreds of pounds of obsidian and chert in the process of learning the techniques of stone tool production, and I'd say that it is definitely a challenge to get the shape you want.
Blade-making (where you knock extremely sharp & straight flakes off a core) is a very specialized skill, in some ways even more difficult than regular knapping.
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Mar, 2006 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Russ Ellis"]
Addison C. de Lisle wrote:


I don't think assembling the various pieces would be all that difficult, but from what I understand knapping the obsidian "blades" is NOT trivial.


Aye, there's the rub. Happy
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Matt G




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Mar, 2006 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I knapped my way through many hundreds of pounds of obsidian and chert in the process of learning the techniques of stone tool production, and I'd say that it is definitely a challenge to get the shape you want.
Blade-making (where you knock extremely sharp & straight flakes off a core) is a very specialized skill, in some ways even more difficult than regular knapping.


Jeff,

Would you have any personal recommendations for books, DVD, or other resources that would be of use to the beginner?

Thanks,

Matt

"Speak what you think today in words as hard as cannon-balls and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
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Travis Canaday




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PostPosted: Sat 04 Mar, 2006 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As Jeff mentioned, making a prismatic blade from a core, is more difficult than stone knapping. This was something that was done by specialized craftsmen, not joe-average hunter doing a little touch up knapping on his knife or spear point. It would probably take quite a bit of practice, and large chunks of good quality material to get good at it.

I tried to find a picture of what a prismatic blade looks like, but had no luck. Rather than the textured surface of a knapped blade preformed by direct or indirect percussion; using the pressure method (probably with a chest crutch) gets you a nice clean stip of stone. This blade has a triangular or trapoziod sort of shape. These were most likely what was used for the edge on a macuahuitl. Not those irregular shaped knappped blades. Here is a link to a paper about making prismatic blades. Unless you have access to J Stor. you can probably only read the first page.

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7316(19...0.CO%3B2-T

That Maya War Sword and it's description is wrong on many levels. For one thing the Maya were never single empire, but at their classical hieght a group of competing city states. I don't think they ever used macuahuitl; which is a Nahuatl word, the language spoken be the Aztecs and other peoples.

Travis

Travis
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Jeff Pringle
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Mar, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Would you have any personal recommendations for books, DVD, or other resources that would be of use to the beginner?

"The Art of Flint Knapping" by D. C. Waldorf and "Making and Understanding Stone Tools" by J. C. Whittaker are both good books, which explain the process well. I never checked out any videos or DVDs, so I can't give a recommendation there - seeing it done by an accomplished tool maker is a great help, though.
Here's a prismatic blade -
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Allen Johnson





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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks for all the comments. Yeah im pretty sure id have to commission one as i have a hard time putting Legos together, buch less crafting a weapon. But I really enjoy reading about this whole process nonetheless
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Jeff Payne




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PostPosted: Mon 02 May, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

google prismatic blades thats what they used for the sword edges. i've been knapping for a few years and i make some occasionally but never managed to be consistent with it though. i mostly make bifacial arrow points
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Jeff Payne




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PostPosted: Tue 03 May, 2011 1:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Waldorf has a dvd that does show blade making mostly for gunflints but still a blade youtube has alot of videos on blade making with the chestcrutch . Im still in the process of learning about blades but it is still the same as other knapping.its all about good platforms and angles. i recommend learning to pressure flake before attempting to make blades gives you a good base to start with
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John T.




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PostPosted: Tue 03 May, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The guys over at Iron Age Armory made a couple. You may be able to convince them to make another.

http://www.ironagearmoury.com/macahuitl.html
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