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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Want to know quality on MRL volgue/halberd Reply to topic
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Christopher Finneman




Location: Sartell Minnesota
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sun 11 Jun, 2006 5:58 pm    Post subject: Want to know quality on MRL volgue/halberd         Reply with quote

Hey I have a question on these I got mine in closeout about a weekago but some concerns are this
the blade itself seems good and all but it really nicks up and gouges even though its of hig carbon steel
Also where the blade ends and the wood strats seems thin and a bit wobbly

But are these good ones to beat around and will they take the abuse of just normal wear and tear IE cutting stabbing and all that jazz?

Info will be appreciated

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Christopher Finneman




Location: Sartell Minnesota
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 4:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anyone, Or the quality in general of MRL I love this pole arm just seems a lil sub par on quality. Kinda thin near the head where wood meets etc.
Does anyone have a site that makes good quality pole arms/ maces hammers flails. I have A&A let me know
And thanks for your time

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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 6:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I and many others buy MRL items with the assumption that we'll need or want to make some upgrades. We tend to think of these pieces as "kits" at reasonable kit prices. Understand that I'm talking only about the best of MRL's offerings. Those items tend to have a decent foundation--properly heat-treated blade and hilt components at least resembling originals of the same type. The problems tend to be in construction and details of finish. The grip wood may shrink and allow the hilt components to rattle. The grip wrap is typically bulky and unattractive. The MRL polearms in general have similar problems and similar solutions. I posted photos of original halberds of this type in a recent thread here, and the hafts of those weapons also seem very narrow and flimsy. However, the hafts of originals are most likely made of seasoned ash. I doubt MRL is using even new ash for its hafts. MRL may not pay much attention to small flaws in their haft stock, either. That's fine for a piece that will only be displayed, but it can be dangerous in actual use.

This brings us to the appropriate use of this particular weapon. It is not a wood axe. The type was never intended to strike static targets, as evidenced by the narrow hafts of originals. In my opinion, the haft, long, convex blade, pick, point and long "beard" suggest that this weapon may have been used more as a poleaxe. In that role, it would have been used to stab, hook and slash at relatively close range. In other words, it probably isn't historically appropriate to swing this weapon like a baseball bat or felling axe. I just don't think you'd get that kind of unchallenged windup in combat. If you want to test this weapon, suspend a large, heavy torso-sized bag from a limb or rafter (maybe stuff it tight with damp newspaper) and attack it at close range--stabbing, cutting and hooking more than hacking--and keep in mind that in a real fight the bag would be a human looking for any pause or opening to murder you.

If the haft breaks (as originals often did in combat,) you have a great opportunity to improve the weapon with a haft of your own construction. You can choose the wood, length, section, fastening, etc based on your own body type and study of original weapons of this type.

If you saw the thread on my upgrade project with one of these weapons, you'll know that I hafted mine to halberd length. I did that for three reasons:
-The head I bought is slightly larger and more robust than the MRL version.
-The 7' overall length feels right (more right than the poleaxe-length MRL).
-I can always shorten the haft bit-by-bit to fine tune the handling or if new information challenges my original choice. You can't add length later if you haft short to begin with.

So, to recap, don't be afraid to use the MRL in an historically appropriate manner, but don't be surprised or dismayed if that use reveals flaws in construction or materials. Simply take that as your cue to upgrade the "kit".

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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