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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jun, 2008 4:47 am    Post subject: Thoughts on axe design.         Reply with quote

I am planning on having an axe made for me since no production ones are what I like. At this point I am just starting to work on what I would like it to look like. The axe I want is for 1300 give or take a decade. It will be a one handed axe with an overall length of roughly 24" and weighing in between 2.5 and 3 pounds. The primary useage of the axe would be as a weapon of war from Western Europe/England.



Any thoughts or suggestions are welcomed.

Scott
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jun, 2008 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Scott, can you provive a sketch of the cross section of the blade? This will dictate the way the axe handles just as much as the profile. When you say primarily for war, are you trying to design a dual purpose weapon, or is it just a war axe and I'm reading too much into your verbiage?

The profile of the axe is nice, it would certainly lend itself to utility as well as war.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 805

PostPosted: Tue 24 Jun, 2008 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Hello Scott, can you provive a sketch of the cross section of the blade? This will dictate the way the axe handles just as much as the profile. When you say primarily for war, are you trying to design a dual purpose weapon, or is it just a war axe and I'm reading too much into your verbiage?

The profile of the axe is nice, it would certainly lend itself to utility as well as war.


You are not reading to much inti at all Gavin. My wording is not the best as it were. It is a war axe.

As to the cross section of the blade that is something that I hope to get feedback on from all of my fellow forumites. What would be the more appropriate edge profile for a war axe of this time period? A sword style bevel or one more like this?


The other thing I have not decided on is the haft for the axe. Suggestions or ideas for that are welcome as well.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jun, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the haft of the axe I am torn between a straight oval haft or one similiar to the one pictured below. Would this be appropriate for 1300 as this axe is dated to the 15th century. I am thinking of going with a sword hilt style wrapped grip if I were to go this route.

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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jun, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a really nice axe! The grip is especially interesting, where is the picture from?

The reinforced edge is more indicative of large, late viking era axes than of medieval axes, as far as I am aware. I've seen axes like the one you sketched referred to as "goosewing" axes, but i'm not certain of the era or location where these were popular.

Also, is this intended to be a "historical" or fantasy axe? That has a lot of impact on how forumites will view your design.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 805

PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2008 4:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
That's a really nice axe! The grip is especially interesting, where is the picture from?

The reinforced edge is more indicative of large, late viking era axes than of medieval axes, as far as I am aware. I've seen axes like the one you sketched referred to as "goosewing" axes, but i'm not certain of the era or location where these were popular.

Also, is this intended to be a "historical" or fantasy axe? That has a lot of impact on how forumites will view your design.


I will have to get back to you on where the axe in the last picture is from. I want to say it is 15th century German but will have to confirm that. I agree about the grip on it, thus my thoughts on going with something similar for mine.

As to the edge I figured it was viking age but wanted to confirm that. So it seems that a sword edged axe would be more appropriate to 1300.

It is to be an axe that is historical in nature. Not a copy of any single axe but an amalgam of axes.

As I said in the first post, this is just the first of what I am sure will be many sketches before I have a finalized design to send off.


Scott
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Danny Grigg





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PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin, I posted a pic of this 15th century Horseman's Axe with some information here:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...p;start=20

Originally the pic was on Chris Dobson's website:

http://www.masterarmourer.com/

Danny
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Wed 25 Jun, 2008 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for chiming in on that axe Danny. I still need to look at Chris' site to see what else it has to offer.

Scott
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Jun, 2008 5:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have had some time to sit down with my design staff and this is the latest revision of what I am looking for.


I am looking to have some form of cutout in the blade to help lighten it without compromising strength. I am torn as to what I want to do though. Should I go with the old standby cross shape? Or something more unique? Suggestions or ideas are of course welcome.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like the look of your new sketch a lot better than the original; it has more flavor. Considering the era that you're looking at I think the cross would be entirely appropriate, unless you already have a simple design in mind. I thik a trefoil would be a good alternative.

I highly recommend that you bring the top horn forward. I have found that axes cut more powerfully if the upper horn is swept forward. I think this is related to that arc of the swing, and how the bit bites into the target surface. Clubs and bludgeons trail your hand slightly through the swing, and at the most powerful section of the arc the strike is kind of a push away from the centerline. We see this in baseball, as most balls go either to the right field or center field.

Because the axe bit sits forward of the hand, the force is directed more towards the center line, even slightly inward in a sense. I suspect that if you were to hit baseballs with a blunt axe they would go mostly center to left field.

I said all of that to say this: The sweet spot of your axe should be perpendicular to the arc of your swing in order to impart maximum force and avoid deflection as much as possible. Most of the extant battle axes that I have seen have either a "balanced" arc, or are swept slightly forward. I hope this makes sense.

Here's my nifty diagram:



 Attachment: 38.27 KB
Force Diagram.JPG
Note that the direction of force is tangential in the swept back design.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you Gavin. I passed your compliments and suggestions on to my design staff. Who by the way agrees about the cross though not the trefoil.

Looking at your diagrams and reading what you said I tend to agree and have put the design staff to work on the redesign.

This is shaping up very nicely and I must thank you for the ideas Gavin.

Next on the agenda after finalizing the design of the head and what the cutout will be is the shape of the shaft. Ovalized or rectangular?

Updated design to follow


Scott
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As promised here is the latest revision:


Does anyone else have suggestions for the cutout in the axe head? I am leaning towards the cross at this point unless someone comes up with a better idea for an axe that would have been used by a one time Crusader.

All thoughts and suggestions are welcome.


Scott
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 6:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Third version is a very nice design, and very striking. I vote trefoil.

The haft shape for a single hander is probably a matter of taste, as your hand will rarely leave the grip. The further away from the haft the edge is, the more difficult it becomes to maintain blade alignment. The grip should be square enough that you can control the edge, but rounded enough to be comfortable in the hand.

Whatever shape fits your hand is really the best answer I can give.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really like this version. Something was just off about the second version and until you pointed it out I could not put my finger on what it was. I am still not sold on the trefoil. It is something I will have to ponder and look at to decide which route to go.

As to the haft of the axe. At one point I was thinking of having the grip area finished almost as if it were a swords hilt with a faceted leather covered grip. Probably not historically accurate though. I'm not sure how historically accurate having a leather grip area would be for an axe of this era period. Though I would like to have at the least a leather wrist loop since at least the initial user of this would have been a mounted warrior.

Scott
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A leather lanyard would be inexpensive, decorative if done well, and a good safety feature if you plan to cut with the axe. I would think a braided thong and leather grip with cord risers would be a nice touch.

A chain lanyard would be a fancy alternative. Brass would look nice, but price becomes a factor.

A rondel style grip appears to be pretty common an maces and later period horseman's axes. I'm not sure when that began to be incorporated in to the design. Again, it depens on how fancy you want to be.

Have you considered incorporating langettes? These would greatly extend the life of the haft, and make a more elaborate grip more justifiable; ie. why bother with an expensive grip if the haft is going to break anyway?
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
A rondel style grip appears to be pretty common an maces and later period horseman's axes. I'm not sure when that began to be incorporated in to the design. Again, it depens on how fancy you want to be.

Have you considered incorporating langettes? These would greatly extend the life of the haft, and make a more elaborate grip more justifiable; ie. why bother with an expensive grip if the haft is going to break anyway?


My biggest concern with the rondel style grip comes down to era. I believe that would be to late for an axe made before 1300. I do not want to go overly fancy but do want it to look good. So the grip might just end up being wood with the leather wrist strap incorporated somehow.

As with the rondel style grip I am not sure if the langettes would be appropriate for this axe based on time frame. My other concern is how much weight they would add to the axe. I am shooting for a weight of between 2-1/4 and 2-3/4 pounds. Your point is defintely taken about spending big money on a nice grip that is not reinforced to insure longevity.

Would anyone else like to add anything? I obviously have a couple of more details to work out before sending this out for quotes from whom I am interested in having do this.


Scott
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Danny Grigg





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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jun, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Kowalski wrote:
I really like this version. Something was just off about the second version and until you pointed it out I could not put my finger on what it was. I am still not sold on the trefoil. It is something I will have to ponder and look at to decide which route to go.

As to the haft of the axe. At one point I was thinking of having the grip area finished almost as if it were a swords hilt with a faceted leather covered grip. Probably not historically accurate though. I'm not sure how historically accurate having a leather grip area would be for an axe of this era period. Though I would like to have at the least a leather wrist loop since at least the initial user of this would have been a mounted warrior.

Scott



Scott

Take a look at this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/36137140@N00/509231995/

Here's an axe with a sword hilt.

Its from the Royal Armouries in Leeds UK I think.

I found this pic yesterday. I have no information about this axe.

Enjoy

Danny
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Kelly Powell




Location: lawrence, kansas
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jun, 2008 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not a big fan of the hand stop on top of the grip in that picture.....Having a wrapped grip is fine, bu t, in my opinion, I'd want to be able to choke up on the axe and be allowed to let it slide through my hand down to the grip.......That stop just seems to be in the way and takes away from some versatility.... Just a personal taste thing.....The blade shape seems more for a two handed haft....with the one handed grip it has more of a craft use to it....would have to feel it and see how the edge was ground to make any definate opinion though.
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jun, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Danny,
Thank you for the link. Very interesting looking though I am not a fan of the rondel look. Especially on an axe for the same reason that Kelly states.


Kelly,
I agree that the blade shape seems more suited to a two handed haft but if you look at the picture of the axe in my third post it is a one handed axe which is where I got some of my inspiration for my axe. The biggest difference is the horn that I added for the limited ability ti strike with it in a thrusting attack.


On SFI it was brought to my attention that unless the body of the axe is dramatically softer then the edge having cutouts will lead to stress issues from impact. If that is the case I might not be doing anything in the way of cutouts on the blade.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jun, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott,

I've only seen that rondel guard on axes that are invariably labeled "Horseman's Axe". I'm not a horseman myself, but I would venture a guess that a horseman would use larger, more sweeping strokes down from horseback than a footman might use in a melee. There's not much use in choking up on the grip in that case.

A footman might choke up to use short quick chops, or even slide his hand all the way up under the beard to punch and slice, so grip mobility is more useful. In the case of a horseman, the added benefit of a guard might outweigh the utility of choking up.

I could be waaay off here, you'd have to ask one of the jousters.
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