Why do reproduction warhammers have square shafts?
Most modern reproduction medieval war hammers have square shafts which are not very ergonomic at all. A more rectangular shaft would be much more comforable or even better some kind of stretched octagonal section. I understand it's pretty rare for wooden shafts to have survived from this period but do the fittings from surviving hammer heads suggest a square shaft? And if so why would that mean it was square all the way down?
I'm by far no expert, but I would think that the square or rectangular shaft would have been used for ease of production and to minimalize movement. A war-hammer is not a dull, clumsy weapon. They require a certain degree of skill to use effectively. I do agree that a square or rectangle shaft that tapers to a hex, oval, or teardrop would give better control in a swing. A rounded handle would just 'roll' in the hand(s). I'm sure there will be others along shortly to chime in with more detailed answers. :) ....McM
When I said 'minimalize movement', I refer to the fit of the shaft into the head. A square peg in a square hole won't move around easily. ;) ....McM
That sounds right, but he's asking - why not rectangular? why square? Which do the metal fittings suggest?
Is this a test? :lol: A lot of -*reproduction*- war hammers that I've seen do have square or rectangular-ish slots in the heads for the shaft. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. As I said, I would think for ease of production. A good many replicas have langets running down the shaft, and it's easier to make them flat rather than shaped to fit any other shaped shaft. The only off-the-shelf reproduction hammer I know of that is shaped differently is the Cold Steel war hammer. It's handle is oval shaped and tapered--like a splitting maul handle, and the head is held on by compression/friction. It's langets are rounded to fit the shaft. As far as -*original*- hammers go, I've never really studied them in any great detail....so....I don't know. :\ .....McM
Here's my Windlass replica...square head, square shaft, flat langets. :) ....McM

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Actually, the shaft IS rectangular. Only the head slot is square. Solid-built lil bugger! :D ....McM
I don't know much anything about war hammers, but a quick google image search turns up a number of (what appear to be) originals with surviving handles, some made of metal and some of organic material that must have been well cared for or replaced. Just from the first few one could see a variety of cross-sections from square to rectangular to perfectly round.

(Maybe somebody can post some images, I'm running out of image space here.)

Why do modern replicas tend to look alike? Pure speculation based on other examples: what I suspect happens often with modern reproductions is that someone comes out with a model first based on a well known, accessible piece, and then the entry-level manufacturers end up imitating this repro rather than doing the due diligence to do heir own research on originals.

Why 'professionals' would do that escapes me, since its not that hard to at least look at some pictures and overall measurements on-line or in books, and derive some other measurements yourself, even if you can't get exact measurements from the museum or collector. I've done that myself several times for custom pieces and they came out pretty successful in most cases - and I'm just some guy sitting at home in my family room.

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