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Chris Last




Location: Janesville, WI
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Sep, 2006 9:31 am    Post subject: Historic Camelot Faire - Beaver Dam WI - Weapon Testing         Reply with quote

Lloyd and Lisa Clark are hosting another Historic Camelot Event on September 30th-Oct 1st. My group is going to be out there again and we've decided to bring a bunch of our new stuff and try it out with test cuttings, experimental archeology tests etc. Up on the block for trying out are:

A&A Norland Axe
A&A Viking Spear
A&A 12 C Spear
A&A Javelins (we've got 4 or 5 of them to play with)
Albion Reeve
Albion Squireline Viking
Albion Francisca
Ancient Archery Longbow (72#)

And some various windlass and other budget pieces. We're planning on using soft targets mostly, but I'm hoping to have some defences set up for the soft targets as well. Things like linen shirts, wool tunics, etc. We will hopefully do some destructive testing on the new plank sheilds we're making too.

Anyone interested in seeing anything in particular or have any thoughts on how to get the best results?

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Sep, 2006 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm looking forward to seeing the results and any handling characteristics.

If you have a safe place to do it and enough distance it might be interesting to see how far the javelins, the heavier spears and Francisca can be thrown: Maximum ranges and practical ranges by in trained individuals. I would expect that with training the ranges might be a good 25% greater at least. Oh, using a loop for the javelins might be interesting.

What type of Albion Francisca ? I have the heaviest one they used to sell and it does seem really HEAVY : Although based on an actual find it does seem extremely heavy to me ? Either some subtleties are missing as the flats are very " flat " and the original may have tapered in thickness in a curve as opposed as a strait line: Seen from above basically a triangle.

My theory is that some of the axes classed as Franciscas use the same profile ( Typical Frankish design i.e. look ! ) but maybe some of these may have been two handed axes or more like tools, like wood splitting mauls.

The Paul Chen version has a much slimmer looking axe head as I described above.

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Chris Last




Location: Janesville, WI
Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Reading list: 8 books

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Posts: 264

PostPosted: Fri 15 Sep, 2006 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean-

I picked up the 'small' Francisca off of the moat sale a while back. I have to agree that it is very robust. I was just recently able to get it hafted by a friend of mine and its a bit of a beast. I'll see if I can get some pictures of it before Camelot. If not then I'll make sure we get stills of all the pieces being used.

As for the Javelins, I'm really excited to try those out. The member of my group that bought them has been practicing in his back yard some and is working on a thong for throwing. Hopefully we'll get some neat results!

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

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Joe Loder




Location: Milwaukee, WI
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Sep, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd be interested in seeing mostly everything. Especially the axes versus the plank shields. Please give me a reason to play hookey from my booth long enough to see something cool Happy.
He who laughs last, thinks fastest.
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Chris Last




Location: Janesville, WI
Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Reading list: 8 books

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Posts: 264

PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My pleasure Joe! We'll come find your shop if we start a major demo or before we test the shields.
" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

Chris Last
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Joe Loder




Location: Milwaukee, WI
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 9:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Chris! That will be really interesting to see, I love seeing how weapons perform in close to real life simulations. I'm not sure where I'm going to be put but I've heard I should be closeish to the education area.

I'm also interested in seeing the francisca. Is it to robust for throwing use? MANY moons ago I taught a course in tomahawk throwing for my Boy Scout troop. Wasn't all that useful but it was fun practice. After the two months of camp I could accurately hit the target at around 20-25 yrds. I haven't been able to pick up a throwing knife or axe since then but I'm always interested.

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Chris Last




Location: Janesville, WI
Joined: 21 Jun 2004
Reading list: 8 books

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Posts: 264

PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe-

I have no idea. I'm usually armed with a pike so I've got no idea how to throw an axe. Happy If you can spare a some time at the show lets talk and maybe you can show me how to give it a whirl.

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

Chris Last
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Joe Loder




Location: Milwaukee, WI
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd be glad to Chris. So long as you have a target and either a stop or a expanse of area with no people behind the target. Could take me a little while to blow the dust off as it were Happy.

Basically it comes down to rotations and distance. If you find how far (average) your object needs to travel to complete one full rotation that gives you X. You then pace off that many feet and verify X. Then try a throw at 2x, then 3x, etc. Practice drawing the weapon and throwing it. Drawing, then turning and throwing (did I mention that I had a LOT of time to practice at camp?). Mix it up and try throwing sidearm.

Oh and be prepared to miss a lot Happy.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Last wrote:
Joe-

I have no idea. I'm usually armed with a pike so I've got no idea how to throw an axe. Happy If you can spare a some time at the show lets talk and maybe you can show me how to give it a whirl.


I would think that a total novice with axe throwing won't be able to judge if his lack of success is due to bad weapon design or poor technique: So a test can still be personally educational but not very informative about what an experienced thrower could accomplish. Getting a few people who are already skilled would give a better comparative assessment.

My Franscisca, which is the heaviest Albion used to sell, must weight a good 3 pounds for the head alone minimum.

One thing is that if this hits something it won't matter much if it's the edge of the axe or handle: At the least it would be like being hit by a 3 pound mace. If one can throw it accurately and is strong enough to give it some decent velocity ......... OUCH. Eek!

On the other hand carrying one of these around all day would be a pain and carrying 2 or 3 as I think the Franks may have done would have been quite a burden: Again I tend to believe that all Frankish axe were not intended for throwing even when they had a similar style i.e. profile associated with a specific historical culture.

The majority of throwing axes I would think that their weight would be closer to the typical tomahawk.

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Chris Last




Location: Janesville, WI
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am hoping that some of my guys that have more experience in tossing the hawk will be able to get some decent results from my Francisca. I'm just claiming first throw with it, seeing as its mine and all. Happy

I would say the head of mine is a brute 2-3 pounds as well, personally I can imagine getting hit by the thing and that's just as scary a thought as me trying to throw it right now. Happy What length of haft do you have on yours Jean?

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

Chris Last
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Sep, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Last wrote:
I am hoping that some of my guys that have more experience in tossing the hawk will be able to get some decent results from my Francisca. I'm just claiming first throw with it, seeing as its mine and all. Happy

I would say the head of mine is a brute 2-3 pounds as well, personally I can imagine getting hit by the thing and that's just as scary a thought as me trying to throw it right now. Happy What length of haft do you have on yours Jean?



Handle length on mine is 20" I used a small section of a haft intended for a heavy maul. I haven't even tried throwing it as I have only postage stamp sized yard and throwing in the basement seems ............ Stupid. Eek! No way to do this without doing some collateral damage to even the concrete floor. Eek! Laughing Out Loud

The steel is cast and seems to be soft so the results if it hits something really hard would be either chipping or serious dulling. ( Might also be brittle as I had to chisel out some imperfection inside where the haft goes: The chisel cut easily but some of the steel lumps broke off ! Might be limited to there casting imperfections or could be generalized to the entire head: I don't know ? )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Chris Last




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Oct, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well. That was a fun weekend.

The Arms and Armor javelins are just plain old fun. One of the groups (the Picts) had a hay bail throwing range set up so we were able to get lots of throws in. We tried the A&A javelins over hand, side armed, with lanyard and without. My personal preference was side armed with lanyard. I felt I got a more straight on shot with a good penetrating velocity.

The Albion francisca was interesting. I learned I need a heck of a lot more time practicing with that. No matter where I stepped, I couldn't get the rotation right for a blade strike. I did knock a pumpkin off of its stand with the flat of the head though. Happy

Hopefully Joe will post some of his observations as someone who is used to throwing a bit more than I am.

Our shields held up well. The planked construction with leather rim held up very well against different weapons. On Saturday we took to the field and took some hits from a mini-pumpkin flinging trebuchet. That was interesting. The shields held up fine but my wife thinks I'm an idiot.

On Sunday we finalised the destruction on a test shield. This shield was a small one (26 in diameter, leather rimmed, 1/2 in poplar plank construction, weak 17 gauge boss) but it held up well. We used an A&A 12th C spear, A&A Norland Axe, Albion Francisca, and an old MRL/Del Tin Hunting Trousse. The boss was torn through like tissue paper by pretty much anything that it incountered. The shield held up very well though. The spear got locked in to the wood several times, just like the shield was meant to do. The axes to a beating on the shield but it held up wife a few small cracks for most of the swings. Once the Trousse and Fancisca split the leather rim, pieces of the edges started cracking off. The sheild held up to 12 alternating strikes of the Trousse, Francisca, and Norland before the outer planks finally gave way. The shield still had some mass to it with the bulk of the central planks and chewed up boss still present.

All in all, I'd feel pretty safe behind one of the shields, if a bit bruised after the beating it took.

Here's one of our guy's galleries with some pictures from the weekend:

Camelot 2006

" Hang fires are all fun and games untill someone gets their eye poked out... by charging calvary." - J.Shoemaker

Chris Last
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