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Author Topic: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe  (Read 5498 times)

Sir Rodney

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Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« on: 2015-11-05, 05:21:11 »
Weapons used in full contact medieval sports require frequent inspections and maintenance, regardless if their construction is rattan, wood or steel.  I fight in a rattan-based combat sport (SCA) and my favorite weapon requires an overhaul.

The initial construction and modification of this poleaxe can be found on the Armour Archive at: New poleaxe, thanks to this forum

SCA weapons should be carefully inspected before each combat, re-foamed annually and completely rebuilt as necessary.  The foam used to achieve “1/2 inch of progressive give” typically breaks down due to age, water saturation and repeated compression on your opponent’s body parts.

The foam on this weapon wears out quickly as it’s sandwiched between a half-round piece of rattan “blade” (aka a clacker) and the leather main body.   The head had also worked itself loose (wobbly) and needed to be strengthened.  I’m surprised the haft is still in great condition and not showing any mushy spots.  This is probably due to the fact that it’s been shaped from a 2” diameter piece of rattan down to a 1 ˝” octagon cross section and due to the fact I try my best to avoid hafting my opponents.

The first step is to strip all the plasti-dip, duct tape and strapping tape from the weapon.  This is a gigantic, time consuming pain.
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #1 on: 2015-11-05, 05:22:33 »
The second step was to construct two pieces of saddle skirt leather to overlap and sandwich the axe head, shaft and hammer head.  These were tightly secured in place with rubber cement and allowed to cure for a day.  After the cure, I drilled holes and stitched the entire sandwich together with heavy duty waxed linen thread.  This fix will keep the head much more secure as I had only used fiberglass reinforced packing tape and duct tape to hold the axe & hammer heads in place initially.
« Last Edit: 2015-11-05, 05:46:04 by Sir Rodney »
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Thorsteinn

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #2 on: 2015-11-05, 23:39:38 »
I hate rebuilding poleweapons.
When the World shout's "Give Up!", Hope whispers "Try one more time."

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #3 on: 2015-11-08, 00:19:13 »
I hate rebuilding poleweapons.

True!  ;)
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #4 on: 2015-11-09, 03:56:47 »
I've included a photograph of the old foam which clearly shows degradation from use.

The new foam is stacked one inch thick which will easily allow for the SCA required 1/2" of progressive give.  I'm trying something new for the first time to hold the foam and clacker to the head, mounting tape.

I found it in the adhesives section of the hardware store and a little light bulb appeared above my head.  This double faced super-sticky tape should work much better than the glue I've always used.  Plus it has the added benefit of having a thin foam core to add just a little bit more cushion.  Only time will tell.
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #5 on: 2015-11-09, 04:02:01 »
With the head reassembled, it's time to move on to the taping.  First, the fiberglass reinforced packing tape for strength.

Next, the duct tape for some added strength and overall finished effect.
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #6 on: 2015-11-09, 04:13:26 »
I could leave well enough alone at this point and start hitting my friends with the polearm, but I always like to make things more difficult than necessary.  I'll be using colored Plasti-dip to jazz up the weapon and make it appear as realistic as possible for SCA combat.

I started by masking off the "langets" to appear contiguous with the head.

I then started applying many thin coats of Plasti-dip (manufactured in Minnesota  :) ) allowing ample time to cure between each coat.

Down time was filled by reapplying boiled linseed oil to the haft in order to even out the finish on some dinged up areas.

These two simple products, and a little extra time, can bring your SCA weapon as close to the real thing as possible.
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #7 on: 2015-11-22, 03:53:10 »
After many (6+, I lost count) coats of Plasti-Dip gun metal grey, I experimented with the Plasti-Dip "smoke" color shaker can I found at the hardware store.  Approximately three coats of the "smoke" was applied and I found it a little too dark for my liking.  So I laid down another coat of gun metal grey, then reapplied two thin coats of "smoke".  This looked better to my eye.  Your mileage may vary.

After I was satisfied with the color, the "langet nail heads" were applied with a black Sharpie marker.  A single layer of contrasting color duct tape (red) was then applied on all the cutting / stabbing / smashing surfaces.

The poleaxe is now completely inspected, rebuilt and ready for another 12 months of smacking my friends!   :)
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Thorsteinn

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #8 on: 2015-11-22, 04:51:26 »
Nice!

Have you ever made on just using the Vitus or Uncle Olaf method?
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Ian

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #9 on: 2015-11-22, 15:08:08 »
So now that it's all pretty again, how much life do you expect to get out of a head like that?  Are you fighting once a week on average with it?
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Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #10 on: 2015-11-23, 02:46:07 »
Nice!

Have you ever made on just using the Vitus or Uncle Olaf method?

I use a slightly modified version of the Vitus tutorial he posted on Armour Archive.  I don't seem to have the same luck with Gorilla Glue so I substituted slow cure epoxy.
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber

Sir Rodney

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Re: Rebuilding an SCA Poleaxe
« Reply #11 on: 2015-11-23, 03:03:24 »
So now that it's all pretty again, how much life do you expect to get out of a head like that?  Are you fighting once a week on average with it?

I haven't fought once a week since the kids started playing sports (and I got sucked into coaching / refereeing / helping).  Two kids in football, baseball, wrestling, tennis, softball, basketball and volleyball pretty well eliminates consistent weekly practices with the local SCA crew.

An ideal season for me now consists of three wars, two smaller (1-2 days each) and one larger (9 days). Throw in a handful of practices and that's about it.  With this light fighting schedule, I'll have to re-tape and re-Dip twice and completely rebuild once.  I could probably let it go much longer, but I'm kind of A.R. and I don't want to be "that guy" who has a spectacular weapon failure on the field.   ;)


<edited to add a sport I forgot  ::) >
« Last Edit: 2015-11-24, 03:09:35 by Sir Rodney »
"Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history." - Roger the Shrubber