Review: Talhoffer Poleaxe from Revival

As the name implies, this as designed to replicate the poleaxe used in Talhoffer’s fight book. First, a look at the axes in use. As you can see, there is a spear-like spike on the end, an axe-blade on one face, and a beak on the other face. The figure on the right also has a butt-spike. Glancing through the plates, the butt spike is only seen a couple of times. This suggests to me that it was known, but not common. (Of course I could be reading too much into this.)

 

 

Looking at the finished version from Revival, it is pretty close. It has all of the components, including the optional butt spike, for 129.95. The rubber in the axe head is a bit hard for my taste, but we will see how hard it hits once I have had a chance to upgrade my armor a bit. In addition to elbow and knee pads, I want some padded gloves before I try out anything more than 1/4 speed. The spear tip is suitably flexible and I am not anticipating any problems with it.

 

Something to keep in mind is that this picture is of the finished version, with is an additional $50. Since I was buying a pair, that seemed a bit steep for me and I went for the kit.

The first thing I noticed was that nothing fit. The ash haft has to be sanded down to 1" in order for the hardware to fit. I first tried using a rasp like I do for rattan, but after determining that it would take all day I switched to the drum sander. A course-grit drum took it down to the proper size in only a couple of minutes.

Next was the hand guard. This is your standard ring you would find on a shinai sword. Unfortunately it is a little too small and has to be filed on the inside in order to fit the haft.

The haft itself comes unstained and slightly rough. Though usable, I would highly recommend going over it with some 100 grit sandpaper and applying some water resistant stain or varnish. The white ash looks nice as-is, so I’m debating between using a dark stain like the picture or going with a neutral stain that keeps the original color.

 

A note about the ring that guards the hand. An article by Michael de Lacy shows that some, though certainly not all, poleaxes did have a hand guard.

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