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Old 18th February 2010, 02:33 AM   #8
M ELEY
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,341
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Ohhh, you must show the pics! Any pics of axes are most welcome, as they are not seen here much. Amen, about the "lost " axes of maritime countries. It is interesting that you don't see this as much with the other boarding-type weapons. Cutlasses, in their very design, are immediately classified as 'possible' naval items. Certain brass blunderbus flintlock pistols are likewise thrown into this questionable pot of naval artifacts. Any trench spear or pike "might" have served aboard a naval vessel. I guess the reason that axes are treated differently is that they:

a) Survived into the modern era, unlike cutlass/pike/pistols (Ahh, if only cruise lines still had access to pikes for when pirates attack- AND-

b) Because the boarding axe did make an evolution into the modern fire axe with only slight changes.

I think the typical features of a 'possible' private purchase boarding axe of the later period include a stout haft, thick blades, many with bearded blades, 4-sided spike points, some which curve downward. Many might have been hand-forged, but trip hammer casting began as early as 1830, with later boarding axe cast heads made as late as 1890's. The French patterns had squared eyes with front/rear-facing langets (this aspect however, is a common finding on some Euro camp axes I've seen), while Brit pieces had half-bearded blades and round eyes, with side langets an intregal part of the head itself (problem again, is that Brit fire axes continued the side langets, but they are typically shorter and flat ended vs rounded). One can only guess what the Scandanavian, Bavarian, Dutch, Imperial Russian, etc, types might have looked like. Gilkerson has some pics of the early Swede patterns, so we could extrapolate on those, I suppose. I was also curious if the E Indian sub-continent had adopted the Brit pattern boarding axe for their naval pattern (I've seen an Indian axe/percussion cap blunderbus combination whose axe blade looks remarkably similar to the French hache de borde). Anyway, an interesting subject for a book.

So, are you going to post those pics?
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