Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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So Gimli's Battle Axe arrived yesterday. Opened it up and swung it around a little bit... As others have said - its heavy and the handle does not feel strong enough to suppoert the head in a full swing. This is unacceptable to me... So lets take the durn thing apart...

Putting a wrench on the bottom copyright piece and holding the blade in place allowed me to unscrew the copyright piece from a piece of 1/2" threaded rod that runs the length of the axe. This allows the cap and lower handle to be removed. There is an over sized hole drilled through the lower handle (off center) for the threaded rod. The upper handle is well glued to the rod.

On to the axe head. After futzing with it a while it appears that the brass side plates are glued on. Some judicious prying reveals two pins (part of the side plate zinc casting) anchoring the plates to the head of the axe. A couple of good taps with screwdriver and hammer broke one of the pins and loosed the epoxy joins allowing the plate to be pulled off. Did it again to release the other plate.

Most interesting detail is that the axe head is not 3/8" thick as the advertising says, but is a full 1/2" thick at the thickest part. The ad copy also says that the head is forged tool steel. Will be doing a spark to est to see if this is true.

First two photos show the axe disassembled. Third photo is a close up of the inside of the side plates. Last photo shows the bottom components.

So now what? How to make a sturdy handle for this massive axe head?
Don't think that there is any way a wooden handle made of ash or hickory (strongest woods for axe handles) in the original shaft thickness (1-1/8") would support the weight of this axe head. There is also the design issue that the metal part of the shaft does not extend past the bottom of the blade and so provides no protection to the wooden part of the shaft from a blade cut that glances off the axe blade into the shaft or hits the shaft directly. I suspect that a full strength sword blow would cut straight through a 1-1/8" hickory shaft, chopping the head off the axe.

So what to do? Square steel tubing is available in 1-1/8" (shaft) and 1-1/4" (handle size) sizes so I think that the new shaft will be made of steel. There are plenty of historical examples of axes and maces with steel shafts and I have no doubt that dwarves would think that steel shafts would be a good idea.

Going to have to do some research on how real double bladed axes are constructed.......

Tim


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Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Hmm, it does seem that the handle would endure alot more than what people have seemed to think, as the wood and metal rod combo takes alot of strain off the rod, and onto the wood instead. They could have made the rod plain though, would have been significantly stronger. Well not that much, but more than enough to make it matter for such a thin rod.

But sure it said that the axe head was 3/8 inches thick? Probably a typo on UC's part, or you must've read wrong. It wouldn't surprise me if it's tool steel though, as the shape can be cut out easily with a laser blow torch table thing, not sure what you call those over there. UC did use actual carbon steel on the uruk-hai scimitar, because why not, when they could?
"I had the blues, 'cause I had no shoes, until upon the street, I saw a man who had no feet"

The biggest problem about a zombie-apocalypse would be to hide my excitement about it

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Regarding the method of manufacture of the blade, the ads and box text say that it is forged and all of the tool marks on the blade support that. There is raised seam (flash line) on the unfinished edges of the blade that looks like a forge line.

There are obvious shear blade marks on the insides of the cut out holes and raised lips at the outside edges of the holes, indicating that the holes were punched out. There are also voids in the steel at the bottom of the lowest cut outs.

The blades are definitely not cut out of sheet steel with a plasma cutter or similar tool.

Re a new handle, 1-1/8" square tubing is looking pretty hard to find, so the whole shaft may be 1-1/4" square tubing.

Tim

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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They made most of their stuff from stainless purely because of its corrosion resistance. Everyday customer might not know how to take care of high-carbon steel, so they went the safer route with most pieces. The worst thing for me: the etching on some of the 'corroded' pieces, like the Witch-king's sword, isn't even real etching! It's machined in, you can see the milling lines, absolutely frightful, bleck. Another example of UC "typos" ... "Acid-etched," my foot.

Really wish they had used proper steel for everything (as it would've made distressing some of those darned things so much easier).
Last edited by Jamanticus on Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Losto Caradhras, sedho, hodo, nuitho i 'ruith!

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Actually Jaman, Kit told me that the witchking and ringwraith sword were acid etched, and looking at my ringwraith sword right now, the texture looks just like the witch king dagger. They used different kinds of acid etching though, but acid etching none the less. There is indeed machine marks on both of the blades of my swords, but only on the rised plain areas. Seems UC thought they could get away with sloppyness because of the finish of the blades.

Part of me is happy that the blades have the finish they have, simply because I like the matte finish and sober colour of the blades, although it would be cool to have actual corroded steel blades instead, closer to the props.

I always thought that the rusted finish of the uruk scimitar looked fake, so actually I'm quite glad UC didn't go that way. Only ever saw the uruk scimitar briefly in real life though, hanging int he sword shop, so I guess someone who owns it will have to speak on the matter.
"I had the blues, 'cause I had no shoes, until upon the street, I saw a man who had no feet"

The biggest problem about a zombie-apocalypse would be to hide my excitement about it

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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i am whit you on this one timpd.i have the gimli walking axe, and it is the same isue.the thin handle dont go whit the high weight of th axe head.

i did had that isue when i got my axe ,but thinking its a wallhanger,but yet it need to get a swing whitout breaking(for that price). :huh:

and now i se the hole axe it wraped aruound a big scuw :|

disapointed yes.
my first thugt ,when i got my axe ,was the handel is to thin,i swing it carfuly around ,filling the handle might break if i give it a big swing.

eager the handle as it is need to be around 4 meters long,ore it need to get made alot more thiker,and heavy,to get a balance.for the axe,the handle needs to be of solid steel,wrabed,whit woods.and a pompel in the edge. :huh:

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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[quote=""Darlak""]Actually Jaman, Kit told me that the witchking and ringwraith sword were acid etched, and looking at my ringwraith sword right now, the texture looks just like the witch king dagger. They used different kinds of acid etching though, but acid etching none the less. [/quote]
I haven't pulled out my Witch King Dagger to check this out yet, and I'm not saying Mr. Rae is a liar, but marketing is marketing and BS claims to sell a product are not uncommon. When UC says they're acid etched in marketing, do you think Kit would dare to defraud that?

Btw Darlak I'm not posting this directed at you, just using your quote as my intro in my post.

My first impression when I received my WKD was that the blades were stamped, not etched. So consider the time and cost of masking every single blade the exact same way and then dipping them long enough in acid to etch them. Let those of us who own this piece post pics of the same side (lets say the LOTR labeled side) and compare how exact each one is. If they were indeed etched, then there has to be variations from blade to blade. The time and cost doesn't fit the manufacturing scenario in acid etching. Much less e xp ensive to make a hardened steel die to stamp each blade, that takes seconds with no need for a masking, dipping, waiting, cleaning, drying....process.

If all of our daggers are exactly the same, I'm sticking to this stamping opinion regardless what anyone says. To me it's just like UC's claim that the Shards of Narsil have a genuine patina, that was a blatant lie and anyone who has put a patina to any metal can verify that. Check out any book on metal patina and see what's involved. The Shards were spatter painted, not patina'd; patina can't be stripped off with paint remover and leather doesn't patina so why was the spatter paint on the grip as well?

I'll dig out my dagger tomorrow and post a pic specific to this issue. The anyone else can shoot a similar shot of theirs; lets see two or three of these side by side.
"and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut stones, to work in wood, and engage in all kinds of craftsmanship"

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Actually Thrand, I'm gonna have to disagree on the stamping thing. As a welder, I know some basic stuff about metal, and if it was stamped in some way, the areas around the pitting would be affected too, sort of like a meteor crater, but not that prominent. Yet the areas around the pitting on all my nazgul weapons are completely flat, which means, as I know, that it must have been either etched or corroded.

Also, here's a quote from Kit, from the PM.

"We uses a random resist splatter technique for the nazgul blades at UC, that I don't recommend. We later changed to a masking stencil made by painting a resist on the blade and eposing that to a transparent film of the etched art pattern, then etching away the une xp osed areas of the resist. All rather complicated stuff, geared for production. I'm sure there are easier ways of doing it for one-off pieces that custom knife makers use, but I am not up to date on current techniques."
"I had the blues, 'cause I had no shoes, until upon the street, I saw a man who had no feet"

The biggest problem about a zombie-apocalypse would be to hide my excitement about it

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Well, those machining lines you were talking about could have erased traces of stamping (although those lines could just be very aggressive remnants from when they stripped the oxide off the metal after the acid did its work- I have no idea. The texture of the corroded areas seems to me to mostly have the trademark bumpy roughness of acid etching).

EDIT: Wish I could take a look at my Morgul dagger to see the pitting there, but the darned thing was lost in the mail on its way to its new home many months ago. I hate when that happens, even when the thing lost is fully insured :(
Last edited by Jamanticus on Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Losto Caradhras, sedho, hodo, nuitho i 'ruith!

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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No, impossible, as the edges of the pittings are smooth and rounded, that wouldn't happen if you started grinding down the areas around the pittings. I'm 99% sure it's genuine acid etching.

Sucks about your witch king dagger Jaman, you may want to get a new one soon, as you never know how many of them UC made, could be less than the shards lol.
"I had the blues, 'cause I had no shoes, until upon the street, I saw a man who had no feet"

The biggest problem about a zombie-apocalypse would be to hide my excitement about it

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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[quote=""Darlak""]Actually Thrand, I'm gonna have to disagree on the stamping thing. As a welder, I know some basic stuff about metal, and if it was stamped in some way, the areas around the pitting would be affected too, sort of like a meteor crater, but not that prominent. Yet the areas around the pitting on all my nazgul weapons are completely flat, which means, as I know, that it must have been either etched or corroded.

Also, here's a quote from Kit, from the PM.

"We uses a random resist splatter technique for the nazgul blades at UC, that I don't recommend. We later changed to a masking stencil made by painting a resist on the blade and eposing that to a transparent film of the etched art pattern, then etching away the une xp osed areas of the resist. All rather complicated stuff, geared for production. I'm sure there are easier ways of doing it for one-off pieces that custom knife makers use, but I am not up to date on current techniques."[/quote]
Kit's e xp lanation of technique is accurate, so I'll not argue it. Stamping these pits in after machining would drop the cutter marks and create a pitting within, albeit smooth and flat as you have said.
I still haven't pulled mine out to examine it, it's 7 am haven't finished my coffee yet (we need a yawning smiley with a mug of Jo).
I'm basing a lot of my opinion on what I witnessed in automotive tooling techniques. Another possibility is burning them in with a graphite electrode, about the same as an acid etch but quicker and easier to replicate from piece to piece. That's how I figured they did Legolas' knifes.

Hadhafang and Anduril both look like stamped in letters to me, but I'm not insisting I'm right, just suspicious. Thinking of the fastest production possibilities. :thumbs_up
"and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut stones, to work in wood, and engage in all kinds of craftsmanship"

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Myeah, and UC has cut alot of corner's and given incorrect item descriptions. Genuine leather wrappen handle on Isildur's sword anyone? Lmao.

Kit's e xp laination does make sense to me though, to just have identical holed films they stick on the blades, and then dip the blades in acid. Seems both cheap and time-saving to me, remember that they can probably do several at a time.



Also, if the blades were indeed stamped, they would have to make unique stamping-things for the blades only, to fit the shape of the blade and so on. Seems like a hassle. Besides, the stamps would get worn out quite fast.
Last edited by Darlak on Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I had the blues, 'cause I had no shoes, until upon the street, I saw a man who had no feet"

The biggest problem about a zombie-apocalypse would be to hide my excitement about it

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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back to axes,i as surprised. the the axehead did have this grumble age surface ,thught.thouht it came plain.so that is a + for the axe.
dont have clue how they do this surface.all grumble up.
but the stamps might be acid ,as they call it. by high persure wather steem.

a teknolgi they use in the slaughterindusry , to cut big parts into more deatails parts.(a robot replays a human job). :P then figuer out the quality you get then :huh:

i also see they used this same teknology,on metal .at costumchoppers,when thy made the fireman chopperbike.

its simple. put a dawing ,into the computer and the robot will read and and use the high pressuer wather steam to cut out the drawing ,like a pensil made from a human hand.

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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[quote=""Thranduil""]Kit's e xp lanation of technique is accurate, so I'll not argue it.

Hadhafang and Anduril both look like stamped in letters to me, but I'm not insisting I'm right, just suspicious. Thinking of the fastest production possibilities. :thumbs_up [/quote]

Under magnification the WK dagger and MC Samwise blade look etched to me. The texture of the bottom and sides of the holes looks right for etching.

The raised pitting (how does that happen?) on the MC Samwise guard and pommel appear to be part of the casting, not something that was done afterward. Can't figure out why they made the corrosion raised instead of recessed.


Hadhafang is definitely stamped. The lettering was stamped into the raw bar stock and then that part of the blade was ground down/sanded flat. The metal in almost all of the acute angles and many of the letter interiors is deformed down towards the stamped surface enough that the final grind did not remove all of the original metal surface. Even after the final grind the are metal deformations visible around the outsides of the lettered areas that are consistent with stamping.

Tim

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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[quote=""am.dk""]i am whit you on this one timpd.i have the gimli walking axe, and it is the same isue.the thin handle dont go whit the high weight of th axe head.

eager the handle as it is need to be around 4 meters long,ore it need to get made alot more thiker,and heavy,to get a balance.for the axe,the handle needs to be of solid steel,wrabed,whit woods.and a pompel in the edge. :huh: [/quote]

Hi am.dk,

I seem to be having translation problems... Did you really mean that the axe handle should be 4 meters long or did I misunderstand?

Since 1-1/8" heavy walled tubing does not seem to be available I looked at 1-1/8" square bar. It weighs 4.3 pounds per foot (about 6 kg per meter), so a 3' length (shaft length of the axe) is going to weigh 13 pounds in addition to the 6.0 pounds weight of the head. This will give a final axe weight of around 20 pounds. I have no idea how this weight compares to a historical double bladed battle axe.


[quote=""am.dk""]back to axes,i as surprised. the the axehead did have this grumble age surface ,thught.thouht it came plain.so that is a + for the axe.
dont have clue how they do this surface.all grumble up.
[/quote]

Looks like a forging to me with the texture negative cut into the forging die, resulting in a raised texture on the forging.

Forging: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forging

Tim

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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Yeah that texture is the raw casting of the forged surface, left untouched, the rest machined (grinded) smoother. The forge texture is due to the mold being made of sand.
"and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut stones, to work in wood, and engage in all kinds of craftsmanship"

Re: Gimli Battle Axe - What's Inside/Construction

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no timdp .i did not conferme 4 meters to the handle ,in regulery spech.
but more like a hinch,to what the axe is suposed to do.

(walking axe .=walking stik,for the litlle dwar).to have to much high weight on the the top,he might just fall over,and then what is the purpose whit a walking axe (stik) then? :huh: it also need to cover a weapon ,to swing around whit out gimly goes in the air while swinging hes axe. :thumbs_up
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