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Mace Build – Part II: Material Sourcing

May 17, 2010
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From Shawn’s original description:

This large mace is 6.0 to 7.5cm wide with a head 8.7cm high. It is 16.5 cm tall overall. The haft hole is 2.5cm. The neck is 4.5mm thick. The mace is missing its cap or finial at the top. It has 6 flanges, or wings, which are forged to a single piece of metal which has been wrapped around the iron neck and copper braised to it. The neck is hollow and is broken at the bottom. It was mounted on the end of a long wooden haft. There are still remnants of the haft inside the neck. The flanges are 8.6 cm long, 2.5cm high and 6.5-8mm thick (tapering to 4.5-6mm). It is 0.55kg (1.2 lbs). It is made of iron.


Due to the United States failure to convert to the Metric system, I needed to determine measurements in inches to match up as closely as possibly with common steel stock materials. For reference, there are 2.54 centimeters per inch and 25.4 millimeters per inch. For my purposes, there are two major elements of the build – the center section and the flanges. The haft is an open question I’ll touch on briefly.

The Core

For the center, the original haft hole is 2.5cm – just under 1 inch internal diameter. In addition, the neck has 4.5mm wall thickness or 0.177 inches. Since I’ll be buying stock materials, the outer diameter should be 1 inch plus 2 * the wall thickness or approximately 1.354 inches. Steel tubing with a 1 inch inner diameter and an outer diameter somewhere between 1 5/6 inches to 1 3/8 inches would work nicely.

Oddly enough, ANSI Schedule 40 steel pipe is a very close match – one inch pipe has an outer diameter of 1.32 inches and an inner diameter of 1.05 inches. The wall thickness is slightly undersized at 0.13 inch. Considering I’m fabricating from steel, not iron, the undersized wall thickness should be fine. Schedule 40 piping can be found in nearly any home improvement store making it easy to obtain. If you are crazy enough to be following along, I’ll be using a MIG welder so choose “black pipe” not galvanized. The head of the original mace is listed at 16.5 cm or 6.5 inches.


For the flanges, steel bar stock appears to be the most commonly available choice. The original had 2.5cm high flanges. Once again, this is easy – 1” bar stock is very common and available from nearly every home improvement center or metal supplier. Each flange is listed as 8.6cm long or 3.38 inches. Call it 3 3/8” and multiply by six equally spaced flanges – about 19 ¼ inches of raw stock. Thickness is a bit more difficult to determine due to wear and deterioration. The original is 6.5-8mm thick tapering down to 4.5-6mm. Maximal thickness is 0.255 – 0.314 inches (¼ down to 5/16 of an inch). Minimal thickness is 0.117 to 0.236 inches. Quarter inch bar stock is available everywhere but generally not available in 5/16ths of an inch – the next increment is usually 3/8 (0.375) inches. For a first attempt, 1 x 1/4” will work nicely.

Due to slightly undersized source materials, I was originally worried about the head of the mace being too light. Rolled steel is nearly identical iron in terms of weight. So the head will be a tad lighter than the original. For a prototype, commonly available materials make sense – cheap and common overcome all else. I’ll live with a little less mass in the head.


The haft raises more questions. Most of the common reproductions utilize a steel shaft rather than wood. I prefer wood because I like the look and wood was likely the most common haft material employed. Like raw iron, wood degrades quickly so historical evidence is sparse from what I’ve found in my minimal research. In the Medieval Age, wood was very common in England. Exactly what species is another project I need to undertake but for the first attempt, I’m going to use either hickory or oak.

Both are reasonably priced and can be found in dowel form. Considering the head will have a 1 inch internal diameter, a 1 inch dowel is going to be used for the haft. No significant work involved. Length is another lingering question but the reproductions seem to range in the 18-21” range overall. I’ll start with a longer version and cut it down if needed. I’ll likely start with oak since its commonly available but other wood species like hickory would be a better modern choice.

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Build a Mace? Why not!

May 16, 2010
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The fun thing about free time is you have the time to consider odd things to do. I’ve been doing a bit of metal fabrication at work. Welding, cutting and mangling of steel can be very therapeutic. If you screw up, you chop some off and start over in the worst case. Mostly you just chop off the offending bits and try again.

I’m not about to attempt to cast metal into a mold. Yet I was thinking a medieval weapon…fun way to extend my skills. A mace seemed a reasonable weapon — simple yet complicated. Much easier with modern tools. I’m not aiming for historical accuracy just a project for fun.

You can buy a “mace” online. Ranging from complete crap to obviously modern. I could buy one but I want it to mean something just in case gnomes invade my basement. I want a wooden shaft and an iron head.

After a slight amount of research, I found inspiration. Historical photos, measurements and descriptions. Not some hack like me selling something to tourists. The images are inspiring.

I settled on the English Flanged Mace circa 1300.

European Flanged Mace

Visit Shawn’s amazing site for more information.

The beauty of the weapon is in its simplicity. The head elements can easily be imitated as can the haft. I’m not convinced I’m up to the challenge but a hand built reproduction is going to be much more interesting than a cheap replica.

Hello plasma cutter! Let’s carve some metal. Wish me luck!

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Prep Work In Fluid Form

Jan 18, 2010

I admit to being easily distracted. There was a post on one of the RPG Bloggers member sites that was focused on brewing. I didn’t bookmark it and cannot seem to find it in the flood of creativity. Suffice to say I was inspired. Coupled with a 3 month window before our Spring Convergence, I did a bit of out of the box preparation.

I did have source material handy as you can see. I waffled a lot before settling on an English style ale. Preparation involves so many choices. I haven’t brewed a batch in several years. Should be fun to see how it turns out. Now back to the game prep… until bottling.

Update 01/22/2010:

Wort transferred from the primary fermenter into the secondary. As always, the initial product doesn’t look that appetizing.

Mmm, Hops