Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

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Elleth
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Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Elleth » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:40 pm

Hey all - what are your thoughts to carrying specialized weapons AND regular field gear vs. more multipurpose tools?
I see at one end of things the frontiersman with a hatchet and long knife... and at the other a full on woodland soldier having sword and spear AND knife and hatchet (eek the weight!)

Not being at all a warrior type, but still wanting some protection in the woods, I'm considering purchasing this or something like it and having it sharpened:
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http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=VSW21_BR

Caution says I might just have the "ooh pretties" and that seax wouldn't be nearly as useful as a hatchet, small knife, and perhaps an eket or short sword. That said, I sure am tempted to try to condense at least the hatchet and eket into one thing though if it's at all practical.

Thoughts?


(in real life, my intended use is clearing light brush on our trails, probably some light chopping tasks.. and worse case beating a coyote off a dog. But let's treat this as a "people in Middle Earth" question rather than an "Elleth on the farm" question. :) )
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby wulfgar » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:58 pm

In the 1830's there was the Rio Grande camp knife. It was meant to be a knife and hatchet in one, and having owned one it serves both purposes. There were also the large Hudson Bay camp knives of earlier periods, which Condor makes a nice reproduction I have pondered on getting. So, I think your idea is one that has roots in history, go for it!.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Ringulf » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:17 am

I am all for the hand axe and longseax option and I normaly carry a small utility or even a folding knife with me no matter were I am. I have a smatchet from cold steel or I had one till I loaned it to a friend and she loved it so much she keeps it with her in her truck. But I still have my 1917 Bolo which is almost identical in form and function. (it was not worth restoring so I made a set of antler scales and re-covered the sheath and it is a very useful peice.) But for the weapon part of it I think it puts you needlesly close to danger to be effective.
I make Longseaxes out of the 18" Bladed cold steel machetes. In my opinion it is a very strong, servicable blade that will chop wood as easily as it will kill a coyote!. When carried across the small of the back it is very much out of the way, though a thinner frame may require a slanted draw.
In the past, I have replaced the very adiquate rubber handle with wood, bone, stacked leather and polymer handles to give a more period look and a nice leather sheath.
They come with a sheepsfoot tip but I have made several with fairly moderate to very extreme broken back style tip angles. In fact the one I am almost finished with right now, which I have been working on for a while for my own use, is patterned after Jack's "Cult of Narsil" seax design only this one has a carved bone handle. If you are interested in a custom peice you won't worry about using hard I would be happy to help. Just shoot me a pm. :mrgreen:
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I throw axes, seaxes, and pointy sticks, And I fire my bow through the day.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Ursus » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:19 am

I carry a large dirk that is customized from a Windlass Primitive Scottish Dirk that works well as both my camp knife and my fighting knife. I do love seax's but prefer my things to have a more celtic vibe and have always thought of the dirk as the celtic seax. My fulltime utility knife is a small six inch blade made by colonial bladesmith Jack Hubbard and is housed in an integral scabbard sewn to my sword belt. I've been known to carry a hawk at times but honestly seldom have real need of it and so forgo the extra weight. In the end I think you are better off with some form of seax type knife that gives the use of hatchet and knife, have you by chance seen Greg's fine custom seax? Perfect example in my opinion.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Manveruon » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:18 am

I may have to go this route myself. I have a serviceable tomahawk, but I rarely carry it because of weight, and I think a langseax or heavy dirk of some kind would probably serve me a lot better in the end. I wish those primitive Scottish dirks were still available, because I LOVE the rayed star motif on the buttcap.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Manveruon » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:20 am

Nevermind - found it on the Museum Replicas site... tempting... very tempting...
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Elleth » Fri Oct 16, 2015 2:10 pm

Oh, I *totally* get the Celtic connection taking precedence. (Scots-Irish Represent!! )

Do those dirks have much choppy-tool capacity? I'd always thought they were mostly pig-stickers, but I don't know as I've ever actually handled one.

Re seaxes in general: for the longest time, I thought they just looked crude and ungainly. Maybe it was the examples on offer then, which at the time were crude affairs that looked like someone just snapped off part of a crowbar and called it done. Once I started seeing some of the traditionally made ones, the form has started to grow on me. (Plus I love the artistry of the metal/leatherwork on some of those traditional sheaths )

Anyhow, the one above isn't nearly as pretty as the nice ones, but it has the advantage of a finger guard and length enough to make a decent brush clearer / goblin-whacker. Without mussing up a nice sword in the former case, or carrying double the weight in the latter... yikes. Getting dangerously close to talking myself into this.

Thanks everyone! :)
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Ursus
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Ursus » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:47 pm

Elleth wrote:Do those dirks have much choppy-tool capacity? I'd always thought they were mostly pig-stickers, but I don't know as I've ever actually handled one.


I've used mine for tasks like felling poles for lean-to's and the like just fine. Frankly its a little on the light side. Like all Windlass blades it is only 3/16" in thickness so there is not as much blade presence as I would like but it does for now. I'm currently in the finishing stages of designing a ranger knife that I hope to begin forging in the next few weeks.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Rifter » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:44 pm

I wouldn't be opposed to a small throw axe being used as a field tool but I really don't like burdening my body with excess weight. Unlikely I'd wear a clock either apart from a social occasion.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Greg » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:15 am

I fall under the category of carrying a combat-specific tool (sword) in addition to a seax, which functions for the bulk of camp chores. It actually split the majority of my firewood last year...beefy, but useful for defense. Just not ideal for that function alone, and since Tolkien wrote about swords and not the seax directly, I needed something that was more canon as a combat mainstay.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby robinhoodsghost » Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:18 am

I prefer hand ax and knife...in function and form...for survival and defense. Many medieval archers, carried both, along with their longbow.
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Cinead » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:31 pm

I won't carry something that isn't a tool first. Period.

Crossbow? Hell of a hunting tool and one hell of a weapon

8" wide, thick seax? I can butcher both man and beast.

Belt axe? It does it all...

If I added a targe (which I won't because I don't need one as a tool) I would have a shield and when used with a blade it makes it offensive as well.

Now, I am 40....and if given the chance (in character) I would be 100% guerrilla, hit an run then fade away.....I wouldn't want to stand in the shield wall or go hand to hand unless absolutely forced to do so....
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Eledhwen » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:01 pm

I dislike single purpose items for the most part. Most commonly I carry a longknife (Elven hunting knife) and a hatchet or belt axe. Of course, the bow. These days the bow is a Scythian composite bow for its small size, power, and low weight.

All of that said, if I had to 'go to war' as it were, then I'd carry a small round shield, scale armor, and a shortsword in addition to the other items. Generally, however, I am older and therefore deal more with range (bow, sling) and stealth/observation. I'll happily let you young folk cart around all the heavy stuff.

I do, however, carry my Native American flutes, and will now switch those out with the Númenorean Lyre on occasion. ;)

Yep, older, slower, wiser. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Elleth » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:15 pm

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Writeup coming soon. *tease tease* :)
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Re: Field tools vs. weapons: how much do you specialize?

Postby Kortoso » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:26 pm

Interesting discussion!

Many single-edged bladed tools like the seax have been carried throughout history: machete, kukri, bolo, barong, messer, panga, falchion, hunting sword, fascine knife and so on.

They can all be considered to be tools as well as weapons. However, I think that most of them are more of one than the other. For instance, I can certainly imagine adding Cold Steel's Messer to my kit, but I doubt I would allow myself to use it for camp tasks (splitting wood, etc.)

On the other hand, there's something about the average machete that would keep me from trusting it for mortal combat, unless that was all that I had.

Maybe I am willing to accept a seax since there's not much documentation on seax use, and the blade is basically a blank slate.
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