How to Make a Functional War Mace

This is how to make an attractive mace for display. However, it is also combat capable and made of nothing but the strongest materials. Five hundred years ago, this would be perfectly serviceable on the battlefield.

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Step 1: Get Your Gear.

I use existing machine gears for the heads. Their weight and hole size will dictate handle length and girth. I was lucky that this one came with a brass bushing, which will make an excellent head for a ladies' purse cudgel. (For my dear ma!). Although the pic shows it shiny, it was originally rusty. I achieved a clean, but slightly rustic look by sanding off the major crud with eighty grit paper and PB blaster rust penetrant. I then worked it with hundred grit, then three hundred.

Step 2: Carve Your Handle.

I used oak for this. Cut to your desired dimensions square on the table saw. Place your gear on the end, and mark the circle with a pencil. I then grabbed a 3/4 in. Chisel and started whittling the end to just outside the circle mark. Then fit the gear, noting where wood needs to be removed, and cut some more. Once you're able to fit the gear on the end, hit it with a mallet to seat it and bite into the wood, leaving a reference point on where to carve to next. Repeat until head is flush on top of the handle. Remove head at this point.

For the corner tapers, i cut from the top down with a chisel, going deeper as i went. I then cut the divots with a carving knife. The handle portion is the most time consuming. Get a sharp chisel, and just trim and turn, trim and turn, until its narrow enough to grip comfortably. Anyone with a lathe can save themselves a lot of time here. The carving knife was used to bevel the pommel end. The recesses were achieved with two hammer raps on a 3/8 chisel for the cross line, and a v chisel for the portion leading up to it, starting at the lower end and cutting deeper as you go, using a hammer and stopping just short of the line and prying up.

Step 3: Drill, Baby, Drill!

For stud and fleur de Lis mounting, i pre drilled the holes, and used finishing nails clipped to 3/8 inch for the emblems, which are available at hobby stores. I drilled them centrally for the nails. The studs are home depot upholstery tacks.

Step 4: Finishing.

So, I stole an idea from another post here, and used a propane torch to fire distress the wood on the edges and around the (unmounted) hardware. Before doing that, however, i sanded the whole handle with hundred, then three twenty grit paper to smooth the wood and soften the edges. After sanding and burning, two coats of stain were applied. One quarter minwax black walnut to three quarters minwax golden oak mixed. I then applied two coats of matte polyurethane

Step 5: Assembly.

Coat the ferrule with wood glue, and rap the head on the handle with a mallet until the top us flush with the head. Wipe off the excess. The head has a hole for a pin, so i drilled into it until i hit the other side. I whittled an oak pin and drove it in with wood glue in the hole. I used a metal hammer to mushroom the pin a bit. I left it about a quarter inch proud. For the emblems, drop some super glue into the holes, some on the bottoms of the emblems, and mount with the clipped nails. Drive the studs the same way, but with a metal hammer and more force to seat the edges into the handle. I used a bushing and a simple chain for the pommel tassel, mounting with a u-shaped wiring nail. The head embellishment was a smaller gear that i had and a valve seal from an old motor. Glue the gear centrally, then drill into the wood in the middle, for the screw. Fill the hole with epoxy, place the screw into the valve seal, and screw down.

Step 6: Get a Grip..

I cut some attractive brown boot leather for a grip to size. I then punched matching holes in both sides with an awl and hammer. Using denim thread, i took two large needles and looped about two and a half feet of thread through them. Making sure the knot was on the underside of the grip, i ran the needles across and under. Always under. Cinching tight, i then went up to the next holes, under again, and then under and across to tighten. At the top, run the needles under again, and cut the thread. Tie a square knot that disappears under the leather, then trim the thread. Apply a dot of super glue to lock it.

Step 7: Conclusion.

So there you have it! Attractive and lethal! This is my first post here, and i realize that there could have been more in-process pics. I hope my pics that i do have coupled with the description is adequate. See you next post, thanks for reading!

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Beautiful work Charlemagne7. Very inspiring.

    Waste Of Space

    3 years ago

    Possibly drill a small hole beneath where the knot is and countersink the knot into the hole.

    Colonel Hogan

    5 years ago

    Great! I'll make one and g it on my wall


    6 years ago on Introduction

    that's a great looking piece of art ! deadly and beautiful at once


    6 years ago

    Yeah, Audrey! Its got a serious heft, and it's a great piece for the fireplace mantle or for a great conversation item. Thank you! :)