Officers:Hand Axes

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Officer's Rulings

For axes with a cutting edge over 6" in length see Broad Axes


Axe carried on a leather axe holder
  1. Wooden or leather covers should be placed over the axe head when worn around the wic. (Gavin Archer 2015)
  2. Metal o-ring axe loops are unacceptable on belts. Cloth or leather axe holders may be used instead, or alternatively the axe handle can be put through the belt. (Steve Etheridge 2004)

Military Training

  1. Training Stamps - All new members are classed as trainees and must use shield and a two-handed spear and use a hadseax separately.
  2. Using in 'Armoured Man Melees' - Hadseaxs can only be used as a last resort/finishing off weapon.

Master at Arms

7.3. Hand Axes

Metric Imperial Comments
Max head size: 18 x 12.5cm 7” × 5” in either axis
Min head size: 10 x 5cm 4” x 2” in either axis
Max head weight: 0.9 Kg 2 lb
Min haft diameter: 3cm 1¼”
Max haft length: From user’s armpit to fingertips.

View Images of Hand Axe Types by Period
View Hand Axe Kit Guide

  • Axe hafts do not have to be round however whatever shape they are they should still be at least 30mm in one dimension.
  • It is encouraged to use a wooden wedge as opposed to metal wedges when hafting an axe.
  • If an axe is worn around the LHE a leather cover should be placed over the blade edge.
  • Metal axe rings are not allowable, cloth or leather holders may be used instead, or the axe handle can be put through the belt.
  • Axes marked with a red dot on the diagram are found in Scandinavian countries but not in the British Isles. They may be used as Viking specific ethnic kit.
Hand Axes and Broad Axes

6. Mandatory Rulings for All Weapons

1. All weapon blades, tangs and sockets must be made from steel, iron or in the case of some maces, bronze. They must be rust and burr free and must be of good overall construction and condition.
2. All weapons edges must be no less than 2mm (1/16”) and no more than 5mm (1/5”) in thickness. In cross section, the edge may be rounded or round shouldered but must not be square edged (fig. 1). The edges of a weapon must include its cutting surface and any back edges also. This rule also applies to quillions, guards and pommels.
Fig.1 Blade Profiles
3. All spearheads must end in a 10mm (7/16”) diameter rounded swelling. This may be forged into the blade or welded to the point. Other methods of termination may be considered and will be judged on an individual basis. NOTE : “Spoon-ended” spears must not be used.
4. Any weapon with a bladed part exceeding 200mm (8”) in length must be made entirely of spring steel. (See Appendix: Notes on Spring Steel.) NOTE : The bladed part of a spear does not include the socket as the bladed part of a sword does not include the tang.
5. Any angle made by the edges of a bladed weapon that is 90° or less should be rounded to no less than an 18mm (11/16”) diameter. (i.e. the diameter of a 1999 5 pence piece). Any angle made by the edges of a bladed weapon that is greater than 90° must be rounded over (see fig. 2). This applies to all bladed weapons including spears and flanged maces.
6. Any protruding part of a weapon not covered under part 3) or 5) above must terminate in a rounded end of no less than 10mm for reenactment use.
Fig.2 Accute and Obtuse angles
7. All spear shafts, axe and mace hafts etc. must be made from a white hardwood, preferably ash. Spear shafts, axe and mace hafts must be in a good overall condition and free from splinters and cracks. NOTE : Ramin is an acceptable alternative to ash but oak must be avoided as it is heavy and shatters easily.
8. All spearheads must be securely attached to their shafts.
9. All hafted weapons (axes, maces) must be securely fixed to their hafts.
10. All swords and fighting knives must be carried in a scabbard.
11. All battle standards intended to remain on the field for the duration of the display must fulfil all of the requirements laid down for other weapons.