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Old 2nd August 2021, 05:37 PM   #1
ausjulius
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Default axes in Madagascar

back to the mystery land of madagascar
at the 15:00 mark in the video you can see they have axes to shape the log and both have the handles extending about 20 cm or 30 cm further than the head of the axe. very very strange..i really do wounder what this is for and also if anyone has any information about this. seems very odd..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBwlCiW2FOE
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Old 4th August 2021, 05:50 PM   #2
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That's a bit odd, but the bowl carvers a bit further into the video are using axes with the extended part cut off more like we'd expect.

Tool axes are normally hafted with the head having the haft joined from the bottom into the parallel sided socket, wedged to tighten, and the protrusion cut off. This has the disadvantage of any shrinkage or loosening allowing the head to fly off.

Tomahawks are usually provided with a tapering socket, wider at the top. The grip end of the haft is smaller than the business end, and the head is moved up until stopped by the taper of the upper end. it is then sawn off, either flush or leaving a bit sticking out -which allows you to just tap the end on the ground or something hard to re-tighten the head. Weapon axes can be made this way too. One does not want one's axe head to fly off at the wrong time. I have a large Dane axe like that. The video ones are likely made like that.

These guys have taken that a bit too far tho. I expect it would interfere with your swing in tight spaces. Or if you want to square a tree for use as a beam when it is lying on the ground.
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Old 7th August 2021, 02:30 PM   #3
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yeah, ive very curious about it too. they are only working and cutting wood as their means of employment in the video i can see 3 axe types all quite conventional the madagascan axes appear to be decended from arab in indian axes.. the heavy thick headed narrow axe later in the film looks identical to an indian axe. ive seen othersmall axes used as weapons, like tomahawks that are almost identical to hammerheaded axes in oman and persia. some with metal bands or furrels on the grip. .. so the locals know about axes and have some verity.

it seems very intentional that their axe handles are sticking past the axe head but for what reason i do not know. seems totally unhealpful for theaxes use
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Old 7th August 2021, 07:57 PM   #4
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it seems very intentional that their axe handles are sticking past the axe head but for what reason i do not know. seems totally unhealpful for theaxes use
This is a reasonable question that was flying in the air.
I have a guess that the ax handles are made from freshly felled wood. When the wood of these handles becomes dry, the heads of the axes can be pushed deeper and cut off the excess part (perhaps I did not describe this process correctly in English).
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Old 10th August 2021, 05:26 AM   #5
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This is a reasonable question that was flying in the air.
I have a guess that the ax handles are made from freshly felled wood. When the wood of these handles becomes dry, the heads of the axes can be pushed deeper and cut off the excess part (perhaps I did not describe this process correctly in English).
i doubt it. they have other regular axes they use to shape the wood that are hafted normally, several different types. the axes are well used in the video and both the same the hadles are not fresh.. and you wouldn't need 20 or 30cm of wood sticking above your axe.. 3 or 4 cms on wet green wood at most.
this is totally baffling id love to just call one of those guys and say "what on earth do you have your axes like this for?!".. if i ever get a chance to go to madagascar ill save this video travel to these people and ask them!

also these people are a rather isolated group so asking a regular madagascan probably wouldnt help as theyed be familiar with "regular axes"...

its really quite curious in the video you cal also see some tools the women have that are very similar to naga or ifugao "war axes" .. being very thick odd shaped cleaver like blades on a short shaft. curious tools



...
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Old 10th August 2021, 05:46 AM   #6
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here is another one
https://www.novethic.fr/actualite/en...es-143913.html



his axe is well worn and the top of the handle shows some damage.. this is most odd. and its only some axes . im guessing the man in the image is of a related group as it says its in the south east and also the roofs are similar.. form split bamboo.. although the houses are clay... but that type of split bamboo roof seems to be only in one part of madagascar so id say this probably a relative ethnic group.
its really very odd.
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Old 10th August 2021, 08:03 AM   #7
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I note there appears to be a re-enforcing sleeve, possibly sheet metal, between the head and the shaft, much like the Bulova axes of eastern India, which also use the tapering of the business end to keep the head on the haft. It looks like the extended end is just the larger end where it was cut off the rest of the wood with a similar axe, instead of being sawn. Maybe they don't have a saw? Still, odd. The haft, being 'seasoned' and dried out would be a lot harder to cut -maybe they just can't be bothered...
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Old 11th August 2021, 01:59 AM   #8
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I note there appears to be a re-enforcing sleeve, possibly sheet metal, between the head and the shaft, much like the Bulova axes of eastern India, which also use the tapering of the business end to keep the head on the haft. It looks like the extended end is just the larger end where it was cut off the rest of the wood with a similar axe, instead of being sawn. Maybe they don't have a saw? Still, odd. The haft, being 'seasoned' and dried out would be a lot harder to cut -maybe they just can't be bothered...

id find that highly unlikely.. after all they have an axe head to cut things and they have already cut the handle to the exact length they want it.. .

other axes they have are not like that. its like there is one type of various sizes that has this weird extension and then all others dont have it. it must have some practical function we are missing. i just dont think theyed make it like that for some weird decoration. after all it looks very impractical. so there must be a practical use.

i guess its like a person seeing a single beveled knife for the first time and seeing it as the height of uselessness .. until they figure out why its that way.. they must all be doing something specific with the axes for that extended handle to be of some use. this is going to drive me nuts. the only.. only thing i could thin of is like with some billhooks and nata there is an extended blunt tip to stop it striking the ground so you can cut or split things close to rocks ad the ground without hitting your edge ...... that extended handle would sort of do that
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Old 11th August 2021, 11:30 AM   #9
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I have to admit the design of these axes is odd. Is it possible that the axe blade was used like a large draw knife, with a hand either side of the blade, to shave or shape wood with the grain?
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Old 11th August 2021, 01:26 PM   #10
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I have to admit the design of these axes is odd. Is it possible that the axe blade was used like a large draw knife, with a hand either side of the blade, to shave or shape wood with the grain?
in the video they use them to face the log up a bit.. i wounder if there is any other axes with odd things like the handle extending above the eye like this .
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Old 11th August 2021, 03:24 PM   #11
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One of the strangest axes I've ever seen:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...&postcount=314
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Old 11th August 2021, 08:29 PM   #12
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Looks more like the stock of a Hmong/Montainyard crossbow to go with the arrow he's holding. walking stick leaning against his back, I do not see an axe.
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Old 11th August 2021, 09:27 PM   #13
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This makes the ax easier to see
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Old 12th August 2021, 07:30 AM   #14
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looks more like a sickle
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Old 12th August 2021, 05:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
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This makes the ax easier to see
It doesn't seem like an axe to me either.
This photo shows that the working part is wooden.
But in his right hand he has an axe according to its functionality.
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Old 12th August 2021, 06:08 PM   #16
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It doesn't seem like an axe to me either.
This photo shows that the working part is wooden.
But in his right hand he has an axe according to its functionality.
Right hand: That's a Mak, an SEA agricultural tool. he's using the unsharpened edge to hammer with. (Or he's cutting Upwards)


Like mine: Also a temple fresco showing them used as a military weapon.

note: the cutting edge is not where you would expect It's the lower (concave) edge on mine and similar items. The upper edge is a broad flat spine.
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Old 12th August 2021, 06:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
that's a mak, an SEA agricultural tool...
note: the cutting edge is not where you would expect
Thank you, kronckew
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Old 13th August 2021, 06:24 AM   #18
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Some background info which y'all probably know already...



Historic Axe construction video by Matt Easton, who is a HEMA instructor and also sells historic antique edged weapons.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7s3G0o4XD8


Also includes comments on non-European 'ethnic' axe construction.
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Old 13th August 2021, 03:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
looks more like a sickle
Two Laotian axes from "Le musée du quai Branly" in Paris
https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explore...ancier/page/1/
https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explore...-hache/page/1/
The archaic construction is clearly visible from the Bronze Age.
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Old 13th August 2021, 03:41 PM   #20
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Two Laotian axes from "Le musée du quai Branly" in Paris

The archaic construction is clearly visible from the Bronze Age.
Oh, Serge, did you have a trump card up your sleeve?

Do you have any ideas how the Celtic bronze axe in the Bronze Age got to Laos?

Last edited by Saracen; 13th August 2021 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 13th August 2021, 07:16 PM   #21
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There was no trump card in my sleeve I had to look in someone else's sleeve.
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Old 13th August 2021, 07:37 PM   #22
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re-ren, the axe's haft in your post is not Bronze Age. As noted in the video I posted, wood doesn't survive from that old. Except now some has... at Must Farm.


See below for a better 'reconstruction' — and some just found in an English bog* where the wood actually WAS preserved along with a bunch of (20) socketed axe heads. They attached the head to a branch off the main tree trunk along with a trimmed section of the trunk which formed a bent elbow.



They also found a bunch of other stuff, tools, swords, etc. in remarkable condition. Just a bit of mud keeping them from looking new.

Top: reconstruction
Middle: found haft — they found a bunch just like this.
Bottom: Axe heads.

Edited: Added one they found with an intact haft


*- Must Farm, UK dig.
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Last edited by kronckew; 13th August 2021 at 08:05 PM. Reason: Added new photo
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Old 13th August 2021, 08:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ren Ren View Post
There was no trump card in my sleeve I had to look in someone else's sleeve.

OK, so the 'Balance Axe' is also a bit weird, iron head and not Bronze Age. And it doesn't have an extened haft to get in the way of chopping, tho why they have the long wood counter-weight is also a bit unclear.
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Old 14th August 2021, 03:43 PM   #24
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It doesn't seem like an axe to me either.
This photo shows that the working part is wooden.
But in his right hand he has an axe according to its functionality.
they are axes..this is how axes in thailand cambodia and laos once looked.. in flea markets there you can find the blades and ive seem some people in isolated areas with a similar type in laos... i think the length of the head of the ax helps with give it it a powerful cut that dosnt rebound.. it gives inertia .. like the axes in papua new guinea which also use a smaller sort of T section head. ..
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Old 14th August 2021, 03:59 PM   #25
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One of the strangest axes I've ever seen:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...&postcount=314
i will try to find the video on youtube but ther eis footabe .. recent footage.. last 5 years of somebody forging the blades for these axes in an isolated village so id guess somebody is still using them.. the other type that exsists has a much smaller wooden heat like a T that the main handle is wedged into..
its interesting that we take european axes for granted .. but in actuial fact many people had developed a slightly different solution for a similar tool..

in europe.. finland for example their traditional axes look very odd compared to an american pattern of axe.. .. but now no longer made for more than 25 years..
i guess things like hammers, axes, digging tools., saws.. ect things most cultures that had metal had probably had a great variation once in the past till european.. to be more precise.. mostly... english speakers patterns took over the worlds markets.
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Old 14th August 2021, 04:02 PM   #26
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It doesn't seem like an axe to me either.
This photo shows that the working part is wooden.
But in his right hand he has an axe according to its functionality.
champa people making this axe in cambodia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40xKsh1tfJg

here he is making the axe .... but i think he just makes it for the first time maybe.. but as mentioned in my other post there is a video of people making these to use recently.. in laos .
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Old 14th August 2021, 05:39 PM   #27
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champa people making this axe in cambodia. ...

Cool. Seems rather complex way of making an axe, I can't see what the advantage is. I accept that there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat.
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Old 15th August 2021, 01:53 AM   #28
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they are axes..this is how axes in thailand cambodia and laos once looked..
Yes, I know that now. Thank you for the information and links. I like to learn new things. I also think that two handles for an axe are better than one. One handle is for rough, traditional work, the second for more precise, fine, like a chisel.

PS: RenRen, thank you too)
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Old 15th August 2021, 03:42 PM   #29
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Cool. Seems rather complex way of making an axe, I can't see what the advantage is. I accept that there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat.
hahaha yeah me neither.. but its the way they did it .. probably its just a vestigial thing from the stone age that survived.. humans can be persistent in things even when there is better options..
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Old 15th August 2021, 03:46 PM   #30
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Yes, I know that now. Thank you for the information and links. I like to learn new things. I also think that two handles for an axe are better than one. One handle is for rough, traditional work, the second for more precise, fine, like a chisel.

PS: RenRen, thank you too)
no worries new things are most fascinating.. i understand your confusion about it not looking like an axe at all.. its VERY - unaxe-like..

back to the Madagascan question the only thing i can think of is it is indeed some sort of sop so they can cut near the ground without hitting the blade?
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