In my previous blog entry I wrote about men and boys and testosterone, and I showed you the medieval battle axes and shields my two sons, Robert and James, made out of scrap wood.
They were inspired to make and use the weapons after watching the movie Braveheart. Another source of inspiration was, I suspect, the day a few years back when we went to the Higgins Armory Museum in Massachusetts. The museum houses an impressive collection of very old body armor and weaponry.
One weapon that was displayed at the museum was a mace (many of them, actually). A Mace consists of a spiked steel ball connected by a chain to a handle. The ball is swung and used to deliver devastating blows on an opponent. It is a horrible thing to contemplate.
Well, imagine my surprise as I returned home from work one day a couple weeks ago and found my two boys on the lawn swinging homemade maces at each other!
The thought occurred to me that maybe this time they had gone too far. As my car came to a stop in the driveway, Robert and James came over, big smiles on their faces, to show me what they had made. I have to admit that I was impressed with their resourcefulness and creativity. Here’s a photo of my sons with their maces...
The weapons are made with wood from the woods, screw eyes, and some hefty chain. I asked them where they got the hardware and they told me Marlene took them to the hardware store in Moravia. I was, frankly, shocked to hear that my wife had assisted them in the creation of such frightful weaponry.
They showed me how they took turns swinging the mace at each other. One boy would get it moving in full circles over his head while the other stood just beyond range holding his shield. Then they moved towards each other until the chunk-of-wood-for-a-ball slammed into the shield. Then they both took up their mace and swung them in circles, as shown in this next photo...
Eventually, the chains connected and tangled so they had a tug of war, as shown in this next picture...
Aftere their little demonstration, I tried swinging the mace. It was a good feeling and I realized I had a tremendous amount of power in my hand. I wondered what I might try it out on. The thought came to me that I could bash the windows out of our Ford Taurus field car. What a thrill that would be!
But I did not do that. I kept the thought to myself (until now) and told the boy warriors not to do any damage to themselves or our property.
When I went in the house I remarked to Marlene how surprised I was that she took Robert and James to the hardware store so they could buy materials to build maces. There was a degree of exasperation in her tone as she insisted that she didn’t know that’s what they were making.
Later, at the dinner table, as we discussed the weapons, I told the kids that their maces would be more realistic if they pounded a bunch of nails half way in all over the ball end.
Upon hearing this, Marlene almost choked on her dinner. For some reason she did not think putting nails in the ball was a good idea, and she said so. That being the case I decided not to further suggest that the mace builders could, after the nails were pounded in, use some sidecutter pliers to snip the heads off and my Dremel tool with a sharpening stone to grind a point on the ends.
Of course, I was just kidding with the nail suggestion. Really, I was.
Since that day, I’ve seen a few overgrown zucchini squash mace-smashed on the lawn but there is no property damage to report. Robert did put a good lump on his shin from a bounceback but we have not had to make any trips to the emergency room. And the field car? It still has all its windows... for now.
If you’d like to make your own mace, go for it. Here are some specifics. The block-of-wood-for-a-ball is about 5” in diameter and 5” long. The heavy duty chain on Robert’s mace is 3.5 feet long. James’s is 3 feet. I like the 3 foot length best. The handles are about 1.5 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Screw eyes to hold the chain are threaded into the handle and block of wood.
If you need a practical reason to build your own mace, here it is... Swinging a mace is good exercise. And swinging two at a time, one in each hand, is even better exercise. it’s also something of a coordination challenge. Here’s a picture of Robert swinging both after I showed him it could be done...
We’re working on developing a series of fancy mace moves and tricks. Throwing the mace at targets is also fun. I’m even thinking of putting together a new mace-swinging exercise video. ;-)
If you like hunting, trapping, guns, and stuff like that, I invite you to read some more of my essays...
How Not to Shoot The Bull
The Charging Woodchuck
Going to The Trapper's Convention
Boys Will Be....Warriors (Part 1)
Rabbit Hunting Boy
Life Lessons From an Old Maine Woodsman
Shootin' Dad's Handgun
Needed: More Americans With Guns
How to Butcher a Chicken
The Fun, Fast Way to Skin a Deer
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