Introducing: The Glaive

While pointing out the pitfalls of folding throwing stars, it occurred to me that there was another class of folding throwers that might make more effective folding throwing weapons than folding shuriken. Now they are all fictional weapons, but then again, many of the swords I have blogged about began as fictional weapons, so I thought, “Why Not?” I’d like to introduce you to the imaginary big Hollywood brothers, of the folding shuriken: the “Glaive”.

The Hollywood “glaive”, is easily described. It is a multi-bladed throwing implement whose blades could be folded into itself in order to give it a smaller form factor, presumably for easier transportation. They also seem to have a boomerang-like (even mystical) ability to come back to their wielder. I know of 3 movies featuring “glaive ” weapons. The Beastmaster, Krull, and one of my all time favorites, Blade. Today we will look at the very first example (that I know of) of the Hollywood “Glaive”. Namely the “glaive” featured in the movie “The Beastmaster

The Beastmasters Glaive (open)

Beast Masters Glaive
[view full size]

In the Beastmaster movie, the protagonist (our friend the Beast Master) is given a throwing weapon called a “caber” (Which I have hopefully spelled correctly). It consisted of a 4 bladed weapon, which folded in half, scissor fashion, so that each half blade set back to back against each other. A fairly standard “glaive” design. But this “glaive” has some serious issues.

Before I go off on a rant about this so called “glaive” I thought it would be interesting to know that real cabers and glaives do actually exist. However they are nothing like what is portrayed on the big screen. Cabers are commonly found in the unlikely sport of… Scottish log tossing. In fact, the competition is called the Caber Toss, and the logs are called (you guessed it!) cabers.

And glaives, far from being the hand held throwers portrayed in the movies, were actually medieval polearms. Like, lessee, big spears. Ya know, big broad headed spears. Machetes on a stick if you will. Go figure. Somehow I can’t really visualize a humongous blade on a spear shaft spinning “gracefully” *ahem* through the air… But back to hollywood Glaives.

The Beastmasters Glaive (closed)

beastmasters caber (closed)
[view full size]

The design seems to be quite robust, each sub blade is fastened together by a solid looking pin. It looks like it could be made to handle a lot of torture, however one thing bothers me. The blades appear to be freely hinged. No means of fixing them in the open position. Now I’m no expert but it seems to me that freely swinging blades would wreak untold havoc on the trajectory of this weapon. And given the geometry of the weapon, I don’t think it could be thrown in the fashion illustrated, gripping the middle of the glaive, where the hinge is. At least not without risking a few fingers (that I’m sure you want to keep) in the process. But then again, my understanding of physics might be suspect. Meh.

The Beastmasters Glaive (open hinge shot)

Beastmaster Glaive (open hinge)
[view full size]

And then there is the little niggling problem of how the blades would stay open, if, by some dark mystical trick of the universe, this “glaive” were to actually hit its intended target. My physics are a little rusty, but AFAIK, a free hinge means it gonna fold on impact. it would probably still hurt (if it ever actually hit you), but that free hinge design would make it pretty freakin’ hard to make it “stick” anything. I’m just sayin’.

Perhaps with some type of lock-back mechanism in place on the blades, this “glaive” would make for an excellent weapon, but as is, it certainly wouldn’t make my armory wish list. When all is said and done however, it is actually one of the more classy designs of the few Hollywood glaives I have seen. Not so much sinister as much elegant. A little rustic but artfully designed. Not usually what I look for in a blade, but I’d make an exception for this one. It’d prolly look great in black…

The Beastmasters Glaive – [Realm of the Dark Blade]


4 Responses to “Introducing: The Glaive”

  1. 1 ChroniclerLoki
    September 28, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Bah, I like the designs of the ones in Blade and Krull better.

  2. October 5, 2008 at 2:40 am

    Yeah, from a physics perspective, this one is in fact the most hokey of the lot…

  3. 3 BLACK WIDOW1300
    May 2, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    i have about 75% scottish blood just to point that out. and about the glaive, i think it looks pretty cool.

  4. 4 Durr of the Inorites
    April 11, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    The Beastmaster kaypah (whatever?) may deserve to be reclassified. This weapon isn’t based on the idea of a thrown knife. It’s a throwing AXE. Two of them, end-to-end, with spades for glancing damage. A shuritomahawk [TM]. Something else to notice: when open, it does not achieve perfect symmetry, which would affect its flight (probably not for the better). There are actually TWO items at the hinge. One is the hinge, and one could be a button, a mere short section of rod, which falls outside the height of the square butt, but not outside its diagonal, therefore locking it.

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