How Much Wood Could A Woodchuck Chuck…

If a woodchuck could chuck wood? Ah yes, the quintessential question of the nature of a creature that has apparently been inappropriately named. There is no answer… And yes. My whimsical reverie was spawned by an actual weapon. A rather unusual weapon, in that it is made primarily of wood, though this doesn’t make it any less menacing in appearance…

The Leiomano


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Now you might be wondering what this weapon has got to do with wood chucks chucking wood… Well I’ll tell you. There are a number of sites I encountered that listed this weapon as a “Hawaiian Throwing Axe”. Get it? A wooden throwing weapon? So like if a woodchuck could chuck wood, (and this woodchuck also just happened to be a weapons fanatic) this is probably what they would be chucking. Right at your head. Ouch. Except for one thing. This isn’t really a throwing axe.

Yeah, sorry. This is in fact a Hawaiian melee weapon. Seriously, if you look at the design, you can see that it would be ill suited to throwing. Weapons designed for throwing usually use harder materials, as many a throw could end up hitting something hard, like a rock, the ground, etc. This weapon uses wood, cord, and shark teeth. Shark teeth fastened in place with a twine of sorts. And while shark teeth are great for ripping up soft flesh, they would not survive an impact with a hard place, much less the leather thong or twine holding it in place.

Here’s another example:


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As you can see from the pic, the teeth are aligned just right so that any blow from this, glancing, pulling, cleaving, etc would almost certainly draw blood. And while it might not be as effective as a sword, you better believe that a battle with combatants taking repeated hits from this would get torn to shreds and bleed to death.

And if you take into account that the heavy wooden head could probably deliver pretty hefty blows all by itself, even without the benefit of shark teeth, you can see how this would make for a very effective melee weapon. Here’s a closer look at how it’s all put together:


[view full size]

That is one lethal and mean looking weapon. Even if it’s made out of wood. And string. And shark teeth. No self respecting woodchuck would go anywhere near one of these…

Leiomano – [Kumulau.com]


3 Responses to “How Much Wood Could A Woodchuck Chuck…”

  1. 1 Niccolo
    May 1, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Hey, at least they didn’t call it a Hawaiian-style kunai. And if you think about it, you could still throw that at someone. Sans the shark teeth, that thing whipping at your head would probably kill you outright. (The top one probably moreso. Less handle, better weight dist.)

    But, yes, you’re right. It is most certainly a melee weapon.

    We actually have some Maori (New Zealand natives, not everyone knows their name) weapons like this at home; they look and function much the same (Honestly, it’s effectively a slightly edged club. There really is only one way to function) except they’re a tad more ornate.

    But they are weight so well… they just seem to sit in my hand perfectly. And they’re short weapons, making them just my cup of tea. ^^ I’d love a burglar to show up one day.

  2. May 1, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Cool, actually I’m quite familiar with the Maori, they have a great warrior culture that I admire. Though I’m not all that familiar with their traditional weapons. I do know they all seem to be made predominantly of wood, of both the long staff/club/spear variety (I know of the Taisha) with the occasional greenstone blade… and short wooden clubs/coshes (I think the weapon you are referring to, which is called the Mere?) but that’s about it

    I do like the Taiaha… I’ve always loved staff weapons, and Taiaha look like a cross between a Bo, a Bat, and a wooden spear….. All kinds of WIN there!!

    I may do a post on some of their weapons one of these days… 😀

  3. 3 Niccolo
    May 1, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Sweet. That’d be awesome (And I knew you’d be familiar with the Maori, but other’s aren’t)
    The sad thing is I dunno the names of the weapons, but they look like pretty damn mean clubs. And, yeah, I’ve heard of the greenstone clubs/axes. NZ Jade was relatively easy to get a hold of and could hold an edge better than wood could… plus it looks pretty damn cool to be swinging a sparkling green axe around. Even if it isn’t black.

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