Francisca Throwing Axe
The LaClair Francisca throwing axe
Long ago in Europe, the Franks (forerunners of the modern-day French) developed a throwing axe for use in battle against their enemies. The Roman's called it a Francisca because of its Frankish origins, and during the period of 400 A.D. through 800 A.D. it was used with profound effect during a variety of wars. The Franks discovered that their weapon of choice had an amazing characteristic they had not initially counted on; it bounced when it hit the ground, and when it bounced, it became erratic flying over the heads of some marauders while striking others in the feet and legs. The true effectiveness of the Francisca lay not in its ability to strike enemies blade first, but rather to cause disruption and chaos on the battlefield. Prior to the advent of gunpowder, the Francisca did this better than any other implement of war.
Today, Franciscas are no longer used in battle, but they have found new life in hawk and axe throwing competitions. The LaClair Francisca has the graceful lines of the originals, making it an ideal choice for the competitor who wants an historically accurate representation of a throwing axe but also one that will allow them to successfully compete in today's demanding contests.
Of all the original Franciscas that have been found, the average weighed about a pound and a half and had a 4" cutting edge with a 16-18" handle. The LaClair Francisca is very close to these average measurements. Our axe has a rudimentary hammer poll on the back of the head to give it better balance and added usability. The body of the axe is made of mild steel, but the hardened and tempered cutting edge is made of W-1, water-hardening drill rod. It has a 4" cutting edge, length from the pole to the edge is 5.5", weight including the approximately 15" handle is 1 1/4#. In the tradition of our other axes, it will take and hold a fine edge, although it should be remembered that an axe is a chopping implement rather than a slicing one. A razor sharp edge on an axe is counter-productive to its intended use.
When you hold our Francisca in your hand, it feels as if it's begging to be thrown. Its design seems to hearken back to a long ago time when household tools also doubled as weapons of war. Be careful… When you grasp this axe firmly in your hand, you will be, if only for an instant, transported back across time to a simpler age when common folk fought and died to protect their lands and belongings with tools and weapons whose lethality was matched by their graceful and almost artistic designs!
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