Full Version: Another caltrop thread
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Looking at this link from the "Byzantine Grenade" thread, q.v.,

I focused on the caltrops. The majority blacksmith view seems to be that they were made from a flat bar, split at both ends, tapered and bent to shape.

But all these caltrops seem to be split only on one end, into three spikes, then bent. I've done some hot metal splitting, and I realize that could be done, but I wonder if I'm seeing it right. To split in two is not too hard, but three would be a real chore. Am I missing something?
Don't know! But then I can't see caltrops at all!
What am I missing?

Caltrops in Chesters museum.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but I thought caltrops had four spikes? Therefore one small section of iron split in two from both ends with a small centre section could then bent into the required "star" shape. Having done a VERY small amount of smithing, wouldn't that be quite easy?
Yes, you're right on both counts. But look carefully at the ones in the wiki photograph. They do not seem to be made that way.

This photo from -- the photo on the right margin of the original link below.
Both nice comes the BUT....Wiki is from contributors with no actual historical reference, obviously Moi's pics are from the museum, but do we know the right from the wrong? both are acceptable as far as i am concerened, but i do lack knowledge in smithying and historical accounts of these items.
Still a nasty bit of gear...i allways explain it to the public as a"Roman Minefield"
Quote:Yes, you're right on both counts. But look carefully at the ones in the wiki photograph. They do not seem to be made that way.

This photo from -- the photo on the right margin of the original link below.

Hmm. See what you mean. They are considerably later than those in my photograph and I think the manufacturing technique is just as obvious - they look as if they are three splits from one and then pushed back on themselves. Again, I wouldn't think that hard to do. Fiddly, yes, but what are apprentices for?!

It could just be me, but, they look as if they are three strips welded together?
Possibly 2 ??

We need a proper blacksmith...where's Robert?

I would have thought welding it together was more difficult than splitting one thicker bit (but then I was crap at welding although I liked the sparks!)
Looking at these, the option "three strips welded together" is the most obvious and would result in that shape. A three way split is not only a lot of work, it doesn't make sense if two splits of a bit of flat and a twist will do the job nicely, as that would require the same amount of solid stock. This is a great way of using small scrap bits of iron and turning them into something nasty. Another way off making caltrops other then the split is forgewelding an X and bending the legs to shape.
As if by magic!

Thank you Robert!
Looks like eyes are working! Wink
You'd agree, though, Robert, that splitting a piece of metal is amazingly easier than welding in a charcoal forge. Right?
Yes, splitting a piece of large enough stock at both ends is easier, as there is no join to make, requiring less effort and you do not need to heat the iron to near melting to make the forgeweld. But the low carbon irons used then welded very easily (so they say, have yet to try myself), so if you have two pieces of stock too small to split and bend, forgewelding them into an X is a quick way of making a caltrop. Same goes is you have three scraps, draw them out at one end to a point, then weld them at the other end into a single point, bend out the pieces and presto - caltrop. But that last one is the least efficient sollution, as in the picture you can see you just do not get the same effect of a prong always pointing straight up, which you go get in the X weld or the split.
I don't know, I think those will always have a point
Upwards, however they land!
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