Why so rough?

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Eric C
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Why so rough?

Post by Eric C »

Hail and well met!
At present, I'm recovering from an auto accident that happened this past Monday. A guy pulled across in front of me while Elyon and I were going to work. No serious injuries, but the truck was totaled. I took a trip to the ER and got checked out. Now all of the bruising and soreness have set in.

ANYWAY! On with the purpose of this post. While I am resting up, I've been thinking of ways to make Gimli's axes. I have a firm idea right now so I started looking up what was done for the movie versions. One thing that has struck me is the roughness of his axes according to the replicas that are out there. As a smith myself, there is no way I would let an item out of my shop that looked like that. Dwarves are master smiths, like the Elves. If I would not put out an axe like this, I highly doubt Dwarves would. Does anybody have any thoughts on this? Is there any reason in the books to believe that Dwarves would have done this?


P.S. I could go completely off the rails and come up with my own ideas for Dwarven axes apart from the movies - I don't know yet.
Ichthean Forge (pronounced Ick thee an). Maker of knives.
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Amrod Rhandir
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Re: Why so rough?

Post by Harper »

Get well!

With me, it's the second day that I really feel stuff like that.

No idea about the roughness.

You're right--the Dwarves are master smiths.
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Re: Why so rough?

Post by Eofor »

I swear the roads grow less and less safe every day, am really glad both of you are okay.

I have often wondered the same, although almost all of the weapons in the LOTR movies are relatively plain and understated. With regards to the Dwarven weapons I wonder if it's not in part due to racism... no wait hear me out! There seems to be a impression in the films that the elves are otherworldly and almost angelic, I've often wondered if the design team didn't intentionally dull down the dwarvish craft to make them more brutish and the elvish somehow superior.

As to Gimli's specific axes, to play devils advocate - appearance wise plain does not mean they aren't well made. Additionally he had no idea he was going on a round the world trip, he joined his father on an expedition to Imladris and not as a senior member of that envoy. I don't carry my finest gear around in the wild to be rained on so perhaps there's a bit of that in it?

They look absolutely horrible to wield though, I can't imagine they are much fun.

Peter Szabo made a really nice functional double bit axe a few years back

https://www.szabo-weaponsmith.com/produ ... bladed-axe
For seven days without eating or sleeping the new king sat, until he stood and cried "This cannot be borne!"!
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Re: Why so rough?

Post by Manveruon »

I’m so sorry to hear about the accident! Hope you’re patching up okay!

As for the axe question, In general I agree with Eofor. I think they wanted the weapons and props in the films to help tell a certain story about the people carrying them, so they went for very hard, angular, brutal geometry with everything dwarven to emphasize strength and toughness above all else. You can see this in their architecture, their clothing, their armor, and indeed their weapons. They definitely could have done better with showing how skilled and careful dwarven craftspeople were, but for me it’s a relatively minor gripe. One thing I definitely will point out though is that almost all of the props, costumes, and weaponry in the films displayed some level of artificial weathering to help make them look used and lived-in - so for the weapons, this often meant adding a kind of rough, pebbly, dark patina on all the steel parts. This was clearly done more on certain pieces than others (the swords of the Nazgul, for instance), but that kind of aging, mixed with the hard, angular, chunkiness of the dwarven aesthetic they choose to use for the movies could be why you’re perceiving them as rough and unprofessional looking.
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Re: Why so rough?

Post by ForgeCorvus »

First of all, I'm glad you and yours are ok
Cars are a lot more replaceable then people.
Eric C wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:56 pm

P.S. I could go completely off the rails and come up with my own ideas for Dwarven axes apart from the movies - I don't know yet.
As someone who's been known to bang a bit of metal on occasion, I'd rather see what you come up with then how well you can copy a film prop.

I'm not to struck on the direction the design team went with Dwarven weapons, the armour is not too bad but the weapons just don't work.
"So dwarfs are short and strong right?....... Lets just make their weapons huge then" Bad thinking.
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Re: Why so rough?

Post by Iodo »

glad your OK Eric
ForgeCorvus wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 6:25 pm As someone who's been known to bang a bit of metal on occasion, I'd rather see what you come up with then how well you can copy a film prop.
agreed, your own design would be awesome to see :P

I get where this thread is coming from, dwarvish craftsmanship is meant to be the best and the blackened/rough metal doesn't show that image, but my interpretation of dwarvish has always been that stuff that's owned by the wealthy/noble would be immaculate and aesthetically perfect, but the stuff that's owned by everyone else would be every bit as good in functionality/durability even if corners were cut on aesthetics to make the weapon cheaper to make. I guess that the way I see it is that dwarves put function before form, especially Iron hills dwarves (and I know this isn't a law correct interpretation so don't take me to seriously)

It's for this reason that I think I'm ok with Gimli's axe design, and I myself are very partial to the look of rough forged stuff and blackened steel because it comes across as more industrial and more fitting for a people who's life is in mines and building, so above is my way of justifying that look :P
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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