Throwing Axe or Hawk
Light axes or hatchets, suitable for tools and weapons, are a major
trade item for dealing with the native tribes when trading for furs and
skins. The light axe, suitable for throwing, or 'Hawk' is shipped to
the colonies by the barrel full. Many find their way into the
hands of pirates and for sale in distant island ports.
Not all the weapons are short arms. The Boarding Pike, a
descendant of the spear and a shorter cousin of the long Pikes of the
European battlefields in the century past, is found on virtually all
ships. Its length gives it great adavantage in holding off
boarders and it also finds use in fending off ships and objects
likely to collide with the hull, spearing or gaffing fish
and even as a harpoon when needed.
Boarding pikes racked around the mast on left. Boarding Pike in use
The belaying pin is an essential tool on a sailing ship. It
serves as a convenient and removable anchor for ropes and lines.
Its size and shape also makes it a handy weapon in close combat and
since most merchant ships keep the arms locker secured against the
crew, it is often the first choice of mutineers.
Knives, Daggers and Dirks
Every sialor carries a knife. It is an absolutely essential tool
on a ship. It usually isn't a big knife, smaller blades tend to
be handier when working, but it is a good solid blade.
Folding pocket knives, from small pen knives to larger blades are
common. So are single edged sheath knives. Double edged
daggers and dirks are not a regular tool, but most sailors have one
even if they keep it in their sea chest most of the time.
A common sailor knife.
Typical folding knife
Other cultural knives are sometimes employed
The Stiletto is not a tool. It is a weapon. Originally
designed to slip between the chinks of armor its long narrow blade
inflicts innocuous looking wounds that penetrate deep into vital organs.
The famed 'Boucan' knife that was originally made by
Buccaneers is a heavy bladed weapon generally made from a broken or
cut down saber or hanger. The heft and weight of the Boucan made it
an asset in slaughtering and dressing the wild cattle and hogs that
the Buccaneers based their livelihood on. The heavy blade let it
hack through bone and sinew like a cleaver, without the unwieldy
length of the original sword .
The Boucan knife typically retains the hilt of the
sword it is
made from, while the blade length can vary from ten inches to twenty
inches. They are very common in Jamaica, Santa Domingo, Cuba and
Hispaniola and through out the Caribbean islands.