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How to forge a trident


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Something I just realized — I have no idea how historical tridents were made. Would the spears be forge-welded on, or would it be made integrally? Did they have a socket? Did it vary from region to region (i.e. Rome to India)? Also, other than gladiator fights, how often were they used in combat, as opposed to their more mundane use for fishing?

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This is just speculation, but I'd wager they split a single bar rather than forge welding the tines.

 

But then, my only source of knowledge on them comes from The Hunger Games, and I'm not entirely sure it's 100% historically accurate.

 

Grins,

 

Dave

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The few I have seen are welded (sorry Dave! ;) ). With the fish-spear kind I've seen both socketed and tanged without regard to geographic distribution, but that doesn't mean much since the sample size is so small. I don't know of any western culture using them in battle, but south Asia (India, Burma, Thailand) and Japan certainly did, although the Japanese version is more of a three-bladed yari than what we usually think of as a trident.

 

post-510-0-00353800-1401565486.jpg

 

Western peasant armies of the medieval period did use hay forks and scythes because that's what they had. The hay forks are always wooden into the late 19th century.

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The way I'd do it is forge a + shape, then weld the individual tines and socket on to that, for a classic trident shape. That seems the most structurally sound way to do it using traditional methods and materials.

 

Forging it from a solid piece would work well with homogenous material, but using wrought or bloom you risk the grain tearing at the junctions, or at least I have found that to be the case (I made a trident some years ago).

Edited by Dan P.
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I would imagine it being a very aggressive quillion or cross guard with upturned tines that has a drift hole made for the central tine and then a peened pin or forge welded into place on the end of a shaft instead of a simple handle, like elongated yoku on a sai, just how i would do it..

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If you look at that "Roman" one on ebay Dan posted you'll see it's a simple lap weld.

 

Yeah but honestly that looks MUCH more modern to me, like 1800's-early 1900's. i used to find frog gigs in similar condition rummaging around in Oklahoma barns

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as for western culture using tridents in battle, in roman gladiatorial competitions, the retiarius was considered an effeminate clown, and was ridiculed more than glorified being one of the lowliest gladiators, so was unlikely to be a combat weapon in the roman leigons. I think the only European trident or pitchfork style used was the military fork and that was 17th and 18th century

Edited by S. Cruse
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If you look at that "Roman" one on ebay Dan posted you'll see it's a simple lap weld.

 

I saw that but amn't sure myself that it is a lap weld. Looks more like a big pit or ding.

 

As for it being Roman (or "Roman"), if I was asking someone to pay $900 for such an artifact, I might offer even the broadest suggestion of provenance, like where it was found (or "where it was found").

Edited by Dan P.
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