Drum Majors worldwide


all shapes and sizes

The Royal Scots
(Britain's oldest
regiment of foot),
made from solid silver
with enamel in the
pierced thistle pattern
in the dome. Stunning!


Modern maces, staffs, or batons come in a variety of shapes, materials and sizes. Pictured on the left are a few of the current British regimental maces which I have been honoured to see close up. The Royal Scots have always had the most amazing maces and the current one is no exception: all the parts are made from solid silver and the green, transparent enamel on top of the chased silver is really beautiful.

There is a standard pattern (used by the Guards Division, as well) which has many pieces added on such as battle honours, regimental badges, and of course, the Royal Cypher.

In contrast, maces such as that of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards have many differences. Note the representation of the captured Napoleonic Eagle rather than the usual crown.

The RAF Halton mace that I use is the same as that of the Royal Scots, but much less ornate. I do flourish it! (so no excuses...) It is very heavy, as are all the regimental patterns, as even the chains are solid silver.

I also have a selection of maces which have been used for competition over the years (right): the mace on the top left is made by Dalman and Narborough of Birmingham and although I have had it for around 22 years, it is still good to use and D&N still make them today. They also make this pattern chased. The mace top right is another D&N made pattern, also available chased or plain. The other two were made in Pakistan. They are copies of those made by Rose Moriss, and supplied by Potters of Aldershot back in the 70s. They are of a very different quality to those made by D&N, but of course that is reflected in the price. They are a good first step in Drum Majoring.

If you hope to compete please don't waste money on a Premier mace.

Premier have made a mace for many years which has a fibreglass shaft and a cast metal head. The head is made from a metal similar to that used for model car casting. It cracks and even shatters when dropped on a hard surface. There are no options available to replace the crown (which is an out of date shape!). The shaft has no give or flex, so when it hits your hand from a high throw, it really hurts.

Always try to buy a shaft made from malacca cane. This is a natural product and has a slight ridge on one side, and a natural taper. If you visit the D&N factory you can even select your own cane as they are all different.

I have seen other shafts made from manilla cane which is very similar. Aircraft nylon (solid and heavier) is very flexible and may be turned on a lathe. Metal tubing I saw once and this had a wooden head and ferrule. I tried to copy it, but the mace was 'lifeless'.

Chains or not?
Cords can look just as good as chains but make sure you don't get thick ones laden with tassels. These slow the mace down as it turns (drag factor). Thin leather thonging (like boot laces) works very well wrapped around the mace in the 'Northern Irish' style. This gives a bit of extra grip too.

What Size?
The answer is the size that suits you! Ideally this should come up to between your shoulder and chin (at maximum). For most adults this means 60 inches. Just make sure that anything bought for a juvenile is not too long (hoping that they will grow into it) and anything bought for an adult doesn't look rediculously short. I have one mace (an antique, possibly Royal Marines) which is 162cm high!

Collapsible maces
A collapsible mace does exist! A friend of mine in Yorkshire actually ordered and bought one from Pakistan. It is not in their current catalogue. His was the standard Pakistan pattern, with a malacca cane shaft. It was jointed with a screw thread fitting as found on a pool/snooker cue. Malacca cane is solid in its core, but fibrous or pithy. Great care must be taken when cutting it so as not to weaken it. The mace finally broke at the joint when dropped, once too often. I use a different company in Pakistan for ordering maces for juveniles/learners, and although useful, would not recommend a collapsible mace.

Carriers & covers
For the last 20+ years I have been carrying my maces around in a home made carrier. I initially had a fishing rod case which was too big and cumbersome. The home made carrier consisted of PVC waste pipe capped with an aerosol cap at the bottom. This was then covered in a stitched leatherette (for toughness) bag with a large soft top. A knitted woollen top like a sock was placed over the head before sliding in the tube/carrier. An old kilt sock will do the job, doubled over! For extra protection whilst flying take the head off and place in your suitcase wrapped in bubble wrap.

The King's Own
Scottish Borderers,
a standard pattern
Army mace used by
many regiments,
with battle honours
and regimental
badge applied.


The Royal Scots
Dragoon Guards (the
Greys), a modern
version, with the
badges and battle
honours chased
and embossed.

My 'regimental' mace has the same type of case but with a wooden box around the head with a hinged lid. Some of the regimental maces are carted around in what can only be described as an oversize, wooden, pipe box, very big, heavy and cumbersome.

If you can't be bothered with all this, order yourself a nice carrier from Dalman & Narborough. They make a professional version of what I just described (not to mention the world's best quality maces, sporran cantles, plaid brooches, buckles, etc.). Contact Alan Baldwin of Dalman & Narborough Ltd. on (+44) 121 772 2008. Fax: (+44) 121 771 4182.

The World's heaviest mace?

Thanks to DM Mick Hay of the Royal Scots for the use of this fantastic piece of history.

I was priveleged, whilst on the Army School of Bagpipe Music Drum Majors' Course, to be allowed to use one of the Royal Scots' maces. This one was the standard army pattern, however it had the stoutest cane I have ever seen. All the parts of a standard army mace are made of brass. This makes for the heaviest weight possible as none of it is very thin. Notice that every single, silver battle honour is fastened by two brass nuts, not to mention the badges too. The crown is likewise made from brass. Just look at the size of the bolt, the strengthening rib and retaining nut. The casting for the acanthus decoration is the crispest I think I have ever seen, and was also brass, but with a higher copper content. There was even a joint cover for the top of the shaft... shaped to fit the natural rdge of the cane. This is all incredibly difficult to keep clean! So the next time you complain about the weight of your own mace, think about trying to use this for a length of time and flourish it.

DIY budget custom mace
Some of you know that Kevin MacHeffner talked to a firm in Pakistan about making a custom mace with a badged head and scrolls. He wanted something more "regimental" with the Mesa Caledonian crest and chains for the No.1 engagements but also something that was inexpensive - a mace that wouldn't
bother him if he banged the ferrule with his sword on the march, etc. See the photo (below) of the mace head which looks EXACTLY like his drawing. Here's his review:

Rating system of 1-5 stars

  • Arrived unassembled in three pieces (head, cane and ferrule). They also supplied the brad that would hold the head to the cane and the chains which were mounted to the collar on the cane.
  • Mace head - 5 stars
    Exactly what I wanted! The band cap badge (which this firm has produced ours since 1999) was shaped properly to the curve of the head and mounted through the mace head with threaded posts and nuts (like a military buckle with a badge). The two metal scrolls are gilt plated and spelled properly (top says "Mesa Caledonian", bottom says "Est. 1980"). These are affixed to the head in the same manner and look very sturdy. The coronet at the bottom of the head is soldered to the mace head and doesn't appear to be coming off soon. That's a good thing! :) The queen's crown is also in really good shape. The plating on both the chrome head and gilt pieces seem to be fairly strong so I'm pleased here. Excellent.
  • Cane - 3.5 stars
    The cane is not very flexible but it has a nice finish without a lot of scars or scuffs. It's straight, has a nice ridge and they nailed the requested length of the mace exactly (58" overall).
  • Ferrule - 3 stars
    It also arrived straight and had the necessary rings to install the chain. However! The plating job on this piece totally sucks! When it arrived, it had some spots that I couldn't tell if they were dirt spots or bubbling in the chrome. I should have more skeptical and careful during assembly. The ferrule was a bit difficult to assemble to the cane and I had to be forceful with it. Okay, I had to get medieval with a rubber mallet. During this portion of assembly, the spots were actually bubbles and the plating peeled away in several spots under the force. Yuck (replace the y with an f for an accurate reenactment of my statement at the time). Not to worry though! There's a metallurgist in our engineering facility who can replate the ferrule.
  • Assembly - 4 stars
    Other than the ferrule incident, the rest of it was fairly easy to assemble. I wrapped the brad in teflon tape before mounting the mace head to make sure it was a sturdy fit through the pre-drilled holes in the cane. The head fits flush and level and the chains were a piece of cake. I had to move the collar on the cane a little higher to make sure the chains were tight and not crooked.
  • Price - 5 stars!!!!!
    For $149, not a typo, I got a great deal. The mace head was the real focus for this one and the work performed there is worth much more than the total price. Add in $.98 for a pack of spare brads and a case of Diet Mountain Dew (3 for $9 at Fry's) that I drank during assembly in the middle of the night.
Mesa Caledonian Mace

Overall... I found it to be a good deal for a fancy mace. Would I do it again? Yes. Will I do it again? Yes... but the next project is only another mace head since the head post is threaded and interchangeable.

Kevin Mac Heffner, Mesa Caledonian, Arizona.

Drum Majors