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Ordering Information

Irwin Maces are custom made for each drum major and are temporarily out of production

To assist new and intermediate Scottish drum majors, I make practice maces for the cost of parts and shipping. This keeps prices low compared to competition maces. Cane-shafted Irwin Maces run around $85 plus shipping and insurance; they use a less exotic (and less expensive) cane than competition and ceremonial maces but one that is still flexible and reasonably attractive. At this time I only ship within the U.S. (If you want a very inexpensive mace ($10-20), instructions for building one out of a plastic float are at WikiHow)

Irwin Maces are semi-custom, meaning the heads are of one design but the shafts are carved to match your parade mace (as closely as possible). That allows you to have the same length and balance point so the mace has as close to the same feel as possible.

I used to offer a choice of either a wood or cane shaft. As I provide the mace at no profit, I don't make more by selling cane maces versus wood ones. The decision now to provide only cane shafts arose simply because cane performs better. Its flexibility provides additional whip for the spins, and it is easier on the hands during catches (wood is rather unforgiving). If you have a competition mace, or anticipate getting one, the cane practice shaft will help you transition more easily to the competition mace.

NOTE: Because the practice mace uses a plastic head and an aluminum ferrule instead of chromed steel or brass, the Irwin mace is lighter than a competition mace. Competition maces weigh on average around 2 pounds (900 grams) while the Irwin Mace is about 1.6 pounds (700 to 750 grams). I do notice a slight difference between my practice and competition maces; I need to put a little more effort into spins and throws for the competition mace. However, the change is slight and manageable by using the competition mace in final practice sessions.

To be clear, the Irwin Practice Mace is solely for practice. While I try to make the mace look similar to a competition mace, it is not intended for competitions.

NEW! Irwin Maces now makes an indoor practice mace called the MiniMace so you can practice spins and trick transitions year round. This mace has a shorter shaft but is otherwise similar to the Practice Mace.

The Practice Mace comes without a case. I usually put a small cloth bag over the head when I go to band practice. If you want a mace case, please see the resources page.

Here's How to Order

Irwin maces To custom make your practice mace, I need the following information: (click on the links to view options)
  1. overall length
  2. head size
  3. shaft diameter
  4. location of the balance point
  5. whether you want the balance point marked (tape) on the shaft
  6. color
  7. length of ferrule (if you order a wood shaft, the ferrule is optional)
  8. ferrule tip style
  9. cord wrap
  10. your name and address

To order, send the requested information by e-mail to I will contact you after receiving your request with a price (cane prices vary), shipping and payment information.

Shipping is via USPS priority mail 2-day delivery, which includes tracking, typically costing $10 to $20 (Jan 2020). Insurance is available for about $3 and will be included unless you specify otherwise.

You can cut and paste this section into an e-mail message, replacing the defaults with any custom choices per the options listed below.
Irwin Practice Mace Order
Zip code:

Name of Pipe Band:

Head size: Default based on shaft length
Length: 58 inches
Diameter: 15/16 inch
Balance: 40.5 inches
Balance Point: Marked
Color: Color 3
Ferrule length: 18 inches
Tip: Rubber
Cord wrap: None


Ordering Options

Mace Length

Mace length is the distance from the top of the head, including a finial, to the ferrule tip. If you have a mace and want to duplicate its feel, measure from the top of the head or finial down to the bottom of the ferrule, including any rubber or vinyl tip. (The Irwin mace will not have a finial but I will match the overall length.)

If you do not have a mace, the standard for a parade or ceremonial mace is to hold three fingers below your chin and measure the distance between the floor and the bottom finger. In measuring, you should use a steel tape rather than a cloth tape measure to avoid stretching the tape. For someone around 71 inches tall, a common parade mace length is 58 to 59 inches. (The maximum I can provide is 60 inches).

Competing drum majors usually order a mace that is one to three inches shorter than the "standard length" as it provides more clearance when flourishing and some drum majors report that they can spin faster with the shorter mace. For a flourishing mace, measure from the floor to your shoulder (see the figure at left; measure to line "A"). For someone around 71 inches tall, a common flourishing mace length is 57 inches. If you need a mace shorter than 48 inches, please contact me by e-mail.

Length measurements include the ferrule tip.

Head Size

I can provide one of two heads: Large (left) and Medium (right). The Large is designed for maces of length 53 inches or longer. The Medium is better for lengths of 48 to 52 inches. I will choose the size based on the shaft length unless you specify something different.

Shaft Diameter

"Standard" shaft diameters are around one inch at the base of the head; diameters at the balance point (point "B" in the figure) are commonly 15/16 inch, although there is a growing tendency to go to a smaller diameter (7/8 inch) as they are easier to manipulate. (Balance point diameters should not go below 3/4 inch as the cane becomes more likely to fail with impact.)

Default diameter at the balance point will be around 15/16 inch. Diameters larger than 1 inch may require a special order of cane and a resulting delay.

Cane is not uniform and it is hard to carve exact sizes. Every attempt will be made to get close to requested shaft diameters.

Balance Point

The balance point of a mace can be found by trying to balance the mace on a finger held horizontally. This is the point about which the mace will try to spin during tosses, prop spins, palm spins, etc. Usually this point is located about 70 percent of the shaft length above the ferrule tip. Another way to estimate the position is to hold the mace in the Attention position; the balance point is usually about 6 inches below the bottom of the hand. (See the line marked "B" in the figure at left.)

If you have a competition mace, I can try to match the balance point (typically within 1/2 inch). Otherwise, if you are new and don't have a preferred balance point, I will place it near the 70 percent mark. If you ask for the balance point to be marked, I will designate it with white tape.

Color of the shaft

You have four color choices. Color 3 is the default.

Color 1
natural cane
Color 2
dark brown
Color 3 (default)
similar to some competition maces
Color 4
darkest and reddish brown

All shafts are sealed with several coats of polyurethane varnish for durability.

Length of the Ferrule

Ferrules for most maces run about 18 inches. You may have a competition mace for which you want to maintain the same ferrule length. However, if you have a shorter mace you may wish to have a shorter ferrule. A rule of thumb is to have a ferrule about 30 percent of the overall length of the mace. Unless specified otherwise, I will provide a ferrule that is 18 inches for maces 57 inches or longer; the ferrule will be 30 percent of the length for maces less than 57 inches.

Ferrule tip style

The standard ferrule tip for cane shafts is a black rubber tip, which wears well for practicing cane walks. You may instead choose a black vinyl tip.

rubber tip (default)
vinyl tip

Cord Wrap

The default is to have no cord on the shaft. If you would like a cord wrap, please specify the color for the cord. The choices are:
  • White
  • Black
  • Dark Green
  • Burgundy
White easily shows dirt and may be the least serviceable option. The cord is 2mm braided nylon and wears well.

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Irwin logo Irwin Practice Maces is operated by D. Bruning
P.O. Box 1223, Waukesha, WI 53187

All materials on this web site, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright 2019, 2020 by D. Bruning
updated: Feb 2020