Even though I like to make swords, I make a lot of other stuff in my forge. Some of it are bladed implements like knifes or chisels, some are not.
Today I will tell you about my first experiment with making an axe. It started with my son who wanted to buy a very expensive duffelbag but couldn't afford all of it it himself.
I offered him ,that he could work in the smithy with me, to earn the money he needed.
Thus he became my striker for a day. For those of you that may not know what a striker is, it is a helper (usually the apprentice) who is wielding the big sledgehammer.
The other guy (usually the master) will be holding the metal-bar (and sometimes also a smaller hammer) and he directs where the striker strikes the metal. In this way much more force can be transferred into the strike (using 2 hands)
and the tempo can also be faster because you can have 2 people striking.
Making an axe is a fairly simple but at the same time fairly hard task. It requires a lot of hammering and you have to use a rather big lump of metal that needs to be heated, thus for this little project we decided to do a mini axe, an axling. I am at the same time working on a "real" axe but that will be covered in another post.
first I chose a bar of waterhardening steel 10 mm by 30 mm and together we forged out a tang as shown below
Since this is a "pocketaxe" we decided to make it slightly different from a normal axe where the handle goes through a hole in the head. Instead we gave it a tang, like on a knife.
we then bent the tang downwards at a 90 degree angle and forged out the edge. The rounded axelike shape , with the pointed tips, comes naturally from this process. Then we put my makers mark on it.
finally we quenched it in lukewarm water, tested the hardness (using a file. if the file skates off the metal it is hardened, if it bites into the metal try again)
Then I took over since most of the remaining work was on the beltgrinder, and my son has not yet been taught how to use that one safely. I shaped the edge and also the handle (made out of a piece of oak)
I glued and riveted the head in place and oiled the handle. this technique for mounting is not as durable as the handle through the head, but for such a small axe it should be more than adequate.
Thats it. This project took perhaps a few hours, and all in all, my son put 3 hours of work into helping me (on this and some other projects). His arms were really sore the day after, which meant mine wasnt.
It was really nice having a helper in the forge and I hope he will be willing to help me again, the next time he needs some money :-)
Im EvilHippie, a compulsive creative and jack o' trades. If you want to know more about me, check out my introduction post here
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