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Doug Ayen

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Axe work [Apr. 11th, 2004|12:33 pm]
Doug Ayen
In preparation for an upcoming demo, got some practice in last night in axe forging.

Decided to make a bearded axe, so I started with some 1/2" iron stock, and drew out the metal for the eye, leaving a thick area for the poll (the flat bit behind the eye). This stage looks kind of like a butterfly: =0o0= The two straight sections at the ends are about 2" long, as are the drawn out sections for the eye. The poll is about half an inch thick and about as wide.

To forge this out, I first marked out the bar at two inchs, a one inch, half an inch, then another inch, and a last two inch section. Using a heavy straight peen hammer, I forged out the one inch sections first lengthwise to about 2", then drew down the metal so that it formed a "D" shape, with the curved bits pointing in the same direction, about 1.5" wide. After straightening, I used the pritchell hole to forge the poll down and did the fold.

I did a forge weld of the two inch sections, first heating and filing the surfaces so than I had clean metal, fluxing with borax, and heating in the forge to a yellow heat and welding on the anvil. A second heat-and-weld ensured that the weld had taken, then I did some pounding on the piece to test. The weld proved solid, on to the next stage.

Since this was to be a bearded axe, I needed to form the beard portion. I took the proto-axe head, and drew out a bit of the cheek (portion between what would be the cutting edge (bit) and the eye), then heated and bend over the portion that will become the bit over 90 degrees. Since it was now almost midnight, I did a final heat and tossed the head into the annealing box.

I now have a piece of metal with a discernable eye, cheek, and a bit. The bit portion is very thick, almost an inch, and will be drawn out into a fairly long, thin wedge-shaped piece. To this I'll forge weld on some high carbon steel to form the edge, then I'll do the final shaping of the eye and drift it into shape. At that point, I should have a nice bearded axe, and be that much closer to being able to do this as a demo.

Much more impressive than hooks, twists, and the occasional ring, no?

--doug
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: miss_chance
2004-04-11 05:10 pm (UTC)
How practicle would it be to take photos throughout the process of various pieces and post them?
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2004-04-11 05:38 pm (UTC)

Re: photos

Probably not too hard. I just don't think of it at the time, and often I'm too busy to be able to take the time. I'll try to remember the next time I do this sort of thing.

--doug
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