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I Forge Iron

Double Sided Ax

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Hi there .
I am planning to make an double sided ax.Sometimes called a hero ax.
The blade will be about 400 mm from left to right.
Question 1: What kind of steel is suitable?
" 2: How to attach to wooden handle?
" 3: Thickness of blade?

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1045 is a good steel. Blade attachment to handle is best done traditionally (waisted eye with wood and steel wedged handle). For a double bitted axe you want the thickness at the eye minimal, so 3/4" to 1" is about right. For felling axes it is best to keep the blades thin and abruptly swell the eye area. Limbing axes are often smoothly tapered clear across the width of the heads. Splitting axes are a different design (almost always single bitted with heavy thick polls).

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Fighting axes were generally a LOT lighter than people expect. The double edged fighting axe was not generally used in Europe; though the Greek legends of the Amazons said that they used the labrys in battle and is now often used as a symbol of radical feminist movements. (I met a smith who was making these for them back around 1983---she did excellent work!)

So as a using sword was generally around 2.5 pounds an axe for battle should not be excessively more. The type of use will drive how the thickness is arranged, e.g. armour impact would make the edge thicker and then tapering toward the eye. (As axes were forged they could taper in all dimensions---making something from a flat sheet screams that it is a modern effort.)

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I'm with Thomas on this one, double bit axes were mostly a weapon of the gods not mortals. There are a lot of examples of votive and regalia types available in the archaeological data but hardly any that were actually use in combat, they were offered as sacrifice or symbols of office otherwise not very useful. A single bit axe or a war hammer were of much more use than a huge double bit axe, even a mace was better at doing in your enemy. <_<

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

axes come in all shapes and sizes.....
both fighting and especially wood working axes. which can be HUGE and weigh many many pounds.
so if we are talking a "hero piece " then I would not worry about it being a little over weight ............
the great thing about weapons in general is that there are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule and generalisations do not represent the reality of individual pieces , even if you confine yourself to history and do not allow the imagination to creep in and stretch the possible just a little......

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  • 5 months later...

i have a ? why would a double bit axe not be as good as a single blade in combat.
you would think that a double bit would be better balanced then say a "danish" style. i always thought that one of those would be hard to swing and keep the blade at 90degrees to your target. (cause all that weight on the front of the swing could cause the blade to turn towards the ground) ive chopped a number of trees down with a axe and i personally like the double bit style for that, its easier to keep the blade straight as you swing.
also you have two blades, if one gets fouled up then turn it to the other side

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Actually if you have a double sided axe there is a lot more moment arm to twist the axe out of plane when you hit at an angle and almost all your hits in a battle will be at an angle or onto sloping armour. Not good to have it twist in your grip upon impact!

As for balance---for a war weapon you generally don't want balance you want the force to be out where the impact is---think of it more like a japanese or european cutler's steady hammer where almost all the weight is on one side of the eye.

Have you looked at the popular large professional throwing knives? Massively blade heavy as you want that part to be leading when thrown.

"also you have two blades, if one gets fouled up then turn it to the other side" Now what happens when that other edge is blocked and forced into your face? If one edge gets fouled you then have a mace and keep on going. Axes are more an impact weapon in use against people wearing armour anyway.

What we can say is that in Europe for over 1000 years people who used axes as weapons *professionally* preferred them to be single edged---a strong case for usage!

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