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I’m making a tomahawk/small axe; I have two questions concerning it. I tried to start it tonight but as I was drifting the eye it developed an unnatural bulge to one side. What is the proper way to slit and drift to avoid that again? I have done it several times on other projects and there always seems to be a slight bulge to one side and always fixable, but tonight it was ridiculous. So what is the proper procedure to make a good clean drift?

My second question, is for the cutting edge, I have W1 steel for the bit; however I have heard that it is nigh impossible to forge weld W1 to mild steel. So should I try to weld with W1, if so what is the best procedure to insure that the W1 does not burn away? Or should I just use a different tool steel altogether, perhaps like an old file, I have several of those. Also I don't have a modern welder, so anything but forge welding is out of the question, plus I would rather do it the old fashioned way.

Here are the specs: 1018 mild steel 1 inch square bar, about 3 3/4 to 4 inches long. Also W1 tool steel about 1/2 x 3/4, S7 steel, or an old file.

My drifting tools are: 1 x 1/8 inch H13 tool steel, then I use a 1/2 inch taper drift, then proceed to use a 1 inch drift.

If my drifting tools are all wrong let me know I'm always open to critique, I am fairly proficient with welding with borax and sand on mild steel projects as well.

Thanks, any critique or help would be greatly appreciated.

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There is a lot of info on this site about slitting and drifting, Brian Brazeal had an article on slitting and drifting tools.. My stock answer for this questions of course is that after you slit and drift a hunderd of them it will be alot easier. But in a more informative answer for you is thatif you drill a hole through the stock prior to punching you are a lot more likely to ext the other side in the midline. I personnally think a hole done with out drilling first is a nicer hole but this may get you started. I would cross S7 off the list for a bit, Personally I would use a piece of coil spring for the bit, file piece only if I tested to see if it heat treatable.

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If one side is thinner (hole not exactly centered) it will bulge. If one side is hotter (uneven heat) it will bulge. These are the 2 most common reasons for the problem that you are encountering. Old file should be good for your bit but as Rich advised test a piece first as not every old file will be good for your purpose (most are though). I've no experience with W1 so I can't advise you there.

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W1 will weld to mild just fine but if you're worried about burning it simply set the bit completely into the mild and grind it later to expose it. If you do this make the bit a LITTLE thicker and thin the mild near the edge zone. The mild will shield the W1 from air at heat so it won't burn. . . Well, it's less likely, a talented guy can get anything to burn. <grin>

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks I appreciate the help, I usually like to do things the traditional way; however I took the advice on the drilling for the eye it punch through straight, although there is a little grove from the drilling. I guess it better to have a straight eye with a grove than a crooked eye with no grove. I tried welding the W1 it welded the first time, I fluxed it, then let it sit get nice and melted then I put more on it took my torch and melted more and more until it look like a piece of glass was caked over it. It worked and it took, it made my day LOL. I didn’t have enough metal to envelop the steel so it just sat in there. But thanks again guys I appreciate all your help.

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