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GottMitUns

Had to try it.

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I received my latest copy of The Hammers Blow and saw the axe head article and had to try it!

 

For my first attempt I am happy with it.

 

1018 body with a O-1 bit.

 

 

 

Thank

Russell

 

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Russell,

that is one nice bit of work. How long did it take from start to end?

This may be a silly question but do people do the 1018/tool steel combos because the mild steel is easier to work or because it is cheaper?

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It's very historically accurate.  In prior times high carbon steel was a scarce resource, so a high carbon bit was often welded to an iron or mild steel body.  So, the answer to the question is yes - it's easier to work with low carbons steel, it's usually cheaper, but for the most part, it's the historic way of doing it.

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If you go far enough back you can find ones that look like this.

 

My best guess is that it was picked up when the Presidio La Bahia  or Mission Espiritu Santos in Goliad Tx were rebuilt in the 1960's (originally built around 1749). 

 

In the pic of hatchet head  standing up you can see the forge weld.

 

 

Thanks

Russell

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Eseeman,

 

 

    it took me about 4 or 5 hours spread out over a week to get it this far.   I still need to do some shaping and sanding and heat treat the bit.

 

 

 

RWD

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saw the article to, haven't had time to attempt it. I hope i can achieve as good of results ;O)

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Nice job on the axe!   Did you make the drift too?

 

 

 

In the pic of hatchet head  standing up you can see the forge weld.

 

 

Is that weld line visible on both sides?   It looks more like an asymetric wrap weld rather than a bit weld.

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Yuriy

 

I did make the drift also.  I only had 1" bar to start with so my eye is a little small.

 

 

On the old hatchet head you are correct.  The weld is on one side just forward of the eye with no bit.

 

 

Russell

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I'll have a go at answering some of these questions.

First off, my goal is this and just about all the works I show, is to do it with only the tools of the anvil: Hammer, tongs punches, etc.  While a lot of us have professional or semi-professional shops, not all do.  Does no good to show how to do something, if the doing requires a host of power tools and machines.   That in part answers the question of about why the symmetrical fold and welded method. it's one of several methods that can be done with hand tooling alone.  From my understanding, Jim Austin and Jeff Pringle have done a bit of historical research and found that more often, the weld is a asymmetrical weld, but really all the historical stuff is beyond my ken.

Why do a weld at all?  Again we return to the fact that we have no power hammer.  Forging out a piece of high carbon steel at the anvil is not my idea of a well spent day.  It's just plain easier to forge mild steel and add a bit of high carbon at the end.

Another reason:  I work alone.  I've found I can do a better job on the lugs, if I forge one at a time.  Being able to spread and shape the lugs one at a time works better for me.

Third reason:  While it's not as relevant with the many modern steels we have, using mild for the body and high carbon for the edge has more then simple availability, cost and ease of forging for it's reason.  When you use a tool such as an axe, there's shock being transmitted with every blow.  The mild steel body is better suited to absorb that shock, then is the higher carbon edge.  We could forge it out of one piece and take advantage of differential heat treatment, but we'd be back to the effort it takes to forge all that hard steel :-(

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Thanks for jumping in Gerald, and please accept my apology for not noting you in my first post as the author of the article in The Hammers Blow!  I am working on my second axe head and drift now. I learner the hard way to spend a little more time on the drift :)

 

I figure the asymmetrical weld was done because the smith had no high carbon steel to make a bit out of and by doing it asymmetrical he used the least amount on iron to accomplish the job at hand.

 

 

Thanks

Russell

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No troubles, I figured anyone that had read the article had seen my name :-)
About the Asymmetrical fold and weld.  They still welded in a steel bit, just had to split open the end to insert it.  When you do it that way, you can do all the blade spreading first and then weld.  Here's a link to Jim Austin's YouTube video on forging an axe.  At the eigth minute mark, he's slitting the end and prepping the steel bit.

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