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Wrapped eye leafspring hawks

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One of my fun little side projects has been playing with making a couple of light little frontier style hawks with a wrapped tapered eye.

I know that there are those that will say that the wrapped eye isn't as strong as a forge welded or drifted one. They are right, but sadly forge-welding is currently beyond the capabilities of my current forge, and my current skill level.


Thankfully, frontier style hawk is made with a tapered eye so it slides up the handle from the bottom, and locks in place as the handle swells towards the head.

My concept is that with a wrapped eye, spring tempered, this increases the adaptability to different handle sizes anyway by my way of thinking.


I started by cutting some rough bits of leaf-spring (hence my disinclination to put a finer finish on these two pieces).



I then tried two different tacks with the two pieces;

1. I tried wrapping the eye first and then disrupting the steel to thicken up the steel.

2. I reversed the order - this lead to a better blade, though I achieved a better eye on the first one.


I tried differential quenching on these blades - dipped 2-3 cm of the edge in my oil quench until it stopped bubbling, pulled from the oil until the heat crept in and blackened the oil and then re-dipped the entire head until cool.

Result? Sharpened the better head (than I put a 45cmish handle on) cut through 15 cm of seasoned, sound olive wood without chipping, rolling or appreciably blunting. Happy with that.


Here are the pictures of the rough forged bits:





Shined up a bit on the angle grinder:









Handle (hand cut hickory) on the more robust of the two heads (Note: Not yet finished with boiled linseed oil, but it will be).







In the end I'm pretty happy with the second more robust one that I have hafted; reminds me a bit of a franchiska but lacking the up-swept tip.

I cut through about 15cm of 5 year seasoned olive with this one with no blade damage.

I worked on another two of these yesterday with square ends on the wrap and drawn out (not quite enough - eyes are a shade to small) from shorter stock.
Interestingly, I experimented with water quenching the blade edge on one and succeed in getting my first ever crack! Now I know with my eyes as well as my brain why you only quench leaf-sping in oil!

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Never had a crack on anything I quenched in oil (just plain used engine oil) . I am using 1084, 1095 , automobile leaf and coil springs.

But I did crack a couple of pieces edge quenching in water. 

It's disappointing to crack a piece after putting a lot of work into it so I am sticking to oil quenching. 

I have read a few articles about using clay or Rutland black furnace cement to differential heat treat a blade.  I am going to try that on some blades where I am not satisfied with the shape as forged. 

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  • 1 month later...

I have thought of trying something like this because I lack a hawk drift right now.  I wondered about the wrapped handle eye but I had a thought to punch a small hole in the wrapped section and install a nail into the handle to "set" it firmly on the handle.  You have inspired me I think I will give it a try this weekend. 

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