Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Recommended Posts

Ok so this is my first attempt at forging a small axe. Some friends of mine have recently taken up the hobby of axe throwing and everyone there uses these off the shelf home depot hatchets. So I wanted my friends to stand out a little bit. This was made using a bell pien hammer head. I forged out the whole thing by hand although I wish I had a press for the end even just to make the thing a little easier to hold onto with my tongs. I had to start out by holding the piece through the eye and started working out the axe and of it. This was definitely a mistake as I just couldn’t get a decent grip so a lot of my time was wasted fiddling with the hold I could get. Once I had the blade shaped I had initially intended to cut off the back part of the hammer but then I saw I picture online of an axe with a spike and I loved it so I drew that out. Quickly I realised that a square taper at the back was super easy to hold with my v bit tongs and so I forged the spike halfway and worked way more on the blade which helped out immensely with straightening out the blade and getting it to a shape I liked. Once that was done I finished forging out the spike. I used an angle grinder with a 40 grit flap disk to take out most of the deep hammer marks. I had never used the angle grinder before but it worked really well. Finally I heated up the whole thing to an orange heat and quenched the blade about half way up into the oil for a few seconds until the temp on the spike was a red then I dunked the rest of it into the oil. I still need to clean off the oil residue and put an edge on it but overall I like the shape so far.

20160411_145552.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Daswulf said:

Thanks. Don't forget to post pics of it all finished up :) 

I certainly will. Now that i have gotten to this point i need to look up how to actually put a handle on this thing. i dont want all my hard work messed up by a crummy handle fit so it off to youtube for some tutorials.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dustin,

Thrown hawks break handles constantly.  If you reshape the handle eye to accept a pick axe style handle, a new handle can be dropped in and set into place within minutes.  A hammer style handle will require a wedge and careful fitting every time.  Plus the throwing action encourages the head to pull from the handle of a hawk.  I've seen the heads fly off the handle mid-throw.  It's not good.

There's no hard and fast rule about the handle shape, but a lot of them have tear drop shape to mimic what you naturally get in a wrapped eye hawk.  The point of the teardrop also gives the thrower a way to index their grip the same way every time. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Here is the axe all finished up and fixed to the handle. I designed the handle myself so that it felt good in the hand although im certain there are better ways i could have done it. The balance point is right below the axe head. It chops pretty well and the edge is holding up pretty good so is the back spike. I havent thrown it yet but i have high hopes. Any tips or critiques are appreciated. I have a second one also forged with a different blade and spike profile. I will post pictures of that one when its finished as well. Just need to clean it up from heat treat and make a handle for it.

20160426_210342.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really like the profile of the head, but in my opinion the handle looks Too beefy. The curve of the handle doesn't look bad but some people grip higher on hatchets/Hawks to do a bit of finer work on wood other then just chopping. I think it's a good start. Do everything you can think of in is use to get a feel for how the handle works out and how you could improve it. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Daswulf said:

I really like the profile of the head, but in my opinion the handle looks Too beefy. The curve of the handle doesn't look bad but some people grip higher on hatchets/Hawks to do a bit of finer work on wood other then just chopping. I think it's a good start. Do everything you can think of in is use to get a feel for how the handle works out and how you could improve it. 

 

Thanks for the advice. I never had much cause to use an axe or hatchet before and really had no clue on the handle. Im going to let my friends try it out and worst case scenario i will reshape the top of it on the belt grinder to take some of that weight out of it.

3 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Made from a ballpeen?  Did you drift out the eye larger to make the handle transition stronger?---especially if you are going to throw it!

Yea it is made from a ball pien hammer head.

I did not drift out the eye four a couple reasons, the main reason is that even though i have a drift i cant realiably hold onto the piece while trying to pound the drift through. Its hard to explain but basically the hardy hole in my anvil is to small for the drift to go through so i would need to like hold the piece like half over the edge of my anvil while i work. just seemed awkward and dangerous. The other reason was that i put alot of time into this piece and didnt want to risk ruining it by messing up the drift. Im still pretty new to this stuff so for my first couple i decided to leave it alone.

I really didnt think it would make the handle to weak because i mean the eye is still the size of a normal hammer head and those take tons of abuse all day long. Do you really think that that transition will be too weak for throwing? Like if i just put a hammer handle on this thing instead would that be ok and its just because the transition on mine is to much between the wide portion and the narrow?

Link to post
Share on other sites

hammers and hawks/ hatchets perform different tasks so an eye for a hammer isn't suited to what a hawk/ hatchet go through. I wouldn't throw it. There are ways around any problem. If this is something you'd like to do more of, how about making tongs to hold the piece secure and perhaps you could either drift in the vise or make a large enough hole in a plate you could mount on something. There's more then one way to skin a cat. ( why does that phrase always come into my head? I've never skinned a cat or heard of any one doing so) 

anyway, doing some research on the subject will help you out. And some testing with that one. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

next time just make the transition from the head to handle a bit more gradual. the handle goes from thick to thin pretty quick which is a weak spot in the handle.

5 hours ago, Dustin Quade said:

worst case scenario

worst case scenario is that the handle breaks and injures someone else, but that is the same with all axes, tomahawks, picks, ect.

                                                                                                                             Littleblacksmith

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Daswulf said:

hammers and hawks/ hatchets perform different tasks so an eye for a hammer isn't suited to what a hawk/ hatchet go through. I wouldn't throw it. There are ways around any problem. If this is something you'd like to do more of, how about making tongs to hold the piece secure and perhaps you could either drift in the vise or make a large enough hole in a plate you could mount on something. There's more then one way to skin a cat. ( why does that phrase always come into my head? I've never skinned a cat or heard of any one doing so) 

anyway, doing some research on the subject will help you out. And some testing with that one. 

To be honest i never even considdered using my vice for drifting i dont know why though. Next time i get a good deal on some ball pien hammers i will try this again and drift. Rest assured i will post some pictures when i do.

12 hours ago, littleblacksmith said:

next time just make the transition from the head to handle a bit more gradual. the handle goes from thick to thin pretty quick which is a weak spot in the handle.

worst case scenario is that the handle breaks and injures someone else, but that is the same with all axes, tomahawks, picks, ect.

                                                                                                                             Littleblacksmith

I will post some pictures of my next handle attempt within the next few days, this time with much less meat on the transition. hopefully this will solve alot of the weak spot problems.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Dustin, great start here. I agree with some of the other folks here that a tapered eye (much like a hawk) may be better served in this case, but nonetheless you jumped in and gave something new a whack and did a pretty great job at it. I personally think this ax has a great shape from toe to heel. You can pick up tomahawk drifts from Kayne & Son for pretty cheap. They're cast but they'll get you through for plenty of years until it's time to upgrade to a tool steel one. 

Next round with a handle, I'd adjust your grain orientation a bit. This one has grain running perpendicular to the bit of the ax, you want it running with it. It'll give you a stronger handle that's less likely to break on impact or a bad throw. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I use a tomahawk drift I try to do my preliminary "heavy" drifting with a bull pin and then just do the final shaping with the hawk drift as the bull pins were a lot cheaper for me and being steel a lot more rugged allowing the hawk drift to last longer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

When I use a tomahawk drift I try to do my preliminary "heavy" drifting with a bull pin and then just do the final shaping with the hawk drift as the bull pins were a lot cheaper for me and being steel a lot more rugged allowing the hawk drift to last longer.

Oh man tht looks awesome. I have never actualy heard of this tool before! Learn something new every day right?

42 minutes ago, Benton Frisse said:

Hey Dustin, great start here. I agree with some of the other folks here that a tapered eye (much like a hawk) may be better served in this case, but nonetheless you jumped in and gave something new a whack and did a pretty great job at it. I personally think this ax has a great shape from toe to heel. You can pick up tomahawk drifts from Kayne & Son for pretty cheap. They're cast but they'll get you through for plenty of years until it's time to upgrade to a tool steel one. 

Next round with a handle, I'd adjust your grain orientation a bit. This one has grain running perpendicular to the bit of the ax, you want it running with it. It'll give you a stronger handle that's less likely to break on impact or a bad throw. 

Thanks for the advice. I will try to align the grain that way with my next one. I actually thought it was supposed to align the way i had it because my store bought axe had it that way. Live and learn. I actually have a hawk drift, I live near hamilton where the drifts and hardy tools and swage blocks that kayne and sons sells are made so i go right to the source :) its much cheaper that way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok so i got the second axe all finished up, sharpened and put on a handle. I tried to avoid that issue I had witht he first one by making a much gentler transition between the main handle and the part that actually attaches the head to the handle. I also used a metal wedge and wood wedge to make a snug fit. Only thing I didn't do was get that grain oriented correctly. It looked like it when i started profiling the handle but then the more wood i lost the more i realiesed it wasn't right.

13076855_10153581875136463_4784546127527930532_n.jpg

13102713_10153581895196463_5464768634458787217_n.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Look like early firemens hand axes. You still need to address the eye I see. Btw, hoe and rake handles make exelent tomahawk/belt axe handles

Yea i had already finished the forge work and stuff on the second axe head before i posted the pictures and started getting comments. It will be my next round of axes that get to be properly re-drifted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...