brickman

Bearded Axe WIP (first bladed project)

15 posts in this topic

This is my first blade project, it started out as a ball peen hammer. 

Here it is a few hours of forging before i started grinding. 

jSYtxxL.jpg

I then hot cut off the ball on the end of the hammer and did a lot of work to straighten the front of the axe and smoothen it out, as well as some extra shaping on the "beard"

815jkrR.jpg

I just started grinding on it last night and still need to do a fair amount as you can see some occlusions that i hammered into it =/.. Overall i'd say i'm relatively happy with how it's turning out, but with my 1x30 grinder i'm not sure i'm going to be able to make the lines under the beard that i really want to.. we'll see though..

This being my first real bladed project, if anyone has any critique or tips, let me know =]..

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Looking good so far.  In the end run it is going to be all about the heat treatment if you want a usable tool.  Leave yourself at least a dime's thickness on the edge before you go for the quench.  Heat treatment of axes is a bit tricky, as the eye section wants to be relatively soft and the edge hard, but not brittle.  It is a juggling act regarding quenching and tempering, and to some extent the procedure is different depending on what equipment and tools you have.  Some heat and quench the entire head, then temper it back using a heated drift.  Others differentially heat only the edge with a torch and quench that.

Hopefully you started with a good quality hammer head that will benefit from heat treatment, rather than a cheap knock off from mild steel with a case hardened face.

My first tomahawk was made from a 2# ball peen as well.  I did drift the eye open larger though, so had a drift to use to accomplish the final tempering.  Looks to me as though you are just using the former hammer eye as the axe eye, so tempering will be a little tougher (no pun intended).

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1 minute ago, Latticino said:

Looking good so far.  In the end run it is going to be all about the heat treatment if you want a usable tool.  Leave yourself at least a dime's thickness on the edge before you go for the quench.  Heat treatment of axes is a bit tricky, as the eye section wants to be relatively soft and the edge hard, but not brittle.  It is a juggling act regarding quenching and tempering, and to some extent the procedure is different depending on what equipment and tools you have.  Some heat and quench the entire head, then temper it back using a heated drift.  Others differentially heat only the edge with a torch and quench that.

Hopefully you started with a good quality hammer head that will benefit from heat treatment, rather than a cheap knock off from mild steel with a case hardened face.

My first tomahawk was made from a 2# ball peen as well.  I did drift the eye open larger though, so had a drift to use to accomplish the final tempering.  Looks to me as though you are just using the former hammer eye as the axe eye, so tempering will be a little tougher (no pun intended).

I planned on trying to just do an edge quench if possible, i'm actually going to take this into the blacksmithing class i'm taking to have them assist in the quench process to make sure i do it correctly as it's my first time.. There is still quite a bit of width in the material by the bladed edge and i planned on keeping a fair amount there as you said =].. Thanks for the critque

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I drift out my ball peen hawk eyes too as they are often fairly small for a working axelet.  I use a bull pin for the drift and then do the last bit with a proper eye drift.   I have a hawk drift but I prefer to use the hammer handle drift as hammer handles are cheaper and easier to find out here.

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5 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

I drift out my ball peen hawk eyes too as they are often fairly small for a working axelet.  I use a bull pin for the drift and then do the last bit with a proper eye drift.   I have a hawk drift but I prefer to use the hammer handle drift as hammer handles are cheaper and easier to find out here.

I didn't really think of it being too small for a hatchet, but i didn't think of it too much in the beginning. I dont have any drift tools at home D= but could potentially drift it larger at my blacksmithing class on saturday.. Since i've already done so much shaping and grinding on the back end should i drift it out more?? 

Not sure how much i will actually use this, i figured i would make a decent handle but hang it in my shop as a reminder that this was my first project and to aspire to get better and better with each new project, so i want it to be functional but i'm not planning on using it much (maybe it will just end up being a handle shaping axe for my new ones)

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If you ever use a coal forge it is handy to have a kindling hatchet to hand and especially at Demos to have one you forged yourself!

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38 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

If you ever use a coal forge it is handy to have a kindling hatchet to hand and especially at Demos to have one you forged yourself!

All i have is a coal forge currently :P, i'm thinking about building a propane one this summer.. Was actually planning on making a kindling chopping knife out of a RR spike on wednesday... (i have a bucket of RR spikes, so just trying to really get decent at shaping / forming by using them before i break into using my good steel)..

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31 minutes ago, Desmond Redmon said:

Looks like a good start man, keep it up :)

 

Thanks! 

I really want to make axes as one of my main points in forging, so i need lots of practice :P.. although i think the next one i'll make will probably be a medium carbon steel body with a high carbon steel edge forge welded in.. need to practice some forge welding though. and i need drift tools for the eye.

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Well as I've said before: find your handle source and then make the final drift to match.  You can save a lot of time in fitting handles that way!

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3 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Well as I've said before: find your handle source and then make the final drift to match.  You can save a lot of time in fitting handles that way!

I plan on custom making all my handles, so i imagine ill be fitting them all the opposite direction, so i think i've cornered myself into spending time fitting handles :P

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I prefer to be forging metal to working wood---though a good belt grinder will speed that up a lot.

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The technique I use for non polled axes etc. is that I heat treat it like I would a chisel.

Heat up a little past the cutting edge and quench the first inch or so of the blade. Then I let the residual heat from the body of the axe pass up to the edge until the tempering oxide that I desire reaches the edge, and quench the edge again. keep doing this until there is not enough heat to draw colors. This is a quick way to heat treat a tool like that.

looking good so far by the way.

                                                                                                                  Littleblacksmith

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12 hours ago, littleblacksmith said:

The technique I use for non polled axes etc. is that I heat treat it like I would a chisel.

Heat up a little past the cutting edge and quench the first inch or so of the blade. Then I let the residual heat from the body of the axe pass up to the edge until the tempering oxide that I desire reaches the edge, and quench the edge again. keep doing this until there is not enough heat to draw colors. This is a quick way to heat treat a tool like that.

looking good so far by the way.

                                                                                                                  Littleblacksmith

Thanks! ill have to try that technique!

12 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

I prefer to be forging metal to working wood---though a good belt grinder will speed that up a lot.

I enjoy both ;P

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