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I Forge Iron

Saving this axe, remaking this axe perhaps?

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This is for sale right next to me for a measly 5 euros. It's a billnäs 12.3 axe head and it looks in pretty rough condition, someone really hammered on that poll. I am wondering if it can be saved. Or remade for a new purpose?

My ideas are if I could heat up the poll and reforge it into shape, perhaps so hot it forged welded the cracks back (possibly not a realistic notion). Alternatively cheat and use tig welding and fusion weld the cracks, then reforge it. At the least hammer it back into something like the original shape while leaving the cracks might be an improvement.

My other idea is, I am in need of a hewing axe for some construction work, but they are quite expensive. My long term goal is to make my own axes, particularly of this style of eye, the finnish eye. So I was thinking if it would be a workable shortcut to fit this axe with a new and longer bit and make my own franken hewing axe (goosewing design, double bevel).

Is any of this realistic or am I setting out for disappointment and ruining an old axe. I got this idea of collecting these run down old axe heads that pop up now and then which are too worn for use anymore and start repairing them, fitting new bits (they are all forge welded with mild steel bodies and carbon steel bits, perhaps not the very last models in the 1960s) and selling them on.



BTW if you know Nils Ögren on youtube, he makes a lot of stuff I want to do.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, traditionally smiths were tasked with welding new HC bits into, or onto, axes where long term use had ground away the originals, so you would be in good company if you go for a restoration.  The real key is deciding how good you are at forge welding.  It certainly is possible to forge weld on a new poll, but it won't be the easiest weld to do and will most likely distort the eye quite a bit.  You will need a proper drift or mandrel to reshape it.  Otherwise Owen's suggestion is a good one if you just want to get to using it soon.  Just make sure to keep the bit cool enough so it doesn't get over tempered.

I don't know how things are over in Finland, but in my experience, unless you don't put a value on your time, you would be hard pressed to forge up a larger axe for less cost than buying a commercial one.  Manufacturer's have the economy of scale working for them.  That being said, I enjoy forging axes, so I don't count the cost. 

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