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I Forge Iron

Poor Technique For Axe Head Forging?


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I am a weapons collector (not a blacksmith) and a local blacksmith says that he is forging his axe blades and eyes separately and then welding them together at the joint (shown in the attached photo). Is this a no-no? 

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A no-no in terms of what? In your experience do they hold up to use, or are they wall hangers?

If he is forge welding the sections together prior to heat treatment, that is an acceptable method of construction.  Historically there are many axes that are constructed from multiple parts that are forge welded together.  Typically only the bit and poll surface were a high carbon steel suitable for hardening, and the balance was cheaper wrought iron or mild steel.  Even today many smiths use a variety of forge welded configurations for making axes.

On the other hand, if he is arc welding the high carbon blade to a mild steel eye after the former is heat treated, I would find that unacceptable. However, if the correct welding procedures and materials are used, and he properly heat treated afterwards, the axes will likely be functional.

Aesthetically I'm not a fan of the grind marks he leaves at the join between blade and eye sections, but that is subjective.  I think it detracts from the hand forged look of the piece and certainly makes me think he is arc welding the sections together, but he could just be having trouble blending his forge weld.  I'm also not a big fan of pinned axe heads.  You can see where it apparently split the haft in the photo.

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I suppose if he sells his work and doesn't misrepresent the methods it's okay. The look as shown isn't to my taste, the transition from pol to blade is awfully abrupt. 

The pin in #3 shows the weakness of pinning. Wood swells and shrinks with moisture changes and if it isn't bone dry when fitted and it shrinks then all the force of chopping concentrates on the pin and seeing as it's splitting the wood grain it's more likely to split as shown.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I agree with what Latticino and Frosty said. I've seen a lot of videos lately of axes that people have made from grinding down and/or welding together axe heads, and I always get nightmares about what would happen if one of those welds were to let go.

Addendum: looking more closely at the photo, I'm thinking that those blades aren't actually forged, but just some flat plate that's been hammered roughly to give it some texture.

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