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Aiden CC

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Posts posted by Aiden CC

  1. The way I've done this in the past is by completely finishing the profile of the handle while firmly pinnec before glue up, then etching the knife. Then during the glue up, I make sure to clean all of the squeezed out epoxy off the profile with a solvent (I personally like acetone). You probably already do this on the top edge of the scales anyways with full tang knives, though it is more challenging to go all the way around. I think some people also use petroleum jelly to keep epoxy from sticking to surfaces on knives, so that could work here too.

    • Like 1
  2. 7 hours ago, Rob Toneguzzo said:

    If you can forge this you can forge anything. Great work!

    Thanks Rob! I definitely have a long way to go with forging these and I think it will serve as a good way to branch out beyond the "flat and pointy" that has made up most of what I've forged.


    16 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

    Most axes "back then" were used of of doors,exposed to all weathers.

    If a properly tightened hourglass-shaped tongue gets wet,it almost always would compress the wood fibers past it's elastic limit-i.e. crush them.It has no place to go.Such haft can never again be made tight but can only be fixed by replacement.

    But  that conical job allows for the haft to slither out a critical amount on it's own,as the wood expands and the pressure mounts,saving the haft from being ruined.

    The obverse of this coin is of course just what you say,it can do it's self-dismount in some unhandy moment,and fly off in some unhandy direction. 

    Ah, that makes sense. I've seen a lot of old axes/hatchets with eyes full of steel wedges, nails, and screws to try and address that shortcoming. I guess forging top tools are sometimes hung with a single taper and no wedge, since the abuse they see would likely lead to rattling if not for some quick way to re-tighten them. 


    Also, on the note of handles, I found some pictures of a few old ones on the Swedish digital museum site I have used in the past to find pictures of original Sami pieces:



    The top axe is from the 20th century, and the bottom one from the mid 19th, and it's quite possible these are not "original" handles. All of the collared axes I saw on that site (my search is here: https://digitaltmuseum.se/search/?q= yxa&aq=type%3A"Thing"&o=0&n=944) had straight handles like these with minimal or non existent swells/knobs at the end. Sledge hammers are swung as hard as axes and are much heavier (though that does mean the swing is slower) and they have straight handles often with no knob or other contouring to speak of, so I can see it working fine for axes too (especially if the pole sees a lot of use). I don't think my blank would allow me to pivot to this style, so I'll go forward with the curved handle and see how I like it. Most of my tool swinging has been with the  straight, knobless handles of one and two handed hammers, so in retrospect an axe built that way might actually have been better for me personally.


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  3. On 9/8/2020 at 3:54 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

    * I'll be a bore and reiterate that originally(NO idea of historic time scale,also strictly IMHO) these were not an hourglass section eyes.

    Nor were the Kirves,either.

    However,at some point people ran into a necessity to secure the heads firmer,or something else was changing,i dunno,but for whatever reason they started wedging these in principle unwedged eyes.

    (and concurrently,it's a possibility anyway,Swedes started working for American market,and the real hourglass waist shape crept in there solidly).


    But even before that they wedged these eyes,and sometimes in a funky manner too.As an example i always think of that "snake head" wedge Finns liked(forgot the name in Suomi but it sounds cool,and the whole deal has that old/pagan cool-factor:)


    Anyway,just in case you or anyone reading this hasn't seen one here's a video about it(haven't watched it myself,but just as an example).


    Don't ask me how pressurizing the un-waisted eye is supposed to work.,and kinda suspect that it relies heavily on leaving an n-th length protruding,which of course swells up and will hold like the head of a bolt(indeed sometimes one does that with American axes as well).

    But anyhoo,that's one of the cool old aboriginal methods:)   

    The snake head wedge is pretty neat! I can definitely see a no-wedge fit developing enough friction to keep an axe head on, especially with a more gradual taper multiplying the force pressing out on the eye. That kind of friction can transfer a lot of torque in machine tools, and even take some axial loading. The thing I would find worrying is that unlike an hourglass, where the expanding force increases as you pull on the head, or an un-tapered fit (like a chuck or a collet) where the force stays the same until the two are pulled apart, this kind of taper loses holding force as the pieces slide apart (I've seen chucks/spindles drop out of old drill presses for this reason). I can see that as a good reason someone would want to get some material outside of the eye, or greatly increase the friction inside by pounding in a relatively large wedge. I may try this kind of eye at some point as well.

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  4. A small update:


    Handle fitting is progressing pretty well. I’m now at the point where a “normal” axe this size would be done, but there’s still a bit to go. The “waist” of the hourglass in the eye might me a bit too low, but the eye is far from perfect generally, and it should be serviceable. So far I’m enjoying the draw knife experience, though we’ll see if that’s true after shaping and slimming down the handle. 

  5. I’ve been going a little slow on this recently, but I’m still working on it. The axe is actually ground, but I don’t have a picture of it and it’s all packed up now.




    I’ll be away from my shop for a while, but I made a draw knife and will be hanging and finishing this one out by hand, which I’ve actually wanted to try for a while. 

  6. As per Jake's suggestion, I forged the bit down a little more. Looking at my example, it does look like the edge has been sharpened back a ways from where it started out, especially in the toe (which seems a common point of damage for all axes, including the one I usually take to the woods). In the process the pole popped off, which set me back a bit. I had a hard time getting it to stay tacked on for the first welding heat (I'm certainly no welder, but the poor penetration from my $70 flux core machine is probably also part of it), so the remnants of the bead I ran around it before forge welding show up here.



    The blade and pole are heat treated, and after the last minute forging and grinding the profile, comes in at 2 lbs 1 oz. I plan to work on the handle tomorrow. 

    On 8/27/2020 at 3:38 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

    Birch would be the right material for haft(this eye shape/size is designed around birch in particular;also being softer it absorbs effort better and feels much kinder and plain finer on your hand).


    For a bench use you may consider a shorter,straight haft.Skandinavian carpenter's axes often have that almost iconic to them austere straight haft with no swell.


    For the woods(joggling,or whatever Swedes liked to do with an axe out in the woods,they had a liking for the narrower-bladed axes and had a number of tricks they performed with them***,felling in a strange pattern for one),a longer haft would be appropriate,also slightly curved,and with a bit of a palm-swell. 

    Thanks for the info Jake, I hadn't seen those straight handles before!  Austere is definitely a good descriptor, and I like the style. The Finnish axes seem to be more common, which may be why I had only seen the curved handles with significant palm swells before. I'm also looking forward to using a wood somewhat easier to work than hickory, as roughing out blanks with a coping saw was a lot of effort. As for the use, I'm not 100% sure. There have been times when I wished I had a heavier axe/one with a hardened pole/that could be used a bit like a froe, but for the foreseeable future I will be a ways away from the place where I usually bust up stumps/downed limbs for handle material, so this one may not see the woods for a long time. I think I'll put a long handle that's straight until the palm swell on it, leaving the freedom to cut it down if I end up not using the extra length.


    Thanks everyone for the good advice and kind words!

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  7. Got the poll and bit welded in, and I think the forging is done! There was a tense moment when I dropped the whole head in my water bucket, but it seems like it's ok :blink:. The edge bit and poll are 1075, and the whole thing is pretty heavy, so that may have saved it.



    I'm going to grind the profile a little bit to check the welds, I thing that line coming from the eye is just there because I didn't blend the weld there as well as on the bottom/bit area. The polls on these seem to have lines chiseled around them, though I may do that with a grinder and file. The plan is to do a birch handle, not sure how long. The head will likely land at 2.25 lbs after grinding, an American axe that weight might have a 24-30" handle, though I'm less sure about Swedish ones. 

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  8. Thanks @Alan Longmire! It’s good to know that even a good weld would split there with mild. I used the drift to open up the weld more, put some flux with iron dust in it in the opening, closed it with the drift in there, then took a few welding heats. I also welded up the collar, which appears to be good. I started opening up the edge for the bit, and of course that part is welded solid! Would it be cheating to use and angle grinder :P? Maybe it’s how hot my shop was, but it was feeling like a lot of work with a chisel!



    I’ll take better pictures later after I cool off a bit. 

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  9. Forged another this morning, but failed in essentially the same way. 57E165C6-3D0C-452B-B4B2-1FE4F7E70754.jpegD788F406-7EE9-41C2-B3EA-84FB1EB3CB30.jpeg
    made the preform more like the James Austin carpenter’s axe, was fairly happy with it. Folding took a good bit of force, probably due to the collar. 


    This is where I had the problem. The eye ended up pretty closed to closing and when I went to drift it open, the weld split in the front of the eye. Does anyone have advice on this? I may try splitting this all the way open, cleaning the inside with an angle grinder, then re-welding it. I have enough steel (and possibly time/patience) left for one more, but if I’m going to keep failing at this step, it seems like it might be better to do it with an axe that doesn’t have so much prep work before welding. 

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  10. Ah, looking at James Austin's method, and the original piece, I can see where the the over-definition of the collar got me. It wasn't what caused me to scrap the head, but it would have eventually. It looks like the only "sharp" lines on the preform should be surrounding the rectangle isolated for the pole, and in the front of the eye. Another mistake I realized was that the edge of the collar should actually extend a bit past the step for the front of the eye, on my preform they trailed it a little bit. Also, the material I isolated for the pole was a little too big, which made the eye wonky. I'm also going to whip up a mini-horn to go in my anvil's hardy hole to actually reach inside the collar for that weld. Hopefully tomorrow's attempt will go better!

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  11. On 8/24/2020 at 2:35 PM, Alan Longmire said:

    I'm glad to see you taking this on!  That's some complicated forging that will teach you a great deal.  B)

    It’s probably the most complicated thing I’ve forged. On that note, there were some problems...




    Things were going pretty well, until a small portion of the inside of the eye welded to itself. I hadn’t finished the drift yet, so the eye kept getting more and more squashed. I went to open it up with a chisel, and opened up the eye weld, then heard a *ping* which turned out to be a crack starting out at the weld line and veering off through the bit. I think my preform wasn’t quite the right shape which caused its own problems, so I’ll restart this and try and set myself up better on the next try. I also have my drift finished, so I hope to avoid that pitfall as well. 

  12. 5 hours ago, Rob R Nunez said:

    If it is a problem would cutting the handle down to a hidden tang instead seem like a good way of saving the knife?

    You could also take some off of the profile on the half towards the tip so that the handle angles up from the cutting board slightly when the edge is resting on the board, if that makes sense. I tend to like chef's knives to be sort of triangle shaped and somewhat narrow towards the tip, so it could also be my personal preference coming through (though that shape does have some advantages like giving more board clearance for the same width at the heel). 

  13. I recently have taken up an interest in Swedish collared axes, and have some time now to take a crack at making one. After a lot of searching and a bit of luck/patience I was also able to find an original in my price range, which will be the rough inspiration for this project (though mine will end up being a little lighter).



    So far so good for my first wrapped axe I would say (though I still need to weld it :blink:). Not shown are the drift and bit I forged as well. I think I may not have as much meat as I want for the blade, though I'll deal with that when I get there. My plan is to weld the bit in at the same time as I close up the eye,  close up and weld the collar, then square up the pole and weld on a piece of 1075 there as well. I miscalculated the weight of my blank, so the piece of mild was only ~90g heavier than the original piece. Even though it will get a bit of mass from the bit and poll, I think grinding and scale will put it down bellow the 1060g of the original head.


    Thanks for looking, I hope to work more on this soon!

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  14. Lots of good advice here! One thing I might add is that an important feature of a chef's knife is how the knife stops at the end of a chop. Some of this is up to taste, but I've found that with the wrong geometry in the area close to the handle, you can get a situation where the blade doesn't have a good "stop" at the end of each chop and you can end up rocking your knuckles into the cutting board. It's hard to tell from pictures, but with a mostly curved edge like your knife it might be a possibility. I would definitely recommend rocking the knife back and forth on a flat surface to see if the chopping action is to your liking. If you find you bang knuckles, a little adjustment to the profile is usually all it takes to make a huge difference in the use of the knife.


    Great work so far and excited to see how these turn out!

  15. I think that could be feasible, though it's hard to see exactly what the bar he's welding on looks like. It seems like the edges of the bit would need to be tapered so they blend nicely to the body without shearing through it. Definitely agreed on the control while doing the hot cut, it seems like it would be really easy to tear the two pieces apart, especially given how heavy one of them is. It seems like his first welding pass was more to tack the two pieces together than anything and he welded/wrapped the bit around with the second heat. I think it I do it this way myself, I might bend the bit into a U first and cut it to length before welding to make things easier (his way sure is fast though!). I hadn't noticed the water on the anvil/scraping off flux/scale before, it's interesting to see it a European smith doing that.

  16. It looks like I'll have some time for bladesmithing soon and I think I'm going to attempt a swedish style collared axe. When doing a bit of internet research I found the video below showing one of these axes being forged by someone who has clearly made quite a few:


    There is a lot of interesting welding going on, but one thing that stood out to me was the way he welded on the bit (around 4:06). It sees like he is essentially just welding a piece of flat bar stock onto the end of the body of the axe, almost like you would the edge bar of a multibar knife blade. Does that seem like what's going on here? It's reminiscent of the overlaid bit on later welded axe heads, which I have done once with reasonable success, but it seems like the edge steel doesn't have the profile that it might have for that. Has anyone made an axe this way? It seems like it has the potential to save time over an inlay or overaly. Any interpretations of what the smith is doing or experience doing something similar would definitely be appreciated.

  17. I let the lacquer dry for a week before the final polishing, I think it will be a month or more before it's entirely finished drying. I made the mekugi from a small scrap of ebony, and now it is officially done.








    The knife is inspired by a midwinter night when the snow catches the light from a head lamp, streetlight, or the moon through a thin veil of clouds, gently sifting down and blown by the occasional icy flurry. Taking out the blade reveals the thin layer of fallen snow in the suguha hamon with a few storm clouds lingering near the tip. My goal was to capture the harsh but serene beauty of snowy nights like the many I've spent wondering in the woods and enjoying the crisp air, glittering tree branches, and soft silence. 

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  18. Between online finals, my KITH knife, and a commission for a handful of knives, I kind of fell off of this project for the time being, but I did get the handle on the small Sakha knife shaped and treated with tar. B2493148-939C-41DE-9D95-31DFCA5B7E75.jpegFDE24B0B-3AC6-4896-B087-E61BF6A3A489.jpeg

    I’m really happy with how this piece of wood turned out with the tar. I’m going to be away from my shop for at least three months, but I have a list of all the supplies I want to order and a reminder of the projects I’m working on. It may be in a while, but I do plan on coming back around to make sheaths for these knives and probably making a few more. 

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  19. Yeah, the geometry doesn't really have the wiggle room to go digging for a cleaner hamon and I've definitely improved a few knives to death so I'll leave it other than maybe the gentle application of some SiC. I need to figure out the right lighting to capture it in a picture, but the hamon does have the snowy look I wanted.

  20. I ended up switching from Brass-o to a different polishing compound and did three more etches with particular attention near the tip. I think there are some very shallow hardened spots up there, and it was generally a challenge to get good definition. I ordered some loose Si carbide

    which I may apply to the hamon to try and crisp things up just a little more. I just got it to where you can see the turn-around of the main hamon in the right light:


    Part of me wants to try and grind through those spots, but there’s no telling how deep they are and I should probably leave well enough alone. Having some clouds isn’t too far of theme anyways. Otherwise, I’ve just been putting more black lacquer on the saya and tsuka, I’ll probably wet sand it tomorrow and put in one last coat then move on to the other color and clear coats. 

  21. I got most of the polishing done today. Decided to try lemon juice for the etch, I like the results, though I may go for a few more cycles. There is some funny stuff going on at he kissaki, with the hamon getting a bit washed out. I was going for a blanket of fallen snow, but it seems like some storm clouds may have rolled in too :D. I say this when I did a test etch too and I'm convinced now that it's in the steel and not the polish. Also, these are super hard to photograph! I may try waiting for a cloudy day and taking better pictures then also possibly trying a better camera than my phone. These were taken inside by a glass door, the light was ok, but outside with cloud cover or at sunrise/set might be better.








    Also put the first few coats of lacquer on the tsuka and saya and worked on a few test coupons. I think I've made some decisions about how I'm going to do this, but I'll show that when I get to it on the real thing. Looking at he pictures, maybe the etch needs to be a little deeper. I'm also waiting on some loose abrasive to lighten the hamon/bring out some detail. 

  22. Thanks! I was worried for a bit that it was too subtle. I’m using spray can lacquer from the hardware store for this, looking at the specs online I believe it is acrylic. It drys fairly fast, which is nice as well. I guess I could’ve saved some masking/cleanup and brushed on the black, but my plan for later requires something sprayable, so I just went with it for everything. 

  23. I haven't done anything with this specific alloy, but my job last summer involved working with other Ni alloys and I've done a bit with other gas-turbine blade alloys (casting and metallography though, no forming). Forging any alloy like this is going to be a challenge because they were explicitly designed to resist deformation at high temperatures, some even having ranges where their yield strength increases with temperature. I'm not sure about this alloy, but work hardening is something that might also be in play.


    Also, just looking at a data sheet, it seems like working above the maximum recommended working temperature causes hot short problems like you are having, which may also be a result of coming out of the forge too hot or even an increase in temperature from the deformation of forging. It seems like to forge this, you need to keep it in that 1850-2150F range and not to work it too hard (but work it hard enough to keep it hot). Doable in a mill where you can precisely control the temperature of your furnace and the parameters of the hot working, but considerably more difficult with a forge and power hammer. Maybe you could use your IR thermometer to make sure you don't work it over 1050C? You won't get the full temperature window to work it but then you know you won't be working it above the max temp.

    • Like 2
  24. @Emiliano Carrillo, I'll give the high grit before etch a shot. I may or may not be able to get loose abrasive in the time window I want to work on this, so I'll first try with what I have (Brass-o and some kind of automotive polish) and see if I can get he effect I want. I also may try some red/black oxide mixed with oil to darken above the hamon. Anyways, I got some more done on this:


    IMG_8437.JPG   IMG_8450.JPG

    The tsuka and saya are both made from a piece of alder, which I've heard is a decent analog for the wood traditionally used for this. It carved alright with my ugly saya nomi. Right now, the fit in the tsuka is very tight, the hope is that it will relax a bit when I do the filing on the tang after polishing the blade.


    IMG_8453.JPG   IMG_8454.JPG

    After carefully squaring up the mating surfaces, I shaped the outside of the assembly. This is going to be a kaiken style knife, so it won't have a lot of features distinguishing the right from left side. I added just a bit of curvature to the mounts and a slight asymmetric taper to the tsuka which is very hard to see in the photo. This means that the side with the edge is visibly discernible and once you get used to it can be reliably determined by feel. You can also see a sneak peek of the narrow suguha hamon in the second picture. Not shown is the mekugi ana which drilled so I could go into lacquering.



    Right now, this is just a tanto with a suguha hamon and a slightly odd choice of habaki material. The thematic elements of this piece really come from the lacquer and polish, so I've been doing some experimentation. Above are four test coupons I have been applying lacquer to over the past few days. The base color is going to be black, so I've been testing that. It looks like my procedure will be to apply a coat every 8-12 hours sanding to 220 in-between. Yet to be decided is if the black will be satin or buffed and whether I will use clear lacquer on top of the black and design elements. I don't plan on using sepa (though I will make one if things start to rattle), so I also put a few coats of lacquer on the exposed surfaces of the tsuka and saya. Going through the process of making a tanto for the first time in almost five years has been fun, but I'm also really excited to start getting into some of the thematic parts of the build.


  25. IMG_8431.JPGIMG_8433.JPG

    The habaki is basically done now, though it's still a bit snug and I may make it a bit shorter. The base is currently 27mm with a height of 24mm, so a bit less than 1:1 like Jake was talking about. This is the finish off of a sharp 120 grit belt. I may leave it there unless I get some stroke of inspiration for a way to decorate it that fits the theme.


    8 hours ago, jake cleland said:

    On mono steel though I think the best bet is to etch quite deeply - you're not just looking for surface oxides, you need to etch into the actual microstructure of the steel, and then you need to polish out all the oxides with a paste abrasive - I use autosol, but I think simichrome is preferred if you can get it.

    I have done some deeper etched hamons for western style knives (~5 minutes in dilute ferric chloride), but that seems like a bit much for this? The picture in my first post shows the results of alternating between swabbing with FeCl3 and polishing with paste abrasive. I'll probably try a short dip. I also heard somewhere that rust powder in oil can be used to darken the area above the hamon, so I may try that as well. The image I'm going for is "blanket of freshly fallen snow" so I'll likely try a variety of things until I get something that looks like that.

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