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How to Forge a Railroad Spike Axe (by thepxsmith) Smash the point into the shaft. Keep smashing. Try to keep it from bending while smashing. When you get to 4”-4.5” you can stop smashing (Your forearms will be super tight and your fingers curled permanently around your hammer by now). Make a slit in the top side. I use a slot punch, usually takes 3-4 heat cycles for me to get it through. Drift the hole out just a wee bit. No need to get crazy here, we will come back and refine this later. Flip it back to the side and hammer the “ears” down a little. This will also open the drift hole more so be subtle. Work the inside over the horn or some other smaller round bar to create the starting indentation for the beard. Continue to heat and work that beard. Use the cross-peen hammer to start fanning out the edge shape. Before the edge is thinned all the way beat that beard down in from the top to curl it inward. Keep the inside shape cleaned up over the horn. Once you have your blade/edge shape 95% finished go back into the eye and spread it the remainder of the way. Clean up the ears and then align the edge over the center using your final drift and a vice. Grind it, sand it, polish and buff to your hearts content. Remember: Whatever you do to one side of the axe you must do to the other. I even keep track of my hammer blows so I know what to replicate on the other side. Keep things aligned as you go. It takes time and patience but keeping it where you want it will help you finish it balanced and symmetrical. Use the proper tongs/tools. I use three different tongs to make mine: Gooseneck V-Bit Tongs Railroad Spike Tongs Bent Long Reach Pliers
I Built the starting bars a few years ago and found them again recently so I figured I would give this a shot. The starting bar is 3/4" thick, 2" wide and 4" long. I cut the end where the blade bit goes and welded a handle on it. Then I drew out the shank. I Jim's video he says to make the shank 1-5/8" wide, but it certainly doesn't look that wide in the video and I couldn't imagine how you could make the cheeks less than 2" tall starting that wide, so I made mine 1-1/8" wide. It was hard enough with that smaller width getting it 4-3/4" long. I put that little bevel in the end of the shank. Then I cleaned the weld boogers off the front end. (well, most of them anyway) I'll go clean this up a lay out the next steps.
First off: Thank you! to Jake Cleland for agreeing to let me muck about with his Drow Short Sword design. (http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=26418) So, with a major nod to Jake, here is my concept of a weapon produced as a collaboration between Drizzt and Bruenor. (If you don't get it...oh well) Once again; The drawing is full scale so I left out any measurements... Pommel to front of ring guard: 6" Ring guard to head (just above the twisted ear): 9.5" Edge: 4.75" The dotted lines in the head indicate my initial thoughts on forge weld overlap, those may/will shift a bit as things develop. The haft and tang will be cut/forged from a segment of leaf spring, leaving a wider section at the tip for more overlap with the head. The head and integral twisted ears will be forged from 1/4" mild steel then wrapped and forge welded around the haft. Lastly, I will forge weld in a tool steel bit. I haven't decided what steel to use in the bit, I have some lumber mill blade with enough nickel to give some great contrast with a light etch, which is my mental image, but 5160 bar stock or another piece of leaf spring may end up easier to weld. I will have to experiment a bit to decide. Any suggestions before I fire up the plasma cutter? James