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Hatchet Design


Dan Scott
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Hey. I am designing a hatchet and so far have been doing a ton of sketch work. I am hoping to make it out of a single piece of 1095 bar stock of the following dimensions: .25" x 2" x 18". My current forge cannot reach welding heat (although it is soooo annoyingly close :( ) so I have to do this one without welding, which has been my major design challenge.

 

Anyway, I am planning to bend the bar stock along its x-axis (assuming the x-axis is oriented along the 18" length, the y-axis is oriented parallel to the 2" length, and the z-axis is oriented with the .25" length) until it forms the following shape I've sketched:

 

hatchet1.jpg

 

Then, I plan to flatten the formerly square end until the entire thing looks something like this (ignore the stripes for now):

 

hatchet2.jpg

 

Then, after filing the blade and shaping it up a bit, I plan to put a paracord or similar handle on the thing. Anyway, I'm wondering whether 1095, or any steel, can take being twisted, especially along that axis, and still stay relatively strong.

 

I think it should be able to take this sort of beating as long as I properly heat treat it afterward, but my only worry will be that it will be nearly impossible to get it to take the kinds of bends I want to put in it as designated by my sketch. I am pretty sure it will twist radially around the x-axis as I try to bend it, and I know I can flatten it out again by beating parallel to the z-axis, but I also think that as I flatten it, the bend I put in it will simply straighten again, defeating the purpose.

 

If anyone has attempted a similar project, do you think the bar will be able to take those bends the way I want it? I would normally experiment here, but I'm 15 and don't have a very good job, so this 1095 I have is like gold to me now

 

 

Thanks to all who answer!

 

-Dan

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that's a pretty cool design idea for those of us who can't weld. i'm totally going to steal that from you haha

 

edit: come to think of it, i'd also thicken the head up a little bit by upsetting it just to get a little more heft behind the head

Edited by C Daniel

i only need 3 things to be happy: my girlfriend, my forge, and fruit juice.

 

Casey W Daniel

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Haha, cool. Yeah, I am going to try for a wider head as soon as I have a chance to work on it again. I just finished putting the first bend (the one right behind the head) into it and I almost have the bend right before that one put in. This is turning out to be a very tough project. Getting the bar to bend like that is hard work, but it seems to be coming along alright. And, something I didn't account for previously has happened: the bending behind the head has pushed more metal into the head area, so I should be able to get a greater width than my first estimate (4 inches) for the blade. I'm hoping to get it closer to 5 inches now and still have a thickness of around 1/8" in the forward section of the head. I would have finished it tonight, but it started pouring rain, and I can't seem to keep my anvil dry enough to keep the piece up to forging temperature for very long :( .

 

Anyway, it's coming along nicely so far. I think the 18" bar I chose to work with is juuuust the perfect length.

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a wet anvil face isn't always a bad thing, though. the steam will help blast off scale. i'm going to try for a longer handle and head, so i might go with 25 inch stock just so then i'll have more room to work with, knowing how i screw stuff up haha.

 

what're you doing for sharpening? are you going to forge in the bevels or strictly stock-remove?

i only need 3 things to be happy: my girlfriend, my forge, and fruit juice.

 

Casey W Daniel

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I just finished what I think is going to be all of the forging process today. I ended up forging the bevel, and I tried to pound the handle a bit thinner, which is what I'm looking for (it's currently at a width of 2 inches, I'm looking to get it down to around 1). However, it's simply going to have too much mass in the handle unless I stock remove some of it. So, since I won't get steel like this again for a while, I've decided to cut off parts where I need the handle to have less width and try to salvage those parts into something else, not quite sure how that will go, but I hope it will work.

 

Anyway, I tried it in hand and it's got a TON of swinging power behind the head. I ended up leaving the head at around 3.25 inches at the blade, which seems to fit the rest of the hatchet. Still, I'm loving how much force I get with the swing in this design, and then again, I'll get even more force once I shift the center of balance where I want it through stock removal :D .

 

And yeah, I think a 25" piece would work well. I screwed up the bends I made on this one a few times today, just ended up spending more time to get them the way I wanted.

 

Oh, here are some pics of it coming out of the forge. I just finished annealing it (but haven't been able to clean it up, hence all the ash and scale):

 

hatchet3.jpg

 

hatchet4.jpg

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i can see where you tried to thin it down, and what i suggest is thin it down first, then cut off the extra you don't want on there. you know what i mean? it'll probably take a bunch of patience to get it down to the width you want. i'm getting a buddy of mine to help me with striking for that. it looks awesome, though! i'll post my version after i get it forged. job applications are eating my time right now lol

i only need 3 things to be happy: my girlfriend, my forge, and fruit juice.

 

Casey W Daniel

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It did take a bit of patience, but I had some new tools (rather, my dad had new tools :D) so it hasn't taken too long so far. Of course, I'm only finished with the rough grinding for the handle and edge. I had an edge on it just to test it out (it worked wonderfully) but I have since rounded it off because I want to be able to heat-treat it safely. Of course, right after I rounded it off, I heat-treated a sample piece and realized I rounded it off so much that I'd be spending hours trying to put a good edge on it while it's hard, so I'm going to put most of the edge back on. Anyway, here are some pictures of it right now. I will hopefully get a bit more grinding done today, then do the heat-treat this weekend.

 

I think I may drill some holes in the handle. Currently the balance is around 2-3 inches from the head, but I might want it around an inch from the head.

 

Also, can't wait to see how this will turn out for you, especially if yours is a bit longer, that will definitely be cool!

 

Pictures:

 

hatchet5.jpg

 

hatchet6.jpg

 

 

This one is supposed to show the taper along the head, but my camera isn't nice enough (or I'm not a good enough photographer) to make this a better shot.

hatchet7.jpg

 

 

This is a cut into a 4x4 with a completely rounded edge. It almost cuts pretty nicely right through one of these (with a few swings) when it has an edge.

hatchet8.jpg

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Neat idea, I've never one like that before.

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i got mine all forged today, one head failed because i tried to make the second turn WAY too tight,and it broke off when i tried to twist it out of a piece of wood. i made a knife out of the head of that one, out of spite to whatever gremlin decided to hex my steel. haha

 

the second one, i tried really hard to not put so much stress on the turns, and it turned out a lot better. i'm not quite done with it, and i'll finish it up when i get some more gas (i ran out of oxy/acetaline on this one haha)

 

pictures to come soon

i only need 3 things to be happy: my girlfriend, my forge, and fruit juice.

 

Casey W Daniel

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DSCF2161.jpgDSCF2162-1.jpgDSCF2163-1.jpg

there we go. at least i hope i did them right.

 

 

edit: i'm going to wrap the handle in leather, and do an inscription of "Blood and Thunder, I'll take you Under" in runic.

Edited by C Daniel

i only need 3 things to be happy: my girlfriend, my forge, and fruit juice.

 

Casey W Daniel

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That looks like one heck of a chopper there! Great job! Those bends must've been pretty tough to put in. Did you use some sort of bending apparatus or just an anvil horn? I couldn't imagine doing that sort of a bend on my anvil, but it looks like it worked out great. Also, what are the dimensions on it and what type of steel did you use?

 

-Dan

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That looks like one heck of a chopper there! Great job! Those bends must've been pretty tough to put in. Did you use some sort of bending apparatus or just an anvil horn? I couldn't imagine doing that sort of a bend on my anvil, but it looks like it worked out great. Also, what are the dimensions on it and what type of steel did you use?

 

-Dan

 

well, i used a peice of angle iron, cut down the middle for the both of them. the frist one gave me problems when i was trying to put the twists in, and i ended up trying a bunch of different things, which weakend the steel. i upset the end of the second one for the bit part, and it's the first time i've tried to upset steel and i'm surprised how well it turned out. i use a peice of railroad track for an anvil made into kind of a saw-horse looking thing with angle (angle? from me? what a surprise!), and i heated up the part i wanted to twist, and put it over the edge, then hit the cold part past it, then corrected the bend. that only got it to a right angle, so i did the same thing over the side of the top of the angle iron. looking back, i would have welded a peice of rebar to the anvil, and bend it over that. it would have taken less effort, because the sharp corners of the cut-off angle caused a lot of stress in the steel. i need to temper it in the oven and all that, but it should work great. quenched 3 times in water before i put in the second bend.

 

i'm not sure of the dimentions, the bit is about 2 inches, the handle is like 2 feet, and i'm going to be putting a bit on the end for using as a pry-bar.

i only need 3 things to be happy: my girlfriend, my forge, and fruit juice.

 

Casey W Daniel

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Sounds good.

 

Well, I just finished my hatchet. It survived the quench, which I consider to be extraordinarily lucky, considered the head is only 1/8" 1095 and I quenched in cold water. Still, I tempered at around 475 degrees for an hour and a half. This is the first blade I've actually been able to harden correctly (because it's the first I've made with a steel that can be hardened correctly, 1095) so I think I got it alright. I have sharpened it and it cuts very well and holds its edge alright (which will be tested further when I get out and use it next weekend).

 

I gave it a nylon wrap handle. I am probably going to leave it as is. I like the look right now, and I don't think it will look any nicer if I sand and polish it all up anyway.

 

Overall, this is the very best piece of work I have ever done.

 

 

Here are some pics:

 

hatchet1.jpg

 

hatchet2.jpg

 

hatchet3.jpg

 

hatchet4.jpg

 

hatchet5.jpg

 

hatchet6.jpg

 

hatchet7.jpg

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Congratulations. You just reinvented the MAX Mini Ax.

 

http://www.topsknive...?products_id=94

 

 

Still a very cool design, though... and that you came up with it independently says something about your vision. Lesson learned, though, there's almost nothing new under the sun.

Edited by Christopher Price

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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That mini ax is pretty cool looking, thanks for showing it. And you're pretty much right, coming up with something truly revolutionary is hard, but I try my best, and that's all anyone can ever do. That said, I'd totally prefer my ax to that one ;) .

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Truth. The few "original" designs I've come up with all stink. Man has been using knives for thousands of years... the good designs are the old tried and true ones. Small innovations, minor modifications to suit intended use, and materials choices are pretty much all that's left to a modern maker.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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