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jim austin

Viking age axe tutorial

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Jim,

Wonderful exploration of the tool there..and the tools to make the tools.

 

I look forward to seeing Jeff's examples in bloom.

 

Ric

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Using the fullers on the ears like that really works, you can get things shaped exactly how you want B)

I have a couple wrought iron axes to finish up, then it is on to the bloom iron ;)

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Hmm i may try this this weekend. Beautiful work and thanks again for this excellent tutorial.

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Few days ago, i traded this axe with Jim. It is realy pleasure to work with his axe head, its beautiful, sharp and makes sense in every trait.

 

I wanted it to look nice but humble, like loved tool of precious iron. possesion of succesful craftsman, farmer or hunter, not a warrior

 

two years ago, i fell some ash tree and splitted it, part of it became the shaft. Tine from shed antler was carved to form edge protection (runes say one side: flesh protection, other side: steel protection)Thong is bark tanned calf leather from Danmark. End on handle is carved with simple tenril of ringerike style

axe_jim2.jpg

Edited by Petr Florianek
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Good for you guys! B)

 

I'm still taking a break from hawks. I did 24 last year... :wacko: Got something else going on for another week or two, THEN I'm gonna have to try one of these. ;)

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beautiful! just the thing for a man headed into the lappland in search for caribou!

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I just fell inlove with this thread. Thanks so much for sharing and thanks for all the research pictures Jeff. I have made hundreds of axes in my day and took about a 4 year break making only a dozen or so during that time but my fire is relit and I have started again. I want to make more forged axes and this was just the thing to inspire me.

 

Cant thank you enough for this thread. lets keep it going and hopefully I will have something neat to add soon.

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I thought I'd post a few broad axes that I've made since the broad axe tutorial. They're both made of 1018 and 1070. The first is in the same style as the tutorial piece/s but is forged out thinner and broader in the blade.

 

broad axe side.jpg

 

broad axe oblique front.jpg

 

Upon hafting this axe I was amazed at how light and agile it felt in spite of having about the same mass as previous axes (605 grams in this case). Its thin, sharp edge definitely wants to fly. The overall length from poll to edge is 8-3/4" and the edge length is 7-1/8". The 60" haft is of ash and is planed and scraped from a sawn blank so that the entire handle has a D-shaped cross section that just slips through the eye hole. The tight fit to the head is via the tapered top of the haft which locks into the tapered eye, and there is a bit of length there for driving the fit. The D-shaped haft x-section feels very secure in the hand, with traces of plane strokes giving some texture, and it really lets you know how the blade is oriented without even looking at it. The finish is, fittingly enough, Danish Oil.

 

The next blade is the heavy-edged Dane Axe:

 

Heavy side view.jpg

 

heavy top oblique.jpg

 

This axe has similar specs to the previous axe but has some extra steel in the edge to thicken it. It is also of 1018 and 1070. The weight of the piece is 635 grams. It has an overall length from poll to edge of 8-1/2' and an edge length of 7-3/4". This piece was much more complex to forge and finish than the plane broad axes. I will need to put a lot more effort into this style of axe before I feel that I have an efficient process for making it. Nevertheless I was very pleased with the result.

 

The last piece in this post is a broad axe in which I decided to lap-weld the steel onto the front of the 1018 body after riveting the two together to secure them during the weld (see two small dots in the weld zone).

 

Henrik Axe.jpg

 

Last time I'll do that. I made the lap too short and had a hard time trying to get the pieces to stick. By the time I was done I had lost some edge length and felt pretty frustrated. But in the end it came out nice and was soon purchased.

 

That's my progress to date. Yesterday I hardened and tempered three more broad axes and welded up the eye for another one. At this point it's probably getting a bit repetitive. Just to let you know, I have announced some classes in Viking Axe forging starting in a few weeks on both Monday and Tuesday nights. I would really like to teach this stuff.

Edited by jim austin

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Boy, would love to attend one of those! Oakland isn't THAT far from New Mexico...hmmm. Awesome work, Jim (and Petr...love the haft and guard).

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Jim

Such clean work . just beautiful.... I like them all but I especially like the Danish one with the steel welded on the outside.. Very cool... was there, or is there a specific use for that style? or is it just lighter and easier to use for all kinds of works.. Thanks for showing...smile.gif

Dick

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Ohhhh, man! :o You've got me drooling over here, Jim! :lol:

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Jim

Such clean work . just beautiful.... I like them all but I especially like the Danish one with the steel welded on the outside.. Very cool... was there, or is there a specific use for that style? or is it just lighter and easier to use for all kinds of works.. Thanks for showing...smile.gif

Dick

Richard:

 

The steel is actually inserted into a cleft in the body as on previous axes, but I didn't forge the steel to a sharp V before inserting it. This caused the root of the joint to gain thickness and form the shoulder on the outside. I think of the process as thickening the edge, not as thinning (lightening) the body. I am really not versed in the use of the axe in the old days but I guess that this design is able to give a stronger blow without as much of a chance of bending a tip or part of the edge. Were they going up against heavier armour when this design arose?

 

Stew:

 

Yes, finishing the axe head with the thickness step was a "pig".

 

Alan:

 

Don't drool on your tools as rust may be the result.

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Jim,

 

Thank you! This thread is wonderful. The amount of effort that you have put into researching these axes and the methods of production is priceless. As is the fact that you are willing to share. Thank you! There is just one small thing that is not in order here...

 

ATTENTION FIERY BEARDS

No fewer than 7 Fiery Beards have posted comments on this thread and yet... None have nominated Jim for ignition! How is this possible? Please. Please. Please. Redress this complete injustice!

 

Pardon the drama but, the chap certainly is deserving IMHO.

 

~Bruce~

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Y'know, Bruce, you're right. How about it, Jim, do you want to join Jeff to make one of the few multi-bearded shops in existance? I think the Mad Dwarves are the only other one. B)

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Heck yeah!

 

 

Hey wait..........This isn't like getting branded or anything is it?

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Depends on how enthusiastic Jeff is about setting you alight, I guess... :lol:

 

Photoshop yourself up a nice one, or the Dwarves can do a nice job on you if you ask them. I can do a crappy one, too. ;) Welcome to the club, such as it is. B)

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Just to let you know, I have announced some classes in Viking Axe forging starting in a few weeks on both Monday and Tuesday nights. I would really like to teach this stuff.

 

I did not see anything in the "Events of Interest" or the "Teachers Directory" sub-forums. You would probably generate a lot more interest by posting your classes in those areas. Not to mention, I'm curious if it is within my own (sigh) budget.

 

~Bruce~

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Richard:

 

The steel is actually inserted into a cleft in the body as on previous axes, but I didn't forge the steel to a sharp V before inserting it. This caused the root of the joint to gain thickness and form the shoulder on the outside. I think of the process as thickening the edge, not as thinning (lightening) the body. I am really not versed in the use of the axe in the old days but I guess that this design is able to give a stronger blow without as much of a chance of bending a tip or part of the edge. Were they going up against heavier armour when this design arose?

 

Jim,

 

I believe the extra mass at the edge would provide not only extra power to the stroke, but as you say also keep the edge stronger.

 

Ted

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Y'know, Bruce, you're right. How about it, Jim, do you want to join Jeff to make one of the few multi-bearded shops in existance? I think the Mad Dwarves are the only other one. B)

 

I second the motion!! The effort and generosity involved in this tutorial is well worth a fiery beard!

 

Also, I was was so inspired by Jim's fantastic tutorial I just had to give it a shot. Here is my attempt. It's made from mild steel and 1080, It has a split and lap welded eye and a split and welded bit. I think my eye was made from a bit more material than Jim's so I left a poll on the back. I'm not sure if its acurate but I like it non the less. I also may just grind off the heel bit on the bottom of the edge as I think it may look better otherwise and I think I can stand to forge out the blade a bit more.

 

I'm not sure if anyone else agrees but I felt that this method of forging an eye was actually much more enjoyable to do than splitting and drifting an eye open or doing a wrap around type weld, and something about it just seemed to make sense to me. I think it was being able to work the inside of the eye prior to welding as opposed to working the eye entirely over a mandrel as in the slit and drift method. It was also found it easier to weld the back of the eye on a mandrel as opposed to welding a wrap around type eye :)

 

Thanks Jim!!

 

axe035.jpg

 

axe032.jpg

 

axe040.jpg

Edited by J. Helmes

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The fact that Jims beard is not visible was wondering me, it had to be in unseen part of light spectrum. I hope that little infra or ultra treatment in PS will make it clear

Edited by Petr Florianek

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