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Forging a tomahawk my way, WIP


Alan Longmire

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  • 4 months later...

Thanks!

No, if the weld is going to fail it does it when drifting or when fitting the handle. I also test them by inserting the drift and whacking the side of the anvil before HT. If it survives that it will survive most abuse. I have never had one returned, so that test seems pretty conclusive.

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  • 5 years later...
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  • 1 year later...
  • 11 months later...

Alan, each time I read one of your WIPs, I'm even more impressed.  WoW - what a job you did on this project.  We all really appreciate not only your skills, but the time 'n effort you take to share with us mere mortals so we can learn. 

 

WOW - this is impressive work, the tomahawk but the WIP also.

 

Ken H> 

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  • 10 months later...

I know this is a very old thread but I’ve had it saved for a while looking towards the time when I would make a wrapped hawk. So my one big question at this point Alan is I see no real mention of sanding or cleaning the metal before forge welding. Looking at the pictures and just common sense tells me you’ve had this hot enough that you have scale buildup on the metal. Everything I know about forge welding says clean clean clean metal. In my situation I didn’t have any quarter inch mild steel bar so I forged down some three eights. Do I really need to grind this down to a flat clean surface again before attempting the forge weld? 
    Aaron 

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That depends on your confidence level and your forge atmosphere.  It doesn't have to be flat, as long as there are no hollows to form pockets of trapped flux.  If you use flux, that is.  I know folks who don't, but you have to manage your forge atmosphere to keep a slightly reducing fire to prevent scale buildup.  I work in coal for these, so it's fairly easy to keep it neutral to slightly reducing.

 

If I'm using 1018/1020 or wrought iron, I typically don't remove the scale.  If I'm forced to use A36, I do knock it off right before wrapping, using a 36 grit cup stone on an angle grinder.  I do this hot right out of the forge and sprinkle a little flux on the newly cleaned surface.  Take no chances with A36. Don't use it at all if you can help it.  I also use a mix of anhydrous borax and cast iron powder as flux. 

 

When you have the head wrapped and you're ready to start the weld, get it HOT.  Remember mild and wrought need almost white heat to weld happily. When you get to the edge steel, weld at the heat it likes.  5160 is good for this.  Stuff with higher carbon adds to the cracking risk if you get it too hot, and you don't want or need higher carbon for this application anyway.  That said, I do use 1075, 1084, W-1, and sometimes old files.  You just have to temper them way back.  

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Thanks Alan!! That was helpful! Have you ever used 80CRV2 for the bit? So this is how my day ended! I believe it was successful! I used 1.5” x .25 1018 that I forged down to size. I used 1080 for the bit. I somehow missed that you use 1.25 bar stock but that gives me more room to grind away imperfections!;-) I feel like the bit is sloped up on the top, not at a 90 from the eye. Check out the pic, I have the drift centered on a vertical line and the back of the eye even with a horizontal line. You can see where the top edge of the bit falls. The tear drop bit is new to me and maybe it’s just throwing off my eye?  I think my cutting edge will end up about 2.5”. I had hoped for bigger but I am limited by the chamber in my forge. 

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That looks good for a first attempt!  If you're feeling brave you can correct the eye angle by drifting it some more.  You'll want it a bit larger anyway if you use premade handles.  

 

If you do that, do it sideways with the blade clamped hard in the vise!  And do it with the eye at full welding heat.  Drifting to stretch the eye after welding is an excellent way to break the weld...

 

I have never used 80CrV2 for anything.  It should work fine for this application, though. 

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Exactly!  Glad you could figure out what I was talking about. :lol:  You don't even need to tap the end down, just drift a little to enlarge and it should straighten out.  If it doesn't, then consider tapping the small end down.  Or forge on the upper half of the eye with the drift in place.  That will stretch it a bit without threatening the weld.  I might actually recommend that, then drifting in the vise.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

So I need some more help on my Hawk! When I initially forged it and finished it you could see maybe a 3/16 line at the beginning of the blade where the forge weld didn’t take. I wasn’t too concerned at the time. It seemed like a small spot and within tolerances of my first welded hatchet. I put a handle to it and started using it. The crack grew may be 1/8” in length and opens just a tuch with use. I hung the hawk on the post that supports the front porch of my Forge. It hung there for about a week. When I took it down this is what I found! I threw it a little more and the crack widened more but didn’t grow in length. So I do appreciate all the tips or tricks for re welding this! 
     Aaron 

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That's why I don't throw them. :lol:

 

Seriously though, that shows the weld didn't take at the eye.  At this point I'd call that one a learning experience and make a new one, but you can certainly try to re-weld it.  Use a lot of flux and work from the blade back towards the eye if you choose to try.  If all you're wanting to do is throw it, you can also just clamp it tight and arc weld the seams top and bottom, then grind flush.  Assuming you have access to a welder.  Stick, MIG, TIG, or oxy-acetylene all work fine for that purpose.  

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Thanks Allan! Should I be concerned of possible forge scale or contaminants on the metal? If so is there something I could soak it in to help clean the surface before trying to re forge? 
       Throwing  is rough on it! But that’s part of the fun of a tomahawk! That said I’m sure it would’ve still suffer the same fate if I was just using it to chop with. If my welding was good it shouldn’t be an issue though! 
      I do have access to stick welder. I think I will stick it back in the Forge to try re forge welding. Then I may also lay bead of weld in the point of the eye just for added insurance.

       Thanks

Aaron 

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It should be fairly clean, or least clean enough that flux will take care of any issues.  Use as reducing a fire as you can manage to minimize scale, and don't hit too hard and thin it out too much.  That's what usually happens to me if I try to save one that didn't stick the first time.  I give them three tries during the initial forging, and one rescue attempt if it splits while drifting.  Beyond that, it goes on the pile under the forge.

 

I think for your purposes the added spot weld is a good thing.

 

Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well I believe I was 90% successful in re forge welding. But I still layed a bead of weld in the point of the eye with the stick welder. 
     Time will tell. 
Aaron

Edited by Aaron Gouge
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