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What I've been up to lately...


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Okay, so it's an axehead soaking in vinegar. But what kind of axe? A boarding axe! Arrrr...

 

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That's after the vinegar bath and some wire brushing to remove scale. Here it is after profile grinding.

 

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But wait! There's two of them? There's actually twelve so far. As some of you know I have a standing commission from my best customer (who my wife calls my sugar daddy :rolleyes: ) to make as many axes as I can each year. He gives them as presents to his business associates. It's usually tomahawks, once it was spike axes, this year it's boarding axes. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812 ( a mere footnote in the Napoleonic wars to our European friends) I decided to make boarding axes of the sort that would have been carried by the American and French privateers who kept enough pressure on English shipping that the English decided to give up on fighting us and get back to the business at hand, i.e. defeating Napoleon before he annexed all of Europe. I thought about using the actual U.S. Navy pattern, but they're butt-ugly, so we went with the Privateer theme. These actually resemble French and Scandinavian boarding axe shapes, fitting for the volunteers who put to sea with whatever they could scrape together.

 

Look at the top after profile grinding. Remember those weld lines? Try and find them now.

 

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And after all the machine grinding is complete.

 

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That's a Trizact A45 finish using my new secret weapon, belt lube from Tru grit. It's a wax-type stuff you apply to the belt which makes for cooler grinding and a MUCH finer finish.

 

After this, they get heat-treated and hand polished to 400 grit, then engraved and handles added.

 

Here's the engraving layout for one side.

 

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And after engraving is complete.

 

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The other side just has the new owner's initials in a cartouche. Here's the whole thing:

 

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And here's a scene from last month:

 

ba 10.jpg

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Yeah, most of the privateers were Americans, with a few antiroyalist Canucks and the flotsom of international piracy that was still floating around the Caribbean. Remember Jean LaFitte and his crews joined the Americans at the Battle of New Orleans in 1814.

 

Anyway, here's a shot of the completed inventory so far, with a little bonus scalping axe destined for Iron in the Hat at Bowie's next weekend.

 

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Forgot the specs! These are forged from 1 inch by 1/2 inch mild steel, folded on itself with a 1084 bit, head length around 8 inches, an inch thick at the eye. 26 inch handles of curly maple, total weight around 1.5 pounds. Vicious little buggers they are!

 

 

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-Thats some serious grinding right there. Very nicely done! What are the dimensions?

 

You should see the amount of grinder dust! Specs posted just above your post. ;)

 

This weekend I'll get some shots of the actual forging sequence, I haven't taken any thus far.

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They look great Alan! Boarding axes are awesome, very pirately.

I can't imagine how incredible it must be to have a customer like that!


Strike that, what I need is a customer who will buy everything I screw up! :blink:

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Alan - that is great. I have just gotten to the point where I have a few collectors. They sure make what we do a lot better (we do it better because we want to keep them expecting less than they actually get), and because it takes so much of the stress out of making and selling stuff.

 

You are really groovin' on those axes. I like the historical themes that you pull together.

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Thanks, guys!

 

It is VERY nice to have this client, but it is also full-on production work. This is about two months worth of evenings and weekends so far where I haven't been doing anything else. I am not complaining, though! Repetition is how you get good at something.

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Love them!!!

 

Great work Alan.

 

They hanged one of my direct relatives, for "privateering" a bit longer then the war went on.
That branch of the family is still rich from the money they made taking ships in 1812.

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Thats awesome, no wonder you're so good at axes! I really like that style of engraving too.

 

Your teaser pic I thought it was a wootz ingot with the glass still on top!

 

btw, gotta ask Alan what ever happened to that multi bar sword you mentioned awhile back? burried under axes... :P

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Very nice Alan the handles really go good with them, I have never tried belt lube that's a good tip. I thought your first picture was some dark beer about to be fermented, the hops are finishing here.

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Hey Alan, you ever build just one anymore???? Holy Cow when you get to going you are like a production machine! So have you got a sideline in privateering, Alan?? Last time you went into mass production you were knee deep in tomahawks if I remember right! So is this the same client??? Not being nosy just.............OK being nosy! :rolleyes: WOW you have been a busy man! You ever feel like your chasin you tail?s11779.gif

 

Sorry I just couldn't resist that one!s12137.gif

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Alan, if you have photos of the beginning process in the coal forge. It be nice. I've assembled a forge for coal and have done some work at forge welding.

These are really nice, I like the shape and consistency between each. That's not easy to do. Someday I hope to make a small chore type axe for the future. I am leaning towards a "cork harvesting" shape.

 

Gary

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Thanks again, guys! And Randal, who do you think you're kidding, you're STILL a privateer. ;)

 

Thats awesome, no wonder you're so good at axes! I really like that style of engraving too.

 

Your teaser pic I thought it was a wootz ingot with the glass still on top!

 

btw, gotta ask Alan what ever happened to that multi bar sword you mentioned awhile back? burried under axes... :P

 

Ask not about the sword lest the sword ask about you... :ph34r: No, actually it's now a short sword and a proto-spearhead or dagger due to an unrecoverable welding flaw eleven inches from the tip. Still on the bench waiting for the end of axe-making season for me to have time to build a sword HT furnace so I can finally finish it. And the other two sword blades on the bench. Don't ask. :lol:

 

 

Alan, if you have photos of the beginning process in the coal forge. It be nice. I've assembled a forge for coal and have done some work at forge welding.
These are really nice, I like the shape and consistency between each. That's not easy to do. Someday I hope to make a small chore type axe for the future. I am leaning towards a "cork harvesting" shape.

Gary

 

I'll take some shots of that this weekend, Gary.

 

Nice bunch.

Are you still using an air powered respirator when you grind? Was it a Trend? Mine is dying and I need to get a new one.

 

Mine was the 3m/Racal Powervisor, and it is deceased. I think Dave has the Trend, though. I need to replace mine, and am leaning towards one like Owen's with the hardhat visor and the filter can and fan on the waist. In the meantime I've just been grinding with a big fan blowing perpendicular to the belt about three feet away. Keeps me fairly dust-free, but it leaves a drift of dust all over the hot side of the shop, so I have to run the shop-vac after grinding lest I track it back into the house.

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