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Copper and wrought iron ceremonial axe head


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I started this axe head about two years ago as an exercise in shallow relief and inlay. (I posted some WIP photos at that time but they seemed to have disappeared into the nether regions of this forum.) Last week a client visited me at home and he saw the axe head. The next day he called me and asked me to finish it for him.

I had a bit of clean-up left to do on some of the carving, or so I thought. More than a year of practising carving since I last worked on this axe has gone by and I was horrified at all the mistakes that suddenly became visible. I managed to fix the obvious ones and left the rest for posterity.

 

The head is copper, the blade is wrought iron. The fitting of the two is akin to a jigsaw puzzle. I did some silver wire inlay to hide the places where the joint went off kilter.

 

axe2.jpeg

 

axe.jpeg

 

Questions and comments welcome.

Edited by Tiaan Burger
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Looks great!

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Beautiful work. I hope to do some carving similar to that soon. Never occurred to me to use copper though. May be a place to start before I carve steel. Looks really great together. I can't imagine how many hours you've got into that. Thanks for the inspiration!

Ed

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Thank you all. The client picked it up this morning, he phoned me later to say "I like looking at it, it makes me smile."

I did not fit a handle, it might happen in the new year, or the client will take it to someone else for handle fitting.

 

Ed, copper seems easy to work with until you actually work it. If you are going to carve copper I suggest that you work harden the piece before carving as it will cut cleaner and it loses a bit of that "stickiness". Annealled copper is a horrible metal to carve, using a lube helps a lot; I use "Tapmatic Edge" on my chisel tips when carving.

 

If the piece cannot be work hardened you can try age hardening. Many copper alloys can be age-hardened by letting it soak in an oven set at 280 deg C (536 deg F) for 2 1/2 hours. (I still have to try this on copper, I have done it with bronze and sterling silver)


Edited by Tiaan Burger
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Oh, yeah, I remember that one. I love it! B) It makes me smile too.

 

If you can find the original thread the pics are probably still there. You'll need to edit the links. A lot of the old posts have the URL set to forums.dfoggknives.com, and if you reset that to bladesmithsforum.com they'll come back.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I like it.

just wanted to say that it is nice.

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This is, quite possibly, my favorite piece I have seen on this forum. Just stunning!

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Now to carefully paint a resist over the silver and adjacent copper, then etch the wrought to show the texture. Not that this really NEEDS to look more impressive.

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