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How to Forge a Rail Spike Axe


Josh A Weston

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How to Forge a Railroad Spike Axe (by thepxsmith)

  1. Smash the point into the shaft.
  2. Keep smashing.
  3. Try to keep it from bending while smashing.
  4. When you get to 4”-4.5” you can stop smashing (Your forearms will be super tight and your fingers curled permanently around your hammer by now).
  5. Make a slit in the top side. I use a slot punch, usually takes 3-4 heat cycles for me to get it through.
  6. Drift the hole out just a wee bit. No need to get crazy here, we will come back and refine this later.
  7. Flip it back to the side and hammer the “ears” down a little. This will also open the drift hole more so be subtle.
  8. Work the inside over the horn or some other smaller round bar to create the starting indentation for the beard.
  9. Continue to heat and work that beard.
  10. Use the cross-peen hammer to start fanning out the edge shape.
  11. Before the edge is thinned all the way beat that beard down in from the top to curl it inward. Keep the inside shape cleaned up over the horn.
  12. Once you have your blade/edge shape 95% finished go back into the eye and spread it the remainder of the way.
  13. Clean up the ears and then align the edge over the center using your final drift and a vice.
  14. Grind it, sand it, polish and buff to your hearts content.

Remember:

  1. Whatever you do to one side of the axe you must do to the other. I even keep track of my hammer blows so I know what to replicate on the other side.
  2. Keep things aligned as you go. It takes time and patience but keeping it where you want it will help you finish it balanced and symmetrical.
  3. Use the proper tongs/tools. I use three different tongs to make mine:
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Great stuff Josh..easy to follow and great pictures. Love the end product too..very clean and mean

Edited by Rob Toneguzzo

"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Very nice work the finish product is way cool! B)

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Man I gotta say that's the nicest spike axe I've seen. Well done, and thanks for the tutorial. If I ever get my forge back up this will be one of the first things I try to get my skills (meager as they are) back in order.

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Great tutorial! This is the same method I use when I make spike hawks. Though your hawk is a lot better looking than mine.

“If you trust in yourself. . . believe in your dreams. . . and follow your star. . . you will still get beaten by the people who have spent their time working hard and learning things, the people who weren't so lazy.” ~ Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Great tutorial! I'd like to see the first 8 steps, but the directions at the bottom were fantastic! Definitely going to burn a spike or 2 trying this.

B)

 

Truth simply is. Whether you like that truth or not is totally irrelevant.

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  • 5 years later...

And for anyone who hasn't done it, RR spikes actually forge weld to high carbon really well. Between steps 4 and 5, I suggest cutting a slit in the front and welding in any piece of high carbon scrap you might have laying around. It'll forge out as a layer down the middle of the blade and really add longer life and edge retention to the axe.

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