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Robert D.

Axe question.

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Ok, so a friend of a friend asked me if I could make a throwing axe for her husband for his birthday, as they did not want a tomahawk type axe I realized I did not have the stock on hand to build such a piece. 

So I ordered some 3 inch round 1018 steel. 

So it came in the mail today, and I am trying to think of my process on this and figured I would run it by you all, and hope an Axe expert will point out my lack of experience. 

I plan to cut about a 1 inch thick slab off this so I have a round 1 inch thick circle. 

Then forge it from round to rectangular, with the goal of going 1 inch by 1 inch and probably about 3.4 to 4 inches long. 

Slit / punch the hole for the handle so I can see what I have to work with as far as the body and remaining material is, and cut off excess if needed.

forge out a rough outline of the edge of the axe, keeping it probably about 3/4th inch thick so I can forge weld a bit of 5160 ( grinding the channel in for the bit ) 

Forge weld it up and do the finish forging and then from there the normal knifemaking heat treat process and finish grinding and sanding and nitpicking over minor scratches and things. 

I will be doing all of this work by hand I should add, so if there is an easier way anyone can think of I would be more then happy to adjust my thoughts on how to achieve a durable throwing axe. 

 

Round.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Fristly, wow, lots of steel to work by hand.  

Secondly, to estimate out material, use some modeling clay.  It moves just the same as hot steel, and you can test your process with it before you spend the time and money at the forge.  

Im still getting to a point to make a large axe.  But for a thrower, you should not need to make a massive thing.  

Edited by Daniel W

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If You're planning to forge weld anyway, why not start with flat bar?

I do prefer the idea of cutting a "cookie" off this if you really want to slit and drift. I would not forge it all to square. Seems kinda counter-intuitive to forge from circle; to oval; to rectangle; only to forge back to rectangle and back to semi circular edged pie shape on one end. It might be easier to go straight to a preformed semi-axe shape before drifting a hole and forging that eye area thinner and taller before flattening the blade and slitting it for the high carbon bit and beveling it and doing final shaping. 

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1 hour ago, Robert D. said:

so if there is an easier way anyone can think of I would be more then happy to adjust my thoughts on how to achieve a durable throwing axe. 

http://www.wayfarerforge.com/forginganAxe.html

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Posted (edited)

That's funny, I was just searching for a post by @Gerald Boggs with an axe making tutorial (that I have a print copy of on my desk) and he responds.

I also throw this one at you: https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/32648-bearded-axes-have-been-keeping-me-busy/&tab=comments#comment-315453

and this one: https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/37778-this-is-why-im-always-recommending-files-to-people/&tab=comments#comment-371306

and this video: https://youtu.be/paCyA9ypEOE

 

Edited by Joshua States

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1 hour ago, Robert D. said:

So I ordered some 3 inch round 1018 steel. 

I forgot to ask, from where?

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Part of why I am going the route I am, is because my forge welding experiences have been less then stellar, anything over 3/4 inch thick I have a beast of a time getting solid welds on. so rather then spend a ton of time forging the body of the axe out only to have the forgeweld at the fold over fail, I figure I am better off going solid body construction and then take the risk with the bit. as if it fails I can just grind it clean and try again, I have plenty of 5160 to screw up. 

I should add however, that this will be one of the first projects I do in my new propane forge that I am lining this weekend, all other attempts have been done in my charcoal forge which is not in any way a true forge, its just a bunch of bricks, a pipe, a hair dryer and charcoal.  So doing a folded over axe might be well within my new forges capabilities, but with the timeline involved ( need it by may 1st ) I would rather not take the risk. 

 

OnlineMetalsupply.com 

I actually ordered it off Ebay, it was a cutoff piece.  50 bucks including shipping for the piece...

 

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I've always found the thicker stuff to be easier to weld since it holds the heat better.  And I'd use Gerald's method for this.  Assuming your new forge gets hot enough, of course.  Mild steel takes a bit more heat to weld than high carbon does.  There is a pinned thread in Hot Work called "the philosophy of axes with a digression on welding mild to mild" or something like that I recommend you read.

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One of the other local blacksmiths has graciously offered up some shop time for this in exchange for some of this chunk and a bit of my W2 stock. I would call that a fair trade. He has a power hammer and a press. So that should hopefully make at least getting the basic body shape of this forged out much easier... 

I just wish I had more tooling, but im sure even the guys with the fully setup shops think that... 

 

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14 minutes ago, Robert D. said:

I just wish I had more tooling,

It only needs a punch and drift.

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I mean a press and a power hammer...... 

Gunna forge me out a drift this week, already have the punch...  I do like projects that make me make more of my own tools.... 

 

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On 3/8/2019 at 6:31 PM, Robert D. said:

I plan to cut about a 1 inch thick slab off this so I have a round 1 inch thick circle. 

Then forge it from round to rectangular, with the goal of going 1 inch by 1 inch and probably about 3.4 to 4 inches long. 

When I do the math on this, that 1" thick circle, 3 inches in diameter, is about 7 cubic inches of steel and should forge out to be 7 inches long at 1 inch square. 

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Well that would be more steel then I would need for it, but that isnt a bad thing either, always better to have to much then not enough. 



 

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I realize the you already have steel, and perhaps the practice of welding the bit is part of why you are doing this, but.....   Why not just start with a piece of hardenable steel 1 inch square?  5160, 1080, 4140, would all be good choices.  You could also forge a nice thrower from a small sledge hammer, which saves you the trouble of forging an eye.

As for your round stock.  Slice a round and forge this

DSC08489.JPG

Just some thoughts for you.

 

Geoff

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I considered trying to find a large chunk of something that would harden instead, but then the round of 1018 came up on ebay and I was like " YOINK" ill forge weld a bit in.... 

I also wanted a project to experiment with forge welding in my new propane forge, Bought it like November of last year, and just got around to finishing the lining on it and baking it on Wednesday night, did the first coat of ITC 100 on it yesterday. Let it sit for about 5 hours and then fired it up. 

These pics are from the burn in on the Satanite.  Its a venturi, so I need to learn how to tune it now for forge welding.  unfortunately I dont current have a gauge for it, so I dont know where I am on PSI use yet.  I have yet to really crank it up hard, I was able to get some good heat fast on a bit of leaf spring I was using to test how it worked. 

53845649_2137187233040263_8321134927068266496_n.jpg

54516892_2137187189706934_3067569821529931776_n.jpg

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I should add, thanks Geoff for that diagram, its a bit different then what I had in mind process wise, but I can see where your plan is better then mine....

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Be sure to block up the ends of the forge, it will heat faster.  You need an exit out each end (venturis are fussy about back pressure) so you need to balance flow through and access against holding the heat.  A pile of fire brick works just fine.

Breaking down big stock is a chore by hand.   I try to think of ways to do that without using all of my strength for the day.  Yes, I have a hammer and press, but I still think that way.  Keep us informed as to your progress.

 

g

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I have firebrick to close up both ends, I just need to get it fully lined first, I did one coat of ITC 100 on it already, but I think I want to do a second coat on it before I call it done, I bought a pint and didnt even use half of it on the first coat. I closed one end off to play with it yesterday for a couple hours and I was able to heat a piece of 1/4 inch leaf spring a foot long to forging temps in about 4 minutes from ambient temps.  After I get the next coat on and cured I will start slotting my firebricks. 

Needless to say, I love having a propane forge....

 

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20 hours ago, Robert D. said:

 I closed one end off to play with it yesterday for a couple hours and I was able to heat a piece of 1/4 inch leaf spring a foot long to forging temps in about 4 minutes from ambient temps.

That's quite impressive.  I still have not put any IR paint in my forge and can say - I have no such results like that.  My forge is very similar to what you have pictured there. 

Making a thrower from a old hammer is also very possible, but you may still need a drift to true everything up.  Not to mention that old hammers are some times not what you expect them to be as in my last axe experience.  I went for a shape that was a little too aggressive with a bearded shape best to make a simple bevel and go. 

20180902_102842.jpg

That is my ball pein to axe attempt, a lot of cracks and stresses from either the material or me screwing up.

Depending of what style of axe you want to make, have you even seen an axe (tomahawk) made from a pipe? It will not make an axe with a very thick profile, but I did make a 'thrower' out of one about a year back.  The trouble is to weld up the ends but it makes punching and drifting easy as pie.  As you weld up the ends, its relatively easy to forge weld in some carbon steel.  If your interested, I can scrounge up the photos of the process for you.  However this process does not make a bearded shape very well, but does make for a nice looking axe. 

 

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Here is a process I learned for making axes other than the wrap method like Gerald has posted.  Something like this is possible with your 3' piece of steel there.  The benefit of it is that it just makes punching and drifting a lot easier.

0729141732d.jpg

 

This was something like 1" internal diameter heavy wall pipe.  You can skip the part in the process where you crimp off the bowl, buy as you see, the axe on the far left is welded shut to make a little spike end, neat. The process pretty much goes

  1. collapse the pipe
  2. forge weld the blade shut
  3. punch the unwelded section where the eye is to be
  4. drift it to shape
  5. forge out your blade

I have yet to try to add a carbon steel bit in, but if I did, I would leave the very end of the pipe unwelded.  Split that end to make the ears just like you would normally.  Then forge out the blade, and weld in the bit.  (son of a brisket I actually answered another question for myself that's been in my head for a while.:o)

Anyhow, using that process I made this 'throwing axe' from a failed tomahawk.  I just mig welded the bowl end closed and made a small poll on it. IMG_20170823_202847022.jpg

This process does not make a very thick cross section for the cheeks of the blade, depending on what your looking for this is just another process you can think about.

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