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jake pogrebinsky

boring axe-stuff...

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36 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Just goes to show they didn't always get it right even back in the day.  

Oh no...Your knowledge of the period metallurgy is broad and deep(enviably so..dammit,i haven't ordered the American Iron yet,i'm a moron..:(

The challenges they faced were significant,cold-,and hot-short stuff,or both together,poorly refined much of it,and the edge material quite a separate set of issues alone.

Dis-affinity of alloys must've been a real problem.

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Great work! I really think the overall pattern turned out perfect, well done.  I will have to try wrought one of these days after I get better and more courageous.  

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Mike,thank you,and i hope you do-WI can be challenging,but in the end  is often very rewarding.

You sound like a sensible,prudent man,in biding your time,and metals like that,so once the time is right i bet you'll have a lovely experience of it.

In the pattern(the very old,hand-made original ones) i feel like i'm still missing something...I think just naturally i tend towards the lines of the more modern,factory axes...I'm having a tough time catching exactly where i diverge...but,each trial run is super informative,and i just love how the info pools...(and seeths,and churns in my Bad brain:)

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Wow Jake. What an impressive attempt and accomplishment. There's enough info in here to keep me reading for a long time.

I hereby nominate this post for a pin.

And please change the name by striking the "boring" :)

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Joshua,that's kind of ya...What shall it be changed to....Hows about "Zen and the Art of Axe-forging"?

No,tired and dated...(i feel Old:)

Are you working up to some such shenanigans? I hope so...These are fascinating beasts,much endorphines to be garnered thereupon...

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You make it look so easy.....and I just know its not! :D

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Gerhard,i know what you mean...

It both is, and isn't easy...

In many ways it's easy for me here:I have NO expectations,this is an Exercise in Futility purely(you can buy a better axe than anything i can forge for 5 bucks(a dozen:).

I get up in the morning and make a barrel of charcoal.Then i burn it all up.

I think about strategy while splitting the wood for charcoal,then while forging it all falls apart,and iron imprints me with it's own logical structure.

Day,after day,after day,just like that.

It's easy in that it's so...Insular.It's a universe of it's own,where i have no say...I'm powerless,and so unencumbered by responsibility!:)

Technically it's not rocket science either,of course.Just a bit of practice.Forging is only a combination of 7 operations,(bending;drawing,upsetting,punching,slitting,welding,peining....had to think about it...can't ever keep them straight...but being a genius is definitely not required!:)

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1 hour ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

 

It's easy in that it's so...Insular.It's a universe of it's own,where i have no say...I'm powerless,and so unencumbered by responsibility!:)

 

That sounds......wonderful :)

Alaska.......sounds like a wonderful place except that I don't understand cold all that well...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Proenneke

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Boring my ass.  This is great stuff.  

I visited Galena about 24 years ago when I was a deckhand working for Yutana Barge Lines.  Beautiful country, beautiful axes.

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Wow,you guys pinned this...:)

Doug,thanks,and good for you to've sailed hereabouts!

I remember those neat old boats...It's all changed now,"Tanana" was sold off downriver to the Gulf somewhere,"Rampart" still makes an occasional trip,but rarely...Where i live now they dock right here,deadman for mooring cable is in me yard:)

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On 5/10/2019 at 12:33 AM, jake pogrebinsky said:

Are you working up to some such shenanigans? I hope so...These are fascinating beasts,much endorphines to be garnered thereupon...

Yes indeed I am. There are so many cool threads on axes from you, Alan, Gerald Boggs, Justin Mercier, and others that I just have to try this. I have been reading and watching videos for a couple of years and I finally spent a day making some tooling per JA video. I am particularly fond of this piece you posted.

Bearded 1.jpg

But, it seems a little overboard for my first go. I am going to try the symmetrical weld with a sandwiched bit and just see if I can make a usable tool....or not.

 

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2 hours ago, Joshua States said:

and I finally spent a day making some tooling per JA video. I am particularly fond of this piece you posted.

That's wonderful,Joshua,paying attention to JA's work is fantastically beneficial to one's skill and thinking.

Am with you on this little Baltic job...such balance and grace in proportions...It'd be a great project for some home-made,or other less-than-perfect steel,it's such an "organic" design...

2 hours ago, Joshua States said:

But, it seems a little overboard for my first go. I am going to try the symmetrical weld with a sandwiched bit and just see if I can make a usable tool....or not.

 

That's great,i admire you for your professionalism and prudence.You'll do just great,you're totally competent in all techniques that it'd require.(AND tooled-up).

One of the most challenging aspects for me was always the weld-seam in the front of the eye.

In my half-assed,scatter-brained fashion i stubbornly refused to do careful calculations as to the exact proportioning of projected eye as related to drift circumference.Most naturally the punishment was swift and cruel.(and richly deserved).

That,plus the fact that JA brings up on several occasions-mild has this tendency to have a welding dis-affinity to Self-pushed me to experiment with patterns where the edge insert extends clear into the eye.

You know how it is,our own personal milage varies Very much,but it did serve me well.The welds Are stronger,between mild and higher-C alloy;and with the fore-end of the drift bearing directly on steel insert one can get away with much more...

The Very best of luck,man,you'll come up with an excellent forging,i'm sure of it.

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Test-run # 7

(i'll try to not to repeat info in photos or notes,as the essential paradigm remains the same). 

The final outcome.I do have a workable forging,that May have an actual tool-potential with further work.

5081.jpg

The overall shape is more/less satisfactory.Also am happy how i'm learning not to molest the aft-end,poll and hardplating et c.,in the process.Many originals were ground only in the blade portion,being very nicely forged to shape aft.

Plating itself was thin(1/4" or so),but the overhanging edges were smeared down the sides,creating this thick-ish effect,and probaly really helping to keep the laminated poll together against the drifting,as well as the future working loads:

5062.jpg5064.jpg

Out of the big issues that i still find very challenging is the overly large amount of mass in the blade...This wont do,i Must find a way to reduce it...5075.jpg

5070.jpg

Also,when the bit protrudes past the body,i have a heck of a time blending in the transition.

Ashamed of myself,one would think that i'm old enough,and been at this for a decade or two...

Its not a matter of aesthetics,"seamless" et c.(the welds grind out to be just fine),but the Plasticity and my handling of it...I MUST get it together in this concept,fie.

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Inspirational as always.  Thanks for letting us in on your axe journey.

General question: Not to hijack this thread but since people have reference Austin's videos..... While the obvious answer to the question of which James Austin video to get is clearly "BOTH!", if you had to choose just one (for now), which one would it be?  I've mangled my way though forging various axes and now I would like to step up my game and Austin's videos seem the way to go.

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Mike,this is a great question,and anything to do with JA's methods is enlightening to say the least,and Most appropriate in any discussion on axes.

Unfortunately,i myself would be very interested in anyone else's opinion,as i haven't seen any...:(

I've seen a few minutes of one older on on UTube,a bit where he welds the split-poll  on the mandrell,but that's it...(my reception here is Tres lousy,and videos as a medium is above my pay-scale:))... also as a life-long reader they boggle me pea-brain,too much info...).

A while back JA posted amazing,marvelous photo sequence on his blog about exploring this Norwegian pattern(he refers to it as a 5" carpenter's axe,it's Hjartum-like in essence).

That was the last thing that i became aware of on his axe-front,and it is just Incredible...As-forged  form he comes up with is simply outstanding...I could wholeheartedly recommend that(and much else on his blog),but sorry-no info on videos.

 

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The blade portion of the last axe is entirely too fat,and must be re-forged.

It's a tricky deal,as the side-faces of the blade will form what in an axe serves as a de-facto chip-breaker.

It's role is vital in the use of the tool,as it controls the amount of penetration into wood,while in the same time using an n-th fraction of the energy of the swing to break off the chip along the grain,and spew it out of the cut.

That,besides doing the intended work,prevents the axe from wedging in the cut.

Wedging action is uber counter-productive;it brakes the rythmic flow of the axman's work,necessitating a rearrangement of muscles used,and is just plain damned annoying...An experienced hand with an axe actually uses the free,easy rebound of the tool to momentary relax the involved musculature,making it possible to work for a long periods of time without getting wiped out.

That became the iconic feature of an "American" pattern of axes in general;it was achieved by means of a correct convergence angle of the blade itself(disregarding the actual bevels of the sharpened edge).

Also,the Convexity of the blade played a very important role.But the angle of the raised central portion is critical.

Unfortunately,i'm a slower learner than most.And in this,the 7th attempt am back to the problem with the 1st-a lack of mass near the cutting edge...(i'm bracketing it:))...maybe 8th time will be the charm...no..don't sound right...well,maybe 88th?...:)

I've only started grinding it,and not sure yet just how insufficient it'll end up being.Some photos of the above:

5002.jpg

5003.jpg5005.jpg

5009.jpg

In this next,a top-view photo,is a good lesson that i'm learning for these past two decades but apparently haven't learned yet:Drifting rudely and harshly near the finish stages,at insufficient heat,WILL open weld-seams.

(there's actually more to that,but enough bs for one post...:)).

5011.jpg 

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Looks good, but I know what you mean about the mass and tapers and such; it's damnably difficult to forge in that nice hyperbolic profile (as seen from the top) a good felling axe has.  

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Yes,Alan,very much so.

And a part of it is convexity(-ness?),it confuses the eye...AND many classier examples are wore down...

The convexity is something of an enigma:Although a most ancient(indeed Natural) design feature,it was first exploited by Americans as a standard,integral part of design.

By then smiths were happily grinding away on fairly efficient grind-wheels(most often obliterating traces of the process).

Is convexity a function of forging or grinding?!

Inasmuch as forging is concerned:Axe blade is too disproportionately flat to be forged on edge.

All mass redestribution necessarily squeezes out top and bottom,into the kind of bulges that are rarely if ever seen on axes.Naturally,it can then be trimmed by a hot-cut....But was it done that way...

(forgive my rather pointless musing...)

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Muse on, your courageous forays into this mostly lost art of the American axe is immeasurably beneficial to all.  thanks for putting in the sweat equity.... keep this up and you will be the James Austin of the American axe.

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On 5/13/2019 at 6:12 PM, MikeDT said:

While the obvious answer to the question of which James Austin video to get is clearly "BOTH!", if you had to choose just one (for now), which one would it be? 

I purchased this one from JA at the 2016 ABANA conference immediately after watching him forge one. It was incredible to watch.

On 5/14/2019 at 2:32 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

But was it done that way...

I have no idea how any of this gets done. After today, I am even more impressed by anyone who makes axes by hand. I nearly killed myself trying.

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Joshua,whatever happens,don't let it discourage you...

It Is cruel,and heartless,and Will make a better Zen buddhist out of you...But the result is commesurate.

And it will try to kill you,or hurt you,and can.In theory,the heaviest stock a guy can forge by hand is 5/8" sq.Any larger(and the curve is exponential),and your blow no longer penetrates the entire depth of material,becoming a Riveting,vs a true Forging blow. 

Thus all the welding of diverse parts,also thus the interest in the pre-Industrial types,they were closer to human scale.

I'm trying to think of the video material as per Mike's question(thank you,Mike,by the way,for your kind and generous remarks).When i Did watch video material,what most impressed me was one video i cannot find...:(..It is called Axe Manufacturing at Wira factory,1923,and if you can find it by chance,it's Extremely informative.

Not in any Direct instructional manner,but in graphically informing one what energy it demands,and how to trick these too-large masses of steel into submission...

An axe is one of the oldest tools,and was made at different times in a myriad ways...One of these ways and methods will be right for you,explore a few,there's Something out there....

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OK,here we go,i found it:

 

The man in this video is thought to be Carl Frederik Dahlgren.

One of the very best hands with a hammer of all times.Axes with his initials(as well as his brother A.B.)are still in use,and cherished by those privileged to've owned and used them.

(these are carpenter's axes,not felling).

C.F.Dahlgren has lived to be 91 years old.He was laid off many years, long before he died.He lived on a pittance that his son managed to send him,(his son had to leave Sweden where metalsmithing was collapsing and spent many years working at a factory in Russia).Letters exist where aging C.F. tearfully thanks his son for support.

Those personal notes may not seem necessary,but to me they're a part of the entire picture of axe-forging...

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Another very special video,on the different end of historical spectrum,though relatively close in time of filming(it pursues much more modern tradition, pattern,and purpose) .

Both of these illustrate well the essence of handling that big of a forging.The amount of heat,the energy of men and machinery,the amount of technology involved,all speak of the sheer challenge of what it takes to forge a decent axe.

The left-hand(for me,being right-handed),the tong-hand's work in these may be easy to underestimate at first glance,in actuality it is super challenging.So are many of the more subtle details...

Forgive me if you're already well familiar with these... 

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I have never seen either of those, and while I haven't watched the second one, that first one is pure magic!  Everything from the old water-powered hammer converted to run off a belt (electric, steam, hit-and-miss?) to the last frames of him hot-japanning it with asphaltum laquer is just too darned cool!  And the hand hammer, that monster would kill me in short order...  And never have I seen anyone steel an axe like that.  I can see the advantages, but dang, I couldn't believe it when he got the weld on and immediately cut off the rest on the first heat, in one heat. :ph34r:  Only with iron!  I will be watching the other one and the suggested ones that pop up throughout later when I have time.  Thank you for posting those.

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I have not seen the first, but I do remember watching the second one (Pioneer). Alas, I will have to wait until tonight to watch #1.

11 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Joshua,whatever happens,don't let it discourage you...

Discourage? What does that mean?      :lol:

I'm already contemplating whether to keep this one and continue forging it for practice, or to just start another one.

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