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Daniel W

Praticing the wrapped axe (WIP)

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Here we go another attempt to fold up an axe body.

I've planned on this for a long time but my home forge has fallen pretty silent.  Today I finally had a little bit of time and a little bit of scrap that just looked like it could work to make the body of the a folded axe, about hatchet size. 

What I started off with was a cut off of 1 1/2 x 3/8 x . . . . . I didn't measure how long.  Yes it's a little bugger, yet the intent was just to practice the offsets of forging out the poll and cheeks.

From experience in failure, I know that if you do not make these set downs relatively square, the axe will fold up with the cheeks out of line.  Correcting it is a pain, so best to mark out where the first set downs go.  Note here there is a minor mistake.  When I marked out the poll, I did not add 1/2 of the cheek material final thickness.  This means that the poll will be thinner than the body of the axe.  I can probably address that, but it's a minor mistake always account for the stretch of the material around the drift.

20190928_124702.jpg

Next I laid out where the set down for the eye will be.  At fist I marked out the final dimension, but realized that the material will lengthen a bit, and it's better to have an eye a little undersized that one that is too big for my drift. 

20190928_124707.jpg

I got my set downs finished and began to spread the ears of the first side, dressing them back and forth until, I ran out of gas. For my set downs I was using a fuller-ed top tool, then the edge of the anvil.  A butcher may have given me a cleaner separation,  but still young and very rough. 20190928_140829.jpg

I think it's also good to note when pulling out these cheek pieces, work from the outside of the axe body so that the inside of the eye will be a nice and smooth finish. Last just a quick shot of the set downs.

20190928_140850.jpg

From experience in failure, I can say that when pulling out these cheeks, not to be too aggressive and work them down too thin.  I'm leaving these pretty thick.  I didn't realize the photo is a little angled which makes those set downs look pretty shallow.  I started off making these about 1/3 the material thickness in depth.  After the other two processes they are now worked down to about 1/2 the depth.

I do not expect to get back to this again for a while, my work life just does not allow me the time lately.  So far this little bit of practice looks better than the other 4 I've failed on. I'm going to keep at it next time I get my forge lit, and see if a little hatchet forges out.

Edited by Daniel W
Because I can't spell worth a crap.
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Got to forge a little bit this past week, I had some moderate success, but in the end another fail to wrap an axe eye with a forged poll. So at this point, I believe this practice piece will take more time to fix than to attempt to forge another.

 

I was rather happy that I got both halves of the eye to forge out pretty close to each other in both length and shape.

 

20191021_163858.jpg

 

 

Then I came to the point where I found all the mistakes I had made. One of the cheeks of the eye is longer than the other, therefore when I wrapped it, the shoulders did not line up.  Trying to make the shoulders line up, I worked a cold shut right into the corner. Not to mention that I did not treat the poll for a right angle bend as well.  Bummer for not paying attention to details in the guide.

20191021_163915.jpg

 

On top of that, either the material itself is just too thin, or I attempted to wrap it too cold. Either way, The only fix I see is would be to weld the blade cheeks together, cut out this section of cheek near the poll and mig it back together.

20191021_163925.jpg

 

I got one more scrap piece of 3/8 x 1 1/2 to practice with.  And I've got a nice 1/2 x 2 1/2 piece that I would want to try.  20191021_164007.jpg

 

Forge, mess up, learn, try again.

 

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31 minutes ago, Daniel W said:

 

Forge, mess up, learn, try again.

 

That's how it works,  unfortunately.   Nice shape, though!  Are you laying it out cold with lines of punch marks?  I pretty much have to with these.  Oh, and using a narrow top fuller (1/4" round bar) to mark the transitions really helps. 

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32 minutes ago, Daniel W said:

Forge, mess up, learn, try again.

 

Been there, done that.  The process looks so simple and you think, "it shouldn't be that hard"..... and then you try to do it:wacko:.  I find that working with a longer piece initially is easier than trying to get a piece that is just barely big enough to work.  In that second photo (looking through the eye) if you had a longer piece the fix would be easier.  Make the left cheek (as seen in the photo) longer to match the right cheek because you would have enough steel for the body because of the extra length in the initial bar (make sense?).  

 

Your cheek shapes look great, nice and symmetrical.
 

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Keep going man. I have messed up my share of these too. I agree..cheeks look great.

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16 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

That's how it works,  unfortunately.   Nice shape, though!  Are you laying it out cold with lines of punch marks?  I pretty much have to with these.  Oh, and using a narrow top fuller (1/4" round bar) to mark the transitions really helps. 

No I was following the punch marks hot with a top tool. I was using a much broader 3/8 fuller tool.  Cold probably would help so that that you can feel the set down and follow it nice and crisply.  However I probably would not suggest using a butcher for the set downs like I thought before.  Because the poll is the stretch I think a butcher tool would cause more tearing than bending during the wrap.

 

I also think that if you make the poll wider than what you think it may be better. As you can forge down the poll a little during the wrap or even forge it around the drift.

 

I think 3/8 is a little thin, but if I can't do this in 3/8 I worry about making it work in 1/2.  When I can get around to the next one, The cheeks of the eye, I'm going to shoot for a thickness of 1/4.  Then I might wind up with 3/16. 

 

16 hours ago, MikeDT said:

 

Been there, done that.  The process looks so simple and you think, "it shouldn't be that hard"..... and then you try to do it:wacko:.

Yes, I looked at all my failed ones yesterday a little discouraged and I also looked at all the other stuff I've made and think "I can forge things, why is this wrapped poll axe such a pain in the butt!" 

 

 

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Check your cheeks with a pair of dividers to make sure they match prior to wrapping the eye. That way if the don’t match you’ll have a chance to correct it. 

Those cracks at the bend look like you moved it too cold. I’ve had this happen when I’ve been sloppy with where my tong arm is while spreading the eye, causing it to bend while my attention is on the hot part I’m forging. Or it could have happened when you did the wrap if it was too cold. 

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What I meant was I lay out the lines with a centerpunch cold, making an almost solid line.  I find I can see them better when I drive the 1/4" bar into it hot under the treadle hammer.  Once I have the lines driven in about 3/16", it's easy to lock in the edge of the anvil to do the set-down.

I agree a butcher would leave too sharp a corner and would lead to tearing.

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Ahh, I see says the blind man. 

I have not done that before, however I have scored the surface with an angle grinder, or even a little cut off wheel to lay out before.  Funny it's one of those tips that I didn't think to use. Works great for when you're looking for a mark and the tool falls in rather than looking for it, making sure the tool is straight give it a smack and realize it's a touch wonky.

 

By the end of this weekend, I should have the next 3/8 piece at least laid out.  But aiming for nearly another month before I can get my home forge fired up again.

Edited by Daniel W

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Got a little work done this week again.  I think my reach is getting a little closer to grasping something successful. 

 

#1 and #2 sitting there, I did not work the cheeks of #2 as well as the first, I just wanted to get that poll wrapped and nice.

20191104_130541.jpg

 

upsetting, but again I got the same problem, not as bad.  I wrapped the ends until they about touched this time, and hammered at an angle to the poll to try and round the corners in this time.  20191104_130557.jpg

 

As a suggestion, I was working this at my local forge, one of the other smithys said, weld it first, then try to drift it a bit and that cold shut may work out.  So today, because I don't think my forge can forge weld, I heavily beveled all the inner meeting faces of the cheeks, and I hot glued them together.  Ground the welds down to check for cracks in the parent material to filler, I did not see any. 

20191104_140624.jpg

 

Next try, I going to try and gently drift out the eye a little to see if that little spot can round out a bit.  If it blows apart, or rips, there will be a tapestry of obscenities hanging somewhere over the Mon river heading to Pittsburgh.

Edited by Daniel W

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"a tapestry of obscenities hanging somewhere over the Mon river heading to Pittsburgh"  :lol: I've sent a few that have headed out over the Fox River on its way to St. Louis.

 

One bit of advice: constantly check the thickness of the cheeks - keep them as identical as possible.  Also, it looks like you may have thinned one of the ends of the bar that will form the bevel - in the second pic those bevel ends do not look uniform in their thickness.  If this happens, thin out the thicker bevel end to match - all of this is to make sure each half gets stretched the same so you have symmetrical sides.  Easier said than done... my scrap pile can attest to that:unsure:.

 

 

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I'll try to keep that in mind when I get back to this. My first thought is to try and just drift out the eye a pinch, and also to work around the drift gently to see if that corner will work out. 

 

I rushed this one a bit, but I am over all surprised at how fast you can get these these together. If I could just get them together successfully during one forging secession and not make the same mistakes.

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