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Aiden CC

Another Hatchet

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Ok, so I may have caught the axe bug... I got a lot of helpful feedback on my first one and want to give it another shot to improve while I still have some time to work. None of the places I thought might have 4140 locally panned out, so this one is going to be welded up from some mild steel and W2 I had laying around. 
 

11A4EFE5-C5D4-4586-B469-BCC70B058D4E.jpeg

I started the head with a 1.7lb piece of mile steel. The plan is to grind most of the scale off of this one, so starting with some extra mass. I also drilled some guide holes to make slitting it with a chisel easier. 
 

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The plan is to do an “outie” bit, because it seems fun and like it might be easier to get the weld to close up everywhere. The mild is way easier to forge than 4140 and using a cold chisel like Jake suggested was a lot faster and transitioned to the drift better.

 

Thanks for looking!

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Aiden,it's looking really good,nice length/height eye slit,lots of potential there.

 

I'll make a suggestion that may be hard to follow,but here goes just in case:When thinning down the "cheeks"-the sides of eye-watch that valley/divot that will be trying to form between the eye and poll.To keep it from getting out of control you may try to not let it get too deep....

 

An "outie",or an "overlayed" bit is a commonly practiced technique,actually more common than an inserted bit in most US axes in 20th century.

However,i'm not sure if bent flat stock will give you enough mass in the end...(for everything-the forging initially,and trimming,and decarb,and grinding,et c.,et c...).

Most commonly an overlay was shaped out of a thicker chunk,maybe 3/4"  or so thick,with outer edges fullered off and bent down to form a U.

Much like you Did do,but more mass in the center....

 

All the Very best of luck tho man,you're doing great! 

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P.S.

 

As an historical example,here's an old classic filmed about the process at E&S,Maine....overlayed bit at about 4:00...it may not be quite as massive as i write above,but these guys have their process down,et c.,et c......

 

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Looking good, but yes, either use thicker bit steel or insert the thin stuff.  ;)

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8 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

An "outie",or an "overlayed" bit is a commonly practiced technique,actually more common than an inserted bit in most US axes in 20th century.

However,i'm not sure if bent flat stock will give you enough mass in the end...(for everything-the forging initially,and trimming,and decarb,and grinding,et c.,et c...).

Most commonly an overlay was shaped out of a thicker chunk,maybe 3/4"  or so thick,with outer edges fullered off and bent down to form a U.

Much like you Did do,but more mass in the center....

 

22 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Looking good, but yes, either use thicker bit steel or insert the thin stuff.  ;)

Yeah, I was thinking it might be a bit thin. I forged it from 1/4" W2 by hammering the sides until it was somewhat thicker in the middel, beveling both edges, and bending it into a U. I have some thicker stock, but its in the from of O1 drill rod an an old crowbar, which I'm a bit worried about using. I could also build up a piece of 1095 from 3-4 1/8" thick pieces.

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01 can work well, it's just a bear to forge at that thickness.  

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15 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

01 can work well, it's just a bear to forge at that thickness.  

Ah, ok. I'll give that a shot then

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Had a bit of time to work on this today. The O1 wasn’t quite big enough, but the crow bar sparked like ~1050-60, hardened alright in oil when thinned our, and worked fine in a welded and quenched test piece with mild steel. It gave me enough meat to make something a little sturdier for the bit. 


A77E640A-2449-4132-80CD-DF53CDF065F3.jpeg

the fish tail I think is a reflection of the hourglass shape of the eye, with the “missing” steel in the middle being in the center of the eye. 
 

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Made a beefier bit out of the crowbar using a swedge block. I cleaned up the welding surface and scarfed the other side with and angle grinder. I think I’ll end up with just enough material for what I want to do. It’s a bit stubby, but the bit will add some material, and the eye will stretch out a little bit too. 

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Man your ax eyes look great! What is your drift made from?

 

Jake: I love that video and have watched it several times. So poignant, yet so inspiring. The machinery amazes me.

Edited by Joshua States

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Right ON,Aiden!

Fantastic job on pre-forging that bit steel,that's exactly what is called for.

Obviously your basic forging skills are up to speed,so i'm sure you'll figure out the corresponding shapes et c. that are called for for that weld.

 

"Stubby" is one of the hardest criteria to judge.It looks like you're right in the ball-park,if anything-not stubby enough.Extra length is(can often  be) a challenge to control.

 

 

 

20 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

Jake: I love that video and have watched it several times. So poignant, yet so inspiring. The machinery amazes me.

Right on,Joshua,yes,ain't it something...There's a Lot of energy that goes into forging an axe head...(And grinding...uff...:(

 

Aiden is Very wise in his attempts to keep it all under 2#...I often end up pushing 3,and that one pound of steel is critical in kicking one's ass...:(

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47 minutes ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

(And grinding...uff...:(

Having one of the 6 inch wide grinding wheels would make that a little bit easier......

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1 hour ago, Joshua States said:

Man your ax eyes look great! What is your drift made from?

CBFE08EB-D51D-4273-9825-7660BB39239C.jpeg
Thanks! The drift is just mild steel. I started with 1.25” round, but that wasn’t enough for the top, so I added some MIG weld to build it up. 
 

48 minutes ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Right ON,Aiden!

Fantastic job on pre-forging that bit steel,that's exactly what is called for.

Obviously your basic forging skills are up to speed,so i'm sure you'll figure out the corresponding shapes et c. that are called for for that weld.

Here’s to hoping :wacko:. Basic plan is to use the head as a die of sorts to shape the bit around, set the weld on the edge first, then the sides. 
 

49 minutes ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

"Stubby" is one of the hardest criteria to judge.It looks like you're right in the ball-park,if anything-not stubby enough.Extra length is(can often  be) a challenge to control.

Yeah, the extra length was pretty hard to control on the last one. I plan on this hatchet (axe? note really sure in this weight/length range) being a bit thinner near the edge with hopes of it being a better chopper, so hopefully it will come out to a proportionate length for its weight. I’m also not sure if I’m going to leave the forge finish or grind it smooth/make a slightly high centerline, which I guess will depend on how the forging after the weld goes. 

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You've got this.  It's gonna freak you out right after the edge weld, but once you get it worked to profile and start thinning it down it will tell you how to finish it off. B)

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Thanks for the video, Jake.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Right on,Chris,glad you enjoyed it!:)

 

Here's another cool video pertaining to overlaying the bit:

 

Here the bit is not pre-shaped,also it appears to be more modest in size...

One must remember though that in Sweden of the time re-steeling an axe was a common and accepted procedure(kinda periodic,like re-soling a pair of decent boots).

So the eye and poll of an axe was viewed as a permanent part(small wonder,it';s not easy to forge),while the bit was disposable.

That is one of the reasons that there isn't really hard and fast rule for the angle of convergence of an axe blade....It was a sliding kinda deal....

  

 

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Aiden,another thought for you:You'd probably (eventually)have to come up with a different drift.

(I know only too well what a pain it is to come up with big enough chunk of steel...AND all the work to make something like that...:(....)

But,that taper in plan view,fore and aft as oriented in the axe,it's not quite the "thing".

The front and back of the eye should really be parallel with each other...That is the reason that your haft was so shy of filling the top of eye.

Possibly you can modify just the very top of your drift?The parallel-sided section only needs to be really just a bit over half the eye height in length,and it can be at the very top,and applied right towards the end of shaping sequence.

 

Alan has also brought up a rather important point-the section of the eye does not necessarily be that of a modern felling axe(something weighing 3+lbs and swung hard on the end of a 3' haft).

Many bench/carpenter/et c.axes were hafted in a surprisingly modest cross-section of haft,in spite of some of them being quite heavy.

It's perfectly appropriate in any type of axe that is used mostly one-handed,and in a more exact,precise,calculated sort of way(bench work).  

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5 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Aiden,another thought for you:You'd probably (eventually)have to come up with a different drift.

(I know only too well what a pain it is to come up with big enough chunk of steel...AND all the work to make something like that...:(....)

But,that taper in plan view,fore and aft as oriented in the axe,it's not quite the "thing".

The front and back of the eye should really be parallel with each other...That is the reason that your haft was so shy of filling the top of eye.

Possibly you can modify just the very top of your drift?The parallel-sided section only needs to be really just a bit over half the eye height in length,and it can be at the very top,and applied right towards the end of shaping sequence.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. The drift has a bit of that built into it, but its pretty short (the very top 1" or so). I had thought about making a shorter "finishing" drift with parallel sides, but grinding the top of my current one to extend the parallel section might be a better plan. It will also let me fix the wonky bit where I accidentally marred the drift in the hardy hole.

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Just putting this i here, without any connection to the conversation

 

Normally, I use a punch and then a drift for most of my work. If you have Mark Aspery's or any of the British books then you have the method and tools I use.

 

However when I took the axe class at Gränsfors Bruk, the smith there had us forge a combination slitting chisel/preliminary drift and then an eye shaped drift for final fit. Both were forge from 1 ½ by 5/8 stock. Having the slitting chisel forged from such large stock made for a solid base for transitioning from slitting the eye to shaping the eye.

 

Both punching and slitting have pros and cons. In the case of creating the eye for an axe, the slitting chisel is going to have a lot less drag and give you an eye with less distortion of the body. And the longer the taper of the punch or chisel is, the less drag and distortion

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1 hour ago, Gerald Boggs said:

Just putting this i here, without any connection to the conversation

 

Normally, I use a punch and then a drift for most of my work. If you have Mark Aspery's or any of the British books then you have the method and tools I use.

 

However when I took the axe class at Gränsfors Bruk, the smith there had us forge a combination slitting chisel/preliminary drift and then an eye shaped drift for final fit. Both were forge from 1 ½ by 5/8 stock. Having the slitting chisel forged from such large stock made for a solid base for transitioning from slitting the eye to shaping the eye.

 

Both punching and slitting have pros and cons. In the case of creating the eye for an axe, the slitting chisel is going to have a lot less drag and give you an eye with less distortion of the body. And the longer the taper of the punch or chisel is, the less drag and distortion

Yeah, I found that the chisel had a lot less resistance than a my punch. It look me less time to do it with a hand hammer and chisel than it did with a punch and a friend with a sledge hammer. Also, I have some .75x1.5” mild steel I could make another drift from, but for now I dressed up my current one:B25F7C7B-E5EB-4F47-A7A2-FAC6CC865E35.jpeg

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If the eye's you've shown are any indication, your final drift is just fine.  

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Posted (edited)
On 12/31/2019 at 4:03 PM, Alan Longmire said:

You've got this.  It's gonna freak you out right after the edge weld, but once you get it worked to profile and start thinning it down it will tell you how to finish it off. B)

You were right, I wrapped up the forging today and it did freak me out after the weld! I think it’s good though. 
 

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Getting the edge steel fit was a bit harder than I thought, but got it done. 
 

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I started the weld by hammering the edge , then moved on to the cheeks. After trimming off the extra I ground off the steel and it all looked good to go. 
 

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It looks disproportionate to me now; the length is good, but I think it’s too tall. I think I’ll grind it shorter around the eye and ears. This one should be a better chopper with thin cheeks and a slightly high centerline. I’m still waffling about whether I’m going to grind it clean. There are a few pits I don’t like (on the pill side of the eye), but also it’s pretty lean. I think I’ll weigh it and see. I’m aiming for 1.25-1.5lb, so I’ll see if I have the meat left to grind it. Would it look terrible to grind it but not go to the bottom of all the pits then blacken it in the heat treat?

 

Update: the head is 1lb, 6 oz as is, so won’t be much extra mass after profiling. 

Edited by Aiden CC
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Aiden,right on,good job on welding that bit on.

What you're ending up with is (not surprisingly)a GB type head,here's their average shape:

gfb-420.jpg

 

Now,when you say "too tall",do you mean in that transition zone,between the eye and blade?

If so,it's a natural effect of not beginning to control it soon enough,while in it's stubbier stage.

It is challenging to edge-set an axe blade,but possible.If you have a large-ish radius on one of your anvil edges,place the inside corner of the bottom of the blade on it,and whack it from above,hard.

(sorry if i misunderstood your point here).

In general,that was a common feature in many Swedish/Norsk axes,the height at poll was bigger than at base of blade,(it was done quite deliberately,for balance).

Sometimes,especially when it was fairly radical forged-in diff.,it was done with a special,dedicated forked/cleft chisel type of tool...But in milder cases like GB pictured above an anvil edge would do.

 

Good job on controlling All factors/parameters so far,none of this is easy....

 

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I wasn’t aiming for quite as narrow of a transition as the GB, but that is one of the areas I was thinking about. I’ll probably grind it in a bit, though if I draw it on and it looks like a lot of steel to take off, I may go back in o the forge. I also will probably flatten off the top of the eye, crisp up the ears, and lower the top of the edge (the toe?) a little bit, but still leave it somewhat raised. 

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Yep,that's a standard operating procedure for me as well:Sketch on a pre-form with a soapstone,get rid of the main mass with a cut-off disc,grind the profile.

Axes are an awkward bugger of a shape being so flat in one dimension,a bear to set down in that direction.

Another bit of theory here:Most axes have a balance point somewhere 1/4" or so inside the eye(if you chuck a ruler or an old knife in a vise and balance the head across it).It makes an axe neutral,i.e. neither blade-,nor poll-heavy when hafted.Saves on some muscles in your hand/wrist...

Yes,the top of the cutting edge is the Toe(bottom-Heel).

Good for you,man,i think you're doing an excellent job.

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Got this profiled and heat treated this morning. 
20FE6308-0E6E-424E-BC1C-7F4BC41D9E8C.jpeg

4F383284-B6EA-4028-8B56-E27E198E0ABA.jpeg

Profile is basically an American style hatchet with ears and a little beard. Still not sure if I like it. I’ll sleep on it and maybe trim it up, though I’m right at 1.25lb and don’t really want to go lighter. I had some pitting from scale and flux that I mostly ground out, going up to a scotchbrite belt. 
 

910DA7B2-D5DB-41AB-A0DB-B659B2C03464.jpeg

The edge steel hardened well in warm canola oil and the new oxide blended the ground and pitted portions of the blade nicely. This is it after tempering and a coat of beeswax. 

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