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Alan Longmire

Early 18th century English style axe

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Seeing the axes you guys have been posting lately, plus doing a demo on the Ft. Meigs axe at my local guild in December, had me thinking about making a larger version of the axe in Gerald's tutorial here: http://www.geraldboggs.com/Axe_article.pdf.  I wanted a cruiser-sized version since I have plenty of small hatchets.  So, on December 7 I started on it.  I used 1/2" x 2" mild flat bar for the body.  Here it is after I did all I could in one forging session:

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The plan was to finish it the following weekend, but on December 13 I was struck down by the flu, which turned into pneumonia and kept me down and out for the next three weeks, so I didn't get back to it until yesterday.  So Yesterday I cleaned up the profiles and spread the blade section.  1/2" x 2" bar is no joke to hand forge, especially if you've been out of the shop for nearly a month. :unsure:

 

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Today I thought I would finish it off, using an assortment of tricks with too-small drifts and a bick designed by Jim Austen to do the back of the eye on his Dane axes, which has come in handy for a lot of axe work.  Of course I forgot to get a picture of it, but it's in his dane axe tutorial.  But, the design of the preform for this axe lends itself to finishing on a small bick without a drift IF you have good hammer control.

 

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As you can see, I do NOT have excellent hammer control.  Good, but not good enough.  So next weekend I will make a drift to fit the eye, which turned out to be a full-sized felling axe eye.  So the drift will be handy for other axes in the future.  Plus you can't see it in the pics, but the edge is slightly twisted out of true relative to the eye.  Gotta have a drift to fix that.  I could fix that little floop on the left side with the bick, but I can't fix the twist on it.  I'll probably thin out the body a bit more as well.  

 

Specs: Body started out as 10 inches or so of 1/2" x 2" mild.  Edge steel is 1/4" x 1" 1084.  No power tools have touched it yet, this is strictly by hand hammer and anvil.    Final weight (so far) is 2lb 13 7/8 ounces, or about 1.25 Kg.  For comparative purposes, here it is with a 3.5 lb Collins felling axe from the 1990s:

 

20200105_145000.jpg

 

Exactly the size I was looking for.  Now to find a chunk of steel big enough to make the drift...

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I think it's excellent hammer-control,Alan,wonderful,clean forging...

 

Finding material for drifts Is a total botheration...i can totally relate...(as well as working without one,using whatever you got!:) 

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Nice spread of the lugs.

1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

 

As you can see, I do NOT have excellent hammer control.  Good, but not good enough

Looks pretty good to me :-)

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Ahhhhh, if only I can hope to do that someday.  I don't need an axe, but just to be able to accomplish it by hand and hammer would make me bust my buttons.  I shall persevere!

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Chris, try it with some 3/8 x 1, it's much easier.  You may need to make a little bottom swedge from the same 3/8" x 1" to keep the proportions, but that's just folding up the end of the bar til it fits in the hardy hole, then bending the rest flat on the anvil.

 

Jake, Gerald, thank you! I try.  

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Maybe someday.............if'n I ever get this danged propane forge built!  Too busy on what I've been calling "side roads"!  (I tend to get side-tracked a lot!):D

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Alan,i don't know how close to any kind of historic context(if at all)you've aimed at,but i notice that most axes of similar pattern seem to have an added poll...

 

https://cooperstoolmuseum.com/edge-tools/

 

In drawings it's not so easy to tell(above is only one of examples),but in surviving originals for the most part pretty sure there's more mass there...

Any plans for adding a any,for balance or looks?

 

Another thing i meant to ask is what do you know about the intended purpose for this pattern?

Not that it isn't a neat shape in and of itself,just wondering...

 

 

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5 hours ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Maybe someday.............if'n I ever get this danged propane forge built!  Too busy on what I've been calling "side roads"!  (I tend to get side-tracked a lot!):D

Maybe.....if we eats our porridges and get all growed up :D

 

Excellent work Alan!

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Nice work Alan esp that eye...oh.. I like that ruler too!

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Thanks again, and Jake, I was just following a pattern.  I'm not going to add a poll to it, although that would improve the balance. As far as I know, this type of axe was a general purpose light woodsman's axe, used for everything from pruning to felling smaller trees.  It is interesting that the general outline was retained in hewing axes and hatchets for the next 200 years, though...

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7 hours ago, Gerhard Gerber said:

Maybe.....if we eats our porridges and get all growed up 

:lol::D  If I ever grow up, Gerhard, I'll get bored with myself.

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On 1/5/2020 at 4:58 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

Finding material for drifts Is a total botheration...i can totally relate...(as well as working without one,using whatever you got!:) 

 

Inside dimensions on the eye are about 3/4" at the widest, tapering down to about 3/8" at the front, with a length of 2.5."  I was rooting around in my pile o' large steel crap looking for big round bar when I remembered I had a good-sized chunk of heavy flat bar in the hammer cart.  I dug that out, and thought "Ha!"  A chunk of 3/4" x 2" about 8" long, perfect!  Then I saw the numerals "4140" on it.  I bought that chunk at a hammer-in in 2005, intending to make a wide all-pein doghead hammer like the one Tai Goo (who calls it a "flogging hammer," https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/primalfires/flogging-hammer-t1058.html) used at a demo at said hammer-in, put it in the shop, and promptly forgot all about it until today.  

 

Would you have guessed 3/4" x 2" 4140 is a right bugger to forge by hand?  :lol:  Half an hour of power hammering made it manageable to switch to the 4lb cross pein, two hours of the use of which have rendered a drift-shaped object of approximately the right dimensions.  Since it's 4140 I'm letting it air cool, so no pics yet.  My local guild meeting is tomorrow, so no grinding on it until next weekend, when the house will be full of one sister-in-law and two nieces.  They and the wife will go on a shopping adventure Saturday, and I'll grind and hopefully use the drift then, and get the handle hung on Sunday.  Oh, and I guess I'll harden and temper the axe head after the drifting and straightening of the twist... 

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Inside dimensions on the eye are about 3/4" at the widest, tapering down to about 3/8" at the front, with a length of 2.5." 

 

It's a nice size eye...May not be easy to find a regular,hardware store handle in those dimensions.But you're in some good hickory country,and surely have your sources...

 

Good luck,Alan,4140 will make a great drift;mild works,but gets damaged and needs fixing up with annoying regularity...So it'll be worth every effort you put into it.

 

A photo of one of JA's drifts for inspiration-

http://forgedaxes.com/blog/

 

5-inch-axe-050.jpg

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Ooh, mine will not be anywhere near as pretty!  But then, he's one of the best axe guys around,  so I'm fine with that. :lol:

I actually found a full-sized felling axe handle that will fit with a little modification.   It'll look rather odd, as the deerfoot axe handle is a later thing than this head shape...  I may do some serious reshaping to the handle.  Or just take a chunk off the hickory I've been aging for 15 years or so.

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I finally got a chance to check this thread out. Nice work Sir Longmire!

You also reminded me that I too, have an axe started that needs some attention. IIRC, I also need to make a drift for it...….

I found a piece of 1-1/8" round stock  (unknown steel) that I picked up at an AABA meeting, (IITH).

Back out to the forge I go!

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