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19 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Anyway,just in case you or anyone reading this hasn't seen one here's a video about it

 

That is something I have not seen, thanks!  

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On 9/8/2020 at 3:54 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

* I'll be a bore and reiterate that originally(NO idea of historic time scale,also strictly IMHO) these were not an hourglass section eyes.

Nor were the Kirves,either.

However,at some point people ran into a necessity to secure the heads firmer,or something else was changing,i dunno,but for whatever reason they started wedging these in principle unwedged eyes.

(and concurrently,it's a possibility anyway,Swedes started working for American market,and the real hourglass waist shape crept in there solidly).

 

But even before that they wedged these eyes,and sometimes in a funky manner too.As an example i always think of that "snake head" wedge Finns liked(forgot the name in Suomi but it sounds cool,and the whole deal has that old/pagan cool-factor:)

 

Anyway,just in case you or anyone reading this hasn't seen one here's a video about it(haven't watched it myself,but just as an example).

 

Don't ask me how pressurizing the un-waisted eye is supposed to work.,and kinda suspect that it relies heavily on leaving an n-th length protruding,which of course swells up and will hold like the head of a bolt(indeed sometimes one does that with American axes as well).

But anyhoo,that's one of the cool old aboriginal methods:)   

The snake head wedge is pretty neat! I can definitely see a no-wedge fit developing enough friction to keep an axe head on, especially with a more gradual taper multiplying the force pressing out on the eye. That kind of friction can transfer a lot of torque in machine tools, and even take some axial loading. The thing I would find worrying is that unlike an hourglass, where the expanding force increases as you pull on the head, or an un-tapered fit (like a chuck or a collet) where the force stays the same until the two are pulled apart, this kind of taper loses holding force as the pieces slide apart (I've seen chucks/spindles drop out of old drill presses for this reason). I can see that as a good reason someone would want to get some material outside of the eye, or greatly increase the friction inside by pounding in a relatively large wedge. I may try this kind of eye at some point as well.

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You're right,Aiden,in all you say.

 

but actually,(and ironically),this-

 

32 minutes ago, Aiden CC said:

The thing I would find worrying is that unlike an hourglass, where the expanding force increases as you pull on the head, or an un-tapered fit (like a chuck or a collet) where the force stays the same until the two are pulled apart, this kind of taper loses holding force as the pieces slide apart

 

is exactly Why the conical fit was employed so widely and for so long,it made for things to be able to come apart automatically,on their own.

 

Most axes "back then" were used of of doors,exposed to all weathers.

If a properly tightened hourglass-shaped tongue gets wet,it almost always would compress the wood fibers past it's elastic limit-i.e. crush them.It has no place to go.Such haft can never again be made tight but can only be fixed by replacement.

But  that conical job allows for the haft to slither out a critical amount on it's own,as the wood expands and the pressure mounts,saving the haft from being ruined.

The obverse of this coin is of course just what you say,it can do it's self-dismount in some unhandy moment,and fly off in some unhandy direction. 

 

That Morse taper deal(and we must remember that it stems from those long-socketed medieval eyes which were,practically,Morse-like) actually stays on pretty darn good,due to one part being wood.

Wood is compressed elastically,plus it''s kinda rough and fuzzy,plus,it ends up reacting with iron forming some kinda reddish crud that feels abrasive,and i think further increases that necessary modicum of friction.

Edited by jake pogrebinsky
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7 hours ago, Rob Toneguzzo said:

If you can forge this you can forge anything. Great work!

Thanks Rob! I definitely have a long way to go with forging these and I think it will serve as a good way to branch out beyond the "flat and pointy" that has made up most of what I've forged.

 

16 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

Most axes "back then" were used of of doors,exposed to all weathers.

If a properly tightened hourglass-shaped tongue gets wet,it almost always would compress the wood fibers past it's elastic limit-i.e. crush them.It has no place to go.Such haft can never again be made tight but can only be fixed by replacement.

But  that conical job allows for the haft to slither out a critical amount on it's own,as the wood expands and the pressure mounts,saving the haft from being ruined.

The obverse of this coin is of course just what you say,it can do it's self-dismount in some unhandy moment,and fly off in some unhandy direction. 

Ah, that makes sense. I've seen a lot of old axes/hatchets with eyes full of steel wedges, nails, and screws to try and address that shortcoming. I guess forging top tools are sometimes hung with a single taper and no wedge, since the abuse they see would likely lead to rattling if not for some quick way to re-tighten them. 

 

Also, on the note of handles, I found some pictures of a few old ones on the Swedish digital museum site I have used in the past to find pictures of original Sami pieces:

AM.067455.jpg

AM.072965.jpg

The top axe is from the 20th century, and the bottom one from the mid 19th, and it's quite possible these are not "original" handles. All of the collared axes I saw on that site (my search is here: https://digitaltmuseum.se/search/?q= yxa&aq=type%3A"Thing"&o=0&n=944) had straight handles like these with minimal or non existent swells/knobs at the end. Sledge hammers are swung as hard as axes and are much heavier (though that does mean the swing is slower) and they have straight handles often with no knob or other contouring to speak of, so I can see it working fine for axes too (especially if the pole sees a lot of use). I don't think my blank would allow me to pivot to this style, so I'll go forward with the curved handle and see how I like it. Most of my tool swinging has been with the  straight, knobless handles of one and two handed hammers, so in retrospect an axe built that way might actually have been better for me personally.

 

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Good for you,Aiden,for searching around those databases,cool stuff.

 

Yes,in general it was always said that Any handled tool at all can be handled perfectly straight(the physics dictate that,afterall).

 

Something that complicates this equation is when the tool is purposed very narrowly,and requires certain repositioning of the grip,like running your fingers down the neck of a guitar to play a certain riff-sometimes the curvature makes it more automatic/convenient.

 

Also a factor was always the Hereditary nature of tool usage:You grew up using certain shape of haft that was made by your old man on that family farm,or maybe by your Master during an apprenticeship.For convenience most people had thin flat wooden patterns for the shape of the handle they preferred hanging about in the shop or barn,and when needed they were used to trace the shape onto the new blank.

Once on your own you continued the use of whatever shape that you were trained on,so that particular curve may migrate to your own pattern et c.

 

And you're absolutely right in that the top-tools were never wedged;the shock of getting pounded on kinda precluded that,not even mentioning the thermal-related expansion/contraction,they were mostly just jammed onto a handle with lots protruding out of the top,and you reset them by tapping the butt before use.

 

As a friend said once:"I take my axes with a large dose of anthropology":)...I think one can say Very generally that initially,and for many centuries,the use of wooden hafted hand-tools was an organic,living tradition.

You had a sense of when that haft was wearing out,getting loose,and so on,and replaced it automatically without making a big deal out of it.

 

As the Industrial Age was displacing the hand tools and everything along these lines the tools were laying about more,used less frequently,the gaps in familiarity were appearing and expanding.

When picking up a tool with an old,dried out or otherwise deteriorated handle one had more of a tendency to shove it full of wedges to tighten it vs to take a pattern off the wall and quickly replace the handle.

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21 hours ago, jake pogrebinsky said:

The obverse of this coin is of course just what you say,it can do it's self-dismount in some unhandy moment,and fly off in some unhandy direction.

 

Which is why a friend of mine and fellow smith will no longer touch my Norwegian carving axe with the reverse taper eye.  He was chopping charcoal at a smelt and the head gently left the haft on the upswing and settled into the ground edge-first about an inch ahead of his big toe...:blink:  I'm thinking a softer wood haft with the snakehead wedge is the way to go on that one.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’ve been gradually working on this a half hour at a time when I can and it’s slowly getting done. D2350FE6-8393-45D9-B542-E7687B06FE91.jpegB1A4893D-EC4E-42C9-8D83-45F393CDDFBF.jpeg
The hang went ok, for now I’ll leave the “button” of wood on top. With all the contact and the wedge, I imagine the handle won’t be going anywhere soon. 
 

A1FABE51-670C-406D-9A99-10CAACE4FD1A.jpeg8DF973C7-97D8-4309-9D60-A7D7559026A5.jpeg
Some saw cuts helped a lot with profiling with a hatchet. I also tool that time to thin out the handle with a hatchet. 
 

EFEA5A75-ABE5-4620-BD52-F222B1345811.jpeg6D574604-0169-4171-8DF1-FF05DE9BA7BF.jpeg

For now the handle is pretty much as thin as I want it. With no vice, I found a regular knife worked about as well as a draw knife. All that’s left now is to saw and shape the end, clean up the knob a little, and oil it. It may be a little thick, but it’s not hickory, so I don’t want to get carried away thinning it out. When I use it (which may not be for a while) I’ll see how it feels. 

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Damn, damn, damn, this is cool! I am late to the game on this one (beginning of Fall semester is a busy time - it is a crazy place). 

The whole idea is great, and intimidating. I couldn't do it. Not the first time through. Thanks for showing the ups and downs and sharing your thoughts with is. Thanks to Jake and Alan for the insights, too. What a great group.

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Beautiful handle,Aiden,i think you've stayed consistently true to all the details of this pattern of tool throughout the whole process.

We all know how much work and concentration it demands,that evenness,and on that,as well as some of the finer touches,i congratulate you.

Good work!!!

 

Kevin,good for you for even considering such a project.Gather your energies,and try,if at all inclined.All attempts will be really constructive,in the educational dept.,if not in actual tool production.

But needless to say-education is where it's AT,trying some of this stuff will deepen your understanding of this,and make it easier and eventually hasten your success at this.

Venture forth,it's a noble pursuit,and so totally worthwhile!!!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/3/2020 at 7:39 AM, Kevin Colwell said:

Damn, damn, damn, this is cool! I am late to the game on this one (beginning of Fall semester is a busy time - it is a crazy place). 

The whole idea is great, and intimidating. I couldn't do it. Not the first time through. Thanks for showing the ups and downs and sharing your thoughts with is. Thanks to Jake and Alan for the insights, too. What a great group.

Thank you Kevin it means a lot; a WIP thread of yours was one of the first things I looked at when I started making knives. I find myself doing a lot of projects on the fringes of hobby bladesmithing as far as information and technique go, so I try and document my process to hopefully make it a little easier for the next person. Honestly, I'm beginning to think obscurity is what draws me to a project: it seems like I find a style I like and keep pushing until there's frustratingly little information available, then try to make it.

 

 +1 to the beginning of the fall semester being busy (though actually I think it's the second half :blink: now for me). I've had photos of the finished axe for a while but have put of posting them here. This has been a fun project, and without help from Jake and Alan it likely would have taken a number more failed attempts before I got something resembling a useable tool. 

 

On 10/4/2020 at 3:42 PM, jake pogrebinsky said:

Beautiful handle,Aiden,i think you've stayed consistently true to all the details of this pattern of tool throughout the whole process.

We all know how much work and concentration it demands,that evenness,and on that,as well as some of the finer touches,i congratulate you.

Good work!!!

Thanks Jake! I haven't really gotten a chance to use it, but I'm interested to see how the carved handle feels. Just from oiling it, the surface seems much more "closed" than a sanded one, which I think you've mentioned before. The handle feels incredibly light compared to hickory too, which will be interesting. 

 

Here is the finished axe:

IMG_9101.JPGIMG_9100.JPG

 

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That is a spectacular effort and finished project Aiden.

7 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Let us know how it works!

+1 to that.

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On 10/22/2020 at 6:44 AM, Aiden CC said:

Just from oiling it, the surface seems much more "closed" than a sanded one, which I think you've mentioned before. The handle feels incredibly light compared to hickory too, which will be interesting. 

 

But of Course,man.That principle,the "blade-finished wood",applies to everything starting with a log-cabin in the N.European history(or temple architecture in Japan,same difference,check out their array of finishing tols,no abrasive in sight),and on down.

It's the same deal as when trying to sharpen a blade and forming the Burr-at some point any material just gets too weeny to resist the pressure of finishing tool/stone,and bends(metal) or fuzzes out in case of wood,it's a fibrous structure with only limited resistance to withstand forces from the whatever you're torturing it with!:)

 

(you may think of those soft/weak ends of wood-fibers as hairs on skin-for a clean shave,surely you wouldn't choose an abrasive,'cos the hairs have not the Rigidity to oppose that sort of action.A keen blade just has that narrow angle of convergence vs the facets of a rock in whatever abrasive,angles on that rock being of course much wider angle.Btw,a broken beer bottle usually can provide about any shape necessary should you desire to further smooth the surface by scraping(again,think of shaving).But on essentially softer birch this stage may be misplaced,depends,tho'...).

 

Gorgeous tool,Aiden,congrats on all counts!

Separate Thanks for keeping track and recording it for the rest f us,most valuable empirical knowledge,an inspiration for us all!

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