Jump to content

Axe Forging with Jim Austin


Recommended Posts

I took a couple of days off work to spend time with Jim Austin in Oakland and take his axe forging class. The objective was to transform the bar of steel into that axe head:

 

PXL_20201112_183125669.jpg

 

This is basically all forging work without really much grinding and or filing afterwards. We made two axes and here is the one I made (under Jim's excellent tutelage):

 

PXL_20201114_004257563.jpg

 

If you are interested, I can also post some photos from all the forging stages.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Niels Provos said:

If you are interested, I can also post some photos from all the forging stages.

Yes,please,as many as you can.

It's Really cool that you made the time and the effort to do this,Niels,good for you and thanks in advance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What an enviable undertaking. I attended Jim's axe demo in SLC at the 2016 ABANA conference. He's a fantastic teacher. Your ax head is a brilliant piece of forge work.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not take any video as that would have easily doubled the amount of time but here are some photos.

 

Using a center punch to show the lines where material for the eye is going to be separated:

PXL_20201112_183529288.jpg

 

Fullering on the line - the goal was to split the punched dots in half:

PXL_20201112_190754671.jpg

 

With the material separated, the rest of the eye is fullered to increase the width to about 3 1/2 in:

PXL_20201112_195059211.jpg

 

I'll post more pictures when I have some time. That said, watching Jim demonstrate all this makes you appreciate the skill and experience to do this efficiently. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In preparation for welding the eye, the transition to the blade is upset to give it some more material:

PXL_20201112_201634405.jpg

 

Then the surfaces are cleaned and prepared for welding with some borax:

PXL_20201112_220847915.jpg

 

Afterwards, the piece is bent so that the blade parts meet perfectly and are ready for forge welding:

PXL_20201112_223149945.jpg

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. 6.5 cu. inches of material. The Danish Broad axe video starts with 4" x 2" x 3/4", or 6 cu. inches. Very similar starting stock with dramatic differences in form.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a few more pictures. The axe head right after forge welding:

 

PXL_20201112_225637725.jpg

 

Here Jim is forming the eye on the mandrel:

PXL_20201112_233547944.jpg

 

And the axe heads after the eye shape has been refined:

PXL_20201113_002422575.jpg

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks,Niels.It's inspiring seeing Jim's tools and methods,very clean and controlled forging.

 

If i may ask,why was this particular form/style/et c. of a axe chosen?

Did you discuss any specifics of the kind of tool that you're going for,or was it more in a format of a general exercise?

 

In any case,great to see these photos,thanks.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

From my perspective, it was a general exercise. Jim ended up visiting a bunch of smithies in Norway and Sweden a few years ago. I believe this is one of the simple axes he observed there. I mostly wanted to get a sense for the process and an excuse to actually spend two days blacksmithing. My usually shop time is unfortunately only a couple of hours each week at the moment :-(

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...