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WIP/Tutorial for a quick down and dirty hatchet size axe.


Rob Toneguzzo
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Hello All,

 

This thread is aimed at members who are interested in making their first folded axe but have been putting off giving it a go.

 

This is a quick no fuss but very functional hatchet, small axe, tomahawk etc which does not require a lot of fancy equipment or difficult techniques to master.

 

For anyone else who wishes to go into much more depth the below 2 tutorials from Gerald and Alan are in my opinion as good as it gets and have been invaluable reference for my own development.

 

 

http://www.geraldboggs.com/Axe_article.pdf and 

 

 

Ingredients -

1 x farriers rasp or other similar sized strip of steel (you can use mild steel if you like as the insert or bit will be HC steel)

1 x piece of HC steel for the insert. I used a slice off an old circular logging saw but you can also use a piece of another rasp in the same way.

1 x handle. I prefer to cut my own but for this job I bought a quality hardwood hatchet handle from the hardware store.

Borax

 

 Equipment  - 

Forge  - coal or gas capable of getting hot enough to forge weld. I will get into how I test this later.

Angle grinder with flap and cutting disks

Welder (handy but not needed)

Make an axe drift out of a bit of mild steel as close as you can get to the shape of the handle ( again handy but not needed) I roughly shaped mine with a flap disk which took about 15 mins. There will be tutorials on how to make a proper one and it will be time well spent and save time in the future.

 

Now...This is by no means the only or best way to do this but it works well for me.

 

1st image

Clean all rust off the rasp (or other steel) with a flap disk so that it is shiny and then hit it with a wire brush. File down the teeth a bit but you don't need to file them all off. I use the finer side of the  of the rasp for the inside which will be welded. You can see my dodgy drift here...see....nothing fancy 

 

2nd image

I cut a strap from my boat tie down to use as a template and wrapped it around the wood handle and marked the space I need for the eye. I then worked out how much i needed for the blade and marked that too. This will depend on what type of axe blade you want but for this I just marked out equal thirds. I then cut my rasp to shape.

 

3rd Image

 

I cut the bit/insert of HC steel to suit. I also cleaned this up with a flap disk and wire brush but did not go too crazytown on it.

 

More to come......

 

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"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Image 4

 

To make things just a bit easier I clamp the insert/bit of HC in place on one end of the rasp and tack it in place. I also sprinkle some borax between the plate and rasp before I weld it in place . It is not needed but it does not hurt and I get good welds.

 

I do this because when I heat the rasp and bend it in place I don't have to worry about the HC bit falling out or moving. (This is not needed though and I have done this many times without the welding of the bit.)

 

Images 5

 

To start with, I heat the rasp and then fold it around the makeshift drift I made (pictured in Image 1) I have a bit of square stock welded to the bottom of my drift as I sit it in the hardy hole on the anvil while I bend the rasp.

Once I have the rasp bent around the drift I take it to the vice while still hot and clamp the two sides of the blade tightly together. leaving the drift in while I do this gets it clamped down nice and tight, forms the eye and gets things ready to weld. 

I then give the blade a good Boraxing and put it it back into the forge.

 

Images 6,7,8

 

I then turn up my forge full and adjust to yellow flames coming out the mouth and wait till the metal looks the colour of the forge insides and then flip the axe over. When I think it is hot enough I get a bit of fence wire and heat it till it's glowing and then lightly touch the axe head. If it is slightly tacky and sticks  a bit when I touch the axe head I know it is hot enough to weld. I let it soak for a bit longer and then set the welds. Light taps at first working from the eye to the edge then brush off borax a bit and repeat for a couple of times and then for a couple more where I hit much harder and set the welds. Bring each heat up to welding temp when doing this. I then nip the end off, cool it and check my welds before starting to forge out the axe blade.

More to come....

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Edited by Rob Toneguzzo
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"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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34 minutes ago, Rob Toneguzzo said:

This thread is aimed at members who are interested in making their first folded axe but have been putting off giving it a go.

How abut for those of us who have tried and flailed a few times? Will it work for us too? :D:o:blink:

Edited by Joshua States
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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

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HAHAH Josh of course it will work for you as I am also one of those ones who has tried and failed and failed and tried but kept trying till I started getting more successes than fails.

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"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Image 9,10,11,12

 

I then spread the blade out and forge to shape being careful to keep the eye and things trued up as I go.

 

This is where you can make the shape of axe you like

 

Then a clean up and profile with the good old flap disk and ready for heat treat.

 

For my heat treat of this hatchet head -

I normalise 3 x times and then quench in pre heated canola oil.

I test for hardness with the file.

I then temper this by heating the eye with my propane torch until the eye turns blue and then slowly heat further down the blade until the colours run and the edge just turns straw and then quench in water...thats it.

This gives me blue through the eye and middle with the edge straw which I find makes for a very tough and sturdy little axe.

 

I then do my final shaping and rough sharpening. I use my belt grinder but you can use the flap disk.

 

I then test it - See Clip 1 

 

I am sorry I did not take pictures of fitting the handle but it is fairly straight forward and there are heaps of tutorials on you tube re this.

 

I have just finished it and am oiling up the handle so I will post up finished pics soon.

 

I hope this may be of help to others and also get Josh to get off his butt and make us an axe..that is in his spare time when he is not making those beautiful knives!

 

P.s Sorry I uploaded clip twice...

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Edited by Rob Toneguzzo
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"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Ready for work. Nothing fancy but fit for purpose and a fun rewarding useful project to undertake.

9E970269-2C92-4339-B45C-F27FB68DD46F.jpeg

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"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Clip dosent load Rob.

 

Sorry, there is a problem

We could not locate the item you are trying to view.

Error code: 2S328/1


 

Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

The ability to do comes with doing.

 

 

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Sorry Garry, not working. Not sure how to upload a video it seems. Was nothing too important. Just edge and heat treat testing

"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Only way I know is to do a youtube video. I have never been able to upload them any other way. 

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Von Gruff

http://www.vongruffknives.com/

The ability to do comes with doing.

 

 

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I tried a link from my Twitter.

Works!!!:D first time I’ve done that

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"Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes" - Tom HALL - Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon wine.

 

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Cool, thanks Rob. Now you got me thinking... :)

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"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card

 

Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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thanks for the detail Rob. That looks like a great working and playing tool.

kc

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please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/

 

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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Dang it Rob!  Now you've gone and done it.  You made it look so simple that I'm going to have to go down this rabbit hole. <_<

Seriously though, thanks for the tutorial.  I'm going to have to give this a try.

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-Brian

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There was a version of this I was taught years back.  I never did it myself as I was always trying to make something beyond my skill level.  The steps used are basically the same, the only difference was that using a tear drop drift for traditional tomahawks the instructor divided up the rasp a little differently.  One section was nicked and folded over for the bit section instead of an insert.

 

The majority of these I've seen and got my hands on were just the rasp welded back onto itself.  They are very tough, and just another reason why you take every farrier's rasp you can find.

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1 hour ago, Daniel W said:

The majority of these I've seen and got my hands on were just the rasp welded back onto itself.  They are very tough, and just another reason why you take every farrier's rasp you can find.

Unfortunately many newer rasps are barely case hardened and do not work well for blades of any kind.  There are still some great ones, but it definitely becomes something you need to watch for rather than the sure thing it used to be.  

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