Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Pictures will appear after each section to help keep everything readable :D


Also, I am sorry for the poor picture quality. They are pictures of the drawings. I hope to have scans soon ^_^


Bob Ouellette

20 December, 2006


Reproducing a Viking Adze




Target time:

• 4 hours



• Anvil

• Vise

• Regular cross peen forging hammer

• Light riveting hammer

• Light sledge hammer (for use with a striker)

• Tongs for holding 7/8” or 1” square bar (best if box jaw), and flat jaw tongs for 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2”

• Eye punch: 1/8” x 7/8” or 1/8” x 1” - the punch should be high carbon steel and tapering to become about 1/2” thick and the same width as the punch (See Figure 1)

• Drift: 1 1/4” x 1/2” (See Figure 2)

• Files: Flat coarse, Half round coarse, 1/2” round coarse, and a flat fine file

• Hot cut hardie

• 1/2” Round bar to use across vise jaws

• Hack saw or other cold cutting instrument


Supplies need:

• Flux



• 7/8” square or 1” square wrought iron or mild steel at least 5 inches long (but longer is helpful)

• 3/8” x 1” x 1 1/4” high carbon steel


Figure 1



Figure 2



Step 1: Punching the Eye

• Begin with a section of mild steel or wrought iron stock. If you have a piece that you can hold with out tongs it will make the beginning steps easier.

• Heat the end of the bar up to a bright yellow; if you’re using wrought iron, the surface of the metal should appear very wet.

• Holding the punch with the 1/2” flat-jawed tongs set it about 1” from the end of the bar and as near to the centerline of the bar as you can get it. Have your striker use a light blow then check the placement of the punch mark. Now is the time to adjust it if you need to. (See Figure 3)

• Once you are satisfied with the placement of the mark, drive the punch into the stock. Be careful not to let the tip of the tool get too hot and deform. It is easiest not to work below a low orange heat. Drive the punch into the stock until you feel the resistance of the anvil. When you feel that, remove the punch and turn the bar over onto the other side. It should be fairly easy to find where the hole is on the other side as it is in the center of the bulge. It should not take more than a few light blows to remove the biscuit (the small chunk of material that is punched out). (See Figure 4)

*Note: Punching the eye may take several heats, do not expect to get it all done at once.

It is important not to hammer on the eye until later in the process.


Figure 3



Figure 4



Step 2: Welding the High-carbon Bit

• Using the hot cut hardie make a cut about half way through the stock (if using wrought iron) about 3 1/2 inches from the hole for the eye. Forge this end so that it is approximately an inch wide and 1/2” thick (See Figure 5). Set this piece aside, but if you are able to keep it hot (as in a gas forge) it will save a few minutes when you go to weld.

• Take the piece of high-carbon steel and forge a sharp taper on one end. The 3/8” flat tongs should be used for this.

• Once the steel has been prepared, cover it with flux and then flux thinner end of the wrought iron or mild steel body. Place the steel bit on top of the iron bar, with the ends lined up (See Figure 6). Place in the fire and bring up to welding heat.

• Once the two pieces are at welding temperature, bring them out and tap lightly to get the pieces to stick securely (they may already be sticking as you bring them out of the fire. Hammer the two pieces together and begin spreading them.

*Note: it is ok if the edges of the weld are not perfect at this point in the process, as they will become easier to weld as the material is spread.


Figure 5



Figure 6



Step 3: Forming the Blade

• Using the peen of the hammer spread the blade until it’s about 2 1/4” wide at the edge. Use the opportunity to seal any cold shuts as you draw it down. The blade should be about 4” – 4 1/2” long. (See Figure 7)

• Make sure to keep the sides of the blade strait and get a nice taper from just before the eye to about 3/16” at the edge.


Figure 7



Step 4: Forming the Eye

• Heat the eye to a near welding heat. Drive the punch into the slot that was made earlier, but be careful not to drive too hard. Hammer the sides of the eye in order to make the hole bigger. (See Figure 8)

• Once you are able to drive the punch all the way through, use the 1/4” flat jaw tongs to grip the blade, heating the pole. Set the far side of the eye on the far edge of the anvil, creating a shoulder 1/4” – 5/16” from the edge of the eye. Thin the area at the corner of the shoulder to about 1/2” thick. (See Figure 9)

• Getting the pole as hot as you can, thread the 1/2” bar through the eye and set it across the jaws of a vise. Use the riveting hammer to upset the pole (See Figure 10). The pole will want to turn down towards the eye, so it is important to keep it strait. One thing you might do is use the peen to spread the material as well as push it back onto itself. Make sure not to let the pole get any wider than the eye. This is the step where it will happen so make sure to prevent it as soon as it starts to make things easier on your self.

*Note: it is not important to get the exact shape of the pole during the forging process.

• Once the pole has been shaped, it is safe to do the final drifting of the eye. The adze should be held by the blade during this step. Tap the drift into place so that it fits snugly. If the hardie hole is big enough, place the eye over it and tapping the drift in. If you do not have a hardie hole of the proper size, a plate with a round hole that is large enough for the drift to fit through can be used over the jaws of the vise. DO NOT drive the drift all the way in! This is important, as it will cause the wrought iron to tear and ruin your hard work. Once the drift is snug, lay the eye flat on the anvil and hammer the walls thinner (Refer to Figure 8). This makes the diameter of the eye larger and makes the walls thinner and closer to the final size.

• Set the forward end of the eye over the thickest part of the anvil’s horn. This acts like a large fuller and helps to make a smooth transition from the eye to the blade (See Figure 11). For this step, you may choose to hold the adze by the pole. In which case you will want to use the large box-jaw tongs.

• Once the eye has been drifted to the proper size, use the riveting hammer to shape the lugs. Bring the hammer in at an angle to hit on either end of the eye, leaving the center ridge untouched (See Figure 12). By doing this you should be able to create the points that extend down. Use the drift as an intermediate anvil to keep the lugs from getting thicker than the rest of the eye.


Figure 8



Figure 9



Figure 10



Figure 11



Figure 12



Step 5: Final forging

• Holding the adze by the pole, set the transition point from the eye to the blade over the horn of the anvil and tap it into a gentle sweeping curve. Keep about 2 1/2” - 3” from the end of the blade strait.

• Finally, heat the blade to the critical temperature of the steel and let it air cool. This normalization step will make it easier to file.


Step 6: Filing

• File the edges of the blade and the sides of the eye with the flat file, making them flat with an even transition. Keep an even pattern of file marks on each surface. For this step, it is simple to clamp the blade in the vise on edge.

• Once both sides of the eye have been done, cut off any extra, uneven material at the edge off. File the edge to get a slightly curved cutting area.

• Clamping the eye and some material on either end of the end of the eye in the vice (to keep from distorting the eye) draw file the flat surfaces of the blade and the top of the eye and pole. It may be necessary to use the half round file to get the under side of the blade.

• Use the half round file to shape the profile of the lugs and the pole, using the narrow edge to get into the sharp angle where the pole meets the rest of the body.

• Use the round file to clean up the inside of the eye. Run the fine file along the sharp edges to remove any burrs that might cut you.

• The final step before heat treat is to file the bevels on the edge. File about a 20º angle on both sides of the flat of the blade.


Step 7: Heat treatment and finishing

• Heat the edge to about 1/2” in towards the eye to the critical temperature of the steel and quench in the quenching medium that is best for that steel. If you are using wrought iron, it is ok to quench the entire adze body without fear of making it too brittle to use.

• Temper to a brown or dark straw color. You can do this in an oven or with a torch.

• Finally, wire brush the entire surface of the adze and apply a wax or oil finish.


Here's a picture of the final product


Bob O


"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."


My Website

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys. If you need anything else clarified with a picture, feel free to ask ^_^ I'm going to put this up on my website once I get around to editing that :P

Bob O


"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."


My Website

Link to post
Share on other sites

wow! Nice work BobO. Do you get extra credit for the writeup? :)



Thanks again, I'm really happy to share my experiment with everyone. I hope someone tries it out and posts some pics ^_^


Kris, I'm actually going to include it in my portfolio for next semester. I may even add more pictures if anyone needs them.

Bob O


"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."


My Website

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for the tutorial. My wife "volunteered" me to do historical blacksmithing at a renaissance fair yesterday. I have one week to get ready. This tutorial is printed out and ready to travel! Any idea how the original was made without use of a post vise, anvil with hardy hole, and only one pair of tongs? I may cheat a little and just say, "If they had 'em, damn sure they'd 'ave used 'em!"

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing I can think of would be to shoulder and upset the pole before you do any drifting of the eye. Might take conciderably longer, but if historical acuracy is what you're going for and you've got the time... ^_^


As for the tongs, I think they had a more "all purpose" style that would have been suited to do all the jobs. For the lack of a hardie hole, you could simply set it over the edge of the anvil. The hardie hole just provides support or it. Or maybe even into a deep cut in a log?


Please let me know how it works out. Good luck.

Edited by Bob Ouellette

Bob O


"When I raise my flashing sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance upon mine enemies, and I will repay those who haze me. Oh, Lord, raise me to Thy right hand and count me among Thy saints."


My Website

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Create New...