Spent the last few days polishing this bearded axe. It’s now ready to be hafted. I call this finish “file satin.” Basically, I forge the axe as closely as I can to the shape I want. I leave a little extra meat for the grinder. I then give it a very course grinding to remove scale and pits. I then draw file to the final shape I want. This is followed by hand polishing with wet/dry paper then emery compound. Finally, I use oil on a scotch-brite pad and satin the whole thing. This gives a very well defined shape, but upon closer inspection small forge pits and file marks are evident to add historic character.
I do some final shaping of the socket to ensure a nice fit with the haft, and then put a small chamfer on the edges. While most of the examples I’ve seen are too corroded to support the idea of this small chamfer, I do it because it adds a little depth to the axe head, and protects the user from cutting his or her fingers on the hard edges. Considering the amount of file work you see on many historic weapons, I think it is historically plausible.
The edge is hand polished to sharpness with stones. I am looking for a slight apple seed bevel, but because of the wedge shaped design of this axe, the apple seed bevel is very small because the wedge shape of the axe will naturally support an aggressive cutting edge without too much meat behind the edge. This design allows for an extremely sharp edge that is well supported. This axe could do some real damage to an opponent’s shield or person. I do the final sharpening with a high grit diamond hone followed by a leather strop which makes a hair shaving edge.
- Socket and Body: 1018
- Edge bit: 1080
- Blade width: 4.75″ (12,1 cm)
- Overall length (from pole to top tip of blade): 6.375″ (16,2 cm)
- Weight: 1.25 pounds (567 grams)
I’ll post final pictures after it has been hafted.