Bearded Axe from Uppsala Sweden


It was a chance of a lifetime.  My friend, Peter Johnsson, was able to secure a whole day of research at the University of Uppsala storeroom.  When we walked in, the curators made their introductions, then proceeded to walk us down to the climate controlled rooms.

I could not believe my eyes: row after row of swords, spears, axes, and other assorted weapons were sitting on each shelf.  It looked to me, a novice, like the jackpot of historic weapons.  We quickly began the task of choosing which items we wanted to document.  We pulled what seemed like dozens of weapons off the shelves and placed them on a cart to take them to a study room.  One of them was this outstanding small bearded axe.  It had an elegant shape, but it was also quite substantial for its size.  I knew right away that someday I’d like to make an axe inspired by this one.

Peter’s drawing of the axe

My version is slightly larger than the original.  The tips of the langets are a bit more narrow on my version because the corrosion added a bit of mystery as to how the ends were terminated.  In addition, instead of the roundish eye socket, I opted for a kite shaped one mostly because of the mandrels I had already forged and heat-treated.  Other than these minor changes, I believe this version captures the spirit of the original axe.

The haft is made of hickory and is 31″ (78, 7 cm) long.


  • 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: 2.28 pounds (1034,8 grams)
  • Haft material: hickory
  • Haft length: 31″ (78,7 cm)

Contact me at if you are interested in commissioning a similar piece.

Click to enlarge:



Customer’s Response:

Hi Eric, The axe has arrived in perfect shape.  Just to let you know, I have a big smile on my face. It is superb. Your workmanship on the axe head is beautiful and very symmetrical and the hickory haft is a knockout. To say I am pleased is an understatement. I am over the moon. You deserve a very big pat on the back Eric. Well done. The axe is very deceptive. At first it looks very light of weight and it makes me think it wouldn’t have much power behind it. Then you see the wedge shape and this overturns the previous statement. I think this axe would be devastating in battle. Light but not cumbersome and very easy to change direction but with a mass behind the cutting edge that is awe inspiring.

I will have to take a few days to really appreciate this axe and then I will write to with a review. I am hoping for some sunny weather so I can take some pictures.

Once again, thank you so much for this.

By the way, I was very impressed with the new Danish axe you just made. I won’t be able to afford one this year but I am hoping to put aside some for next year.

All my very best,




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Eric McHugh

Crown Forge Custom Blade Art by Eric McHugh

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