This axe is patterned after the many examples of late 10th to early 11th century single-hand war axes. This type of axe was an agile yet brutal weapon that would have been a common choice for a soldier fighting in close quarters or in a shield wall.
This axe features a hand-forged, wrought iron eye socket and body. The high carbon bit was then forge-welded to the body. The wrought iron comes from a 19th century farm in rural Wisconsin. It was part of the iron banding from one of the old silos that was demolished on the farm.
I etched the head to bring out the gorgeous random pattern of the iron. I then used water stones and a leather strop to bring the bit edge to a hair shaving sharpness. It was then buffed to a near mirror finish to show a pleasing contrast between the edge and etched wrought iron. I hand shaped the kiln dried oak haft with rasps and scrapers and sanded it to a smooth consist finish. I sealed it with multiple coats of Danish oil.
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Body and Eye: 19th century wrought iron
Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
Haft wood: Oak
Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 3.625″ (9,2 cm)
Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 5.063″ (12,9 cm)
I had the pleasure of attending Fire and Brimstone 2017 hosted by the Baltimore Knife and Sword Co. The event was held at BKS’s facility in Marriottsville, Maryland (just outside Baltimore) and featured demonstrations from a number of expert bladesmiths.
The weekend started with me visiting with one of my closest friends and former Albion cutler-extraordinare: Joel Dohahue. Joel and I first met at Albion in the early 2000’s. I trained him to cutler swords, and he turned into one of the best sword cutlers Albion had. He is now an attorney who works for the Social Security Administration. Joel and his girlfriend, Susan, took me to some great places for food and drink.
I was also able to meet up with bladesmiths JJ Simon, Matt Venier, Emiliano Carrillo and Justin Mercier at the Walters Art Museum. The museum has a small collection of arms and armour, but many of the pieces were quite interesting.
Over the weekend, Mark Green, Daniel Cauble and Jesus Hernandez built and fired a Catalan smelter which yielded a good sized bloom made from Magnetite ore.
Another highlight of the weekend was Jeff Pringle and his atomic marshmallow crucible furnace. Jeff, an expert on crucible steel, managed to set a new F&B record with 7 pucks in one weekend. Most of them showed a great deal of promise.
Another highlight was the refining hearth that Emiliano Carrillo and Daniel Waddell constructed and fired.
It was an excellent weekend. I learned a great deal, and made a lot of new friends. I have plans in the near future to make my own crucible steel and build and fire my own hearth.
This 10th Century Broad Axe draws its inspiration from a fine example in the Swedish History Museum. It features a hand forged eye socket and axe body made from low carbon steel. The high carbon 1080 bit is forge welded to the body. Careful attention was given during the forging of this axe to create graceful, flowing lines and smooth transitions. The result is a lively axe with a razor sharp edge.
The top of the ash wood haft is meticulously hewn to fit the eye socket in a precise manner. This detail ensures the axe head will stay secure during use. The rest of the haft is shaped and sanded to a smooth, comfortable finish. The entire haft is treated with linseed oil to preserve and harden the finish.
Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
Haft wood: Ash
Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 5.25″ (13,33 cm)
Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 6.25″ (15,88 cm)
I have been wanting an axe for a while now but hadn’t seen one that thrilled me until I saw this one by Eric McHugh. I’ve bought pieces from him previously so I knew the quality would be outstanding. It is! The shape of the components work perfectly together, it’s just great visually. The quality of the craftsmanship is absolutely top tier. Everything is just done beautifully. The edge is razor sharp. It feels great in hand too. One handed use is possible because of its excellent balance, but using it two handed really brings it to life. I couldn’t be more pleased with this axe and with everything about dealing with Eric. I liked the axe so much that I’m in talks with him about commissioning another piece. Nothing says you like what someone does better than return business, and Eric will have mine.
I’ve nearly finished a recreation of a boy’s burial axe that was found in a grave in Norway. I completed the final shaping of the profile. In addition, I polished the edge to a sharpness, and polished the axe to 800 grit. The next steps will be to etch it to bring out the random pattern in the iron, and then haft it.
The rusted original weights 314 grams, and my recreation come in at 344 grams. I’m quite happy with this weight considering the corroded condition of the original. I believe Dr. Lee Jones will be quite pleased with the completed piece.
I have been a bladesmith since 2002. I focus on making european migration, Viking and medieval weapons. I do at times delve into the weapons of other eras and cultures. I take a limited number of custom orders each year. If you are interested in commissioning a custom piece, contact me via email, and we can discuss your proposal.
In 1987, I joined the USAF. I completed aircrew training at Castle AFB, CA and spent the next 5 years as an Inflight Refueling Technician (Boom Operator) on KC-135’s. I left the AF in 1993 to attend college.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I began working with my wife, Sue, at an inner-city non-profit organization which provided assistance to low income families on the near Eastside of Indianapolis, IN. It was during this time, I began making knives, tools and scabbards as a hobby. It was also during this time that I met Howard and Amy Waddell the owners of Albion Armorers. In 2002, I made the decision to leave inner-city work, and work with Howard and Amy to establish Albion Armorers as a leading sword manufacturer.
I hired on as an artisan, but was soon promoted to Head Cutler. The decision was made to start the famed “Next Generation” line of swords which utilized Peter Johnsson’s designs and research. I had the privilege to work side-by-side with Peter to bring these swords to life. I then began making my own custom weapons and art in a small forge with a business partner at a nearby shop. I incorporated much of what I learned from Peter into my own custom art.
When the economy went into recession, I made the decision to work for the Union Boilermakers in NW Indiana as a welder and high rigger. I gained valuable rigging experience working on large pressure vessels, boilers, basic oxygen furnaces, blast furnaces, CAT crackers as well as electrostatic precipitators, and other environmental controls. I mastered advanced welding and metalworking techniques that I utilize in my current custom work.
Recently, I made the decision to put my boilermaking career on hold to once again pursue being a fulltime artist. In addition to being a fulltime artist, I have rejoined the Albion team as the VP of Research and Development. My work is mainly focused on fabricating and maintaining Albion’s heat-treat equipment and bringing new designs to market.