Yesterday, I returned from a short trip to Wisconsin to do some consulting with Albion Armorers; so the Danish Axe has been sitting in need of a haft. Today I had an opportunity to haft the axe. After wedging the haft in place, I utilized my cabinet scrapers to adjust the profile of the haft. Once the profile is adjusted, I cover the haft with linseed oil. I will take some pictures of the finished project once the linseed oil has dried, and I have completed the final clean-up. Below are some WIP pictures:
I’m nearly finished with a commission for a Danish Axe. The blade is approximately 8.5″ (21,6 cm) from tip to tip. The transition from the body to the reinforced edge is a bit of a challenge to clean up without grinding into the forge welded area, but it is coming along nicely. This will be a light, fast cutter.
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.
I’m getting ready to polish a small bearded axe that is inspired by an axe that I documented with Swordsmith Peter Johnsson in Uppsala, Sweden.
We were drawn to this axe because of it’s elegant lines, and stout shape. While it’s profile makes it look like a thin axe, when viewed from the top, it is clear that this axe is all business. The body is nearly wedge shaped.
The body and socket are 1018 and the bit is 1080. Blade width is 4.75″ (12,1 cm) from tip-to-tip. It is 6.25″ (15,9 cm) long.
Swedish Swordsmith Peter Johnsson and I were able to visit Kevin Cashen and his lovely wife Karen at their home in Michigan. Kevin, whom I have dubbed “Dr. K. Robert Cashen,” because of his important work on metallurgy for bladesmiths, opened his lab to us and showed us numerous examples of his research.
I believe his work is critical for bladesmiths because Kevin, as a maker, is keenly aware of the difficulties that bladesmiths run into trying to produce a quality blade with a sound heat-treat. Kevin has a variety of microscopes (even a scanning electron microscope) which clearly shows the different steel structures.
Kevin’s research allows bladesmiths to combine practical techniques with sound science to achieve a quality heat-treat. This is very valuable because it show definitely what structures we are obtaining when we heat-treat our blades. It further allows us to make adjustments to obtain an optimal blade.
I really want to thank them for opening their home to us. They are the kindest people, and we’ve become good friends. It is refreshing to meet people who are free of duplicity and are genuinely interested in fellowshipping with other makers.
Of course after all the intense metallurgical discussion, we retired to Kevin’s newly remodeled “man-cave” to drink some BEER!
The blade is 4.5″ (11,4 cm) wide. Overall length is 7.5″ (19,5 cm). Socket and body are 1018 low carbon steel and the bit is 1080 high carbon steel. Blade is tempered to 50-55 Rockwell. The haft is 30.5″ long and is made of burnt hickory.
If you are interested, contact me at email@example.com