wideThis is the final axe in a series of three hand forged, single-hand war axes I’ve been finishing.  Like the previous two axes, 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. ……………………………………………………………………………………………..

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This axe features a 1018 low-carbon steel body and eye socket and a 1080 high-carbon steel bit. The body and eye were drawn out like a “bow tie.”  The two sides were forge welded together to form the body.  The eye was further refined by forging over a steel mandrel to arrive at the desired socket shape. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

shapinghaft

The hardwood haft is made from hand hewn oak. Careful attention is given to the grain direction. Having the grain run parallel with the head (edge to poll) helps to prevent cracking when a powerful cut is made.  I use rasps and scrapers to shape the top of the haft to a tight fit with the eye socket.  This helps to prevent the axe head from twisting or moving during use. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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The wedge is pre-fit to the top of the haft to create the correct amount of widening to secure the head to the haft.

Once the top of the haft is correctly shaped for the socket, I carefully saw a slot for the wedge.  The wedge is cut from the same section of wood as the haft so the grain direction and size will be similar to the haft.  The wedge is then pre-fitted to the slot.  This creates a mushrooming of the haft above the top of the axe head that secures the head in place. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Tannic acid and iron acetate are applied to the haft.  The two solutions react in the fibers of the wood staining it black

The haft was also ebonized to give it a faux bog oak appearance.  This process, which I explain in my essay “Making Your Own Bog Oak Axe Haft,” deeply stains the wood fibers giving the haft the inky black appearance of bog oak.  Unlike regular wood stains, this process occurs in the wood fibers and creates a much more durable finish. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Oak
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 3.875″ (9,84 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 5.375″ (13,65 cm)
  • Haft Length: 28″ (71,1 cm)
  • Overall Length: 29.875″ (75,9 cm)
  • Axe Head Weight: 0.84 pounds (381 grams)
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds (678 grams)

Price: $635 (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

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Comments from the owner:

I have been a long time collector of historical weapons but had no axes in my collection. I came across Eric’s work, and was impressed by his attention to detail. The axe arrived in perfect condition and did not disappoint. The axe is well made and excellently balanced. It is solid to swing and bites hard. The axe head itself is perfectly formed and fit perfectly to the shaft. The ebonizing effect is a beautiful addition to the oak, and brings out the grain in a way that stain would not.

                                                                                                                                — Douglas Pierce

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wideview

This is the second axe in a series of three hand forged, single-hand war axes I’ve been finishing.  Like the single-hand, wrought iron axe, 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.

edgeviewThis axe features a 1018 low-carbon steel body and eye socket and a 1080 high-carbon steel bit. The body and eye were drawn out like a “bow tie.”  The two sides were forge welded together to form the body.  The eye was further refined by forging over a steel mandrel to arrive at the desired socket shape.

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A fine rasp is used to carefully shaped the top of the haft to create a tight fit with the eye socket.

The hardwood haft is made from hand hewn oak. Careful attention is given to the grain direction. Having the grain run parallel with the head (edge to poll) helps to prevent cracking when a powerful cut is made.  I use rasps and scrapers to shape the top of the haft to a tight fit with the eye socket.  This helps to prevent the axe head from twisting or moving during use.

IMG_4471
The wedge is pre-fit to the top of the haft to create the correct amount of widening to secure the head to the haft.

Once the top of the haft is correctly shaped for the socket, I carefully saw a slot for the wedge.  The wedge is cut from the same section of wood as the haft so the grain direction and size will be similar to the haft.  The wedge is then pre-fitted to the slot.  This creates a mushrooming of the haft above the top of the axe head that secures the head in place.

I then give the haft its final sanding followed by multiple applications of Danish oil to seal and harden the wood. Once the Danish oil is dry, I buff the haft with ultra-fine steel wool to give it a smooth, semi-gloss finish.

click thumbnails to enlarge:

Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Oak
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 4″ (10,16 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 5.25″ (13,34 cm)
  • Haft Length: 27.25″ (69,22 cm)
  • Overall Length: 27.75″ (74,0 cm)
  • Axe Head Weight: 0.86 pounds (392,0 grams)
  • Weight: 1.46 pounds (663,8 grams)

Price: $550 USD (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

wide

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.

shapinghaft
Shaping the oak haft with rasp and scraper

 

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.

Click thumbnails to expand

Specifications:

  • 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)
  • Haft Length: 26.0″ (66,0 cm)
  • Overall Length: 27.75″ (70,49 cm)
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds (633,3 grams)

Price: $880 USD (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

10C original
The original axe found in the Swedish History Museum

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.

haftwork
Shaping the ash haft with a steel scraper

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.

Specifications:

  • 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)
  • Haft Length: 35.8″ (90,93 cm)
  • Axe Head Weight: 1.16 (524,4 grams)
  • Overall Weight: 2.33 pounds (1056 grams)

Price: $900 USD (plus shipping) SOLD

If you are interested in purchasing this axe, contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net.

Comments from the owner:

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.

– Tim Lison

Just completed my interpretation of a late republic era Gladius Hispaniensis commission.  This sword is based on the idea that the swords of the Celts served as possible inspiration for the shape and length of some Gladius Hispaniensis.  The blade features a slight waisting and hollow-ground bevels.

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The boxwood guard and pommel are made from the same block of wood.  The beveled shape of the guard is based on a guard plate from one of the few surviving Gladius Hispaniensis blades.  The blade is inset into a bronze guard plate that is countersunk into the bottom of the pommel.  The overall shape of the guard is based on period art.

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The pommel shape is based on period art and a survey of other late-republic era swords.  The pommel is topped with a basic bronze rivet block into which the end of the tang is peened to secure the hilt furniture in place.

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The grip is made from a block of holly and features a common, segmented shape.

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Obviously, there are only hints as to what a Gladius Hispaniensis may have looked like intact.  With this piece, I am not trying to say that this is the way that it would have looked.  I am merely offering my interpretation of a possible configuration based on surviving blades, hilt pieces, and period art.  I have to give credit to Peter Johnsson for many late night alcohol infused discussions about the Gladius Hispaniensis.  I am not too proud to say that I borrowed liberally from the shape and features of a Gladius Hispaniensis that Peter made years ago.  While it is true that many surviving blades feature a leaf shape, it is my opinion that this shape is over done in many modern reproductions.  Peter’s design hints at a leaf shape without an exaggerated waisting of the blade.  In addition, the blade is reminiscent of La Tené blades that feature a similar profile.

Specifications:

  • Blade Length: 24.75″ (62,9 cm)
  • Overall Length: 31.25″ (79,4 cm)
  • Blade Width: 1.875″ (4,8 cm) features hollow-ground bevels
  • POB from bottom of guard: 6″ (15,2 cm)
  • Weight:  1.37 pounds (622.3 grams)
  • Blade Steel: 1080
  • Hilt Furniture:  Boxwood guard and pommel with bronze guard plate and bronze rivet block.  Segmented grip made from a block of holly.

Price for similar piece:

  • Similar hilt with flat bevels, $1,800 USD (plus shipping)
  • Similar hilt with hollow-ground bevels, $2,300 USD (plus shipping)

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This axe is inspired by a small Danish style axe (Petersen Type M) from Sweden.  It features a stout construction with a reinforced edge.

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Original from Uppsala, Sweden

This axe is not an exact reproduction.  The original is quite corroded, so I attempted to estimate the missing sections of the profile.  I also made a small departure from the tilt of the blade to make the axe a bit more visually pleasing.  In addition, rust swelling has made determining the original dimensions difficult.  I thinned out the thickness to allow for the rust swelling.  The resulting axe is still quite stout for its size.  This is a viciously fast cutter!

The haft is cherry wood (Prunus) treated with linseed oil, and it has an octogonal cross-section.  I tapered the haft so that there is a pleasing arc that starts out wide at the head then tapers to a thinner section before it swells gradually to the end of the haft..  The wood displays some beautiful figuring on both sides of the haft.

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Specifications:

  • Body and Eye: 1018 low carbon steel
  • Edge Bit: 1080 high carbon steel
  • Haft wood: Cherry (Prunus) treated with linseed oil
  • Blade Length (toe to heel of bit): 5.25″ (13,33 cm)
  • Axe Head Length (edge bit to poll): 6″ (15,24 cm)
  • Haft Length: 32.25″ (81,62 cm)
  • Overall length: 34.5″ (87,63 cm)
  • Weight: 1.67 pounds (757.5 grams)

Price: $765 USD (includes US CONUS shipping) SOLD

If you are interested, contact me at ericmycue374@comcast.net.

More Photos:

Danish Axe Inspired by Kirkkomäki Grave 37 Axe

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Description and Stats:  The edge is 8.5″ (21,6 cm) from tip-to-tip. The haft is 42.5″ (108 cm) from the bottom of the eye. The eye and body are 1018 low carbon steel, and the edge is 1080 high carbon steel. The haft is made of hickory and has a gentle taper from the top to the bottom. It has a rectangular cross-section with rounded corners. I forgot to weigh it before I shipped it, but the new owner said it is almost exactly 3 pounds (1360,8 grams)

Some background information:

I was contacted about making a Danish style axe inspired by the grave finds in Kirkkomäki – specifically grave 37. As can see from the photo, it is quite corroded, but general shape and dimensions can be drawn from the picture:

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Based on the information provided by the researchers, the customer wanted the haft length to be 42.5″ (108 cm) long. I asked the customer if I could fill in details with some research that I did with Peter Johnsson in Sweden. He agreed.

I used this axe as additional inspiration:

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I have been working hard to hone my skills and techniques for making these Danish Axes. The reinforced edge, even though there is a slight radius from the body to the edge, are very difficult to clean up and make smooth. In my frustration, I made a sen to actually scrape and plane away material to make the arc smooth and consistent. Like many of my recent projects, this axe was another step forward for me. There are always small flaws that turn up (which I think add character to the piece); but overall, I am very satisfied with this axe.

Before I did the final clean-up I took this axe out back and attacked some large piece of wood (8-12″ in diameter) on my wood pile. I do this as a matter of habit to expose any possible hidden flaws in the structure of the axe. This time, I was really trying to see if I could get the axe to fail because the customer who commissioned the axe is a serious practitioner. I had to make sure this axe would not fail when he received it. I cut about 10 large pieces of wood with it. Striking full force, the blade performed brilliantly. I consider this fairly abusive since this axe is not tapered and balanced for continual wood cutting; the shape and weight allow for speed and agility in delivery massive blows in battle followed by a quick recovery. I would not recommend cutting large pieces of wood with this axe; it is, however, nice to know that the axe will hold up to this level of use.

Photos:

If you are interested in an axe similar to this one, contact me at ericmycue374@comcast.net, and we can discuss commissioning a piece.


 

Response from Michael Ruhala:

Hi Eric,

The axe arrived in fine shape and let me say this, it is a superb weapon! The weight, shape and proportion of the head is everything I hoped for. The handle is also noteworthy, its taper, cross section and smooth finish are as pleasing to the eye as they are comfortable in the hand. Taken as a whole the weapon is very well balanced, the weight of the blade combined with the rounded rectangular cross section of the handle make indexing and edge alignment practically automatic. According to my digital scale it weighs exactly 3lbs and the point of balance is about 8 inches below the eye, equidistant between the head and where I place my left hand in most guards. This makes for an agile weapon that can recover quickly even from a fully committed swing. Strikes with the handle are really fun because the head acts as a counterweight adding speed and force to blunt attacks. I’m mostly known as a swordsman but the axe has always had a special place in my heart, this one is the new centerpiece of my collection and I look forward to really putting it through its paces over the coming months.