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Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by jake pogg, Mar 16, 2018.
Ah yes, the Salvador Dali, octagonalized line. Didn't see the factory stamp however.
It's above the curlique,you can kinda see it in the middle photo...(looks definitely like a factory touch-mark).
Needless to say i'm insanely jealous of the skill with which it was made.The curl grows out of a part of the socket(there's a bad weld/joint to the right of where it comes out).
I think this is an old trade trick of some sort,to form a curl and weld it like that....Good forgework.
It stimulated me to do an autopsy,and a section,and to transplant yet another poll into that poor critter...You'd think it a total waste of time,yet,somehow,i do manage to learn a fair bit,each and every one of these times...(plus,and now i don't feel so defeated
https://imgur.com/a/kyXra (in the second photo where it's all dark,the light spot in the middle is the portion of the old weld that was still adhered.light color is the reflection of the granular surface,those misshapen part-grains that form at the boundary of a forge-weld.Never as strong as an electric weld,as it never reaches Liquidus,a forge weld can Always be broken along the juncture,in testing).
On the one hand I'm sorry that the axe didn't work out because for me the end point is always how it would feel sharpening up the bit and chopping wood. But I can see how you are getting a lot of good feed-back and answers to what is going on there. Well, I wouldn't want to trade the forge weld for the arch weld just because it will make a stronger joint when the forge weld is strong enough and perhaps has other benefits.
As for the stamp, I guess it depends on what you think of when you think of factory. It's the curlicue that reminds me of half the mustache of Salvador Dali.Believe me these playful elements embedded in the tools are something very particular and even common and also distinguishing to the French smid and go far beyond the simple impressions stamped in that you see from many other places.
I'm sorry,Ernest,i'm confusing in my telling...The axe Did work out,i re-did the welding...(not sure why,to maybe just get back in the saddle...).
I HT'd it today,and now our differences manifest-it is here that i loose interest!
It hardened well,and i took it back to dark straw,and didst pick at it idly with my best file,and knew that with the tools i have,it'll not be fun putting an edge on it....
(my quench,the waste-oil,is getting so old and filthy that it creates this "japanned"-like coating,which,burned on in tempering,is actually tough and water-resistant,and (eventually non-marking
Rarely,but if and when i Do build a tool that's supposed to be worthwhile,i try to solicit a professional machinist,a very serious metalworker Mark Knapp,of "The Cutting Edge",Fbks,AK.That entire huge,complex shop is all dedicated to sharpening...There're giant oil-drilling doo-dahs,and circular sawmill blades,and all kids of marvels and puzzlement...(Mark is also a gifted and prolific knife-maker,and supplier of knife-making steel and other supplies,all kinds of far-out hardwoods and horns and parts of mammoths and mastodons and unicorns et c.
One of the biggest boons is that Mark,most kindly,also lets me know how was my HT,how it "felt" machining and sharpening...To tell the truth it's Such a huge priviledge;as i use no pyrometer and am sloppy in all processes in every way.So i got to blatantly rely on Mark(and am endlessly grateful and obliged to him).
If i'm ever lucky enough to travel any shops in France,in whatever distance/area,what an amazing thing it'd be to watch for and study...
But so would be All of it,tools themselves,and all the methods...That's what was being a Journeyman was all about!
Now in most places it's but a word...In Germany smiths still do a real Journeying,with their staff and the whole works,and i think are forbidden for 3 years to come within 300 leagues to the shop where they did their Apprenticeship.
(they're actually looking for a shop where the Master has a marriageble daughter....and those aren't easily come by!)
France and Germany still have these journeyman apprenticeships. In France, for carpenters, it is the Tour de France and goes on 10 years. One I know, Erwin Schriever did end up marrying the bosses daughter. My sense of it is this decoration, which at the same time is built in to the tool and not simply a matter of application, an after thought, but there from the beginning, is coming right out of the middle-ages, and baked in to the learning process at all levels. All this, the training process, the socialization, the indoctrinations, you can imagine the complexity of the structures, social as well as physical it all leads to.
Gents,greetings and salutations!
I've been absent a while,extremely busy in my seasonal pursuits.Fish,meat,firewood,none of these wait for no man...And to make it worse the satellite nature of my connection has been more awful than even normal....(i actually think that it's an atmospheric/astronomical issue of sorts...internet reception improves right about when one starts commonly seeing aurora).
When occasionally i do eke out a moment to check things out on here,very often i'm unable to see images(that many of you post in such generous format....Not complaining...But often i can't even follow the subject of a topic.
Anyway,this time of year,when the boats and gear are finally put away,i try to blow everything else off and closet meself in the forge for about 4 to 6 weeks.It's a poor solution,forging is a jealous mistress,and so much valuable time has to be spent re-learning the basics.However,them's the breaks.
Every year then i must choose to pursue one or two most pressing queries,to try on practice something that i've been thinking about,as well as try to create a line of theoretical inquiry that i can then pursue later in the season,by researching et c.
This year i settled on two things:The asymmetric eye-weld(very useful for a better control of the mass at poll,as well as that in front of the eye,the nature of the iconic German D-eye,for example).
And the second being the fundamentals of a Scandinavian "collared" eye.
All axes below are trials only,with the grinding done only to check on the quality of some of the welds.Most(if not all)will probably never see HT.
Both the learning and the re-learning curves are steep,i've no time to make them kinder......As usual,in the interest of higher degree of "historicity" i'm trying to use WI as material closer to the original bloomery iron).
But at times it just gets too tough,too many variables,and i revert to mild if only to remind myself that i Can,actually,still control my iron...
The rest of equation is spruce charcoal,bottom-blast forge,hand-crank blower,also fairly period-appropriate.
The one test-piece that i like most so far(and that is sound enough to possibly be HT'd and finished):
...and a passel of pretty much failures for the last two weeks:
Good to see you, Jake! I hope you had a productive summer.
All of those have pretty good form. Your socketed eyes are turning out great! I wish I could send you a few bags of charcoal. I bet your charcoal cooker has been extremely busy.
Your days must be getting pretty short up there now.
Great to hear from you Jake. Here are your photos, for those who can view them:
Thank you so much guys.Steve,very kind of you sir.
Square_peg,it's kind of you to say that about the form.Actually,i'm yet to forge an axe to shape entirely...Without profiling by abrasives(or hot-chiseling,either way).Hope springs eternal,as they say...
It has been a good productive summer,thank you,hope that your season in the woods has also been a success.
Charcoal situation is doable;anymore it gives me a chance to think about the forging plan for the day.
It takes about an hour to split enough wood under 2" in two dimensions to fill a drum,not a bad workout for the arm either.
Then it's just a matter of not spacing it out when getting close to done.
My particular method is fairly crude,essentially an open retort,with a Japanese-inspired element of attempting to preserve about 20% volatile components in the end(as judged by the visible smoke,which can vary in appearance under any light conditions,so also fudgy).
The result is quite satisfactory though.And the economics are fitting,it's just a part of the winter wood budget,and no strain on resources.
And a barrel-load is about a right amount for a day's forging,even with some heavy welds.
That axe in the first photo is exactly a drum's worth,and it's an eye/socket pre-form,plus four different welds,so decent efficiency.
The days,yes,are rapidly diminishing...It leads one into temptation...it just got light now,and i'm not at the forge yet...But very mild season,only snowed for the first time yesterday,and the rives still open wide...
You are back at it - the forge I mean, great, that's just great. Is that a nice birch handle coming off the socket on axe #1 I see in my imagination of this situation, not too straight, maybe sweeping pollwards?
The one to the left of the passel being also one handsome yxa, if you were to ask me about it. Though these narrow elongated sockets - in comparison to the oval one next to it - do want a handle with shortened shoulder and a dramatic reduction if you want to avoid over-extending your grip.
How i'd LOVE to handle some of these,and try them out...I doubt it'll happen,my time is woefully inadequate,in 3 weeks or so i must be on the road....Until early March...
But that's Exactly what i was thinking,though only in some abstract fanciful universe...And Of course i've No wood put up whatever,and even my stash of hickory is down to one self-bow stave,no leeway for any curves...
(I do have a good friend that runs a logging operation supplyng biofuel to the school,they have extensive stacks of entire birch trees,acres of them harvested last winter(bark gouged and left in stacked lengths).I was going to take an abstract sort of a stroll through there,though the harvester cuts them a ways up from the bole,but maybe bring a stick or two to wait until spring).
I must make a choice to keep on forging solely;and even there to focus primarily on the socket/collar/eye...I probably need to narrow the focus even here,and spend some time making a drift or two.So far i'm just using whatever comes to hand,which diminishes the quality of the inside of eye especially.
I'm also very deficient at any ability to remove any quantity of steel,so the blades are left as "blanks" of sort,in both profile and thickness.As a general rule i like to leave enough for that ancient rule of thumb proportion:1/2" thick 2 1/2" back from the edge,which makes the blade capable of acting as it's own chip-breaker in chopping(on assumption that any hewing will demand less thickness).
That universe of abstract fancifulness, it's exactly where I was coming from with my handle imaginings. Well, in the end it's not the prerogative of the smid anyway, as we all know.
That you've gotten to that point sans drift, my god, it's amazing but really, the results would surely be worth the effort and that effort I understand is no small one, I also have difficulty to resist taking the laborious and contrived way and more often than not end up choosing the direct route . Keep up your good work.
It is so good to read your posts!
I hope you will have a both productive and satisfactory time in the forge.
Those socketed axe heads are really impressive and nice looking too!
Thanks and best wishes!
Thank you gentlemen for your kind words and wishes.
Last few days been scattered/distracted,briefly derailed by a side-project....(my 4-6 weeks that i can spare for dedicated forge-time are Flying by at a distressing speed.....but couldn't resist...just tried to attach a photo,but in vain,i swear my comp seems to be having a tougher tie with this site specifically..).
Trying to get back on track,and am finding myself lacking some critical data.Would anyone know,by chance,the nature of the exact constr. of the Front of the eye/collar on kirves?...It is normally wider than seems natural,and peculiarly flat,on that forward-facing facet...
(what makes it confusing is that at some point technology has caused the process to change,and the later eye was in effect DOM(drawn over mandrel),from a solid billet.
However,it's shape Stems from some older technique that is a mystery to me...a box-weld of some sort...
Jake, did you see the material Bernard prepared? Over the summer he has basically replicated the auto didactic process that you are going through now yourself though with a slightly different axe as subject matter. The Finn version, an off-shoot of the Swedish which itself existed in untold variations.
Jake, have you seen this 1923 video from Wira Bruk? There is a scene showing some overlap at the front of the eye/collar that the smith hammers (to weld, I presume) on the horn of his anvil. Later in the process he shapes the eye/collar while using a drift.
Ernest,no,i missed out on Bernard's stuff......Buried in fish,and firewood,and visitors,and all of the summer's insanity...
Must track it down.
Steve,thanks Very much.I did see it before,but just watched it again,and Again got a great deal out of it.
That guy is Incredibly good.The economy of effort which seems so easy and natural to him is literally staggering.
It's utterly humbling to me,having just crawled back in after a full day at the forge,5 hours of it straight forging...
I may be wrong,and it's just as Earnest says:Finnish way is only a variation,the essentials being the same as the general Swedish method.I must be misled by one of the more latter/final stages of shaping the collar,that makes it appear a bit different,the fundamentals remaining the same-two flaps overlapping.
Internet is being kind to us tonight so i'll take this chance to post a couple photos.
My goofy project from yesterday.It was a way to take my mind off the extremely challenging(for me)yxor construction...(and a friend here really wants one like that).
But i missed the boat with this also...(no biggie,as it takes some dozens of tries to wrap one's mind around any given design,And,i've managed a rather complicated weld on this,never having tried anything of the sort).
But it turns out i was Way off on just about Everything!
Here's some of what my friend and advisor on this subject,Alan Longmire, had to say about this:
"The Sheffield hawks are mostly punched and drifted (and generally not steeled!), but some of the early ones are wrapped. On those it seems they started with big square stock, and forged it to flat bar leaving a large boss in the middle to become the bowl. I do not know when the fly press was introduced, but it would have been handy. I suspect a cone-shaped punch under a big hammer. I've attempted two this way, and since I was an idiot and used less-than-top-quality wrought the incipient bowls split down the sides with the grain.
American gunsmith-made hawks are almost always wrapped and steeled with an applied bowl, turned or forged. The wrap is not always obvious, as the better smiths would use a stepped eye preform like one does with a felling axe, so that telltale sharp point at the front of the eye is not there and the weld line disappears completely.
All true tomahawks were whitesmithed, no forge-finishing allowed. The exception is the Missouri war axe which, as the name implies, is more of an axe design. These were all American-made and forge finished, very light and thin."
Of course i asked him After trying it my way......anyway,this is what i came up with:https://imgur.com/a/g765UDc
Here's today's experiment:https://imgur.com/a/z71RtwM
It's a chunk of a cheap Chinese-manufacture hatchet that was beat apart in extreme cold.(judging by the break at least in part the break was caused by overly large grain-size).
I previously tested other parts of that very axe.It shown itself to respond well to grain-size reduction by normalizing;hardened well in oil;and in working it seemed like a consistent,homogeneous material(at least to a hillbilly like me).
I trimmed it and forged it out in whatever blade-area that i could,that it had mass for.
A quick and dirty poll pre-form.
I need to be fast,get it done and get to the part that i need to study,and i'm not good enough to be fast and good both...But this is practice,and a certain tempo in forging is essential.
The poll and the blade joined.https://imgur.com/a/U9OvW5g
After a number of (brutal) welding heats.Pre-form,of 3/4" sq. is a simple symmetrical "bow-tie".The end are scarfed but almost unaltered,so it's an inch+ of 3/4" times two plus 3/8" or so of the blade.
Heavy weld for hand-work.It works fine for both alloys being something 10xx-ish series,and well compatable.
After some profiling with an angle-grinder.I'm not seeking a product of this effort,but it's hard to not try to salvage what maybe i can...
I don't have too much control of the process once it's set in place.Parts approportioned,the mass pretty much committed to be distrubuted the way it's lay after welding.The balance,action,of the tool is probably finalised itself already by this point.
The result looks primitive.Such "simple",poll-less axes were common throughout Eurasia.I cautiously presume that the construction(normally asymmeric,though this is not too different) is based on using a minimally-refined bloom.I think by refining it'll elongate into similarly sized stock of n-th length.Not knowing anything of this tool's use,i kinda presume that it was used for paring-style hewing,shaping timbers or staves....
Widespread in the North especially,among those dense,tall coniferous forests and not much else....