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Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by jake pogg, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    That's incredible, Jake! I love seeing the process. And to think that you're doing it all by hand with home made charcoal out in the middle of nowhere on the Yukon River.

    That, my friend, is a real skill!
    jake pogg likes this.
  2. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Square_peg,thanks for your kind words...It's very rarely that i feel in any degree in control of this process;for the most part it's all i can do to sort of facilitate it...As it happens on it's own...
    It Is incredible how it all Works though.It'd be hard to find wood with lower density than White spruce....Or more primitive and inefficient method than this Open-retort...And though i try to select my wood the best i can(for clear grain for ease of splitting,and density,and dryness),but this year i'm down to using the stuff that was floating in the River just a few short months ago...

    The duck's nest and blower used are truly Archaic...Came from this Amish couple in Kansas that upgraded to a better,more high-tech rig!:).
    I raise the rim a couple bricks higher to accommodate slightly higher volume of charcoal;fuel is added every heat to maintain T and Atm,and covers the work completely;it barely has resource to come to necessary heat before the forging is getting dangerously low,close to the Oxidising zone down lower towards the tyere...
    And still i must slow myself down on that blower,this rig is capable of so much more...I'm constantly amazed.

    I do take lots of useless photos of the process,except the most harried welding heats where i try to maintain the welding temps throughout the entire time;but then often i think now Why in the world i did that,it must be dead-boring to most people...:(

    It sure Is a strange and terrible addiction...But i only wish that i had more time for it...i do this every day for a month or two,but wish i could do this every day of the year...(madness:(
    Square_peg likes this.
  3. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    If your computer is up to the task and can help with looking into the secret of socket making and its re-discovery you'll understand you are not alone. Here on this very web site even you can find results of some impressive experimentation, Srege's for example.
    If I see clearly this distinction you make in what your working on now it is the difference between the wrapped socket method and drifted or the human vs the mechanical, Swedish compared to Finnish, small scale against industrial in the simplistic way of saying it.
    What about this, from the Canadian smid? Seems to depict something like what you quote from this Alan figure? (somehow I feel ridiculous including a picture you may not have the capacity to enjoy).
    Square_peg likes this.
  4. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015

    My connection has just crapped out on me,so videos out of the question,and even of the photos in that thread you posted a link to i can only see one...
    BUT,it's exactly what i meant:The longish socket on that axe is welded in a slightly more complex manner than at Wira.It is also a very iconic Swedish historical welding scheme,perhaps a bit younger than that ancient Wira wrap...(executed superbly in that photo...i doubt i have enough control to duplicate that,at this juncture...:(

    The Canadian that studies old trade axes i've come across before...Excellent hand at it,a young guy,too,as i remember...
    That's a beautiful,clear stage-forging-display,wonderful.
    Also a Very clean,competent control of situation.Great work.
    And yes,exactly,that's what Alan referred to when talking of that center weld-seam.
    Kevin Houtzager and Square_peg like this.
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    What a terrific pictorial!

    Jake, are you reading that pictorial as I am, that a bit of high carbon steel is first welded to a piece of mild steel (or wrought), then the combined piece is shaped to be inserted into the wrap? The smith has the nice long bar of mild to hold onto while the carbon steel is forge welded on. The insert goes all the way back to the eye, adding a mass of mild steel for the cheeks while the carbon steel is pushed out for the bit. The cut to separate the socket from the body is then completely stylistic.
  6. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Did you notice at 5:08 where he dipped his hammer in water and used it to explode the forge scale off the bit? From the wetness on the anvil that was at least his 2nd dip. He had already blasted the other side. Note that the axe had just flipped before he blew that scale off that second side. The film didn't show the first dip.
  7. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    He does it again at 5:50, using a steam explosion to blow the forge scale off the socket and eye.

    And I have previously pointed out how at 7:33 he uses his hardy fork as a vise by slipping a lock ring on his tongs and pushing against the tongs with his hip.
  8. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    The film probably skips a number of heats...in another place I can't quite tell if he's added an extra mass to the poll,or he just drags down some of the back of the eye and reshapes that...(possibly the latter;as he seriously/ruthlessly indents the back of the collar at some point,probably to get a purchase on the edge of anvil...but because of missing frames it's hard to tell...).

    It's amazing though that anyone bothered filming this at all,given how rapidly things were changing over to mechanisation and in how much hurry everyone seemed to get away from all that laborious,arcane stuff...It's even almost fun trying to imagine the missing heats!

    Yes,that steam-trick is an good one...i don't do it often,not much occasion to forge That cleanly...:(...(and to be frank it startles me,that bang's darn loud:)
    Kevin Houtzager and Square_peg like this.
  9. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Well...Dwelling on all this info from this morning while making fuel,it all started coming back to me...Lars Enander,in his book,had a diagram of that very constr. scheme...
    Moreover,by digging through piles of junk iron i even found my attempt of some years ago to follow that schematic...
    (it failed in welding,why-no one will ever know,using junk steel is handy that way....:(
    In that photo it is with it's attendant drift,that i also have;so together they make a handy beginning for orienting myself.

    Having straightened that old pre-form i find a likely stock,3/8" thick,that i think will forge out wide enough(running ahead,in the end it turned out to Not be enough...:(...but will still serve as experiment).

    Stock cut to size and "butchered" as per transitions...https://imgur.com/a/pYQvHt9....and after truing up the outline the peining can commence....https://imgur.com/a/R9YBwox

    At the end of the process as i already said a disappointment,there wasn't enough mass there afterall...(new stock overlaid on old pattern-https://imgur.com/a/piXCtoF;quite a bit shy....).
    Now it comes back to me that Lars called for using 1/2" plate...
    The pre-form is already under 3/16" in thickness,i'm unwilling to go under that,it's an axe afterall...Will try this as is,and if the volume of space inside the eye will end up being too little,well be it.Firstly,many an old Piilu (and related tools)had almost no opening to speak of at top end;and secondly must keep in mind that i'm not after any finished object,but only want to practice this specific weld.(it still rankles).

    For the blade-portion of this i cut off a 2"+ section of 1/2" thick plate,hoping to compensate for the volume inside the eye.
    The future tenon forged roughly...https://imgur.com/a/16iOs5H...then bent down and finished;in this photo it is roughly offered up to the eye/collar pre-form:https://imgur.com/a/uzmLPwi
    ...and here it's offered up to the drift(that i'm in the process of grinding down smooth and reshaping,as it was a disgrace..:(...https://imgur.com/a/rwHyWsf

    Now,after finishing the drift,and making the steel bit for the edge,i'm too tired to even think...It's been over 7 hours at the forge(including making fuel),beginning to get dark outside,all chores still undone...
    Tomorrow will be the Welding day...https://imgur.com/a/2ZSdYLZ
  10. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
  11. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  12. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
  13. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Square_peg,thanks...It was a second try.I lost the first patient,it was a real mess.
    (i could post photos of disasterous screwups as well as other process photos,(though it's less than pleasant),but i have to go through all sorts of trouble reducing them in format,my camera only does this obscene Mb format...:(

    I Really like this particular construction method,it seems extremely useful.One can hang any kind of a blade on this,and have the security of a socket containing haft made even of a less ideal wood than hickory.Like birch,lighter,softer,more shock-absorbent,easier to obtain and replace...

    But,in reality,to forge a usable tool i'd have to repeat this 20-30 times,and then do extensive exploration as far as balance goes,just how much mass should go into the socket,et c.

    This second version is 1/4" plate for socket;it's too heavy.The first one(that i cut up with a disk-grinder for forensics) forged out to under 3/16",it was better,but also suffered badly in being peined out so thin.This time i just used an existing hot-rolled plate.

    I think that i'm hitting some sort of a limit with my spruce charcoal.I want to,but can't work any hotter...:(...(for the moment it's a working theory).
    That is unfortunate,as i have great quantity of WI of variable filthiness,all of it beautiful undr the hammer(and to look at afterwards).
    But with my BTU level i'm out of the running....
    (unless i truly go over to the Dark side and rig up a waste-oil burner...those things get stupid-hot,and it's tempting in the way,but gross in every Other respect...).
    Agent_H likes this.
  14. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Agent_H likes this.
  15. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Thanks,yes,it's actually a good point.Birch is the most BTU-rich for around here,and our local City School District's bio-fuel heating program is now switched completely to using it.
    I do see it in drift,but not often in solid-enough shape,birch bark being what it is,+ the "sweetness",alcalinity of birch make it degrade almost instantly.
    But yes,i'd have to travel by snowmachine to get it(or get back into dogs...no,that will leave no time for forging:),but it's doable.
    There's an old idea that softwoods release their energy right Now,being more suitable for welding;while hardwoods are better for extended forging.
    But it's only the general rule.
    Up one of Yukon's tributaries,Tanana,at it's confluence with Tolovana R.,there're remnants of what used to be a fairly massive machine shop.
    Apparently they had a system using green birch,where the waste heat from forging was used to "kiln"-dry fuel for further use.
    Pretty slick,and the work they did was fairly heavy,dredge repair and the like...(i wonder if the sheer scale of work has made that equation possible).
    I may have to establish a massive Axe Manufactury here...(but i'll need a Bruk...where's a guy to get a Bruk?...to drive my water-wheels...:(
    Agent_H and Square_peg like this.
  16. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Yes, that's a problem with birch. Not very rot resistant.

    I see there's a place upriver between Galena and Tanana simply called 'Birches'. Probably 120 miles from where you're at. But if you happened to be coming down form Tanana one day it might be worth a stop.
  17. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Yes,and a beautiful place it is.Natural beauty i mean,as as far as a settlement goes there's absolutely nothing there anymore...(i do know one woman born and raised in Birches,but she's in her 90-ies now...).
    Many smaller villages no longer exist.But neither they did exist for very long to begin with.
    Yukon is one of the most recently "discovered" major rivers.Specifically a Russian half-breed Glazunov,1827,was the first non-native interloper up Yukon from the mouth to Anvik.
    But even long after that most people have remained seasonally nomadic;and those settlements like Birches (a several families fish-camp,really)were mostly formed early in the 1900's and disappeared way before the end of the century.

    But it's an absolutely gorgeous part of the River....(my favorite,actually:)...i try to go through there every year,find an excuse somehow,a log-raft is always convincing...).The two sides of the Yukon there are actually two different tectonic plates...(the River there runs in the crease made by the Kaltag fault,they say the largest in North America...).The South plate is diving underneath the North one,raising those hills,and is also going west past it at a good clip,several inches a year,i think...(my geology may not be That current Or exact:)..In any case it's beautiful there,and quiet,and empty of people...
    Very close to the old village site of Birches on the South side is a huge tall long bluff called the Palisades,with a layer of permafrost at the top that is constantly melting,and pieces and parts of Plestocene megafauna are thawing out of the ice...and plunging into the River...(the bluffs are all sand and are calving every few minutes...It's awsome,in a very real sense of that word.It smells like decaying vegetation,it's only been 10-12,000 years since it was a savannah,and all the mastodon and bison and giant sloths has come there to die....
    Moonw, Agent_H and Square_peg like this.
  18. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Square_peg,i looked through some old photos.This,https://imgur.com/a/zITj6tg
    is about what it's like around Birches.
    This is about 20 miles downstream from there,right at the confluence of Nowitna and Yukon.It's maybe a tad wider there,there're two sets of islands dividing Yukon into 3 channels.
    First photo is looking upriver,the old village site is somewhere below the furthest hills.It is the Middle channel,both photos,looking northerly from Kathleen to Doyle islands,generally towards the North bank of Yukon.
    The Kokrine Hills in the distance are not huge,maybe 3000 ft at that point,and beyond them to the north is the valley of the Melozitna.
    Treeline is low in Alaska in general,especially here,only about 100 miles south of the Arctic circle,under 1000 ft.But much of what cover the hills do have is mostly birch...Spruce grows along the low ridges,and does very well on the islands in midstream(those old enough to have conifers).
    Spruce grows especially tall and big and concentric in that bowl-effect of a micro-climate of the river channels...(this is where we come for timbers for building...
    Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  19. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    It looks beautiful, Jake. If it weren't for the very long winters......
  20. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Well...Funny,but for many folks here the winters are not nearly long enough...(anymore,and getting progressively more so).
    This is what the River looks like this morning:https://imgur.com/a/7sZOi9v (it's just a tad below 0 F).
    And yesterday i had all sorts of trapper friends gathered here,distracting me from forging,complaining how the ice isn't stopping soon enough for them...They'll soon be able to cross the River and access all that country to the south,there to run about and do all sorts of cool stuff,and trap and hunt ...(and stay out of mischief:)...
    Many here actually dread the summers,the heat,the bugs,the endless work....:)
    Winter of course is work too;but it's a very dry cold,makes it easy to breathe and move,invigorating somehow...
    (i meself am old and lazy,and prefer to stay close to the home fires...but even that is way more satisfying in the winter...just to imagine that i'm Not out there,exhausted and out of breath,trying to get my machine unstuck...:)
    Moonw, Square_peg and crbnSteeladdict like this.

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