To Salvage...or to Scrap? That is the Question.

wlwhittier

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My second post will have the most pertinent pics of this axe head.

In the opinion of any of you with knowledge of such: is this damage repairable?

If so, and not considering cost: is this head sufficiently unique to justify the effort?

My intention is (when & if repaired) to clean, re-haft and display the piece.

Any and all comments welcomed...Thanks!
 

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wlwhittier

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P1160269.jpg P1160273.jpg P1160271.jpg P1160274.jpg

These (sorry about the scrambled order) show the distortion and resultant crack through the poll.

The mark may read 'Cast steel' in a European language; the logo is unfamiliar to me, but perhaps one of you will recognize it.

I envision the 'fix' to involve heating the damaged eye to facilitate re-alignment, then welding (or silver-brazing) the crack.

I have competent help (who isn't available for inspection or advice until after the first of the year) capable of the work,
if you folks think it's justified.

I'm grateful for your opinions about this old head, including about the purpose of that unusual spur near the haft side of the eye.
 
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The damage would be easily repairable,a simple welding job(wether it'd be within your own capabilities or justify and expense of getting it done in your local welding shop,is of course,up to you...)

The head is an interesting one...That goat-head is the mark of one of the more reputable German manufacturers....(forgot which:),sorry,not a collector myself by any means,and don't keep good track of such data...).

So the quality of the axe is rather high.

The Style of it is a typical Russian carpenter's axe....Why,how,or when,a German company would produce something like that,is a mystery to me,as a non-collector...But someone would come along and solve it forthwith,i'm sure.

If you've an interest in such in general,you may take a look at this thread here:http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1414390-Slovenia-Ebay-Axe-heads
 

Hickory n steel

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View attachment 656551 View attachment 656554 View attachment 656552 View attachment 656556

These (sorry about the scrambled order) show the distortion and resultant crack through the poll.

The mark may read 'Cast steel' in a European language; the logo is unfamiliar to me, but perhaps one of you will recognize it.

I envision the 'fix' to involve heating the damaged eye to facilitate re-alignment, then welding (or silver-brazing) the crack.

I have competent help (who isn't available for inspection or advice until after the first of the year) capable of the work,
if you folks think it's justified.

I'm grateful for your opinions about this old head, including about the purpose of that unusual spur near the haft side of the eye.

If all your gonna do about s display, then I'd certainly get it welded up and do so. ( I personally think it's ugly, but that's probably because I prefer the look of Jerry and Michigan pattern axes )
If you keep the surface yourself and do all the cleaning up afterwards I don't think the simple welding by itself should cost very much either.
 
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I recognise that mark also. Its been featured here in the past several months too, I just cant remember...
But a classic Russian style. Whats not unheard of especially if that manufacturer was EastGerman.

Anyway its unique enough in Olympic Peninsula. Appears just cracked, if distorted, its very minor.
Should be no problem welding it. Just dont hammer with its poll & should be fine.
 
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P.S.

For the manufacturer,one may try Widderkopf....

This is the only thing that i came up withhttps://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.551877054964661.1073741854.515797535239280&type=3.

but i'd say that it really does look like their stamp...

Now,the word on the street is that they've never produced a Russian axe....inspite there being one very close to yours:http://rusknife.com/topic/9337-помогите-с-атрибуцией-топора/page-39#entry495958

Post # 1158...(excavated at the WWII battle site....)....

So,possibly,what you have is rare,and(for whatever reason)worth keeping...

By the way,the specific type of this axe is known as a "Moscow pattern"....

The best of luck making the decision:)
 
Last edited:

wlwhittier

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You've nailed it, Jake...Thanks!

Widderkopf is a generic ram's head...but I've found several axe's under Google Images with that mark, and somewhat-to-very similar patterns.

A local friend mentioned that the damage could have resulted from fire...and the severe pitting lends some weight to that theory. I am without clue about how to determine if the head has been subject to that kind of heat, but if so, a reasonable assumption would be that it is now annealed from cooling s-l-o-w-l-y in the ashes.

I'm now torn about whether to undertake ANY restoration.

If it's old and rare, it would be a shame to 'pretty it up' for my own idea of display appearance. Maybe it's story is complete as is, eh?
 
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Well,Sir...As a blacksmith,i'd say that it's rather unlikely that a crack would be caused by a house-fire,say,or any other situation involving higher temperatures...(unless one really imagines something fairly rare such as an Entirely ill-informed individual who'd Burn the remnant of an old haft out of the head,and subsequently plunges the still-hot head into water,or other cooling medium...).

Many axes we see are similarly damaged,and the majority get this way from 3 possible causes:1.Getting beat-up,used as a splitting-wedge,et c.(unlikely,as the damage to the poll is slight,if any).
2.Improper Heat-Treatment,embrittlement of material,and subsequent failure during more/less normal use-also unlikely,as a German producer would almost never allow this to take place(and on a stamped product at that...).
3.The most common cause is simply the expansion of a well-wedged haft,if from the very dry environment the axe was suddenly transported into very wet(as in lost outside,ending up in standing water,et c.

However,even though that the whatever degree of pitting also agrees with the latter theory,it still doesn't mean that the axe has Not been burned.

The simplest way to test for it would be to test for a Relative differential in hardness between the poll,say,and anywhere within say 1/2" of the cutting edge.

With a CORNER of a file(NOT using a file as in filing),(a decent,new-ish file from a reputable manufacturer),try to plow,or dig,working away from yourself,a scratch.
It needs to be done kinda/sorta forcibly,attempting to sink the sharp corner into material(it will leave a scratch-mark,but a small one.on the poll end it can be done inside the eye).

IF any heat-treatment still remains,by doing this deeply/forcibly enough,you Will feel the difference in hardness.....(and,if so,then it's Very unlikely that this axe has burned).

I'm sorry to go on and on,by NO means i'm suggesting that it'd be worth it....i've only an academic,metal-head's interest in the matter...But,if the original HT remains,then by welding/brazing/soldering the crack,one may return this head to it's functional state,or...(whatever it is that the collectors do with axes...:)

Best of luck,in any event!:)
 

wlwhittier

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Thanks again, Jake, for a really comprehensive and helpful response to my self-imposed dilemma!

I'll try the HT test as you described...and on at least two other axe-heads that are equally suspect for fire damage.

I've got way too many of these things...some fairly modern, others hoary with age. I am sorting, in an attempt to reduce by 2/3 the massive clutter. Keepers are keepers...but many are just good axes, and someone else needs them more than I do. eBay will assist me in this endeavor.
 
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Ah,so!:)...

I'm sorry to've suggested a method so primitive...Unfortunately,all other alternatives are very involved(unless you happen to own a legitimate,calibrated hardness tester,or an electronic microscope(and the latter method is unavoidably destructive).

Archaeometallurgy deals with iron artifacts that are suspected of having been burned surprisingly often...That pernitious custom of burning the nice old tools along with the body of their owner really messes up the study of the history and the chronology of HT....:)

And on top of that,things are also complicated by the fact that the Edge Retention was achieved historically by other,funkier,methods,such as cementation(case-hardening,whereby the very thin layer of it may go away with corrosion),or work-hardening(still current in scythe maintenance),et c....

But,unless your collection goes well into the Early Middle Ages,the good,unmolested corner of a good Nicholson file will do,in a 99.999% cases!:)
 

wlwhittier

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"But,unless your collection goes well into the Early Middle Ages,the good,unmolested corner of a good Nicholson file will do,in a 99.999% cases!"

It doesn't, Jake. The file corner will do, as you suggest, just fine. If I get results I can understand, I'll post 'em here. Thanks!
 

Square_peg

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And if the point of a file doesn't sort it out for you then try taking the file to the top or bottom of the axe. Likely you'll find softer steel near the eye - as you should, since you don't want it to crack - and harder steel near the bit. Experiencing the hardness of numerous axes will help you judge the hardness of other axes.
 
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In case it's not already known, the German company with that ram's head stamp is
Wörder & Pandel, from Wuppertal-Küllenhahn.
Info from this page, under Widderkopf:

http://www.holzwerken.de/museum/hersteller/marken.phtml


An advertisement for that company, from an old auction listing:

a45.jpg
 
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. . .My intention is (when & if repaired) to clean, re-haft and display the piece.

Any and all comments welcomed...Thanks!
Neat axe:thumbup:

If you are just going to display it, the strength of the repair might not be so important. I guess it would depend on the look you are going for. On one hand shiney metal and fancy wood, on the other leave the patina and ignore the crack, or something inbetween?

Just some other stuff:

Similar axe from an older post:
29145091342_943e2c3d8b_z.jpg

I found these at my grandparent's house here in Germany and thought I'd share. I did manage to find a thread on this site where someone posted a link with German tool markings: http://www.holzwerken.de/museum/hersteller/marken.phtml
The Rams head appears to be Wörder & Pandel, Wuppertal-Küllenhahn . . .

PaICW.jpg
. . .
From: http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/988958-A-couple-of-Germans

Ebay listing (seller has some history in description):
29145097702_965c5fa0a8_c.jpg

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VTG-RARE-GE...D-TOMAHAWK-HATCHET-CAMPING-TOOL-/121887512452

Another ebay item:
28630266844_12dca86923_b.jpg

https://translate.googleusercontent...164861&usg=ALkJrhjeu3CFDcvA9MRHYksCSp1YcJGnpg

Bob
 

wlwhittier

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It wasn't known, Steve...and I thank you for that most helpful pic, and accompanying link.

With the history I've gained, I may choose the more costly of the possible repairs and have something very unique to hang on my wall. wlw
 

wlwhittier

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Hi, Bob...Yes, indeed; that Bulgarian has a way with English, for sure. Also quite a stock of old iron, a few of which are ver' nice.

I see a remarkable similarity between many of the European axe-head patterns and my personal favorite, the classic Hudson Bay. Both show clean function as a design basis which is not uncommon, but somehow is lost in many of the American single-bit patterns.

I've never seen a double-bit Hudson Bay; were they made?

Warren
 
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I see a remarkable similarity between many of the European axe-head patterns and my personal favorite, the classic Hudson Bay. Both show clean function as a design basis which is not uncommon, but somehow is lost in many of the American single-bit patterns.

I've never seen a double-bit Hudson Bay; were they made?

Warren

I have to agree that these (Hudson Bays) do look sharp and that's why they're still in production. From a structural standpoint though these are a piece of junk. They evolved from least-material and least-labour expense native trade items over to New England fashion accessories for weekend sportsmen some 120 years ago. Their cachet continues amongst recreational users and thankfully a few current makers are trying to improve on the design without detracting from the traditional 'looks'. I don't usually endorse Swede stuff but Wetterlings has begun making an improved HB that has a longer eye and a shorter bit.
 

wlwhittier

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(not to change the subject,sorry).

Right ON subject, from here...Thanks for the great link, Jake. It proves that a pic is worth 1000 words.

I'm delighted to see how many of those oldies have been re-hung without lots of effort put into removing the severe pitting that clearly shows their 'as-found' condition. I have several of them with similar acne scarring, and have revised my thinking about how much work to lavish on them.

All that's needed is the edge, eh? wlw
 

wlwhittier

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From a structural standpoint though these are a piece of junk. They evolved from least-material and least-labour expense native trade items over to New England fashion accessories for weekend sportsmen some 120 years ago.

At the risk of incurring wrath for challenging your heresy: I accept that you may have some reason to denigrate the design of the HB on structural grounds, although it seems to me the pattern has stood the test of time for reasons other than simple eye appeal to recreational users; I'm no expert about such things, but I've seen many of these heads materially shortened by sharpening over long years of routine use...and none in my experience have shown any 'structural' failure.

Your comment about the early design being based on brute economy for trade advantage may well be true...but when the designers of today do it, they call it "Value Engineering". Very useful for things like home appliances, automobiles, etc...Planned Obsolescence is a parallel concept.

In summary, I believe a poll among axe/hatchet users would find wide acceptance of the HB as a Classic Design, for good and well-defensible reasons. wlw
 
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