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Untraditional axe making ?? Good or bad ?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Matt Keras, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    First time! I have recently become interested in forging, I am building a forge and an induction heater. In the meantime the suspense of wanting to build an axe was killing me! So I cut one out of some 4140 AR plate that has a specia hearl treat and mixture on it.
    1. I designed it and cut it cold on my water jet .

    2 . I actually cut the vertical bevel on the waterjet as well.

    3. I cleaned it , wet sanded it smooth and then I carefully filed the curve on the blade.

    Any thoughts on what I should do next ?
    Any advice on heat treatment?
    Will it work ?
     
    Square_peg likes this.
  2. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
    let's see your design bud, not sure how much you know about it but there's a lot of subtle balancing and shaping to these heads, good luck on your projects, i'd love to design my own head
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  3. Shampt

    Shampt

    4
    Sep 15, 2018
    As Phantomknives pointed out, research balancing and desired design before you commit to your tempering. The shape and balance can definitely drastically effect the axe's performance depending on it's use.

    I have a few laying around but the best chopper I have is an old Hults Bruk axe which seems to out perform the others. Between the middle of the eye and the middle of the bit, the steel is fairly thick still has a feint slope, but near the top and bottom contours between eye and bit it tapers thinner, I believe to alleviate the axe-sticking-in-tree problem while retaining a fair bit of mass to still deliver a solid swing.

    I am no professional, most of what I do it out of the vehicle repair shop area of our moving&storage warehouse in my spare time so forging is not a full time hobby or career (yet!). A full heat & slow cool followed by tempering the bit to near tool hardness (yellow/gold - same for chisels by my understanding, holds an edge but less prone to chipping than going around blue) would be ideal for chopping, however you said this steel is already specially heat treated so this is more "at your discretion", plus I'm not familiar with the particular steel enough to know how it'll react to heat treating so as always, research would be wise. Fairly resilient steel on its own, the light temper & oil quench on the edge/bit should add some retention after you have your bevel set. Just remember to heat slow due to the (presumed) thickness of the steel and only get the first inch or two if possible as it's mostly the edge you want the form retention, you don't want to make the eye brittle. The eye and butt end should be as soft as hammer steel, again, to handle years of potential abuse without cracking or shattering.

    Pictures/dimensional info would be needed for proper input but as a first go with a tool that by inherent design is meant for some abuse, I would say give it a drop-in handle (thinner hand-hold, axe head slips down to the mallet-like end where it pressure-fits (easy to disassemble and no worry of it flying off as long as it is good and snug after a few vertical drops (it's how I've been testing edges on axes I've refitted & sharpened for friends over the years))) and a couple swings at a log, that would probably be your best test prior to a properly fitted & set handle. Some lessons are best learned through trial & error, plus it gives you an idea for what the steel you're using can tolerate. Goodluck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
    Miller '72 likes this.
  4. Moonw

    Moonw

    Nov 19, 2014
    And wear protection while testing :).
     
  5. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    Based on the mention of a water jet, I suspect this may be flat like a tomahawk.
     
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  6. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Nothing wrong with non-traditional methods so long as the end result meets the necessary performance requirements. :)

    Honestly, with how good the tech is these days I'm surprised we aren't seeing more metal injection molded or vacuum assist cast axes. Could even be done as a cast pre-form that's forged to final shape to introduce grain flow if folks wanted to do that.
     
    Matt Keras likes this.
  7. Kerry W

    Kerry W Gold Member Gold Member

    29
    Jul 2, 2012
    Hello. I have been interested in making an axe in a somewhat non traditional way as well. Mine, if I actually do it, will be 3D machined out of a solid billet of D2. The images are of the model I have came up with so far. This is my seventh iteration. It has some features of axes I have admired aesthetically. I would welcome others opinions and feedback. 218D6CB5-3AC2-40BD-A9F6-F8A89CF05326.jpeg 6F03F5DB-0801-41E4-870B-8C6CFE46AAFE.jpeg 1882956F-9AE2-43D7-BDA6-CE961C932168.jpeg
     
  8. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    Sorry about late replies, my computer is off line and I cant throw any photos on here.
    I will try to put an Instagram link from my phone so you can see what I have accomplished so far.
     
  9. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    I just know what I've read in the last couple weeks, I feel as if my design isnt bad so far and I will try to get some pics on here shortly.
     
  10. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    Not at all , the axe was cut out of 2-1/4 thick plate. After cutting the outside shape I built a jig, turned it up right and cut the bevel with the water jet. The plate height is around
    5-1/4 " tall. I am working on pics shortly
     
  11. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    Ok I put it on Instagram, and it is under @mattkeras
     
  12. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    @mattkeras on Instagram.
     
  13. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    I have no ideas what size to make the whole for the handle ?
     
  14. Matt Keras

    Matt Keras

    8
    Sep 15, 2018
    I have no ideas what size to make the whole for the handle ?
     
  15. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Looks like a deeply beveled Kentucky pattern, yeah? The design looks reasonable enough. Any reason for D2, though? Seems an odd choice for an axe.
     
    Moonw likes this.
  16. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
  17. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    I can't be sure from the drawing, so I'm asking whether it has convex cheeks (high centerline)?
    Also, something to possibly consider would be a more substantial poll (to make it balance more like a double bit) that's hardened (for hammering, which could benefit from thicker eye walls if you go this route).
     
  18. Moonw

    Moonw

    Nov 19, 2014
    It is odd, indeed. Curious as well.
     
  19. Kerry W

    Kerry W Gold Member Gold Member

    29
    Jul 2, 2012
    Thanks for replying. I am curious why you think it’s an odd choice of steel. I have made many dies and tooling out of D2 and it took a fair amount of punishment and retained sharpness. What would you suggest as a better alternative? My thought was I would have it hardened to around 55-58C. The pattern evolved from a kind of Jersey-Rockaway-Racing thought. It is only two pounds, so really a sort of camping axe.
     
  20. Kerry W

    Kerry W Gold Member Gold Member

    29
    Jul 2, 2012
    Thanks for your reply Steve. I have read MANY of your posts and have high regard for your opinion. In its current iteration it is pretty much a wedge. I got some inspiration from a photo of a Tuatahi Racing axe I had by my desk for years. Per your suggestion I think I will add some mass to the poll and see what it looks like. I can (in the software) calculate the center of gravity, evaluate and adjust accordingly. I was just going for what I thought was nice lines.
     

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