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Wira (Vira) Axe From CF Dhalgren

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Ernest DuBois, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    [​IMG]
    This axe is from the old Wira or Vira forge A water powered forge north of Stockholm.
    We all are familiar with the video upload of the 1920s action at the forge, probably that smid in the film is Carl Frederick Dahlgren whose name is stamped on my axe here.[​IMG]
    Photographed by Westfeldt in 1920.
     
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  2. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Ernest, that is pretty neat that your axe was made by the smith in that video -I've watched that one many times in several contexts. :thumbsup:
     
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  3. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    I like Wira because of the quality of the soft malleable iron, Lancashire iron I believe, combined with the high carbon content edge steel.
     
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  4. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    "Carl Fredrik Dahlgren died in 1926 at the age of 91." His son John (who worked as a smith under C.F.) wrote, "He was still working until the age of 90, and... he really worked hard. I would like to say that at 80 years age, then he was as powerful as any smith..."

    quoted from Tre Wira-smeder for till Ryssland Av LARS EDBERG, page 86 (translated by Google)
    http://digitalamodeller.se/daedalus/kapitel/Lars Edberg. Tre wirasmeder for till Ryssland.pdf

    Another photo of C.F. Dahlgren, presumably in his late 80s since the photo is dated 1923:

    [​IMG]
    Lilla smedjan. Smeden Dahlgren (1835-1926).
    Ur Göteborgsutställningens samlingar 1923.

    TILLVERKARE Vira Bruk
    FOTOGRAFERING 1923
    FOTOGRAF Okänd

    PART OF COLLECTION Tekniska museets arkiv
    https://digitaltmuseum.se/021016339...835-1926-ur-goteborgsutstallningens-samlingar
    https://digitaltmuseum.se/search/?aq=place:"Vira Bruk"&o=0&n=80
     
  5. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Great resources Steve.
    Here is a shot of what the Vira Bruk work area looked like in 1970 (From the same collection cited)
    [​IMG]

    This is from Steve Tall's post:
    "Carl Fredrik Dahlgren died in 1926 at the age of 91." His son John (who worked as a smith under C.F.) wrote, "He was still working until the age of 90, and... he really worked hard. I would like to say that at 80 years age, then he was as powerful as any smith..."

    quoted from Tre Wira-smeder for till Ryssland Av LARS EDBERG, page 86 (translated by Google)
    http://digitalamodeller.se/daedalus/kapitel/Lars Edberg. Tre wirasmeder for till Ryssland.pdf

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Here's the beginning of the text from that PDF file, roughly translated by Google (I could post the rest, upon request, but it would take multiple posts):


    Page 1
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia By LARS EDBERG Assistant Professor Lars Edberg is a teacher in history and Swedish at Alvik School,Bromma. He is born in Wira and devotes most of his spare time to the mill,especially for the Wira Museum, which he represents.
    Page 2
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia IN The Wira Museum stores a small collection of items, pictures, and documents, such ashighlights an interesting episode in Wira Bruk's 19th century history.The summer of 1889 emigrated three young Wira smiths to imperial Russiacountry to practice there. The trip was made to Wileika in the then RussianLithuania, very close to the city of Wilna.The three who traveled were Carl Johan Törnberg, Gustaf Dahlgren and John Dahlbranch.The emigration of the Wira smiths coincides in time with the culmination of itbig emigration wave to America, and it's fun to figure out how thisLittle episode also in other respects appears as a mirror image on a reduced scaleof the emigration westward.The three who headed to the east were all young men in their most productiveage. Carl Johan Törnberg was 26 years old, both cousins Gustaf and John Dahlbranch 29 and 23 years old at departure. The trip to Wileika was carried out withboat from Stockholm to Libau and then by train to the destination.The reasons for the trip appear to have been several. To some it was a questionyouthful adventure and a desire to see something more of the world than thatlittle wira. But more importantly, it was certainly the general recession, as wellWira suffered hard. Then the production of blades has subsided laterhalf of the 18th century, was in the 19th century Liarna Wiras without comparisontigest product.In 1800, Wira sold 12 000 liars, but by the end of the century, year production fellcatastrophic as a result of agricultural industrialization, mainly when mowing-the machine's victory train. It even seems like some smiths in Wiratemporarily ended up with the love manufacture instead of concentrating on the yx-forging. The hard times in Wira are highlighted by a passus in a letter from the smith-champion CF Dahlgren in Wira to son John, who after a year in Russia timeThe body began to think about returning home .1"You step in your last letter that you may end up in Wilejka.I would in all respects like if there were lighter prospects for the futurein Wira, than it is. My thought about the matter is that you should at least dieThere you are until you can collect a small capital, with which you here somewherecan buy a small apartment, whichever is the water supply. Did you get around?3,000 Kr. could you come a long way with them. Then the ruble here sometimes appliesKr. 2:20 would not there be reason to put them on interest here? It canYou may have set up another plan for your future, and if soof course my falling falls. However, you will come under any circumstanceshome next summer when we can discuss the matter . "2 1 In the essay, the term "master" is used throughout the term on a smith who owns his ownworkshop. The term remained alive even after the abolition of the obsession in 1846. In the master's workshop,ie at his hard work, sons and / or workers also worked. However, the term 'saddle' appearsearly disappeared. The carpets delivered from the master's workshop were stamped withHis stamp, never with the worker, even though he had done all the work.2 Letter from CF Dahlgren to John Dahlgren on 27/11 1890. 66
    Page 3
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia Travel Pass, issued for "Swedish submarine, smith worker Carl Johan Törnberg. . .which travels to Russia. "(Ex. photo) 67
    Page 4
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia CF Dahlgren belonged to the wealthy in Wira. So much more patheticHis letter to the son, where he thanks for the homemade ruble and explains howhe used them:"It's probably superfluous to make sure all your letters -They must now be full or only half-heartedus, and yet you last sought to increase the value of the brefv. I am stillpoisoned by 3 dragons that keep me warm, but it's enough,only I got more jammed into my squares .3 But sometimes there are gapsIn my income and such a long gap I have now come with. So comeYour message is a rescuer and removes me from the remnant. Wid change towardsSwedish money I received 105 kr, because the Russian course was falling, otherwiseI would probably have received 5 kr more. I have left them Mum 25 kr. Andpaid for Alfh. a shoemaker count. 9 kr and feel about the ocean bothsurprised and grateful. But not enough: your money also hadAnother blessing in tow, for a couple of days thereafter I got out ofThorslund in Enköping since February. month outstanding receivable kr 136 -but not until Lindstedt has to put him in. Now they see thatI'm a rocky man again and hope it will not stop there, for mehas more claims to wait . "2Even more drastically, the lack of cash at home in Wira is reflected in the following:"Continuation. 4/3Your letter has, as you can see, been written for a long time without mesend it - shame to say it - in lack of money. Yes, sometimes sometimesYou have big orders that will first be done and then wait a long timeon the quarries . "4This letter had been written ready for more than two weeks before the sender receivedafford to post it.It was not only sons and workers without their own workshop, which had to leaveWira during these crisis years around 1890. In the correspondence between Wira andWileika also recognizes another relocation. Mästersmeden Adolf Dahlgren,Father of Russian farmer Gustaf Dahlgren left Wira withgrinder Frans Björkman, and they rented for a number of years Ortala use atVäddö for a sum of 5,000 kr per year.5 The company seems to have beenin the most adventurous team. After a few years Björkman is back in Wira, while Adolf 3 The three "dragons" CF Dahlgren had to support the home where the wife Charlotta wasthe daughters of Alfhid and Fanny. Elder son Gottfrid was a college teacher in Roslags-Kulla.4 Letter from CF Dahlgren in Wira to the son John d. 16/2 1890.5 Frans Herman Björkman was born in 1859 and died in 1929. He is termed mantal lengthsgrinder but also was a carpenter and a reporter. In these latter characteristics manufactured and monHe shoved his hand to axes, knives and other wrought-iron products from Wira. ' 68
    Page 5
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia Dahlgren moves to another place and meets unknown fate. Adolf's brotherCF Dahlgren also sounds very skeptical in a letter to the son John, then the dealis still at the planning stage...

    http://digitalamodeller.se/daedalus/kapitel/Lars Edberg. Tre wirasmeder for till Ryssland.pdf
     
  7. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    640
    Dec 20, 2015
    Thanks, Ernest,and Steve and Agent_H,for so much great material on Vira and Dahlgren...

    I watched that video many times,each time getting more valuable information from it...Simply amazing how fluently that man forges,an absolute natural economy of effort in each and every move he makes...(that overlayed bit alone is something else to see,he just barely sets that weld,and with that great length of stock dangling,too,and takes it to the cut-off hardy to chop it off on that same heat...)
    Totally humbling,the whole video.


    I've actually read that PDF that FortyTwo has so kindly provided in that other thread about phantom bevels,and so now actually have an idea of what that process involved...

    What an axe to actually have,and use-far out!
     
  8. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    It was enjoyable reading that Steve, thanks.
    Many of the small-time smids were so attached to their Lancashire iron that when the supplies dried up, - in part as a consequence of upscaled production processes introduced to Sweden and the axe making sector by Hult Bruk - they stopped making axes because what was coming from the alternative material left them with an inferior tool.
    It is a special iron with a particular tactile quality almost as it is inherently fatty or greasy, that is not to say it is or that it doesn't rust, but when polished up it feels that way and also has a unique appearance. But I guess the smid would experience it in their way too.
     
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  9. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    I can appreciate your description of the iron having a natural "fatty or greasy" feel. Would that iron be similar to what the Finns may have used at a similar point in time?
    Tremendous axe, Ernest - thank you for sharing this beauty and starting this conversation with us here :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  10. muleman77

    muleman77

    152
    Jan 24, 2015
    This whole post, has been very interesting!

    Great piece of history in your hands @Ernest DuBois
    And some great links and translation about it from the rest of you. Makes a great read :)
     
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  11. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    There is a lot in common between Sweden and some of the areas of Finland and distinctions are subtle sometimes so it could surprise nobody when sources and materials, among other things, were interchangeable. And well, Vira is situated along the route into Finland. The story relaying the attitude of the old smids I got from a Norwegian where also a similar disappointment and resignation occurred at the loss of their material so it would be consistent and unsurprising when the same was true in Finland to the one degree or that other one.
     
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  12. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    Posting on another Wira, it is getting dangerously close to making it look like I'm a collector, an impression I'd hope to avoid in any case. Could be an indication that it's time for a good culling, but that is neither here nor there. This is one a measure bigger than the other, stamped with AB Dahlgren, initials not mentioned in all the interesting and pertinent information above as far as I saw it.
    Much nicer condition this one not having been subjected to an overly enthusiastic polishing.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  13. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    640
    Dec 20, 2015
    Thanks,Ernest.
    This one is more like the one being made in the video,as in the poll having been upset out of the original strap....
    It's fascinating process,not at all easy as it looks.
    Is the eye an inverse taper,like the kirves?
     
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  14. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    The poll on the Carl Frederik is well and truly buggered. The thing I am on the look-out for is indications of this but joining of the bit which seems to occur in the old-time video. The socket does indeed taper outward like the kirves, or perhaps it's the other way 'round, and has this internal constriction reinforcing, (supposedly) the eventual wedging.
     
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  15. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    It looks like the "AB Dahlgren Wira" stamp would date the axe to somewhere between 1860-1892 (made by Carl's brother Adolf Basilius Dahlgren), according to this:

    "Translation" by Google:

    Page 5
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia
    Dahlgren moves to another place and meets unknown fate. Adolf's brotherCF Dahlgren also sounds very skeptical in a letter to the son John, then the dealis still at the planning stage:"The benefits learn to be great, but I think it was tolerable, at least 10such matrices as Adolf, to such a company. He who lives will get enoughsee how it ends . "6However, it may be of some interest to know that beforecomes axes, liars and other forging products, stamped partly AB DahlgrenWIRA, partly AB Dahlgren ORTALA and that in both cases it is about the samemaster, Adolf Basilius Dahlgren, born in Wira in 1837 and acting as a championin the years 1860-1892, then for a few years at Ortala.How did you find out in Wira that there were work opportunities in Russia?Yes, there we are moving on some insecure ground. But according to an oral assignment fromMiss Fanny Dahlgren in Wira, John Dahlgren's still surviving sister, wasRussian agents operating in Sweden, much the same as agents as wellEnlisted emigrants to America. The offer to the Wira smiths would then be according toThe same source has been served by the iron trade company Julius Slöör in Stockholm, withwhich Wira during the latter half of the 19th century had all livelier contacts .7 Between1894 and 1919 were Julius Slöör Wira's General Agent .8Here, perhaps, it should be said that the Wira smiths' emigration in 1889 is in no wayunique - neither in terms of causes nor effects. Just over a hundred years earlierSweden had suffered from a severe economic crisis that hit the manufac- tureshard, not least iron manufaces. I aim at the violent inflationwith due consequence of deflation, which during the liberation period after 1765 wasThe reason why many companies suffered major losses or even went over.The unemployment rate among manufac- turing workers was high. For example, at Tunaforsthe number of workers dropped quickly to half, at Carl Gustaf's city plant in Eskilstuna from about one hundred to sixty. Many industrial workers emigrated andespecially Russia became the target of several of them .9To what extent Wira suffered from this economic crisis has yethave not been subject to any investigation. The tables Alf Nordström preparedHowever, regarding the workforce at Wira, we do not provide any evidence for anyoneoperational impairment of the species shown for Tunafors and Eskilstuna .10 Sna 6 Letter from CF Dahlgren to the son John d. 21/4 1891.7 The essential coherent information on this issue has also been announced. by the missVera Dahlgren, Norrtälje, daughter of Gottfrid Dahlgren.8 About Wira's relations With Julius Slöör's tools trade, see Alf Nordström: Vira Kling-smedja and liebruk (Stockholm 1969), p. 129-134.9 See Sixten Rönnow: Wedevåg's History of Use (Stockholm 1944), p. 186th10 Nordström: aa p. 160th 69
    Page 6
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia strange the available figures indicate a certain growth during the current periodbetween 1765 and 1770. The number of springs at Wira increases from 23 to29. However, in the following years, the number has fallen dramatically to 18 - onerelationship that may, however, be associated with a possible transfer to itthe same year newly refuge in Eskilstuna .11We also do not know any emigration of Wira smiths to Russiaearly as in the 1700s, although it is an exciting thought to Törnberg andDahlgrenarna may have had a predecessor a hundred years earlier.One fact, however, is worth mentioning in this context: 1775 lostWira finally had its privileges, and it is very likely that the abovecrisis in that case played a certain role. 11 Nordström: aa p. 63rd On this photo of Wira Bruk's smith, taken 1884, all of the papers mentioned are listedsmiths with. upper row fr. v .: No. 6 John Dahlgren, No. 7 Carl Johan Törnberg. Sitteeth fr. v .: No. 1 Gustaf Dahlgren, No. 3 Adolf Dahlgren, No. 6 Carl August Törnberg,No. 7 Carl Fredrik Dahlgren, No. 8 Frans Herman Björkman. 70
    Page 7
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia But we return to the 19th century.Unfortunately, it is true - and it has already been stated in the written - thatletters only seem to be preserved regarding John Dahlgren, and it gives thisproduction a certain amount of strain. This letter collection, comprising 20Letters between 1889 and 1892, there are no originals in Miss Fanny Dahlbranch, Wira. In the archive of the Wira museum, photocopies of the letters are stored, partlyalso transcripts. These 20 letters are distributed as follows in respect of the senderdare and recipient:SenderReceiverNumber of lettersCF Dahlgren, WiraJohn Dahlgren, Wileika5Charlotta Dahlgren, WiraJohn Dahlgren, Wileika 8 Alfhild Dahlgren, WiraJohn Dahlgren, Wileika 2 Fanny Dahlgren, WiraJohn Dahlgren, Wileika3John Dahlgren, WileikaFanny Dahlgren, Wira 2 As appears from this publication, the letters from Wira are in clear majority.Despite eager inquiries, John Dahlgren's letter to the home is available onlytwo were found. They are both set to his sister Fanny, who was then sixrespectively seven years old. They deserve to be reproduced extenso:Wileika on May 27, 1890My little sister FannyNow I will try to write so that you can read myself, last time when Istep german if it's hard for you i can believe I was going to write toAlfhilda now but as I think about you more and Alfhilda likes oneAnother sms likes her, she can wait a little. Ffelsatell her when you meetNow I will tell you a great news and it's that I've beenking see you it is in the sense that we have now stopped shooting and when woschnerThe time before the last read up pro-to-pull out moves so "it's found that FannyMaria Lydia Dahlgren's brother had shot the best, then Gustaf and saw Karlthus the three Swedes. I was called "That Shootable" and Anniversarypingst when the shooter will be, I'll carry a big eagerness over the shoulder withlong green ribbon on and a big bow on the chest. Then I will be fine murrutro.The party is in the woods and Millitär music comes from Vilna.Today, we are free to say that it is the lover's day of confession and half past eightthe evening is free .12Your brotherJohn 12 emperors in Russia were Alexander III. 71
    Page 8
    Three Wira-smiths for to Russia This photo of John Dahlgren is from 1897. It is taken by himself with a homemade camera...


    http://digitalamodeller.se/daedalus/kapitel/Lars Edberg. Tre wirasmeder for till Ryssland.pdf
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  16. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    640
    Dec 20, 2015
    Thanks,yes,that makes sense...(The poll on CF,that extra plate,may've been added later by someone...).

    What do you mean about the bit-as in that you'd like to see the juncture,the weld-boundary?
    You cold probably just handle it enough and rub at it with your fingers,our sweat
     
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  17. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    Very interesting Steve, AB brother to CF, both working the forge at Wira, then passing it of to son John rounding it out. All this the first I have known much of such connections between Sweden & Russia - other than VI Lenin's hiding out in Sweden just before his big gig back in the motherland of course.
    Yes, it makes sense, the socket on that one showing distortion.
    Well to my mind with its limited capacity for these things, such a but joint strikes me as less common than many of the other options for adding on the bit so it'd be interesting looking into it. But these things do often reveal themselves as you say simply in the process of sharpening up.
     
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  18. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    640
    Dec 20, 2015
    My internet's playing up and cut off part of last mssg.,but yes,we're acidic enough that handling steel etches it mildly.

    In the video,at least,once he has that steel bit stuck on,he forges it clear over the bit on each side,blending it into the blade,again,both sides.
    So it wouldn't qualify as a "butt" joint at all,but a form of a cleft-weld,what we seem to refer to lately as the "overlay",vs the "inserted" bit(which is similarly a cleft-scarfed weld,just the components reversed).

    (that chunk of steel he uses in the video is admittedly small,kinda on a stingy side...i think that it's because they're working in an environment where re-steeling your axe was as common and easy as going to HomeDespot for a cheap Chinese circular saw blade is nowadays...)
     
  19. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    696
    Mar 2, 2013
    It almost seems magic the way he welds, but in all honesty I'd have to go back watching and paying more pointed attention than up till now has been the case
    Could you be more explicit please, leaving as much of the jargon aside for my sake.
    It has me wondering myself what the situation on both the axes is with those worn back toes. All the more reason to understand the bit so that when I take it to the smid for re-steeling and who knows even re-polling, I can explain.
     
  20. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    640
    Dec 20, 2015
    Sorry,Ernest,i'll try to be more clear:

    In the video,CF welds a small bar of steel on the very edge.It's just like you'd use your axe to stick a small rectangular stick off the floor,by sticking the blade of the axe right into it.

    Once he has it welded to the very edge,he draws the steel on,along each side,as you'd pull on a sock.
    He draws the steel thin till it eventually blends into the body metal,further up the blade,"coating" it in effect.But still leaving the bulk of the mass of that steel on the very edge itself.
     
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