Viking Style Axe

Step 1: Choose Wisely

For this build, you will need :
an old axe
a little piece of hard wood
some wood stain
some leather/hide
some leather dye
a belt sander / palm sander
a saw
rasps and files
some way to heat treat the axe’s head 

Step 2: It’s All in Your Head

1) So I started by removing the handle and cleaning the top with my 2×72″ belt grinder, but you’ll also use a belt sander or a palm sander, or if you are feeling brave and have time, sandpaper and files.

2) I changed the form of the top to offer it a viking look and ground it so as to revamp the leading edge .
For this step, I used #40 and #80 grit belts. make certain to not let the top overheat, it could ruin the hardening. Quench it in water from time to time. As soon because it is just too hot to carry , it is time to quench.

Step 3: Shape It

1) I wanted to change the poll’s shape (the poll is also called the butt) and turn it into a cone. Even if it’s not historically accurate, I thought it would give the axe a better look. So, I traced the overall shape I wanted with a black marker.
2) I ground the poll to give it a rough pyramidal shape and quench the head in water to keep it cool and not damage the hardening of the cutting edge.

Step 4: Make It Sharp

1) I finished the shaping of the poll into a cone on my belt grinder.
2) I slowly rotated the head against the belt till I get the shape I wanted.

Step 5: Normalize

1) I made a decision to travel through a full heat treating process. I started by normalizing the metal. I used my little coal forge to heat the top to a coffee cerise color (around 650°C – 1200°F) and let it cool slowly on the side of forge, faraway from the warmth . The forge is formed of refractory cement which acts as a heat insulator and enables me to let the metal cool very slowly. When it had been cool enough to the touch it, I put the top back within the fire. once more , I heated it to a coffee cerise color and let it cool on refractory cement.

2) I did that 3 times , for the axe’s head and therefore the newly shaped poll.

Step 6: Quench the Poll

1) Then, I needed to harden the top .

When I make an axe restoration, there’s no way on behalf of me to understand what quite metal was wont to made the ax head , so, just to be safe, I quench it in gasoline instead of in water. I recommand you to always know what quite metal you’re working with and to respect the specifications of every metal for the quench. Some metals got to be quench in oil, some require water quench, some require only air cooling. make certain to always wear protective gears for a quench. Safety googles, gloves, an apron will protect you from heavy burns. once you quench a really hot piece of metal, oil (or water) may dabble and cause severe burn. make certain to be safe in your shop / smithy.

2) I quenched the top without heating the quenching oil. When the poll reached a light-weight red color (around 870°C – 1600°F) I quenched it within the oil trying to draw a 8 figure. once you quench hot metal in oil or water, a steam jacket forms round the metal and a few parts of the materials couldn’t be cooled evenly.

Step 7: Quench the Head

1) I repeated the precise same process for the axe’s head, ensuring to succeed in the proper color (therefore the proper temperature) and quenched it in oil.

2) I let the top calm down on the face of the anvil and when it had been cool enough to be touched, I checked the hardening with a file. The sound was clear and therefore the file didn’t catch the metal, therefore the hardening was as success.

3) When the leading edge of the top has just been hardened, it must be tempered otherwise it’s going to break.
So, after cleaning the top with a wirebrush, I put it in my kitchen oven at 230°C (around 450°F) for one and an half hour. It should reach a light-weight straw color if your axe’s head is clean and glossy . But I wanted mine to possess a second hand look and wanted to stay this dark grey color.

Step 8: Brush It

1) I used a wirebrush to clean the burnt oil from the axe’s head. As said previously, I wanted to keep this dark grey color so I didn’t use any sandpaper or belt to clean it.
2) I used a sharpie to trace the cutting edge and sharpened the blade on my belt grinder with #120, #240 and #400 girt belts, which is more than enough for an axe’s head.

Step 9: It’s All in Your Hand

1) Time to form the handle. This axe is supposed to be a throwing axe, so I reuse the hard wood of the previous handle. If you would like a functionnal axe to chop lumber, you would like a robust handle and will use oak, hickory, ash, hornbeam, cherry, or walnut.

2) The viking axe’s handles are straight and not curvy because the modern axe’s handles are. So I reused the old handle and kept the form and width. The handle was a touch bit too long on behalf of me so I changed the lenght by cutting the top . I used my bandsaw to chop it to lenght. Just choose the length which i confortable for you.

3) I used the top to trace the form needed for it to suit the handle and used a wood rasp create a tenon with an honest fit. It must be tight but not too tight because it could break

Step 10: Cut

1) I used a razor saw to cut in the middle of the tenon, then I used the bandsaw to widen the gap.
2) I cut a little piece of oak to make a wedge.

Step 11: Stain It

1) I sanded the whole handle with a palm sander and #80, #120 and #240 grit sandpaper.
2) I applied wood stain with a sponge brush to give it a better look, waited few minutes, wiped it with a rag and let it to dry fully.

Step 12: Add Some Leather

1) While the stain was drying, I cut a 9x20cm/3.5x8inches piece of 4oz vegetable tanned leather.
2) I used my dividers to draw a line at approx. 1cm/0.4inch from the edge.
3) I also used my dividers to equaly space the holes I punched using a 5mm/3.16″ round punch.

Step 13: More Leather

1) I cut two strips of cow hide, one was 3/16″ wide and the other 25/32″.
2) I dyed the leather and the strips with brown leather dye and let it dry overnight, making sure to dye the edges too.

Step 14: Two Become One

1) When everything was fully dry, it was time to assemble all the parts.
2) I put the axe’s head on the handle and inserted the wedge with a wooden mallet.
3) I cut the excess with a razor saw and used #80 grit sandpaper to clean the cut.

Step 15: Braiding

1) I started by braiding the 5mm cow hide strip. You can start the braiding before putting in on the handle, but you can also glue the leather to the handle, which would make this step easier.
2) Braid the strip and finish it with a double knot.
3) I chose to let the leather hang for about 25cm/10inches to create a loop and closed it with a double stopper knot.

Step 16: Final Touch

1) This step is optinal and depends on the look you want for you axe. I like using leather on wood or metal so I added another 20mm/25/32″ leather strip around the head.
2) I cut it with a pliers at about 5cm/2inches from the knot.
3) A final sharpening

SOURCE —————–

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