Making a Stock Removal Viking Axe Part 3

I have made a bit of progress with my Viking Axe project. I made my first attempt at inlay, and learnt a lot on the way:

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On the sides the inlay came out quite nicely, the annealed copper was fairly easy to hammer into the grooves. I used the ball pein on the back of my workhorse hammer, but next time I think I will also use a rounded punch to give really fine control over how the metal deforms. Another thing I think will help is choosing the right gauge of wire, the one I used was a tad thin and it was harder to get to to fill the entirety of the groove.

The really hard bit was continuing the inlay around the edge of the axe and into the eye, it seemed to have a mind of its own and it was firmly set on not binding to the graved lines. I think that in areas like this I need to go much deeper with the graving and roughen the surface with a hacksaw blade.



I have started to smooth down the branch I want to use for the handle, I don’t remember what tree it came from but it has a lovely pale dense grain that I think will carve just below the head, maybe some knotwork? I cant wait to get going on this again!

Part 1

Part 2

Yew Longbow/Selfbow Project

My brother recently joined an archery club, and talking to him about it gave me a bit of a bowmaking bug! My walk to the forge takes me through some thick woods, and every time I see a fallen branch or sapling I have visions of all the things I could do with it. Usually I haft an axe or polearm, or make a singlestick sword trainer out of it, but for the last couple of weeks I have been keeping my eye out for a bigger piece of wood that could contain a bow.


I picked up this sapling after the big storms this winter. I think it is yew, I looked up the leaves and bark and it seems identical, but who knows? I can readily identify about 10 general species of tree, hopefully now I can add yew to the total!

It was about six and a half feet long, with very few bends and knots. The entire thing had about a 2″ deflex curve, which is a curve towards the archer, but I think a lot of that will disappear when I trim down the ends to their final diameter.


I rough trimmed the thicker base with an axe, then broke out my spokeshave to flatten the back and try to give it some flex. After a bit of freehand trimming I realised that I’d better make a tillering tree to check the draw weight, as I am used to testing the flex of sword blades and this is a very different beast, I want a heavy draw weight so my usual reflexes will be less useful. I do hope however that hours checking that a blade curve is smooth and even will come in useful when I can see the whole bow bend!


Here is a view down the bow, there is a bit of twist at the ends but it should come out even as each ends twists in the same direction and the string should fall over the centre of the bow. I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the best method, and bow experts could give me loads of pointers, but hopefully it will come out ok and I can go shooting with my brother!

This blog is absolutely amazing, if you have even a passing interest in bows I heartily recommend it, I just couldn’t stop reading! bowyersdiary