Tag Archives: axe

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

Prototype Leather Daneaxe for HEMA fencing

I study Highland Broadsword with my local HEMA group every week, and reading more Scottish and Irish history has made me want to have a go with one of the longaxes used before the Renaissance. In addition I am thinking about joining the local Anglo-Saxon reenactment group, so a Daneaxe could also be applicable within that context if I one day rise to the giddy heights of being one of Haralds Huscarls!


The axe is made of 6mm thick veg tan leather, with two strips of 4mm leather sewn onto the extreme edge. This is useful both for recalling the forge welded steel edge of the original axes, and thickens the edge diameter to spread the force of the axe strike to minimise the sting of a strike. It also adds some stiffness to the edge which stops the axe from curling with use.


The body of the blade was water hardened then wax hardened to give it a bit of strength for when it hooks a sword blade and to help it keep its shape. The edge is left soft to act as a cushion. After the hardening, I found that the thin section where the blade passes into the steel was too weak and brittle from the water hardening so I pinned a strip of copper to the top, before binding it on with artificial sinew. I think that it actually looks rather fetching, and I might put some inlay on the steel to complement it.


I still need to finish the haft, its 1m20 long, it needs tapering at the top to fit the head and some sanding to smooth it down. And it still needs rivets in place of the rather ugly bolts that are holding it together at the moment!

Cant wait to give it a go!

Stock Removal Viking Axe: Progress

I have made some more progress on my stock removal axe. Most of the heavy grinding had been done so I heated the axehead in the forge to soften the steel before I started chiselling it.


Here it is after the first round, under the camera flash the scale took on a lovely blue colour! I was shocked to see the ghostly face in the blade, I wish the axe was closer to being finished as it would have been really cool to try to preserve the face in the final axe. As it is though I had a lot more to do so sadly it was polished off.

After I removed the last of the metal, bringing the blade thickness down to around 3mm behind the edge, I edge quenched it. I was talking to my Boss while it heated and totally lost track of time, with the result that it got quite heavily scaled in the forge, but a heavy polishing took care of that and the edge hardness is unharmed:


You can see the scale flaking off of the eye where it was hottest. You can also see two lines on the narrow part of the blade. These are channels I have chiselled in order to try out a copper inlay, which will be a new challenge for me!

Here it is rough polished to 120 grit, ready for inlay and sharpening:


The grooves are first cut with a square graver before being undercut into a “W” shape with a knife graver. Took a little while, but I want a really strong base for my copper. The grooves continue over the top and bottom of the axe and into the eye to help tie off the ends and stop them from getting pulled out during use.

Not a lot left to do now, its got to the stage where I could use it as is! But I still want to:

-Do some inlay

 -Give it a really high polish

-Possibly try out some etching?

-Make a handle for it, I already have a suitable branch drying.

Cant wait to hang it above the fireplace!

Part 1

Part 3

Making a stock removal viking axe

I took a break from work today and as i was digging around the forge I found an old axe blade I bought ages ago at the boot fair. I thought it would be fun to trim it down to a more manageable shape, and started grinding…

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The first picture is the axe before anything was done to it, then partially cleaned and roughly marked up to make best use of the available steel. I really wanted to use an early dane-axe shape with the undercut blade, so lost quite a bit of the edge but I felt it would look best like this in the end.


Here it is after the initial cuts to create the broad shape.


Cleaned up again, and the arches of the axe further accentuated, I started removing masses of material from the axe sides, as rather than the thick wedge it started as I wanted it to have the thin butcher style blade of a fighting axe.

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The blade thinning down it took much longer to grind the faces as for the sides I had just cut off the material, here I had to slowly work my way through it whilst not making too many dips and hollows. Next stage is going to be a normalising of the axehead, as its definitely getting harder to grind! There is an obvious join on the axe where the carbon steel blade was added, so hopefully this should soften it.

Next step to come!

And here it is: Second post in WIP