This axe head was made in the “bowtie” method out of mild steel and an inserted bit of carbon steel. After hardening in water, the edge was sharpened and polished. The edge was not etched to show the insert, rather the steel has been allowed, in use, to reveal the gently undulating grey-white line that is characteristic of this most traditional method.
This axe has no particular form; rather it was made to demonstrate the method. Modern steel is homogenised and generally without flaws and inclusions. Ancient steel was the opposite and it is with this in mind that various techniques for producing the eye on hafted tools were devised (JIM), Whilst not strictly Ancient in the same way as the Asymmetrical method explored by Jim Austin, The “bowtie” uses the same principals, that is, awareness of the grain direction of wrought iron. The un-welded head is forged symmetrically, with the appearance of a bowtie, hence the name. The shape is then folded over onto itself and welded with the bit inserted.
I gave this axe head to my second family for Christmas and I’ve spent some time over the last few days producing a haft from the foraged Oak on the mountain.
The axe has been hand hewed with an old pattern axe (the head of which was made in the same bowtie method) paying attention to the direction and preference of the wood grain. Observing the timber in this way produces a stronger haft if there are some small knots and burls in the same way as a bowyer making a traditional Yew longbow.
The timber has not been sanded; finished or sealed as yet; if it was in constant use then timber would be sanded down, refined and sealed with beeswax and linseed oil.
The journey of this axe has been enjoyable as it has revolved around ancient techniques from the forging of the head to the gathering of materials and tools used.