I had the pleasure of forging an ultra-lightweight carving axe for a customer this week, coming in at about 550g.
These smaller axes are such a joy to forge – they are condensed essence of axe.
This one has a forge welded bit and a mild steel body, the eye was hot punched.
I started with a short piece of 20 x 40mm mild steel
This was then upset before the edge was split, and a
tapering carbon steel insert was inserted
This was edge piece inserted hot, set and then forge welded by hand
The eye was hot punched and drifted, the edge for was refined, and everything was straightened up.
Once forging is completed, the piece was heated one more time and allowed to cool naturally to relieve stress- this is called “normalising” and is the first phase of the heat treatment. After this cycle, the edge is ground to a nearly sharp state and then the axe is heated once again and finally quenched in oil to harden. After hardening the axe went in to temper for an hour to remove stress and thus add resilience by reducing the brittleness of the edge.