This thread will follow along as I attempt to learn the construction methods used by Viking age smiths to forge axe heads. These axes will primarily be wood working tools for both carving and for wood processing. Thankfully, Jim Austin and Jeff Pringle have accomplished some wonderful work researching and recreating these beautiful Viking era pieces. Mr. Austin has been kind enough to share his research and forgings with the blacksmith community. Jim gives seminars and instructional classes through out the country and has released a DVD covering the methods that he uses, and on several forums showing the processes in detail. Their research includes museum pieces as well as personal collections. There have been x-rays done and visual inspections through an experienced smiths and historians eyes to reveal exactly how these axe heads were produced. So, Thank you Jim Austin and Jeff Pringle for allowing folks like myself to be able to learn and experience the ways of the the Viking axe.
This posting will be updated on a regular basis as I progress, moving from one piece of the axe to another - Practicing each detail - until finally I combine all of the different parts of the axe head into a working prototype. From there I will test several designs both in shop and in the field to determine what sizes and shapes would best suit our Bushcrafting and carving needs.
I have been studying every piece of literature and posting that I can lay my eyes on, in order to learn every possible thing that I can about these axes -- A bit of an obsession you could say. As of yesterday, I produced my first successful asymmetrically wrapped eye with a poll. Next, I will attempt a Baltic eye with the reinforcing tines on the poll.
I need to create some specific tooling to recreate these axes, and started on that last night. So far, my first successful asymmetrical wrapped eye. In this method the stock is reduced in size, and wrapped back onto itself, forge welded into place, and shaped to form the eye. This is similar to how wrapped eye tomahawks are produced, except the eye, ears, and poll, are forged to shape prior to the wrap. Also, the forge weld is at the transition from eye to bit. Compered to the wrapped eye hawk where the whole wrap forms the bit, eye, etc.
The following posts will show updates.
Thanks for following along!
EDIT: Some friend I am. I forgot to mention that Alex (Adahy) has been helping me do research and will be involved in this project as well, both working as a striker and helping to design the bit geometry.