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Axes Anyone?


MacAR

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2 hours ago, MacAR said:

I call that a Jersey pattern; they're known for being big, heavy axes. I'd be interested to see how your repair goes. I've got one or two old heads that look similar and I've always wanted to see if they could be fixed. One cold day I need to fire the forge and try it, if yours works out of course. 

Mac

You don’t have to wait for me 😊 I guess I figure it can’t hurt anything to try. Heat and fix, normalize a few times, heat cutting edge to non-magnetic, quench in oil, immediately into oven of some sort at probably 425° for an hour. File test edge. If too hard, back in oven for longer until edge tests 55 Rockwell or so by the files. At least that’s how I see it in my head 😊

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May have to give that a whirl, Sledge. Like you said, nothing to lose. I've got one old single bit I've been aimed to make a pickaroon out if, just haven't had the opportunity to yet. May have to try that sometime soon. 

Mac

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On 2/3/2023 at 4:34 PM, Sledgehammer said:

You don’t have to wait for me 😊 I guess I figure it can’t hurt anything to try. Heat and fix, normalize a few times, heat cutting edge to non-magnetic, quench in oil, immediately into oven of some sort at probably 425° for an hour. File test edge. If too hard, back in oven for longer until edge tests 55 Rockwell or so by the files. At least that’s how I see it in my head 😊

I am curious, have you tested RC hardness on several different ones? Is that about normal? A Holo-Chrome or Allen bolt is 58 RC, high speed steel tool bits are 65 RC. I haven’t checked but I imagine a good Nicholson file must be around 62 . I have always felt like an ax feels a little too soft when I file one . 

I don’t mind using some epoxy to get another life out of a handle . It certainly does not look as pure but they perform quite well that way. No way could I pry out the money new handles bring. This Dunlop has been at my wood stove for 38 years,  at Dads’ stove before his passing. Original handle with a little bedding.  This was also the hatchet I snuck off with as a kid to build my future in the woods.ACE3CF70-1171-45BA-AAF6-4356B3D28A86.thumb.jpeg.908f38c3e46585b9f657847f6753a62f.jpeg

 

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I have file sharpened a few axes/hatchets. I would guess they are 45-50 Rockwell C.

Totally agree about the high price of handles. Has to be something that means something to me to get a new handle. Can by complete tools at a farm sale for next to nothing most of the time.

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13 hours ago, just Dave said:

I am curious, have you tested RC hardness on several different ones? Is that about normal? A Holo-Chrome or Allen bolt is 58 RC, high speed steel tool bits are 65 RC. I haven’t checked but I imagine a good Nicholson file must be around 62 . I have always felt like an ax feels a little too soft when I file one . 

I don’t mind using some epoxy to get another life out of a handle . It certainly does not look as pure but they perform quite well that way. No way could I pry out the money new handles bring. This Dunlop has been at my wood stove for 38 years,  at Dads’ stove before his passing. Original handle with a little bedding.  This was also the hatchet I snuck off with as a kid to build my future in the woods.ACE3CF70-1171-45BA-AAF6-4356B3D28A86.thumb.jpeg.908f38c3e46585b9f657847f6753a62f.jpeg

 

I have not done a proper test. I know I like a knife edge at 60.  My forging hammer is right around 55 and hard for a hammer. I think you are right that most axes are a little closer to 50 or at least under 55. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, snoshoe said:

Toledo Saint Louis & western railway

Thanks!  No end to the knowledge here. I just picked it up because it was a unique shaped cross pein. A nice size every day user. (For what I like anyhow)

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1 hour ago, snoshoe said:

Since hammers are allowed. Thought I should have a non-sparker for the reloading bench. Whipped this up about a year ago. I really like it.

Guess  I should have  snapped another picture. Head looks crooked. I assure you it is not.20230216_183733.thumb.jpg.cd435846f0a23735dc1bb5983f574615.jpg

What is it made of?  I came across a “non-sparker” last week myself.  On the right side next to an 8lb steel hammer.  Maybe a brass sledge is a little much for the reloading bench though…..  

8FE50D6D-D2F3-4465-89EF-7152F953D94D.jpeg

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1 minute ago, Sledgehammer said:

What is it made of?  I came across a “non-sparker” last week myself.  On the right side next to an 8lb steel hammer.  Maybe a brass sledge is a little much for the reloading bench though…..  

8FE50D6D-D2F3-4465-89EF-7152F953D94D.jpeg

Cast mine from aluminum. First hammers I made are brass. I'll try to get pics tomorrow.

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8 hours ago, snoshoe said:

Cast mine from aluminum. First hammers I made are brass. I'll try to get pics tomorrow.

I have never cast aluminum. I’ve done some lead and a little pewter but never aluminum. 

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Since non-sparking hammers has come up... A few years back at a farm sale I got 'choice' of hammers for three bucks. I think everyone there thought I was dumb or crazy or who knows what. Anyway, there was a brand new lead hammer without a single mark on it. Score! I let the crowd fight over the rest, nothing worth bringing home.

Have another smaller lead one a co-worker made and gave me. He made the mold at work and I think he cast them right there. I'll see if I can get a pic of it later.

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Well, that small lead hammer was not where I thought it was but the second memory was correct. While at the farm I took a shot of a hatchet head Dad had that I just found. I may put a handle in it sometime but am going to do it like Todd does. Friend has some good hickory trees, that should be a bit of a challenge. Pictured with the small lead one is a 'soft-alloy' hammer that the former employer replaced lead with. They're ok but not great.

Just a guess, I think the handle on the one is a half inch bolt, head in the lead, threads in handle which looks like John turned in the lathe.

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The two brass ones. Been banging with them for fifty years. No casting. Brass from truck differentials. Commercial handles. Drilling and fileing the eyes was the only work.

As far as casting. We could probably do another thread. Have cast lead and aluminum as long as those hammers have been around. No pewter or brass. Have melted the bottom out of a cast iron pot but haven't cast any of that either. 20230217_105833.thumb.jpg.bb4d32e976127c4907a1ea90687a1853.jpg

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 Have made handles from scratch but most of mine are commercial handles. On axes I normally use gel stripper to take the clear finish off first. That takes the most time. If I order handles, I get them in natural finish. I have a local place I can buy them pretty reasonable. I have bought hammers in the past just because they had nice handles that I wanted to use for something else. 

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Upper right reusable handles and the mold to renew them.  Old ways.

I used to buy lead hammers for Operators of centrifuges and things that took some force to open/close but had precision parts I didn’t want deformed 

E80CDEFD-8628-45D8-B330-1F702B54B493.jpeg

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Local online auction score. Original handle is pretty nice but has been loose. In the last pic you can barely make out “Bluegrass Co” I believe. I hope to carefully remove the head, remove old wedges, replace head, and add new wedges to put it back to original. Will clean the head when I get it off. I guess the “all purpose” referenced the mail puller claws. 

D9DEEC0C-450D-4E67-A0FD-9901E147D660.jpeg

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BAE199FD-41ED-43E0-84DD-3BEC54E4C1AD.jpeg

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On 2/18/2023 at 6:04 AM, snoshoe said:

The two brass ones. Been banging with them for fifty years. No casting. Brass from truck differentials. Commercial handles. Drilling and fileing the eyes was the only work.

As far as casting. We could probably do another thread. Have cast lead and aluminum as long as those hammers have been around. No pewter or brass. Have melted the bottom out of a cast iron pot but haven't cast any of that either. 20230217_105833.thumb.jpg.bb4d32e976127c4907a1ea90687a1853.jpg

Don't overlook the potential of your gas branding furnace turned on its side as a  casting heat source.

Not hammers but we had to redo the bearings in a tube well pump jack that had to be poured with the shaft in place.

Melted bearing metal just fine.

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2 hours ago, Ian Beale said:

Don't overlook the potential of your gas branding furnace turned on its side as a  casting heat source.

Not hammers but we had to redo the bearings in a tube well pump jack that had to be poured with the shaft in place.

Melted bearing metal just fine.

An aluminum saucepan on the kitchen stove melts lead wheel weights. A hole in the ground full of charcoal with a hairdryer duct taped to inch and a quarter conduit. Forcing air to the bottom. Melts aluminum and also makes a handy forge. Works with coal also but the conduit is apt to be shorter when you are done. Wood works also. You have to keep feeding from the sides so it forms charcoal. That burning at bottom center is where the high heat is.

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10 hours ago, Sledgehammer said:

Local online auction score. Original handle is pretty nice but has been loose. In the last pic you can barely make out “Bluegrass Co” I believe. I hope to carefully remove the head, remove old wedges, replace head, and add new wedges to put it back to original. Will clean the head when I get it off. I guess the “all purpose” referenced the mail puller claws. 

D9DEEC0C-450D-4E67-A0FD-9901E147D660.jpeg

C9432DC6-94D6-4CE4-99F8-BC1ADDC17959.jpeg

BAE199FD-41ED-43E0-84DD-3BEC54E4C1AD.jpeg

Now, that is one unique tool. I'm trying to figure out what circumstance would require an axe and a nail puller.

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5 minutes ago, yellowrosefarm said:

Now, that is one unique tool. I'm trying to figure out what circumstance would require an axe and a nail puller.

Not sure really. It says “all purpose” so I wonder about shipping crates possibly? The only other thing I know of would be wooden shingles. 

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On 2/17/2023 at 4:53 AM, Sledgehammer said:

I have never cast aluminum. I’ve done some lead and a little pewter but never aluminum. 

Have you ever tried to forge aluminum?  I have never done it myself or seen it done myself, but have used some forged aluminum in parts.  From the little I have read, it can be done on a home forge at around 750 to 800F.  I would think that there would still be some benefits to forging aluminum over just cast aluminum, but I don't think you can quench it nearly to the point you can with steal to harden it.

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35 minutes ago, Mudfly said:

Have you ever tried to forge aluminum?  I have never done it myself or seen it done myself, but have used some forged aluminum in parts.  From the little I have read, it can be done on a home forge at around 750 to 800F.  I would think that there would still be some benefits to forging aluminum over just cast aluminum, but I don't think you can quench it nearly to the point you can with steal to harden it.

I have not tried it. 
 

Talking about lead and such. I have found that a torpedo heater works well. For a serious amount I would use coal forge but a little bit works fine with a torpedo. I have done pewter the same way. It makes older style authentic knife bolsters. 

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