Hi I am going to show you how to make an Ideal survival axe. Either for a Zombie apocalypse or just for survival. The nice thing about this axe is that you can add a lot of features to it, like the rope handle. I was abel to get 14ft of paracord rope to make a 8 inch handle so you can hold it with two hands. You can also put a lot of things in side the handle. You can put matches,a little file, super glue, fishing hooks with some wrapped up fishing string, flagging tape, glow sticks and so much more.
The total length is 20 1/2'' long. I wanted to make it in between a hatchet and a splitting axe. A normal hatchet is between 12 to 14 inches long.
This axe will take as long as 5 to 6 hours to make. So lets begin : -)
Step 1: All the Things You Will Need to Make This Axe
- 3/16'' of an inch thick steel
- Tape measure
- Angle grinder with zip disc and finishing disc
- Bench grinder
- Metal file
- 1/2'' by 18'' inch long threaded pipe
- 1/2'' pipe cap
Step 2: Making the Head
For the axe head I'll used mild steel. It is not the most popular steel to make an axe head because it is softer but once heat treated it can keep an edge fairly nice. If you have harder types of steel I would recommend it. The most popular steel for an axe head in cold rolled steel.
The steel I used was 3/16" thick 6" inches long and the blade was 3 1/2" wide and the back is 1 1/2" tall. I cut the shape out with a zip disc and finished it with the bench grinder. The bench grinder can make it very hot so I like to dip it in water. After you have the shape you want, cut 1 1/2" by 4 1/2" if it sticks out from the shape of the axe then shape it with the bench grinder and do that to both sides. I wanted to make the axe a little thicker so I put a 3/16'' piece of metal to make a gap so it will be thicker. Without making it heavier. Tack all four corners and then remove the piece of metal. Then do the same to the other side.
Step 3: Shaping the Head
After welding the head I realized that it is better to weld an 1 1/2'' and dip it in water to cool it down otherwise it likes to bend. Just make sure you don't get water in the gaps. After you are done make sure it did not bend. If it did you can get a torch and heat it up until you can bend it with a hammer. If you do not have a torch just be very careful when you are welding it. Then put a finishing disk on the angle grinder and shapen it to the way you want it to be, just make sure you do not go too far and go through your weld or you will have a line and water can get in and wreck your axe. So if you go through you can just weld on the line and be careful not to break through again. Then you need to work on the blade. I Used the finishing disc for some of the blade then I use a metal file at the end. Don't worry about getting the blade sharp at this point.
Step 4: Heat Treating
Heat treating is the most important part. Heat treating hardens the steel so that it does not bend as easy and keeps an edge a lot longer. Heat treating is heating the metal to a certain point where a magnet can no longer stick to it. Then emerge it in to any type of oil to quickly cool it down. Make sure the oil is in a metal container and to stir the axe head around in the oil. Keep the oil outside because the oil may catch on fire. But do not worry it will eventually go out after a little bit. Don't use water because water has a higher chance of cracking the metal. There are many ways to heat up the metal. You can use charcoal or wood outside in a fire pit or inside a fireplace or if you have a heat treating oven that would be the easiest way. Build a fire up and wait until there are lots of hot coals. Place the axe head in the hottest place of the fire then get a blow dryer or fan and blow directly on it once it gets red ,check it often with a magnet to see where it is at. When the magnet does not stick to it you can dip it in oil until it is cold enough to touch. Then you can get dish soap and wipe off the oil. You will have a lot of black crud on your axe head so you can get some sandpaper and clean it all off. Then get a pipe cap and tack it once to the axe head. Then put the pipe in to the cap and make sure it is even and straight. Weld all the way around make sure you do not get it too hot. I grinded the cap so it was no wider then my axe head. The next step is to soften the steel because the axe head is brittle after heat treating so you need to put the axe head in the oven 470 F for 1 1/2 hours and it will change colors to a blue or a brown. You can sand the axe head to get rid of the colour if you want to. And know you are all done and you can sharpen the blade.
I hope this was helpful for you. Please hit that like button thanks.