Turning a Cheap Axe Into a Viking Style Axe

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Introduction: Turning a Cheap Axe Into a Viking Style Axe

About: Couple of years ago I created my metal casting blog and over the years I uploaded many projects, my main goal is to increase the awareness of recycling, I use recycled scrap aluminum for all my projects and h…

Hi, in this Instructable I have shared my creation of a Viking style axe with all of the making steps, I wanted for a long time to design my own customized axe and after watching couple of video and different designs decided to upgrade and beautify a bit one of my cheap old axe's that was collecting dust in my work shed.

Step 1: Making a Viking Style Axe, in This Video You Will See the Full Process

Feel free to check my video of the live axe making covering all the stages. I always use recycled aluminum for my projects and in this metal casting project I used all scrap aluminum to cast a new solid aluminum handle for the Viking axe, the etched letters on the axe are not old Viking language I decided to give it a bit of twist ;-).

Step 2: Designing the Viking Axe Shape and Removing the Old Handle

I used items that most of us have around our home such as duct tape roll and a can of WD40 to trace the curves, I decided to also to customize the axe square tail into a new diamond shape. Taking of the original plastic handle was very easy by just drilling couple of holes from the top of the axe. I used my angle grinder to shape all the first cutting and shave off all the extra metal before using the flap discs for the cleanup. During the cutting I made sure to secure the axe head tight in my vice and used full eye and face protection during the cutting and grinding process.

Step 3: Heat Treatment of the New Viking Axe Head

I used the first time oil heat treatment for the metal axe head, after doing some research I thought this might be beneficial in adding some extra strength and durability to the steel once the new Viking axe will be complete. I heated the axe head until it was red and soaked it into oil, this created sort of a black coverage that actually looked well after some later clean up.

Step 4: Creating the Sand Mould for the New Axe Aluminum Handle

I used oil boned sand to create the sand mould and carved 1/2 way down the axe pattern to create the cavity for the molten aluminum, this was also the first time I tried to cast aluminum with a metal object in the sand mould cavity, so I was not sure how it would turn out after the metal casting. For the sand mould I used my custom made wood flask and I added sprue extension for the aluminum to reduce shrinkage and casting defects.

Step 5: I Used Recycled Scarp Aluminium to Create the New Viking Axe Handle

The metal casting was the easy and fun part once the sand mould was ready, I just melted some of my recycled scrap aluminum ingots and used my old and trusty homemade furnace, after degassing the molten aluminum and removing the impurities I have created the new aluminum axe handle, once the aluminum casting cooled down I have removed it from the sand mould. During the work and metal casting I have used full protective gear and respirator mask as required for this type of project.

Step 6: Clean Up of the New Viking Axe Metal Handle

The next step after the aluminum casting was a bit of clean up and removing the extra aluminum, I used a reciprocating saw and angle grinder for the clean up job, it did not take too long and the handle was starting too look like a nice shiny after final light buffing.

Step 7: Drilling and Welding Metal Support to the Viking Axe Head

I decided to add additional support to the new axe head, drilled two holes with my bench drill using two metal rods to be welded into the holes for the extra support, I used my amateur welding skills to weld the metal rods into place and cleaned up the welding with an angle grinder, it looked very well after the cleanup and not trace of the support welding can be seen.

Step 8: Viking Axe Metal Etching With Ancient Paleo Words

I decided to add metal etching to decorate the Viking axe head and handle, I used a 12V car battery charger, salt and lemon mix to create two words in (ancient Paleo (1200BC) Wiki) - one words refers to "Good" and the other word "Evil", I thought its symbolic as an axe can be used as a weapon in times of war and other times just for survival/camping to chop up wood. I used electrical tape and marked with Tipp-ex to create the words and shape of the Viking axe head, once I had the words marked and tape added it was ready for the metal etching that did not take too long, I used acetone to remove the Tipp-ex marking once I was done with the eclectic etching process.

Step 9: Warping Paracord Around the New Aluminum Axe Handle

After a bit of aluminum cleanup and polish I used a Paracord to wrap around the axe handle using a simple west country whipping, lastly I have sharpened the axe blade a bit, aI was very happy with the final result of my first custom upgraded axe ;-).

Step 10: Axe Before and After With the New Metal Handle, the New Viking Style ;-)

And here is just the final view before and after customizing a cheap axe with the new more interesting Viking style upgrade, in the future I might create another one and invest a bit more in the metal etching design but for the moment I am happy enough with my own first ever Viking axe 😉

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    10 Comments

    0
    MerlinMakes
    MerlinMakes

    10 months ago

    i can only go by what you've said here, but heat treating steel is a LOT more detailed than getting it hot and dunking it in oil. firstly, iirc (and i'm no expert), there's a lot of different flavors of 'red' when it comes to hot metal. my books on the subject say to heat it to a 'cherry' red. a bright, clear red bordering on going orange. for the people reading this, thats nearly the hottest red. there's lots of lower reds that are not good enough. either way what you are doing is making the steel very hard. which also means brittle (this is why you can snap drill bits easily.. they are VERY hard). to properly heat treat the steel, after you quench you need to temper it. this means raising it to a specific temperature (lower than the 'lower critical temperature') and holding it there for some time before letting it cool. (i believe you can quench it again at this point) this makes the steel less brittle while retaining most of it's hardness. for many steels and uses you can actually do the tempering in the oven, as the temperatures involved are surprisingly low.

    tldr: if you're going to quench, do a temper. especially for a tool that will be taking a beating like an axe.

    0
    iancoolj
    iancoolj

    11 months ago

    Just wondering how sturdy the handle will be with aluminum. All in all it looks good and I'm impressed. Just was wondering why you went with a metal handle instead of wood?

    0
    komendj
    komendj

    11 months ago

    Depends on how it was hardened probably, but if it was cheap steel, it might shatter without the support that was on the lower side. It might need to have been forged with this undercut shape in mind to not shatter in this form factor. If this is being put back into use, please be careful with it the first few times. If it is for decoration, it turned out great!

    0
    NutandBolt
    NutandBolt

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thanks komendj, happy you liked the process and I learned a few things from your comment, the axe is already starting to collect dust on my shelf and my best guess is that it will remain in that state until it will be scraped to something else one day ;-).

    0
    jrjohnwood
    jrjohnwood

    11 months ago

    Lots of research, watching old YouTube video, internet search, Wikipedia, linguistic assumptions, hard work, hot work. Nice looking final personal "masterpiece". My lasting impression; steal, not steel. *"Your"* welcome.

    0
    NutandBolt
    NutandBolt

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thanks for your comment, happy you like my Instructable, thanks for flagging the typo, corrected ;-)

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    11 months ago

    Very impressive work, and great looking results! : )

    0
    NutandBolt
    NutandBolt

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thanks you so much ;-)

    0
    runciblefish
    runciblefish

    11 months ago

    That is very impressive. More impressive to me is that you could see this magnificent Viking axe in that factory made original. I particularly like that you cast the aluminum handle in place. Very well done!
    Did you consider tying a long Turks head (two bight or four bight) for the grip on the handle? I think it would look even more impressive, but perhaps it would add too much bulk to the grip. Either way, this is a beautiful axe.

    0
    NutandBolt
    NutandBolt

    Reply 11 months ago

    Hi runciblefish thank you so much for you comment, I actually did think a bit about the paracord finish for the handle but then decided just to keep it basic, the grip at the moment feels good when holding the axe I might replace the paracord in the future with a more decorative paracord finish ;-). I actually used to do a lot of paracord knots on my paracord blog: http://paracord-projects.blogspot.com/