Making Axe With Angle Grinder

Introduction: Making Axe With Angle Grinder

About: Ews & qualified welder/metalworker since 1998


My friend is somewhat big sized, we call him viking.. or terminator.

He has 40th birthday coming, i wanted to make special gift to him.

Material is a 30cm long piece of railroad track. Piece weights 18kg.

After shaping blade weighted nearly 8kg, so its somewhat same weighted that sledge hammer.

Hardness of the track was 41 Hrc, because this is more like an decoration i didn't harden it after shaping.



180mm angle grinder:

125mm angle grinder:

Rotary tool.


Diy tools for shaping the handle:

Pipe / curve sander:

Power file:

Abrasives i got from 3M, so this project was sponsored by them.

There are most likely alternative options too.

Step 1: Cutting "feets" Out..

I started with cutting feets of the track out.

I made this because that way i got little wider blade. ( about 3/4" / 20mm )

For cutting i used 1.6mm thick Cubitron 2 cut off wheel.

For the whole project i used only this one wheel, it lasted so long.

After cutting i grinded surfaces to same level.

For sanding i used 36 grit cubitron 2 fibre disc.

This removes material quickly and is specially good when you need to sand surfaces to the same level.

Step 2: Cutting the Ends..

Next step was to cut out extra from the ends.

Because i wanted to get curvy shapes for the blades, i removed triangle shaped pieces from both ends.

Then i shared the piece to two parts, and made pre cut at the middle of the piece.

I left still enougn material that pieces stay together.

You might now notice that my intention is to shape both parts at the same time.

This gives symmetrical result easily.

To make these cuts i used that same 1.6mm cut off wheel.

My Metabo we 19-180 quick rt grinder cuts 60mm deep, so it was easy to cut trought from the top side of the rr-track.

Step 3: Shaping..

Because this is an axe.

I started to shape blade sharp.

I removed material with the 4.3mm grinding wheel

And the smoothened the surfaces with fibre disc.

Then i smoothened the sides of the axe. I wanted to get little more shapes to it,

so i grinded the sides little grooved.

Step 4: Making Slot for the Handle..

To make slot for the handle..

I started with cutting 30mm deep groove to the center of the top of the track.

Then i cut out two half V- shaped pieces from the both sides of the groove.

Overall widht of the groove is 40mm.

To make these cuts i used 2mm thick cut off wheel.

Continued by grinding the sides of the slots more rounded.

Made rough shaping with 4.2mm grinding wheel, then smoothened the surface with 36 grit fibre disc.

Shaped both sides and finished the bottom of the groove with hand file.

Step 5: More Shaping..

Because rr-track is somewhat thick i beveled the edges of the top part.

These bevels will be rounded later, but i tought its better to remove most of the extra at the early point of process.

I continued with the ends, removed most of the extra by cutting chunks out and the smoothened the cuts with

flap disc.

Finished curves with rotary tool and sanding drums.

I also wanted to get little grooves to the parts where the actual blade starts, i made these grooves by sanding them with sanding drums.

Step 6: Smoothening..


I tought that it would be easier to start finishing of the surfaces at this point.

I could get both parts done at the same time.

Because i had grinded the surfaces with 36 grit fibre disc, surface was somewhat rough.

I started finishing with 60 grit paper, removed all rough scratches and continued with 80 grit paper..

I switched to finer paper when i had removed all scraches made with the previous paper, until i was on grit 220.

For sanding i used sanding papers and backing with "velcro" connection.

For curved edges i used softener pads between the backing and paper. These allow paper to follow curved surfaces and makes smoother result.

Step 7: Welding Parts Together..

Now it was time to cut parts separated.

And weld them together..

One part that's not seen on the video, is that i preheated pieces to 100 degrees of celsius on the oven.

Then i tack weld pieces together and weld them togehter first from the inside,

this presses pieces together, and i don't need to use so big tack welds.

For welding i used stick welder and Esab ok 76.18 rod.

SFA/AWS A5.5 : E8018-B2

EN ISO 3580-A : E Cr Mo 1 B 42 H5

After welding interior, i continued with the welds on the top.

Its somewhat important to make all the welds when parts are hot.

To get nicer starts and ends for the welds, i weld pieces of L-track to both ends of the welding groove.

I started and end the welds on top of the L-track.

Step 8: Finishing..

After welding..

I left the axe to cool down slowly.

Then i cut out the L-profiles, and smoothened the welds.

I made welds only to 10mm thick, i removed the extra material from the sides, and sand welds to the surface level

at the same time.

Step 9: Finishing Continued..

To connect the handle, i grinded outer end of the handle slot ( don't know how it should be called )

To cone shape, i used rotary tool and tungsten carbide cutter.

When installing the handle spline spreads the end of the handle against that cone shape. Spline is secured with epoxy. It gives firm and solid connection.

Then i removed all welding splatters with 220 grit paper, and smoothend all edges and grooves from the sides.

I finished the sides with 320 grit paper.

I sharpened the axe using "hard" sanding pad, started with 320 grit and continued to 600 grit.

Then it started to be sharp enough.

I made sharpenig so that the papers spinning direction is allways against the blade edge.

Carefully keeping the angle similar with the blade.

Step 10: Handle..

I made the handle from Elm.

Traced the shape of the hadle slot to the end of the handle.

Then shaped the fitting with my diy angle grinder power file attachment.

Did rough shaping with angle grinder and fibre disc.

And rounded the shape with my diy pipe / curve sanding attachment.

Step 11: Connecting the Handle..

To connect the handle i made 60mm deep cut to the end with hand saw.

Spline is hammered to this cut, and it spreads the sides of the handle against the edges inside the " handle slot ".

Because outer end is shaped to cone shape, connection is firm and secure.

Spline is secured with strong epoxy, it would hold nicely without too. But i wanted to be sure.

When epoxy was dried, i cut the extra out with oscillating tool. ( any saw works too )

Smoothend the cut by sanding. Toasted the end with torch ( nice black finish )

And oiled with linseed oil.

Whole handle is oiled with linseed oil, and blade is oiled with gun oil.

Step 12: Finished.. Nearly..

After 12 hours of work..

Its finished.

Most likely i could have made it much faster, but it was raining daily.

I had to use quite a lot of time for carrying things out of the rain and pack.

I used one:

1.6mm 180mm cut off wheel.

36 grit fibre disc.


One 2mm cut off wheel.

One flap disc.

One 4.2mm cutting / grinding wheel


40 grit sanding drums

And ten:

Different grit Abrasive Discs

Overall cost about 20€

Here is the link to the video:

I hope you enjoy it.

Step 13: And the Stand for It..

Because this was going to be a gift.

I decided to make simple stand for it too, afterall.. this is mostly just a decoration.

Stand was very simple to make.

Step 1. Cut 10" long piece of H-beam.

Step 2 . Smash axe to one end of it.

Step 3. Weld a little mild steel plate to other end of the H-beam.

Very simple but working solution.

Thanks for watching!


Tuomas Soikkeli

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    27 Discussions


    1 year ago on Step 10

    Great idea and made great, but the stem you had, instead of grinding it thinner, water two days and then press thin, insert and water again, then he sits bombproof, the wood fibers are intact and last much longer!


    2 years ago

    Wow, That looks awesome and the perfect gift for the modern day viking! Well done. Thanks for posting the tools you used too. I plan on using a couple of these for my future projects.

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. Nice to hear that you liked, and found something usefull from it too.


    2 years ago

    Amazing work of art!!! Thanks for sharing. you are very innovative. how long did it take you to make it?

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. Hard to say actual time. Making video takes time, i use one camera, so i had to change its place to get different angles to the view. Also it was very rainy week, so i had to carry stuff out from the rain and back time after time...

    Handle took about 3 hrs.. Blade 5-8 hrs.. Final finishing was somewhat slow process

    Tex Arcana
    Tex Arcana

    2 years ago

    Awesome instructable!! Well done!

    Have you thought about doing a differential heat treat for the blades? A blacksmith could help with that.

    Well done, just subscribed to your YouTube channel...

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    I leave it like it is. Because its just a decoration this time.
    If it would be in use, i would heated beveled sections of the blades just a little reddish, then cool it in the oil.

    Not in the water, because it would become too hard and possibly crack when hitted. Heating from the handle area to 400 degrees of celsius and cooling slowly in the air would make steel softer and more flexible from that area.

    I would heat treat it that way, if i would use it for fighting with zombies.


    2 years ago

    Fantabulous instructable !!!!!!!


    2 years ago

    My husband worked in a forge room where they made commercial tools like crowbars. He says that the owner bought rail steel once to save money. It turned out to be unworkable for making tools because of it's properties. When a train is going over a track it needs a rough surface to catch the first wheel. It then heats up with contact with that wheel and becomes smooth so that the rest of the wheels can glide over it, but then after it cools it goes back to being rough so that the first wheel of the next train can grab it. This is not what you want steel to do when you are making tools. Did you have this sort of trouble with it?

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    That is the readon why work hardening happens. It happens to all steel, copper and alumine specially. Friction causes heat, weight and pressure compress the metal and it becomes harder. For example, when drilling alumine with dull drill, using too high speed. Its somewhat sure that at some point drilled area turns too hard for the drill and you hear squeky noise.

    Workhardened surface can be softened by heat.

    Workhardening is also very important thing, when steel is compressed enough it compression stops and needed force increases. Forging and also making rr-tracks are based to that.

    Too soft material would bend under the weight of train. Same with tools, handles bigger forces.

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    And shortly...

    No, i had no problems with that.
    Only surface of the top section is workhardened, after cutting 10mm / 1/2" deep, steel is little softer...

    But rr-track is compressed allready in the factory, you can't actually notice difference.

    You just need right tools to cut/shape it.


    2 years ago

    Amazing! I like that you worked outside and the music really fit the sped up vid. You sir are a master ironworker!

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you. My toughts about music are same with you. Whole video would have been very different if music would have been in lower tempo, or without music at all.

    daddy jewels
    daddy jewels

    2 years ago on Step 5

    Dude, get yourself a plasma cutter...they're great.

    The other Finnish guy
    The other Finnish guy

    Reply 2 years ago

    Top section is about 40mm thick. To cut through it, needs to have attleast 80A plasma, mine is max 30A. Those bigger plasma's are somewhat expensive too... and i still would need to sand surfaces after cutting.


    2 years ago on Step 13

    Nice work, is there an attractive nuisance contest yet?

    Kink Jarfold
    Kink Jarfold

    2 years ago on Step 4

    Impressive isn't the word for this. Neither is fantastic. Maybe phenomenal fits? Whatevah! This Instructable had me from hello. KJ

    Well Done.pngHIGH 10.jpgFaith Tones.png

    2 years ago

    Thanks for posting this..this is quite a new learning all those about Hrc (rockwell hardness). And your Axe is gorgeous! Bet your friend will surely like it.