So over on instagram I had a customer request that I convert an old carpenters axe into a bearded axe. While this project sounded daunting I have wanted to do a reshape for some time. I thought I might as well take you all along on this journey so here we go.
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Step 1: Removing Material
To make quick work of removing the excess steel I used a cutting disk on an angle grinder. I made sure to keep the steel cool to prevent any effects with the temper.
Step 2: Grinding to Shape
After removing the bulk of material I switched over to a flap disk to refine the shape even more. This smoothed out all the rough cut lines. After the flap disk I used a dremel with a sanding drum to produce an even scratch pattern. This was a long process although I really think it aided in the final result.
Step 3: Steel Prep Before the Handle
I wanted to sharpen the axe after I already had the handle on, this prevents me cutting myself and damaging the edge while attaching the handle. Although the edge was a bit too thick so I ground down the edge now so the handle wouldn't get in the way later. Along with thinning the edge I wire wheeled the whole head to blend scratches and give a uniform finish.
Step 4: Attaching the Handle
As for the handle I used a simple store bought hickory handle. I used a draw-knife and a file to shape the handle to fit the eye of the axe. After several test fits and removing small amounts of material at a time I drove the wooden wedge in the cut. I cut the excess and sanded the wedge and the handle was attached.
Step 5: Finishing the Handle
This pre-made handle had a wax coating on it that had to come off. Rather then sanding I used a razor blade as a scraper to remove the wax. After I finished scraping I sanded the handle to 400 grit and applied a coat of danish oil.
Step 6: Final Sharpening
For sharpening I used a 120 grit ceramic belt and 400 grit trizac belt. I held the axe at about 25 degrees in relation to the belt. After a quick leather strop it was done.
Step 7: Finished!
And shes done! While this was a challenging project i had a lot of fun making it. If you want to see how I made this with more detail make sure to check out my Youtube channel. If you want even more updates make sure to check out my instagram @bitterbladeco. Thanks again for tagging along!
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