Axe Forging – How to Forge an Axe the Proper Way

A good hand forged axe is a great tool, and when you forge it by yourself, you have a personalized tool that can chop your way out of the thickest of scenarios. Axe forging is not a very complicated process as long as you follow our recommended steps and tips. They are all presented below. Forging your own axe can help you save money and customize the tool any way you want.

a blacksmith forging a large axe head close-up

Why Might Someone Consider Forging Their Own Axe?

You might consider this route because you want to concoct a new experience. For example, perhaps you have an interest in survivalist topics, and you want the ability to make an axe. With the following tips and steps, you can improve your axe forging skills.

How to Forge an Axe – Learning the Axe Forging Technique

Most people don’t have a problem with making the handle of the axe, but they struggle with the axe head. You can make a hand forged axe from two separate pieces. First, you have a low-carbon steel chunk where the eyehole has been pierced.

Second, you have a carbon steel bit, which has been forged welded over to the edge of the axe. The measurements start at 4 x 1.2 x 1.6 inches. Next, you wield the axe to a sturdy rod that allows for better handling as you forge it.

#1. Chisel Open the Line of Holes

At the start of the axe forging process, you will have to chisel open the line of holes because this lets you forge the size pieces to a yellow heat. As the steel begins to glow, you want to get it hotter because this means you don’t have to put as many blows to the metal. You will want a longer chisel with rounded edges. This will open the oval eye hole to sink in.

a modern blacksmith using a hammer to forge an axe

#2. Prepare a Sledgehammer and Anvil

In the next step of the axe forging process, you will need a sledgehammer as the preferred instrument, but having a low anvil can make it much easier. With these tools, you start to form your axe body, and you can even put a design on the axe.

You may need to pound on the steel with a sledgehammer to stretch the neck and get the sharper points out. Also, you should always start with the eyehole sides. Next, you will want to peen the blade. This is a necessary step to implement because it widens the axe blade. After peening down the sides of the eye, try to put the mandrel in the eyehole again. This ensures you don’t mess it up.

#3. Basic Form: Ready!

After you have stretched the blade using a power hammer and touched it up with an anvil and a hammer, you have made the basic form. You will have to use the angle grinder to form the one percent carbon steel piece. You will fit the blade’s shape to stick it in. Next, you forge weld the edge into a solid mass, which traps the carbon steel over into the middle of the hand forged axe.

a modern blacksmith forging the molten metal of an axe head

Now, you can say you have concluded the most complex and probably difficult steps of the axe forging technique. Be proud of yourself! But keep working on the finishing touches because the axe is not quite ready yet!

#4. Rough Grinding of the Axe

In the next stage, you will rough grind the axe to make the final shape of it and create the angles you want near the edge. This part of the axe forging process is crucial. For example, maybe you want to eliminate the hammer markings as well as the scale.

To do this, you must clean the entire axe using a belt sander. However, be careful with the belt sander so that the sanding doesn’t put burn marks on your new forged tool. Finally, you harden the axe and cover it with an oil layer for a smoother result. You might also apply a satin finish if you want.

Drawing to a Close

While you don’t necessarily have to forge your own axe, it’s a fun experience, and you can unleash your creativity on a project like this. Whether you want it as a decoration or for the practical purpose of splitting wood, a hand forged axe puts a satisfied smile on your face knowing you created it.

Did you enjoy our article about the proper axe forging technique? If you have any tips and tricks to making a better hand forged axe, we invite you to share your opinion in the comments below.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

Pamela M. Slocum