Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    620

    Default Handle for the village axe - some shaping, some carving, some burning...

    Late last year I was traveling through Rajasthan, and came across a small village that had a working village blacksmith living on the outskirts. This was on the edge of the Thar Desert, northwest of Jodhpur. The blacksmith was a lohar (ironsmith) gipsy, but he and his family seemed to have given up the nomadic life for a more stable existence.


    When I arrived he was forging axe heads for local village farmers. I asked if he would make me one, which he was glad to do.


    The smithy - made of large slabs of local sandstone, (3 metres in length) stood on end and the gaps filled with the gaps filled with mud & mud rendered. (You can see construction in other photos). Traditional thatched roof:
    Smithy4.jpg


    Working at the forge - you can see his wife turning the crank of a blower. The blower is embedded in the floor (seen just above the blacksmiths left elbow):
    Forge1.jpg


    Forging the iron. The women do a lot of hard work!
    Forging1 .jpg


    Shaping the blade of my axe head:
    Shaping_Blade1.jpg


    I decided that I needed to make a handle that would be more than just utilitarian, as this was a memento of some wonderful travels.


    This is the result:
    Axe1.jpgAxe2.jpgAxe3.jpg

    As I didn't have any suitable handle timber, I found a brush hook handle in the two dollar bin at the big green shed. However it did not have the girth to let me add a swell at the bottom. I had some scraps of purpleheart, so laminated this to the bottom of the handle. To disguise the transition, I chose to add a cord wrap and impregnate it with epoxy. And to add an "Indian" theme I sketched out what I thought would be a suitable design for the top of the handle. This was relief carved, and then to make the design pop out I used a pyrography pen to "colour in" the symbol. The handle was finished with Livos oil & then rubbed with Gilley Stephenson paste wax. I baked the axe head in the oven for 3 hours with oil (in part to temper the steel, and in part to bake on an oil finish. (the head was wire brushed first)

    Despite drilling at the bottom of the main wedge kerf, the handle split a little below the eye - filled this with epoxy. The main wedge is pupleheart & the cross wedge is brass.

  2. # ADS
    Google Adsense Advertisement
    Join Date
    Always
    Location
    Advertising world
    Posts
    Many





     
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Brisbane (western suburbs)
    Age
    74
    Posts
    9,333

    Default

    That looks like a very nice little axe, Ross, a useful memento of the trip, & pretty special to have had it made before your very eyes! A small axe is a very handy tool, I have a shingling axe that's vaguely similar to your axe & it gets a lot of use around my shed, roughing out turning blanks & so forth.

    I've got a somewhat less-refined memento of a working trip - a bill-hook that I picked up in Sa Pa in Vietnam - pretty sure it's from a recycled vehicle spring, & cost me less than $1, iirc. Bill hook.jpg

    I didn't get to see it being forged, unfortunately, I just saw them for sale in the local market. These are used by the Hill people, clearing areas to plant upland rice. The handle socket wasn't forge-welded closed, like your axe eye, just rolled over, & it wanted to spread in use, so I ran a bead of weld along the join, which spoils the hand-forged look, but makes it more robust. It's a very handy weapon in the fight to keep the Lantana & Asparagus fern that wants to take over our land at bay...

    Cheers,
    IW

Similar Threads

  1. Making a rasp for saw handle shaping
    By rob streeper in forum Saws- handmade
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 8th Nov 2014, 01:40 PM
  2. Air Tools for Shaping and Carving
    By annehns in forum WOODCARVING AND SCULPTURE
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26th Oct 2012, 08:46 PM
  3. Another Question from the village pest
    By artme in forum METALWORK FORUM
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10th Oct 2009, 07:06 AM
  4. Carving Hand Saw Handle
    By STAR in forum WOODCARVING AND SCULPTURE
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14th Feb 2009, 07:57 PM
  5. The Village Carpenter
    By Groggy in forum WOOD WHISPERING WOMEN
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16th Jan 2008, 06:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •