Forging the Swedish Carpenter’s Axe
Since watching Mattias Helje forge a beautiful, traditional carpenter’s axe in Sweden in 2015 I have done several trials of forging this axe myself. At first I concentrated exclusively on the eye and socket – the hardest part of the axe to understand. Recently I began to forge and understand the axe as a whole. In the forging process all of the features of the axe are interrelated, and these relationships have to be understood just as well as the forging techniques. This takes a LOT of practice. Numerous axes were started to answer just a single question about a measurement or choice of technique, and there were many questions to answer. At last it looks like I’m getting close to my goal – there are only a few points to clear up about the forging of this piece before I get ready to demonstrate it in April for the California Blacksmith Association.
This axe is 7.25″ long, has an edge length of 4.75″ and weighs 1270 grams. The body is mild steel and the edge and poll are 1075 steel.