Axe Tour of Norway and Sweden: Part 4

From Oystein’s smithy I made my way by train and bus back north in Norway to the small town of Trysil on the border with Sweden.  The next blacksmith of my Scandinavian axe journey, Mattias Helje, picked me up there and took me to his home and smithy in western Sweden in the town of Lima.  Lima is in Dalarna county, which is steeped in tradition and has a long history of iron smelting and blacksmithing.  With plentiful, clean charcoal fuel and pure iron ore, Sweden has long been famous for the quality of its steel.  This steel was highly sought after in Europe for tool making for centuries – I recall it being specifically mentioned as the most prized material for anvil faces at the Refflinghaus anvil smithy in Germany in the 1980’s when I researched anvil forging tradition there.  As I had hoped, Mattias forged a socketed axe for me of a type that is widespread in Sweden.  He referred to it as a “carpenters axe” and told me that it hailed from central and northern Sweden.  It was developed in the late 19th or early 20th century and was used through the 20th century. The particular axe that he reproduced for me was originally forged by Nygårds Martin Olsson (1859-1925).  The unique, socketed eye is beautiful in form and, in Norway, is called a “Swedish Eye”.

6 Responses to “Axe Tour of Norway and Sweden: Part 4”

  1. Anton Standteiner 10. Jul, 2015 at 7:32 pm #

    I’m going with you next time

  2. Mort 10. Jul, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

    many thanks for posting and taking such time and effort over this to the both of you. Excellent work, much appreciated.

  3. Tom Wulf 15. Jul, 2015 at 12:40 am #

    Really awesome picture sequence. I’ve done some wrap hawks and want to do this! Thanks!

  4. shevin delton 14. Sep, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    that one looked like it lt took a little awhile but i like how you do this by hand

  5. Lance Byard 20. Aug, 2016 at 4:04 am #


    What a wonderful picture tour. It included the art of an experienced smithy at a traditional forge. It resulted in a beautiful, historic, wood working tool. I expect it is in your treasured collection.

    I must come visit your foundry and introduce myself. I grew up with your uncle Larry.

  6. Anders Soberra - Blacksmith 16. Feb, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    Thanks for sharing! This was exactly what I was looking for..
    Best regards from Denmark.

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