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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Reading list: 30 books

Posts: 630

PostPosted: Sat 26 Jul, 2008 9:37 pm    Post subject: Another project, this time an axe         Reply with quote

When Cold Steel first put their poleax on sale for 30 bucks I decided to buy two. I don't know if they still have any for sale or not. After examining it for a bit, I decided to ditch the langets, cut the ash pole down, grind off the silly black paint, and mount as a one/two handed battle axe.

The good: The head itself is differentially hardened and the edge is quite nice. The pole provided is a nice piece of hard ash. I could see the differential hardening via the fact that I used a Dremel wheel to grind the black paint off by hand. Had to use the Dremel because of the complex curves in the axe head. Also I found that almost the entire hammer head is through hardened. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised with the quality of the steel here and - for the price you can't beat it as I could take this down to the scrap yard and get my money back simply because of the weight and current price of steel. (Not to mention the ash pole which originally was 75 inches long) It takes a nice edge and holds it which is important for an axe. Nothing is worse imo than a soft axe head that is dulled chopping wood and has to be sharpened after every session of use. Not this one though..............

The bad. As a period piece you might get away saying this is a 16th c. axe, but its overall makeup is a bit non-historic, given the size and shape of the hammerhead and the socket. Plus I wanted to actually use it so I used the modern bolts to secure it.

The specs
2000 grams. A bit heavy for one handed use. But swings and recovers nicely in two hands. I suppose one could cut the socket off the head and that would lighten it by about 100-150 grams. Don't get any ideas about cutting off the hammer end though - its through hardened and you would really have to work to do that

Length is 32 inches the way I decided to finish it.

The axe head is about 6 inches wide and 6 inches long. Nicely shaped

The hammer is four inches long and is a four prong - 2.5 inches by 2.5 inches

I cut the length down to just where the POB would be about near the end of the socket, about 6 inches down from the top and 4 inches below the actual axe head. This gives it a good feel in the hand, yet at 2 kg, it packs quite a punch and pop when you hit with it. I drank too much Talisker one night and did some carving on the handle and added some leather strap glued and nailed down with some bosses left over from a targe project. I cold blued the axe head.

As always, all comments welcome. I bought two of these and am thinking of what to do with the second one. If you are looking for an axe this isn't a bad one and you can't beat it for the price. I suppose you could mount this on another store bought stick and use the ash pole for another polearm too..... TR

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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 797

PostPosted: Sun 27 Jul, 2008 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice looking work Thom! I like the knotwork on the handle of the axe. It looks like you burned it in? Keep posting the great work.

I have to say that would make a pretty wicked entry tool for breaching a house! Or taking care of pesky zombies. Wink
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,231

PostPosted: Sun 27 Jul, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very neat job. I wouldn't worry about the hammer head...it looks good even if it isn't authentic.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Daniel Michaelsson




Location: Dena Lagu
Joined: 29 May 2007

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Sun 27 Jul, 2008 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very cool. You could always take off the axe head and make it a dedicated hammer?
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Tim May




Location: Annapolis, MD
Joined: 12 Nov 2006

Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sun 27 Jul, 2008 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just checked CS's website, and they still have it for sale. Seeing the original, such a great call on taking off that horrible blackening they did, yours looks fantastic.
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Rusty Knorr




Location: Seattle, WA USA
Joined: 08 Jun 2006

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Mon 28 Jul, 2008 8:05 pm    Post subject: Cold steel axe project         Reply with quote

I ordered 2 of these, I think it will make a fun project and as you said...you can't beat the price! -Rusty
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 305

PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I bought one of these for my son last year, and it is a bargain for $30. After seeing it standing in the corner of my bedroom (his mom won't let him have it in her house, long story) I had similar ideas about buying one and making a shorter, handier axe out of it. I think you did a great job, and have inspired me to buy another one to modify.
" I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood. "

Faramir son of Denethor

Words to live by. (Yes, I know he's not a real person)
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,231

PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2008 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well...I ordered two of them today. Looks like a great buy, whether you modify it or leave it as is. You should ask Cold Steel for a referral fee!
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,231

PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got my axes today. I am amazed at the quality of the work. My plan is to modify one of them as Thom did and think about what to do with the other one. One thing that was truly amazing was Cold Steel picking up the tab on the shipping. The heads and the poles came in separate packages. The total shipping charge was $51 and I only paid $68, including their one price shipping charge, for two of the axes. They must have an abundance of these that they want to get rid of.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I bought one of these a year or so ago.

The existing paint job, while protective, was ghastly modern, and the socket is a steel tube that they welded on. It's a decent axe, but it's far too heavy for what it is. Cold steel manages to mas produce very tough weapons, but often times they do it by making them far thicker and heavier than thier historical counterparts.

That said, it was thirty dollars, you can't argue with that. Heck the ash pole alone would cost you that to buy separately, even before shipping. And it is darn fun to smash milkjugs and melons with that hammer head. It's really a hoot.

Anyhow I like the short handle you put on it. Maybe I'll buy another for the ash pole, then throw the head on a shorter piece of wood like you did.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,231

PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I bought one of these a year or so ago.

The existing paint job, while protective, was ghastly modern, and the socket is a steel tube that they welded on. It's a decent axe, but it's far too heavy for what it is. Cold steel manages to mas produce very tough weapons, but often times they do it by making them far thicker and heavier than thier historical counterparts.

That said, it was thirty dollars, you can't argue with that. Heck the ash pole alone would cost you that to buy separately, even before shipping. And it is darn fun to smash milkjugs and melons with that hammer head. It's really a hoot.

Anyhow I like the short handle you put on it. Maybe I'll buy another for the ash pole, then throw the head on a shorter piece of wood like you did.


I guess I should have said I am amazed at the quality of the work for the price. I have a number of Cold Steel products, and you are absolutely correct in saying that many of them are "overbuilt".

Is the paint so tough that it requires grinding to remove it, or is there a safe chemical process to use?

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Wed 20 Aug, 2008 7:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should definitely get a referral fee - I just ordered two.

Thank you for posting this - you did a fantastic job making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Reading list: 30 books

Posts: 630

PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know Lin - for me in the shop sometimes I just get into something and I simply go for it. That was the case this time, I did a little hand grinding just to see how the paint was and then before I knew it I was two hours in grinding off the paint. a chemical strip job might be a lot easier and worth a try for sure. tr
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David Martin




Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Joined: 11 Apr 2005

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin & Company,

If you find a safe chemical paint remover, please post it here. I don't relish the thought of grinding off all that paint.

I wonder if a heat gun would do the job?

"When war-gods meet to match their might,
who can tell the bravest born?
Many a hero never made a hole
in another man's breast."

- Sigurd, The Lay of Fafnir
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Rusty Knorr




Location: Seattle, WA USA
Joined: 08 Jun 2006

Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently ordered 2 of these after reading this thread and I am in the process of altering them to suit my taste. So far I have stripped the paint (I will post the type I used when I have time to look at the can but I think it was an Ace Hardware product) which was really easy and then cut down the socket so it is symmetrical. I will stain the handle next, blue the metal and mount it and it should be ready to go. One point to mention...
I work in the bike industry and there are high end road bikes worth thousands of dollars and cheap bikes for a hundred bucks. Whats to say that weapons were any different? I am sure there were light, high quality, professional weapons and there had to be cheaper, heavy, "overbuilt" weapons as well. Not everyone could afford the best tools of the trade so the idea that this axe is too heavy implies that there is some standard which I am not sure exists. Just an observation welcome to debate!

-Rusty Knorr
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Thu 21 Aug, 2008 8:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is by far one of the most awesome things I've ever seen. Nice work!
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Scott Kowalski




Location: Oak Lawn, IL USA
Joined: 24 Nov 2006

Posts: 797

PostPosted: Fri 22 Aug, 2008 5:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom or Rusty,
I do not suppose either of you have pictures of the head after stripping and before bluing do you? I am interested in how the bare head looks because truth be known I just ordered one of these to do something similar to.

Rusty, did you weigh the axe head after cutting the socket down for comparison purposes?


Scott
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Christian Callender




Location: Maryland
Joined: 28 Mar 2005

Posts: 19

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have purchased two of these as well, and would like to know the best way to strip the paint off them, as well as the best bluing technique. If anyone has any ideas, or pictures, or preferably both I'd be extremely interested.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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Posts: 650

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The steel underneath is very, very rough. You may even consider taking some time to polish that out as well, though it may not be worth the effort.

I chopped the tube off altogether and I think the axe is better looking for it. The ash pole is very thick, basically a 3" dowel at the top. You could make a sweet godendag out of the haft as well if you put the head on a shorted pole.

This is kind of a curious beast. out of the box it's a very powerful and stout but frankly hideous piece, but the price is just great and as you can see there's a lot fun customizations available. For $30 bucks you can't go too far wrong.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Sun 07 Sep, 2008 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got one of these recently and am in the process of modifying it as well. So far I've shortened the haft and cut down the socket leaving just a little to create integral langets. I'm not super familiar with battle axes and was wondering will it still retain it's functionality with the socket cut down and secured with just a 1/4" steel pin? I figure it should still perform well in comparison to historical counterparts. Thoughts?
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