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Cole B

Joined: 05 Mar 2008

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject: Antiquing a Nordland Axe         Reply with quote

Hey there guys.

I badly needed an axe for my collection and it seemed that the Arms & Armor Nordland was the best quality for my price range. I am not quite sure what version I got, as it has the split-wedge head on the prototype you can see on the review here and in the picture attached, but a flared handle like the production model.

I enjoy the type C style and the handle seemed to be of a more suitable wood than the Hanwei offerings from what I could find, so I ordered that. There were some casting imperfections and a slightly uneven grind on the edge, but overall it seems like it would make a good base for my first project.

Unfortunately the boring washed out wood and cheap black paint have to go. So I turn to you guys for historical accuracy and antiquing help.

Right now I am planning to stain the wood and give it some kind of slightly gloss coating, maybe boiled linseed?
For the axehead, I want to get rid of the paint and age the steel, with some black pitting and an otherwise polished but not mirror-finished look.

Generally going for an old but taken care of look, not 'left out in the yard for the year'.

This is where my inspiration ends. I don't even know how to take the axehead off and put it back on safely, much less where to buy the materials I'll need, what quantities, and how to keep the whole thing semi-accurate. I turn to your wisdom and will reward you with progress pictures!

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Carl W.

Location: usa
Joined: 07 Aug 2008

Posts: 181

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cole - In case you didn't find this...
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Matthijs Witsenburg

Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Joined: 03 Jan 2011

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 11:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For the handle boiled linseed oil is perfect. Heed the safety instructions in the tread mentioned by Carl.

Regarding the head, a lot depends on what the surface finish is like uderneath the paint. The price and the defects you mentioned suggest a some sort of cast iron. If the surface scale has not been removed you will have to grind or sand it off.
Leaving the axe exposed to the elements for a few weeks, then lightly sanding with wirewool and oiling may give the appearance you are after. Basically moisture and a somewhat elevated temperature, especially in combination with salt or acid will promote rust.

Come to think of it, bathrooms have pretty much the perfect conditions for developing rust.

An alternate idea I saw a while back is patinating by covering the surface in ketchup or mustard. I've never tried this.
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Josh MacNeil

Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 12:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have the A&A Nordland axe and I believe it's cast tool steel. The black coating is just some kind of paint or light powder coat. It started coming off on mine as soon as I started chopping wood with it. I ended up just buffing it off with a sanding sponge and a dremel with a wire brush tip for the deeper casting pits; didn't take long. The steel is actually quite nice underneath. I think A&A stains the handles of these axes. At least mine was. The handle on mine was was attached with a wedge, but over time (with some HEAVY use) it came loose and slid down the handle. So if you want to remove the handle, a little camp use or something similar should loosen it up.
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Christopher Finneman

Location: Sartell Minnesota
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ive had this axe for a while now.
I took the paint off the head and just used well used distressed work gloves (covered in grim dirt and oil) and just chopped wood for a bit.
It gave it a nice worn look and did get a few good compliments at the faire for it also.
Just use it and in very short time itll look nice.
Although the head does come loose which I dont mind but its a lil upsetting

Proudly it stands until the worlds end. The victorious banner of love.
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Perry L. Goss

Location: Missouri
Joined: 15 May 2004
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 113

PostPosted: Sun 27 Mar, 2011 5:15 pm    Post subject: Antique the axe head         Reply with quote

My colonial re-enachment gunsmiths use....

cold blue
barrel degreaser

Pool shock for the really hard alloy steels; as opposed to bleach.

Generate a nice goopy mix, apply, cover with salt and let sit in a nice warm spot. Longer the better. 2 - 3 days min. You will have to redo the edge as this will take the fineness off the edge. I like the bathroom as it generates moisture and heat via the shower. Barn in the summer is great too.

Steel wool off. Be careful! Hold the steel up to direct sunlight after steel wooling off. If it is still brown or green [it will smell funny too] - the mixture is still at work! Delicate parts can be comprimsed. They have found that balistol gun cleaner works really good to "stop" the process. I also take a very fine sandpaper at least of 320 gr. to buff. Just depends on what you want.

A "hot box" [a light bulb in a smallish enclosed properly built container] accelerates the process. But...I just lay it on the counter in the bathroom and let humidity take care of things.


Scottish: Ballentine, Black, Cameron, Chisholm, Cunningham, Crawford, Grant, Jaffray, MacFarlane, MacGillivray, MacKay-Reay/Strathnaver, Munro, Robertson, Sinclair, Wallace

Irish/Welsh: Bodkin, Mendenhall, Hackworth

Swiss: Goss von Rothenfluh, Naff von Zurich und Solland von Appenzel
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Cole B

Joined: 05 Mar 2008

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu 31 Mar, 2011 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for the slow update!

I took the head off with some taps from a hammer, sanded down the handle and sanded off the paint on the head.

For the head, I did a mix of vinegar and salt overnight sprayed on like in the antiquing article, then sanded it off with sandpaper and then ultrafine steel wool.

For the handle, I stained it and then did coats of linseed oil, which I continue to do once in a while. I think of it like wood lotion.

Sorry for the crappy picture, I don't have a digital camera at the moment.

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Larry R

Location: Minneapolis
Joined: 08 May 2010
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 11 books

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Thu 31 Mar, 2011 6:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am certainly no expert, but that looks pretty good to me!
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