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Mercer L. Blaire

Location: Ohio
Joined: 27 Sep 2013

Posts: 78

PostPosted: Thu 22 May, 2014 4:53 pm    Post subject: SanMarc Forge Bearded Axe Review         Reply with quote


Back in November i was in talks with Marc Sanford from SanMarc Forge about having a custom axe head made. I had seen several of his works on his Facebook page and was really impressed with his work so i decided to give him a shout.

Historical overview

The bearded Axe is one of the Iconic "Viking" weapons, and i wanted to have my idea of a "stereotypical viking axe" made. As to historical accuracy, i think it looks good. But again its designed by me from the ground up. I took various features of several different axes i liked and kind of photoshopped them all together into one axe, then i used that for reference to draw a scaled picture of exactly what I was after. Any Historic inadequacies are solely because of the design i provided.

Full Disclosure

Me and SanMarc had made a trade agreement in purchasing the axe. I had a Hanwei Great sword of war up for sale that Marc Fancied, and he knew i was interested in an axe head so he offered to make an even swap. For Disclosures sake, i paid full price for this axe head and was not given any sort of discount or break in exchange for a favorable review.

That being said, i do not have a lot of experience with axes, so my review will be done from more of a quality/overall product standpoint than "this axe performs this way and this is or is not how an axe should perform"


WOW. This looks like some viking bearded guy beat this thing out of a chunk of steel! :twisted:
The entire axe has a very organic hand made look, this is exactly what I was after.


The axe head has a 4 3/4 inch cutting edge and is 8 inches long from cutting edge to hammer head. The hammer head is about 3/4 of an inch thick, and the overal axe has very evident distal taper. This axe was made for fighting men, not chopping trees. I dont have exact measurements on the Haft, I kept it short enough to wield 1 handed, but long enough you could still do 2 handed power blows. Im estimating it at about 27 inches long


The Axe head is totally hand forged from 4 pieces of steel, high carbon for the cutting edge, high carbon for the hammer head, and mild steel for the sides and body. Originally i had asked for a rough forged finish axe, but midway through the process Marc suggested letting him give the axe a mirrored polish and hand engraving, im glad i took his advice because it really adds to the overall look for a very attractive piece. This axe is truly a one of a kind piece to treasure for years to come. it will certainly outlive me.


The blade of the axe is plenty sharp for an axe, i wouldnt call it razor sharp, this is an overused term anyway, but the axe head will slice 1/4 inch tooling leather with little to no effort. I have no doubts that it would do its job on the real thing.


I made the Haft myself, so im going to describe it, but SanMarc had nothing to do with it. The axe Haft is made from a heavily modified Hickory maul handle. I fitted the axe head and cut/sanded/ground it down to the desired shape and then finished it in several coats of different stain, and selectively sanded down different spots to get a distressed look. Once i had the look i was going for i gave the entire thing 2 coats of protective sealant.


This section should be taken with a grain of salt because this is my first axe of this style.
The axe handles very well and feels very solid without being overly heavy. The axe is nice and thin so it isnt bulky and heavy, but the thick hammer head does add some significant weight. I can use the axe 1 handed without much trouble, id estimate the overall weight at about 2 pounds. The point of balance is about 4.5 inches down from the head itself.


This axe has no trouble slicing through light targets, it can be tricky to cut entire bottles in half though do to the roughly 5 inch cutting edge, its certainly not a sword, but a brutal weapon that would easily mess your day up if you got hit. Id bet my bank acount this axe would bury itself up to the haft in someones chest with a 1 handed swing.


SanMarc is a very talented smith and his art style pays homage to the blacksmiths of old. His organic hand forged style is very pleasing to my eye and his work just screams authentic. There are some really nice fanciful super clean looking axes out there, but in my opinion this rustic hand made look is much more pleasing to my eye, i feel like i literally reached into a time bubble and snatched this axe of the belt of a North Man and pulled it into 2014 America.


Solid construction
Beautiful hand made look
Wicked cutter


Some people may be off put by the organic hand made look, there are visible scratches, hammer marks, ext and the pieces is not what you could call "flawless" To me this is a perk, but some people prefer a more clean refined modern look. To each his own


i would recommend that anybody who wants a historically accurate hand made custom axe, or knife, or warhammer get in touch with Marc Sanford, he is a very kind and honest guy, and provided me with constant progress updates throughout the entire process, and he provided me with exactly what he promised to deliver. I have recommended to him other in the past and will continue to do so.
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Shahril Dzulkifli

Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 4:00 am    Post subject: SanMarc Forge Bearded Axe Review         Reply with quote

The engravings on the axe's blade look superb. Wink

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

- Marcus Aurelius
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Nathan G

Location: California
Joined: 12 Aug 2013
Likes: 3 pages

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri 23 May, 2014 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like it, everything from the obvious hand made appearance to the engravings.

After seeing this I think I need to get a Viking arms set going. An axe like this, a Viking spear, and one of Albion's Viking swords.
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