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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 4:03 am    Post subject: Hafting an axe without using a wedge         Reply with quote

I have a couple of axes that are both hafted using wedges and I can't complain about the durability. However, I just acquired a battle ready beard axe head and I have been studying ways of hafting it. So I looked at lots of pictures of Viking period Norse and Slavic axes with preserved handles on the Unimus website in Norway and elsewhere and noticed that while a lot of surviving Norse axes of the Viking period are indeed wedged, some of them have a handle that seems to be slightly thinner than the eye along its entire length except at the top where it flares out slightly. The axe head was then slipped onto the handle bottom to top as it were and driven onto the flared handle top by hitting the top of the handle with a mallet until the axe head stuck on good and tight.

This method seems better than using wedges since the head is not likely to fly off the handle. However, since I'll be using this axe a lot to push down spears I'm worried that the axe head might eventually slide down the handle. I'm not sure that's such a bad thing though, after all that is better than the head coming off and injuring into somebody (which I have seen a poorly wedge fastened axe head do).

I know this is hafting method used with Dane axes:

http://www.hurstwic.com/history/articles/manu...riving.htm



... also, in another thread I read that the internal geometry of the axe eye matters. This is only suitable for axes whose eye is funnel shaped and not axes with hourglass shaped eyes. The eye on my axe is perfectly cylindrical. Has anybody here any experience with this kind of hafting on an axe head with a perfectly cylindrical eye? I'm a bit worried that the axe head will dig into the wood:




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Last edited by Kristjan Runarsson on Thu 20 Apr, 2017 6:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mark C. Moore




Location: East Texas
Joined: 17 Apr 2017

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my experience of hafting Cold Steel axes--yes, the head will dig into the wood a bit at the top. These 'peelings' can be removed with a wood chisel or a Dremel tool. The eyes on these axes are pretty cylindrical also, but any gaps at the bottom can be filled with wooden wedges glued in, then trimmed down to remove any extra. You can then wrap the lower handle under the head with leather, cord, what have you. Very secure fit. I have yet to have one come loose. Wink .....McM
''Life is like box of chocolates....."--- F. Gump
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Kristjan Runarsson





Joined: 07 Nov 2015

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark C. Moore wrote:
In my experience of hafting Cold Steel axes--yes, the head will dig into the wood a bit at the top. These 'peelings' can be removed with a wood chisel or a Dremel tool. The eyes on these axes are pretty cylindrical also, but any gaps at the bottom can be filled with wooden wedges glued in, then trimmed down to remove any extra. You can then wrap the lower handle under the head with leather, cord, what have you. Very secure fit. I have yet to have one come loose. Wink .....McM


That's another thing I'm nervous about, a gap at the lower end of the eye. I'll just have to shape the upper end of the haft very carefully. I don't expect it has to taper very much for the axe head not to slip off the end. Somebody in another thread mentioned putting a thin bit of leather between the haft and the inside of the eye before banging the haft in place with a mallet and then trimming off the excess. Not sure I want to try that yet.
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Mark C. Moore




Location: East Texas
Joined: 17 Apr 2017

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's my Cold Steel Norse Hawk, done in the manner I described. In this particular axe, the haft fit the eye well enough that I did not need the lower wedges. The leather is glued on permanently, and the rest of the haft is wrapped in hemp cord. Feels very good in-hand, and there is no way the head is coming off---or really even getting loose---up or down. The fit is tight enough that the head rings like a bell when the edge is thumped. Big Grin .......McM (sorry for the bad quickie photo.)


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''Life is like box of chocolates....."--- F. Gump
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