There are few things that speak to our ancient selves like the Axe. Just the word axe triggers a response deep within and brings to the surface images of buckskin clad frontiersman carving their way through the forested wilderness. The axe was assuredly one of the first tools humans created. First as a stone held in the hand, then hafted with wood and rawhide. Later they would be cast from bronze, and finally forged from iron. With this one tool a human being could create shelter, harvest wood for the fire, and carve everything from bows for hunting to spoons for eating. To me the Axe is the ultimate symbol of human ingenuity, determination, and freedom.
My axes are forged in the fire, one at a time. I punch the eye, drift it with a mandrel, and hammer out the “ears”. Then I hammer the blade to shape. If it is of iron I then split the blade to accept a bit of high carbon steel. This is forge welded in place and guarantees that it will hold a good edge. If I am forging an axe from recycled carbon steel this step is unnecessary. Once it is forged I take it to the belt sander, clean it up, temper it, and haft it with a locally harvested hickory handle. It is then fitted with a vegetable tanned leather mask.