This used to be an axe

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geocash
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This used to be an axe

Postby geocash » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:03 am

I found this behind my house. An iron works (charcoal-fired bloomery, furnace, finery forge & various work shops, I think) was built about five miles from here in 1831 & operated for about a decade. I wonder if this axe could have been made there. And, in the 1850s a sawmill was built about a mile downstream from me & replaced with a gristmill about 30 years later. My property may have been first logged during that time, although I don't know. And then it may have belonged to my grandpa who bought this place 100 years ago as of last August. I like to speculate about it, anyway, & thought someone else may find it amusing.
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Dinadan
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby Dinadan » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:42 am

Seems like you have an interesting property with a lot of history. I am guessing that the mushrooming on the back of that axe indicates that it was used for driving iron wedges when splitting wood. That is the only thing that ever caused that in my family's axes. And if the temper was anything like a modern axe it was used a lot for that. The stone artifacts are interesting to see. Over the decades I have come across a few Indian stone tools and a bunch of pottery fragments. When I pick up a potsherd I do sometimes stop and think about what the life of the man or woman who dropped in must have been like,
Mel

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TripleF
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby TripleF » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:10 am

Very cool!!
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Gunsil
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby Gunsil » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:49 pm

Axe is factory made, not a hand forged item. It is likely a lot less than 100 years old. We who use metal detectors find many old axe heads in the ground, pocket knives too.

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FRJ
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby FRJ » Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:06 pm

I have no idea how old this ax head is.
Notice how the edge is less pitted than the rest of the head.
A more tempered and harder area.
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Joe

geocash
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby geocash » Thu Dec 13, 2018 11:01 pm

Gunsil wrote:Axe is factory made, not a hand forged item. It is likely a lot less than 100 years old. We who use metal detectors find many old axe heads in the ground, pocket knives too.


I found it 40 years ago.

geocash
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby geocash » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:30 pm

Dinadan wrote:Seems like you have an interesting property with a lot of history. I am guessing that the mushrooming on the back of that axe indicates that it was used for driving iron wedges when splitting wood. That is the only thing that ever caused that in my family's axes. And if the temper was anything like a modern axe it was used a lot for that. The stone artifacts are interesting to see. Over the decades I have come across a few Indian stone tools and a bunch of pottery fragments. When I pick up a potsherd I do sometimes stop and think about what the life of the man or woman who dropped in must have been like,

Mel,
I'm sure you're right about the mushrooming. Grandpa cleared a lot of pasture in the 1920s & sold a lot of firewood in the winters. He was much too frugal to buy a sledge hammer to drive wedges when a single bit axe could do the job. The hill I live on is near the house he lived in, & my father was born in, so I'm pretty certain it was among the first sites he cleared. He tried plowing it once & found so much quartz rock that he fenced it & allowed cattle on it but that was about it. When I started playing here in the 1950s we still called it a pasture & dairy cows wandered up here occasionally but shortleaf pines & tuliptrees were reclaiming it & tall enough to shade out the blackberry briars. Before I built a house here I fenced the cows out then cut both saw timber & pulpwood & counted the tree rings to determine when grandpa cut it.

geocash
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Location: Southern Appalachians, outdoors preferably

Re: This used to be an axe

Postby geocash » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:52 pm

FRJ wrote:I have no idea how old this ax head is.
Notice how the edge is less pitted than the rest of the head.
A more tempered and harder area.


Joe,

Thanks for pointing out the tempered area. I don't see that on mine & don't know what that means, either.

Another thing that puzzles me is the way iron tools have been made. For instance, the relatively small iron works near my place, in the one year that I've read about, produced 25 tons of pig iron, for blacksmiths & other shops, & cast 65 tons of finished goods including plows, skillets, kettles, stove plates, hinges & axes. That was in 1837 & they shut down in 1841. Do you, or anyone, have any idea how your or my axe head was made by looking at the images? I'm not suggesting mine was made then or there but I also wonder if casting produced a very good quality axe at that time?

rarefish383
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Re: This used to be an axe

Postby rarefish383 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 12:47 pm

There are some good videos of how axes were hand forged in the early, mid, 1900's. I seem to remember one with a factory full of guys taking red hot pieces of steel and wrapping them around a die to form the eye. Then inserting a hardened bit between the two sides to close up the eye, and hand forging them together. You only wanted the bit hardened so it would take an egde, and the rest mild steel so you could pound with it. If the whole ax were hardened it would shatter if you tried driving a wedge with it. The poll of a single bit was not made to drive wedges, but try finding nice ones that aren't beat to death, and you see that most every one did it, Joe.


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