This project came around when I was thinking about what Christmas gift I should get for someone I work with. They have over the years has given me loads of advice and tips on using various tools and materials. I know they have an interest in Vikings and shows like Vikings and the Last Kingdom and so, rather than buy a ‘normal’ present, I would make them something.
The first thing that popped into my head was a bearded axe that we had been talking about just before the holidays. This is what I ended up making and from the start I knew I just wanted to do a simple axe, with the name written in runes and a simple faux leather grip. I also decided that the axe head would be printed, while the handle would be wood.
After doing some research on the shape and size of a bearded axe I chose an image and imported it into Inkscape. From there I traced around it drawing a side and top view, before importing them into a 3D modeling program. The templates were extruded, modified where needed and then scaled.
I was having some trouble getting the whole thing to sit right on my printers bed and in the end, broke it into 4 parts. When printed these were glued together and the print lines and gaps were filled in. To make doubly sure it would turn out nice and smooth I gave it a few coats of XTC 3D resin, before sanding it with very fine sandpaper.
After printing and assembling a sword last year I knew my nicely finished axe head would be likely be prone to breaking. Rather than have this happen I ended up molding it and casting it as a single piece. It seemed crazy at first, but I cast one for myself and may use the mold to cast soft con safe axes to sell.
Despite an issue with my mold release doing the reverse, both the mold and casts ended up turning out fine. The axe head was given a quick sand before being primed with gray spray.
Rather than having bright polished metal I wanted a more used/aged look. On the second cast I did a few experiments. The final paint work began with two solid coats of silver. Over this I gave a wash of brown ink which was left for a few minutes before being rubbing off. After giving the wash plenty of time to dry I lightly scuffed the axe head with sand paper. Over that I lightly sprayed more silver producing mottling. With a coat of satin varnish this gives a nice aged metal effect.
The handle started of as a leftover piece of building timber which was cut to size on my bandsaw. Shaping this would take AGES by hand so I pulled out my beltsander and set it up outside. Before attacking the wood, the eye of the axe was used to mark out the shape on both ends.
About and hour and half of sanding later and it looked pretty good. I was happy with how this turned out since I hadn’t done this before. There were a few small marks from where the edge of the belt had cut into the wood, but these were quickly removed with a palm sander. A little more sanding was done to the end where the head would attach to ensure a good fit.
To personalise the axe I carved the person’s name in Eldar Fulthark runes using needle files. As a note, these runes come from just before the Viking age and are same as were used on Thor’s hammer in the Marvel films. I used these as later runes have less characters making it difficult to use them to write.
It was then given three coats of wood stain which bought out the wood grain followed by two coats of varnish. To finish it off I did a simple faux leather hand grip. Lastly the head was carefully hammered onto the handle using a rubber hammer and padding.