Bearded axe

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.

Axe Head

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. 3d models

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Handle

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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