Author Topic: Belt Axe Workshop  (Read 1108 times)

Offline Ian Pratt

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Belt Axe Workshop
« on: March 09, 2017, 06:29:54 AM »
  Hey folks  -   I wanted to pass this along  -  there are a couple spots open in Rich Mcdonald's Belt Axe Workshop coming up May 19 -21 at Canter's Cave in Jackson, Ohio.  This is a really fun class where participants ​learn the basics of making a traditional tomahawk / belt axe  - from forging, finishing and heat treating the head to properly fitting, shaping and finishing a handle.
  I am posting some of our friend Joe McGee's photos taken during last year's class. You'll find more info (including how to register) under the heading "classes" on the Southern Ohio Artisan Workshops site at   Please take note that the class fees include your meals and lodging, which makes these classes an excellent value! 

  You can see more of instructor Rich Mcdonald's fine work at   The first couple of photos here are of Rich demonstrating at the anvil.

Offline JCKelly

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Re: Belt Axe Workshop
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 07:52:50 PM »
I might respectfully add -

When you are finished forging it, heat that forging up red-hot and let it cool. In air is OK, so is buried in ashes or lime. Just do that one heat & cool cycle before you harden it. The purpose is to refine some of those huge grains developed during forging, and at least put the whole thing in the same metallurgical condition. You will find it lasts much better.

If some heat treated forging breaks and you see little crystals, well, those are the "huge grains" of which I spoke.

The heat of forging also burns out some of the carbon from the surface. I know it sounds paradoxical, but this soft "decarburized" layer on the surface sometimes causes quench cracks. Might be a good idea to grind of a few thousandths in the region you expect to quench.

Thats all, folks

Your P.I.T.A. metallurgist

Offline David R.

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Re: Belt Axe Workshop
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 02:16:00 PM »
Looks like fun!
I would have no quarrel with thee if thou be a friend of liberty.

Offline homerifle

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Re: Belt Axe Workshop
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 03:49:26 AM »
It was a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone!

Offline GHall

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Re: Belt Axe Workshop
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 05:59:29 AM »
Wish we had some workshops like this closer to me.  Self teaching smithing takes some time and lots of screw ups.
Greg Hall