The suitable technique to punch and run alongside with the run alongside with the circulation an axe look by hand. Axe making – blacksmithing
Punching and drifting an axe blank, mild steel. Open the full video description for more information.
The center marks is used as a visible reference that can be seen on hot steel. I cool the tooling down in water and add coal dust for lubrication.
The footage is part of an axe making video production I did chose to cancel. I will not make a video about finishing the axe, but I will make more axe making videos in the future.
A few points that can help you to punch holes in axes and similar tools.
1. Do the first marks with the punch on red glowing steel. It is a lot easier to see if you"re a bit off center on relative cold steel. Do the rest hot/bright yellow. You can eyeball it or you can make center marks before heating up the steel. The taller and thinner the workpiece is the more critical is it to hit center spot on.
2. Turning the workpiece while punching helps punching a straight hole/helps even out in case you have a tendency to hit with the hammer at an angle and not perfectly straight down.
3. Release the punch frequently and cool it down. If the punch get too hot can it upset inside the workpiece and get helpless stuck. If the punch get at critical temperature/red glowing heat or above, don"t cool it down until it become a black glowing heat - you don"t want accidentally to harden the tool and not temper it, that will crack/snap the tip of the tool.
4. If you have never tried punching holdes before by blacksmithing, do I recommend you practice on some smaller pieces of mild steel. It is a lot more effortless to punch mild steel compared to tool steel. If you don"t have ideal thickness, upset some more thickness before you start punching.
5. If you punch something tall like I do in the video, can it go more effortless if you use a slitting chisel (sharp cutting edge) for the majority of the hole and only use a slot punch (not sharp cutting edge) at the very end. If you don"t chose to punch a slot/a separated small piece of steel, be carefull not to make cold shuts inside the hole/eye. Cold shuts is small folds in the steel that is not forge welded - it will make cracks if not removed. If you start drifting the eye with some of the slot remaining inside the eye, do you also risk getting cold shuts as - so make sure to remove the slot completely before starting drifting/expanding the punched hole/eye.
A few points that can help you to drift holes in axes and similar tools.
1. If the eye/hole is a little off center - place the thick spot in the hottest part of the coal forge and hammer only on the thickest spots. If you are using mild steel can you cool down the thin areas in water and hit on the thick spots - if you"re using tool steel is the last method not an option.
2. If your eye/hole is way off center, use the horn on an anvil or similar to place inside the hole/eye and now can you hammer very controlled on all the thick areas without making the thin areas thinner. Another way is to do stock removal, but it is a lot easier to forge instead of grinding. If the eye is too much off center to fix it with the methods above, are you better of just starting over.
3. In most cases is the ideal to use a few drifts - small, medium, large etc. until you get the size hole/eye you want. I use not heat treated spring steel for the majority of my drifts used like in the video. I use mild steel for the minority of my drifts used on folded forge welded axes.
4. The drift/drifts will get very hot. Cool it down in water frequently. It can be beneficial to keep the drift a little bit hot for the final forging on the eye - the thin steel will cool down a lot more quickly if the drift is cold and steeling a lot of the heat. You want the drift cold when you are hitting hard over and over otherwise will you start deforming the drift. One drift in spring steel last me about 100 axes made by punching and drifting, a mild steel drift would last 1 or 2 axes. If folded and welded does a spring steel drift last forever and mild steel drift about 100 axes or more. You can also get specialized steel for hot working tasks - but I only consider it relevant if you do mass production and or use heady machinery.
Here can you see how I made the outdoor blacksmith shop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWgESobxudc&t=86s
Location: Denmark - my property.