Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Threads about ASOIAF art, memes, gifs, funny videos, other cool YouTube channels, as long as it is based on the books or show, it goes here!

Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:19 am

In the past I have posted my asoiaf-related castings in my Cast Aluminum Weirwood Tree thread. But this is not aluminum, nor a Weirwood, and I think it deserves its own space...

I'm gonna try and let the pictures and videos do most of the talking here so this doesn't turn into a lecture on amateur metal casting... It's a slippery slope but I will try.

This weekend I made what is by far the coolest thing I have ever made in my backyard foundry. Better than my Cast aluminum Weirwood, better than my aluminum skull belt buckle, better than any of it! I also levelled up from casting (entry level) aluminum to casting bronze, which requires significantly higher temperatures, and for the particular alloy I used (aluminum bronze C95400), also involves certain specific concerns in mold design which I won't go into here.

First, a little background...

Last summer's big project to upgrade my hobby foundry was to build a new, bigger, hotter furnace that would be capable of melting bronze, brass, and maybe even iron someday. My old charcoal burning furnace is great for melting aluminum, but if I tried to melt those metals in it, I'd probably melt the furnace itself. For the record, aluminum can be melted in a simple wood fire. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWR1ErIXat0, https://vimeo.com/75917079)

Bronze, however, needs more heat, and an insulated furnace...

Enter The Black Dread!

Image

This furnace runs on waste oil - vegtable, motor, whatever. The burner I built for it has a propane line for preheating the furnace (necessary to ignite the oil spray) as well as the oil line.

Enter Lightbringer!

Image

Here is Balerion again, all full of wildfire:

Image

That is all the background stuff. On to this summer's big project!


So this year my goal was to upgrade the foundry for sand casting, and use it to mold and cast my own First Men style bronze axe. I had some greensand (water plus clay plus sand in certain proportions for making molds with for casting metal) that I got last year to help a friend cast some items for a club he belongs to, but it had dried out sitting in buckets all year. It still had enough moisture in it to make one more casting though... And I needed to make some sand molding tools. First and foremost, a sand rammer, for packing greensand in the molds

Enter King Robert's Rammer!

Image

Cast in aluminum, shown next to the pattern I made for molding it.

The solution to dry greensand: Build a sand muller to help mix some moisture back into it and fluff it up real nice...

Enter Big Bucket Mull!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M1xOH1PF6g

(a work in progress that I'll tinker with some more when winter comes and I can;t spend m y time casting anyhow since my greensand will hjave turned into a block of ice)

Once I had reconditioned my sand, I bought the bronze for casting the axe. I actually went with a more modern alloy than traditional tin-bronze that the actual First Men would have used, aluminum bronze C954, because the aluminum bronzes are the toughest copper alloys, thus they should make the best blades. The First men didn't know they'd have to fight guys wielding ferrous based weapons when they chose their bronze alloy... Still no match for forged steel of course, but I am an amateur founder - not a blacksmith.

Here is the pattern for the axe blade next to the rammer pattern:

Image

They are split patterns, one side gets molded in each half of the mold. the part that looks like a really small handle is called a core print. A hardened sand core sits in it inside the mold so molten metal can flow around it to form the hollow eye that the handle fits into.

So. The moment of truth!

Freshly poured sand mold:

Image

Left over bronze that I melted, poured into an ingot for a later melt:

Image

Raw casting, cope side (cope means the top half of the mold, not sure why):

Image

Drag (bottom) side:

Image

(see the remains of the hardened sand core I mentioned above in there?)

And finally, the money shot, the completed axe:

Image

First thing, I must admit I bought the handle. I was going to make one, but I only get so much hobby time every week, and I have a camping trip coming up this weekend to prepare for and relatives from out of town who are visiting... But I am glad I bought it; I was looking forward to making it but I'm sure it would not have looked this good. This sledge hammer handle was a near-perfect fit for the eye in the axe head, just had to sand it down a bit at the blade end and it went on without making me curse too much. I suppose I could always make a handle later and replace it, but I might not bother.

It could maybe use a bit more polishing, but it is ready to use, and this way people will believe me when I tell them I made it myself. :)

The marks where the gating was cut off are almost ground completely away. The edges have been ground sharp then hardened with a bit of hammering; I gave it a very brief test last night and it seemed to work well, the blades on either end were not damaged. A couple logs of well-seasoned hardwood (80 year old ash - waste cuts from a friend's beetle-killed lawn tree that he had milled) left over from the barrel-scrapper run in the youtube video linked above) can not say the same. Since they are now in pieces.

I call this a big success, and I can't wait to bring it camping with me this coming weekend to field test it chopping firewood. Same annual trip my I have been doing for 16 years now with the bannermen. I first caught the casting bug on one of these trips actually (see vimeo link above). My backyard foundry sure has come a long way since then! No idea where it will go from here.

I'd love to know what you all think of my First Men inspired bronze axe. Even if it's just funny/punny ASOIAF-based suggestions for naming it. I used House Cerwyn's words in the thread title because of their sigil, and also because we actually got a pet rabbit yesterday, same day I finished working on it... No, I won't be tying its skin to my axe and driving around waving it out the window at people like a yahoo.

Only thing left to do is sacrifice to the Old Gods for a sunny and fun weekend on the lake!

Hopefully this will inspire others to get out and make something cool to share with the fandom. This is all self-taught; I'm a nerdy computer programmer by day... So if I can do this, just magine what any of you can accomplish if you set your minds to it!

Stay safe and have fun!
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:22 pm

Pic of the axe pattern is getting mostly cropped out above, at least on my iPad it is... here's another.

Image
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:34 am

I'm back from annual Boys' Camping Weekend #16, with a field test report for my homemade First Men-inspired bronze axe!

The axe performed very well in chopping through this rock-hard, thigh-thick hickory log, and its edge held perfectly; I can't see or feel any damage whatsoever to the cutting edges. I call that a big success, and firmly believe that anyone who has ever tried to chop through a hickory log with an axe would agree. This log had been dead and leaning on other trees for probably a couple of years, not lying on the ground rotting or anything like that. So the wood was well-dried and super hard.

Image

Image

That big log went into the fire pit right after the fire had gotten kindled and fed a few sticks to get it going, and once it got going it provided a base that kept our campfire burning hot and bright literally all night long - we incinerated our orange peels and coffee grounds with it the next morning after breakfast. That stuff burns forever! Another piece of it kept our fire burning through a four-hour rain storm that had us dashing out from under our tarp-city to dig little canals through our site and move tents around in order to avoid anyone's bed getting soaked.

Image

Image

So, if my axe can chop through a log like that and survive, then what I take from this is that those First Men really knew what they were doing! And I think if I ground or hammered out the edge to a little bit narrower angle, it would chop even better.

From what I can tell, hammering the edges to harden them has worked really well. It was a bit tricky since I don't have an anvil, but the log I used instead got the job done. I'll be keeping my eyes out for reasonably priced used anvils, but the good ones really aren't cheap. My son would love that, he's been watching Forged in Fire with me and says he wants to be a blacksmith... Although he's too young to start playing with knives, it's nice to see him showing an interest in something other than his X-Box.

Fortunately, no iron-wielding Andal invaders appeared from across the narrow sea, er, I mean, the lake. Nor did we discover any nails hiding in that hickory log, either of which surely would have marred the axe's edge... and maybe my whole weekend.

My obsession with molten metal first started on Boys Camping Weekend #13 in this very fire pit. The footage of that first campfire casting session became the music video for one of our camping group's band:

https://vimeo.com/75917079

Since then he has moved to a different band called Ghost Vines, and I just learned that he is wearing one of my skull-shaped cast aluminum belt buckles in their promotional photo, which is not difficult to find online. I thought that was pretty cool too!

This axe sure is a lot more useful and... not hideous... than the little aluminum skulls we tried to make out at the lake that year as seen in the linked video. For me, it's fun to see how far I have come along in my backyard metal casting hobby in the 3 years that have passed since that video was shot. Even more fun is the thought that, in a certain way, this homemade axe was used to feed the very fire that created it!

I found a nice piece of hickory to make a new handle with too, and managed to keep it from going into the fire. But I'm not in a rush to start carving it right away. Definitely in time for BCW17...

All in all it was a great trip and I am already looking forward to next year... But for now, I'm still recovering from this year's adventures!

More good news, one of my camping buddies told me he'd like a bronze axe of his own if I am willing to "take orders". That is a big step for me as this has been strictly a hobby up until now (the aforementioned buckle was a gift). But I do like the ideas of getting to make another bronze axe where someone else pays for the materials, and of maybe recovering some of the costs that went into making the first First Men axe, etc.! I think I will take him up on that, just need to decide how much to price it at so that we both feel OK about it. He is a friend, but at the same time these projects do cost money to get off the ground...

Anyhow, I thought maybe you guys would find this interesting. I suppose you could call it fan art and it's definitely ASOIAF-inspired, but it's also proven to be a useful tool. Whatever you call it, making this axe, and all the preparation that made it possible to do, has definitely been a really fun challenge. Now I need to figure out what's next! Other than making another axe for my camp buddy, that is.

Later,

PS. somebody post something! I don't even mean in this thread necessarily (though I'd enjoy that too), it's just awfully quiet around here, and I know the podcast has to have tons of fans. So where are they? Probably all commenting on Youtube, I guess. I still consume podcasts in audio format and look for online community in forums; it's like I'm stuck in the bronze age or something... :)
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:23 pm

Been working on a pattern that I hope to cast a new and improved First Men Axe in Aluminum Bronze with, once all the snow melts and a new casting season begins. This one will have a wider cutting edge but will not have the second bit on the back that turned out to be pretty useless on the first axe I made. It was just shaped wrong to be a useful adze-like tool, and I have little use for that anyhow.

Image

(original sketch for the new axe pattern still had an adze-bit included and a longer "beard")

The first axe was useful when I went camping, it will chop wood, even really hard wood, but it was a bit of a slog to get it done. The new blade will have better geometry for the general uses I envision, such as chopping firewood, sitting by the campfire being impressively shiny and golden coloured, or heck, even just making war on the Children of the Forest...

Image

Image

Image

The part that looks like a really short handle is called a core print, which is the part of the pattern that will be reproduced as an empty space in the casting, not as a short bronze handle. The basic way cores and core prints work is, I will place a piece of hardened sand (the core) in the mold in the cavity created by the core print. The molten metal will flow around it so that the casting will have a hollow tunnel through it where a handle can be installed.

The pattern still needs a few coats of sandable primer - then I can sand that back to hopefully wipe out the seam that runs perpendicular to the handle, which I can still feel when I run my finger over it even after a whole bunch of sanding. Then some spray paint, more sanding, and a couple coats of shellac to get it really smooth to make it ready to get molded and cast. The smoother I can make it, the easier it will be to withdraw it from the sand mold without ruining the mold cavity.

I think I will modify the pattern for the first axe to improve its geometry (it is too convex, shaped more like a splitter than a chopper, yet with too narrow a cutting edge to make a very good splitter), possibly rebuild or remove the adze bit, and call it the accompanying hatchet for a matched set, since the designs are similar but the first version was significantly smaller. I think it would be pretty cool to have a matched set of First Men axes! Hopefully others will too, because this alloy is too pricey to keep making axes out of just for myself. One guy who is in my annual camping group already told me he would like to buy one from me, which was a nice surprise. For me this is strictly a hobby, but if it can help pay for itself now and then, I am cetainly not opposed to that!

These axe casting projects are my way of combining my 2 big huge obsessions, A Song of Ice and Fire, and backyard metal casting. Both aspects matter to me; I want this to be a functional and useful tool, but the fan art part of it is important too. I thought about carving a 'laughing tree' on the "cheek" of the blade (that is the wide part that the handle sticks through), but I figure I will try to succesfully make a plain one (or two) first and worry about teaching myself how to carve artistic details into the wooden pattern maybe on the next one (ie. same pattern but for subsequent castings). I may try casting one in aluminum just as a test before I try it in bronze, so that any defects that require me to modify the pattern will show themselves so they can be corrected before I use enough fuel to melt all that bronze. An aluminum axe would not be very useful or want to hold an edge very well, but aluminum is easy to work with and not quite so insanely hot to be near, and I have a bunch of it in the form of (former) alloy car wheels (chosen because they are made with a very good quality general purpose casting alloy). Aluminum bronze, on the other hand, is something I don't have a huge amount of, and what I do have was expensive. It is also notoriously tricky to cast, and you also lose a little bit with each melt, since some of the metal will oxidize AKA become "dross", which must be skimmed off the surface of the melt before pouring. More of it turns into dross during the pouring of the mold (especially this alloy, which I what makes it tricky), but there are ways and techniques of designing the sprue and gating and preparing the mold in order to trap that dross before it flows into the part being cast and ruins it. Sand molding is kind of an arcane art, and I enjoy that challenge a lot too. There are easier bronzes to cast with, but none of them make better blades than the aluminum bronzes.

I have been keeping my eyes open for free scrap copper to use for alloying my own aluminum bronzes, but not much seems to be turning up. Guess I need to make some good connections among the scrappers out there so I can at least get it at a half decent price fi I'm going to be buying it...

Once cast, I will have to work harden the cutting edge by hammering on it (cold). I have very little experience trying to do that and zero formal training in any sort of metal (or wood) working, but I have been hoarding supplies (many of them left over from my furnace build) to build a propane forge so I can try to teach myself a little bit of blacksmithing too - if I am going to be creating some sort of improvised anvil and hammering on cold metal, I might as well have the capability to do it on hot metal too, right? My old charcoal furnace could also double as a forge, it is just deeper and narrower than most coal forges I have seen. The burner I built for my melting furnace should work just as well in the small gas forge I will be building. My 10yo son is super interested in blacksmithing too, I blame (and thank) the TV show Forged In Fire, which I also have been enjoying a lot. I picked up a big sledge hammer head that I think will make a decent small starter's anvil for us to learn on, and also a leather welder's apron and some safety goggles and a full face shield and some gloves to go under the tree for him this XMas. Hopefully he won't lose interest before then! Anything is possible with a 10 year old boy, but if he abandons it right away I will still find some uses for this stuff for sure... Anyhow, this way he can satisfy his curiosity relatively safely (under my close supervision), I'll have someone to call 911 ASAP when I accidentally light myself on fire, and we can do some fun father/son projects together. I think maybe he is a little young for this sort of hobby, but on the other hand, there was a contestant on Forged in Fire this past season who got started when he was only alittle older than my son, so maybe it is not a completely insane idea. I'm just happy to see him showing an interest in something other than video games and the youtubers who make their living playing them... Forging capability should generally be a useful addition to my hobby foundry anyhow, so it is a win/win as I see it, so it's worth the risk of maybe losing a bit of skin over. As long as it is only a bit... :)

I would love to hear any opinions, comments, and/or suggestions anyone might have about any aspect of this. I know it is an unusual hobby, but I find it very rewarding. It is hard to decribe the feeling that comes from of working with a pot of glowing orange-yellow hot shiny molten metal, or shaking out a mold after waiting for it to cool and getting that first glimpse of a gleam of a fresh casting peeking out of the sand for the first time. It's quite a rush!

Bonus pic! Here is a fun weekend project aluminum casting I made to put out on the front step for Hallowe'en this year. The pattern was made from three $3 styrofoam jack-o'lanterns I got at Michael's. I cut their faces off and glued them back together to make one pumpkin with 3 faces so you can see the face from any angle. turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself. I might try to turn it into a lamp where the light will shine out through the face-holes and be projected onto the walls for a creepy effect. Should be easy enough to drill a hole through the stem of the (removable) lid to feed an electrical cord through, I figure... But I have not gotten around to that yet. Maybe before next Hallowe'en!

Image
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby Azizal » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:09 am

Wow, that axe is awesome! You would've been highly sought after in ancient Westeros for sure. They'd like the tree but would want many of those axes.

We haven't mentioned these forums much lately, we'll do so in the next episode, and talk about how actual forging is happening in here. That's well above expectations I'd say.
Azizal
Grand Maester
 
Posts: 237
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:52 pm

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:37 am

Wow! (checks podcast backlog - always shrinking but never cleared - nope, it's not there yet)
As if I needed another reason to look forward to the next episode... :)

To be overly technical, what I am doing is foundry (melting metal and pouring it into molds AKA casting), not forging (hammering on red hot metal to change its shape AKA smithing). I still can hardly believe it myself; by day I am a mild mannered computer programmer raised in a white collar home in the suburbs to work at a desk and keep my hands clean. But then one day I fell in love at first sight with molten metal, during a camping trip of all things. Now, several cuts and burns and just a few short years later, I have an actual junk pile! (not a big one; it was getting pretty good for a while there, but Mrs. TheOld made me get rid of my appliance hedge...) Not to mention an ever growing collection of patternmaking tools and "skills". Metal casting has got just the right mix of learning and shiny and danger for me, so I was happy to discover that backyard foundry is an actual hobby. Who knew?! Been trying to find ways to combine it with my ASOIAF obsession ever since, ie. the axe and tree I've made, plus I've been naming all my homemade foundry equipment after things & characters from the books. There's Balerion the Black Dread (my 3200F-rated melting furnace), Lightbringer (the waste oil burner that powers the furnace), King Robert's Rammer (a molding tool), Big Bucket Mull (a sand muller aka mixing machine for reconditioning used molding sand), Varys' Riddle (a sand-sieve, they call them riddles in real foundries for some reason), etc., and more to come as I build more stuff and expand my capabilities.

I did do a bit of hammering (cold) to work-harden the cutting edge of the axe, and I have the makings of a beginner's anvil that I hope will make that easier to do on the next bronze axe I make, which I hope to cast in the spring ASAP (ie. once my foundry workspace stops being snowed in), as well as allowing my son and I to dabble with a bit of actual forging. But I do not actually know if the hammering on cold bronze that I've done actually counts as "forging".

Uflgator1 posts on your forums sometimes too and I know he does some really cool actual blacksmithing work in addition to his painting, though I am not sure if he has posted about that here. He's given me some great advice on how I should go about making that improvised anvil, which is still just a sledge hammer head and a chunk of tree trunk at this point.

Thanks for the reply, and of course thanks for all the hard work you guys put into the podcast. Looking forward to that next episode even more than usual!
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:40 am

I guess you did not mean the new Dreams & Dreamers Q&A episode, unless maybe I spaced out on the drive in this morning and missed the anticipated forum mention... Probably it was already in production when you posted that and you really meant the next one after that. Anyhow, it was a great episode as always, thanks again!
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:03 am

My first First Men Bronze Axe is now sharper, cuts better thus safer, is more effectively hardened, and IMO looks way nicer than it ever has.

Also, I've been approached by someone who wants to buy it. Woohoo! That is what led me to get back to working on it, of course. I had been telling myself it was good enough, but this made me realize it's not good enough to hand over to someone else.

- re-ground the edge so it is no longer convex (ie. wanting to deflect into the wielder's toes while chopping), is more acutely angled thus bites in better, yet is still wide enough for effective splitting
- re-hardened the edge by hammering on it to work-harden the bronze, I think I did a much better job this time due to the better grind and deciding to stop worrying about ugly hammer marks ruining it
- gave up trying to achieve a mirror-finish without having the proper tools to actually accomplish that, and decided to go with a hammered finish using a ball peen instead. This was a major revelation to me - hammer marks can actually be a good thing, showing the item's hand made nature... so not every casting has to be sanded until it is perfectly smooth and reflective! :o

To me it is actually shinier and way nicer looking this way, in fact I think it looks GOOOOD now. But I might be a little biased, I'm trusting you guys to keep me honest here... Still, I am definitely going to give the second First Men bronze axe the same treatment. #2 is definitely getting made ASAP, and if I did plan to keep both, I'd probably put a hatchet handle on this one since it's a little smaller, and call them a matched set since they are both designed with a similar look.

I've never tried to sell any of my castings before, but I'm really glad someone wants this one because basically doubling the amount of expensive aluminum bronze I've got tied up in an axe collection that only gets used once a year is a little beyond my budget...

Image

Some 'before' shots are above, if anyone wants to compare.

Thoughts? Feedback? Don't go easy on me, I'm trying to improve my skills here and all the resulting burns and cuts have given me a pretty thick skin; I can take the bad along with the good...
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:30 pm

The Second Axe of the First Men is almost ready to get cast. Here is a pic of the pattern set up roughly as it will be when I make the mold. This time I will also cast a little peening anvil which I hope will make the task of hammering on the edge to work-harden it somewhat easier. The new anvil pattern is shown here as well. It is based on some scythe-peening anvils I saw online when researching how to treat the edge on my bronze axes; scythes are also work-hardened after being sharpened, as it turns out, and bronze axes are apparently the one thing on Earth that fewer people are sharpening on a regular basis than scythes... So a lot of the info I have is from scythe users; I have had to try and sort out which parts of scythe maintenance apply to bronze axes and which don't. Those peening anvils usually have spikes on the bottom that get driven into a stump or something, but mine will just get bolted on, hopefully that will suffice. The pattern was a tiny bit easier to make this way, and I guess I was feeling a little lazy when I was gluing all the little bits of wood together.

Image

The 12" X 12" flask (fancy foundry word for a pair of boxes that sit one atop the other) is brand new, just put it together over the weekend. It still needs alignment hardware installed (ie. some pins to align the top and bottom half so they always go together exactly the same way). Best part of making it was getting to use my friend's big thickness planer. Very loud spinning blades of death, woohoo!!

Also brand new are the patterns for the gating. ie., the pieces that will form the passages that the molten metal passes through to get into the axe-and-anvil-shaped holes in the sand. In the past I have just carved the gating into the packed molding sand with a spoon. Molding the gating using patterns should give better results - less chance of loose sand grains ruining the casting, and smoother passages make for less turbulence therefore less dross (oxides) forming inside the mold.

If we get some decent weather here next weekend I may get the chance to actually cast the new axe; wish me luck!

PS. The First Axe of the First Men now lives in its new home, a farm operated by an old friend of mine Feels nice that someone appreciates the work I put into it enough to want it for himelf. And also to sell a casting and have some cash to invest back into the backyard foundry... but I do sort of miss having it. Oh well, I will be making another, and I don't need two bronze axes anyhow. By all reports my friend has been making good use of it on the farm, so I'm glad it hasn't become just a wall-hanger. Him and his partner already have a real scythe-peening anvil (of course I had no idea this was true until long after doing all that research online), so they are all set to keep that axe nicely "honed and ready".

Yes, I have told him that "honed and ready" is the only acceptable reply when I greet him every week from now on at our board/RP game night with, "Is your axe sharp, my lord?"... I do plan to hold him to that.
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Re: Honed And Ready: First Men-Inspired Homemade Bronze Axe

Postby ArristanTheOld » Tue May 30, 2017 1:34 pm

Well I finally got the non-rainy weekend I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for, time to cast something! Figured I'd pick something fun and hopefully not too tricky, to cast in aluminum, to ease me back into things after a long winter hiatus that took over most of the spring as well... I like to think of it as a warm-up for when I will cast the Second Bronze Axe of the First Men, molded from a new and improved axe pattern.

Too bad, my fun skull-shaped ashtray froze up before the mold filled.

Image

Aargh, so close! Problems with the gating (ie, the pathway that leads the molten metal into the part to be cast; stuff that gets cut off during the finishing process, to be re-melted later), and possibly it was poured a little too cool. I know how to fix both, hopefully I will get a second chance this coming weekend. They're actually NOT calling for rain if you can believe it! That's twice in a row, but I think it might also be twice this year...

But I will have to decide between casting another skull shaped ashtray and taking the kids to Upper Canada Village for their annual Medieval Festival. The highlight is always the Knights of Valour, who are real jousters, no scripts or half-sawed-through lances or anything like that. Google-fodder: The owner of the company was the host of a show called Full Metal Jousting on History a few years ago. I may pick casting though; the KoV will be back for more jousting awesomeness even closer to my place in a month or two when they make their annual appearance at the Osgoode Medieval Festival. I do love watching 'the original extreme sport' though, so I can't quite rule out trying to catch 2 shows this year...
Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

My videos - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxrbU ... ENpVGbAjOw
User avatar
ArristanTheOld
Novice
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:32 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
House: Manwoody

Next

Return to Images and Videos of Ice and Fire

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron