Bowl Carver adzes

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Martin Pansch
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Bowl Carver adzes

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:00 pm

My very first Guild meeting back in 1997 (I think), before I was even in the Guild, was at Historic Fort Snelling. I worked there at the time under Tom Sanders. After the potluck in the officer's quarters Tom demonstrated turning a claw hammer head into a bowl carvers adzes. Ben Heinricks and I triple struck for Tom. I remember the steel, even at near welding temp, was still loathe to move but we got it done. It was a great lesson in repurposing old tools into something useful. In this case it saved a lot of time in punching and drifting the adze eye too. Fast forward to today. I have made an occasional bowl carvers adze from old ball peen hammers for bowl and spoon carvers. Recently I just did a batch of 10 though only 9 made it to the end. Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of the whole process, tough to photo and work at the same time sometimes.

The first shot is of the 10 hammers that are donating their bodies to science. I checked out the size of the eye on both sides. If one is bigger than the other that should be the top. I used a cut off wheel on an angle grinder to cut the cheeks off the top so it is essentially flat across the top.
Hammers with the tops clipped.jpg
Hammers with the tops clipped.jpg (201.27 KiB) Viewed 4490 times
The forging is where I really felt the advantage of having a power hammer and a gas forge. The hammer was one of the Ray Clontz style tire hammers from the Clay Spencer led workshop in 2007 but equipped with some homemade drawing dies. The gas forge is just one of the sweet little one burners from Jim Moenck’s workshop from several years ago (which he has improved even more since then). I was able to heat three heads at a time. By the time one had cooled down too much to forge it went back in and the next was ready. I was moving almost constantly for about 2 ½ hours though 85% of the work was under the power hammer so I wasn’t too worn out. I only needed to hand hammer to cup and curve the blade. Here is a shot of one cupped but not quite curved enough.
bowl adze forged.jpg
bowl adze forged.jpg (169.35 KiB) Viewed 4490 times
After they were forged to size they all went in the vermiculite to anneal.
10 adzes forged.jpg
10 adzes forged.jpg (175.13 KiB) Viewed 4490 times
Afterwards I trimmed them to size with a cut-off wheel on an angle grinder and pickled them to knock the scale off. Then to the 2x72” belt grinder (another Guild build) with a 36 grit belt. I recently replaced my 4” drive wheel with a 6” so boy does it take the steel off now. I smoothed the out outer curve of the blade with slack belt grinding. The inside of the curve I did with a 2” contact wheel though the curve isn’t uniform, it is flatter on the bottom, so I ground the inside curves of both ends and then moved the wheel back and forth across the middle to flatten it out. Then back to the forge for heat treating.

With the odd shape of the adze it took me a little messing around to figure out the best way to get it to the critical temperature without overheating and then how to draw the temper best. I finally struck upon sticking the adze blade down into the brick trough of my forge so the heat hit a little further back. I could it most of the business end of the blade up to –almost- the right temp doing that. Then a little moving the adze in and out of the flame took it the rest of the way. After quenching them in oil I polished the blade a little with sand paper and put them on the top of the forge to stay somewhat warm until I tempered them. This photo shows me hardening the 10th one. The problem child. It just wouldn’t get hard. I tried it twice in oil and then twice in water and the file still would bite. No idea what the deal with it was. It sparked like high carbon. I’ll come back to it later. I plan to forge weld a steel 1095 bit to the inside. “Aut inveniam via aut faciam” and all that.
Hardening adze.JPG
Hardening adze.JPG (117.56 KiB) Viewed 4490 times
To be continued...

Martin Pansch
Posts: 311
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Bowl Carver adzes

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:04 pm

After the hardening came tempering. I stuck the ball peen end of the adze into the gas forge and let it get a dull orange. The adzes were long enough, and steel a poor enough conductor of heat, that I was able to stretch the temper colors and get a good inch of light brown on the business ends. Re-quenched the blade to arrest the process and let the rest cool down slowly. Then back to the belt grinder. Used an old 36 grit to knock off the scale and any missed shaping. Then a 120-grit over that. Then a 220 (I think) gator back belt to give it a nice smooth satin finish. They ended up looking like this:
Nine bowl adzes 22NOV2015 (640x480).jpg
Nine bowl adzes 22NOV2015 (640x480).jpg (154.56 KiB) Viewed 4489 times
Nine bowl adzes side 22NOV2015 (640x480).jpg
Nine bowl adzes side 22NOV2015 (640x480).jpg (174.92 KiB) Viewed 4489 times
I always learn a lot when doing a batch of anything. If I do another batch of these I am not going to grind the bevels until the very end as it made it too easy to overheat and ruin the temper. I also might make a drift so I can drift up any of the smaller eyes to closer match the larger ones. I might also make some special tongs to hang onto ball peens better than bolt tongs when under the power hammer. Maybe next time I will actually get enough photos of the steps to do a real how-to Metalsmith article!

I would love to hear any feedback, questions, or peels of derisive laughter you got.

Take care.

wayne.olson
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:52 pm

Re: Bowl Carver adzes

Unread post by wayne.olson » Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:20 pm

Nice job!-Wayne

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