Axe head: Identification and Preservation help needed.
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Thread: Axe head: Identification and Preservation help needed.

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  1. #1

    Aug 2013
    118
    42 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Axe head: Identification and Preservation help needed.

    Hi everyone,

    Dug this up yesterday in a city park that was established in 1887. Thought it was an ax head until I saw how angled it was on the back of the head. Figured then, that it was a maybe a wedge for splitting logs. Didn't seem to have a hole for a handle. Cleaned it up today and realized that it did have holes for the handle with the hole at the top being smaller than the hole underneath. Can't figure out why it would have been made with an angle on the back of the head, though. All the axes that I've ever used have had a flat back. Any thoughts from you, guys and girls? Also need advice on the best way to preserve it. Thanks.

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  2. #2
    us
    MUD(S.W.A.T)

    Apr 2005
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    To me it looks like you have, half an Axe head. I think that it is broken in half.

    Keep @ it and HH !!
    TAG: MUD(S.W.A.T)
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    "Where you find Silver, you should find Gold."

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    Jan 2009
    South East Tennessee on Ga, Ala line
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    Check out the cleaning and preservation section. You might use electrolysis on it. You will be able to tell a lot more about it. Nice find and good luck!
    Please read our rules and enjoy the site. TreasureNet.com Rules

    All finds posted by me are from private property with landowner permission.

  4. #4
    us
    Feb 2014
    Cleveland OH
    Whites Eagle SL II Fisher F2 BH Landstar Pro-Find 25
    27
    12 times
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    Axes for removing bark from trees or shaping logs for timber framing would have angles like that so you could strike parallel to the log. Look up videos on use of a Broadaxe.
    Sometimes the handle would even be steam bent to help keep the knuckles intact.
    As for preserving:
    Option1 : If you like the way it looks and keep it dry, it should not rust further. You could spray it with a light oil coating.
    Option 2: An electrolysis bath will dissolve all the rust away leaving bare metal. Of course the bare metal will be pitted, since you can't turn rust back into solid metal.
    I once found an old railroad pickhead, gave it some electrolysis, painted it black and will eventually make a handle for it.
    Then it will be a unique conversation piece, although not really worth anything.
    Now if you're from Europe and this was a Roman artifact then that's a different story.

  5. #5

    Aug 2013
    118
    42 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by GaryInOhio View Post
    Axes for removing bark from trees or shaping logs for timber framing would have angles like that so you could strike parallel to the log. Look up videos on use of a Broadaxe.
    Sometimes the handle would even be steam bent to help keep the knuckles intact.
    As for preserving:
    Option1 : If you like the way it looks and keep it dry, it should not rust further. You could spray it with a light oil coating.
    Option 2: An electrolysis bath will dissolve all the rust away leaving bare metal. Of course the bare metal will be pitted, since you can't turn rust back into solid metal.
    I once found an old railroad pickhead, gave it some electrolysis, painted it black and will eventually make a handle for it.
    Then it will be a unique conversation piece, although not really worth anything.
    Now if you're from Europe and this was a Roman artifact then that's a different story.
    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the info and the advice on preservation. I've looked for images of broad axes and different axes but still haven't seen any with angled polls. I'll continue the search for timber framing and bark removal axes .... this is turning out to be more interesting than I expected.

    Shenton

  6. #6
    us
    Feb 2014
    Cleveland OH
    Whites Eagle SL II Fisher F2 BH Landstar Pro-Find 25
    27
    12 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    You may not find anything that looks exactly like yours. Remember, old enough tools were made by individual local blacksmiths...not big factories. Often tools were made to fit a buyers needs or specifications, or just made the way that blacksmith thought they should be made...and there were once a LOT of blacksmiths.

  7. #7
    us
    JP

    Jan 2013
    Bradford, NH
    AT PRO
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    The old Axeheads were hammer forged by local Blacksmiths in many shapes and sizes.
    Most however were made using the same format //
    The bit or blade was a pc of hard steel (expensive and thus kept small)
    The Head including the handle hole was made from soft iron folded over and than hammer welded to the bit.//
    if the axe was used as a hammer often the Head was misshappined and/or broken and thus descarded (and we find them)
    note in the pictures the crack along the bit weld//



  8. #8

    Aug 2013
    118
    42 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by perry View Post
    The old Axeheads were hammer forged by local Blacksmiths in many shapes and sizes.
    Most however were made using the same format //
    The bit or blade was a pc of hard steel (expensive and thus kept small)
    The Head including the handle hole was made from soft iron folded over and than hammer welded to the bit.//
    if the axe was used as a hammer often the Head was misshappined and/or broken and thus descarded (and we find them)
    note in the pictures the crack along the bit weld//



    Thanks Perry and Gary for the education in axe head making and the reminder that even though we all want to be artisans, there are artisans ... and then, there are ARTISANS. Your comments reminded me of some of the tools I made in metal work class in high school. LOL! Lets just say it wasn't my in destiny!
    Davers likes this.

  9. #9
    us
    Jun 2013
    n.h.
    DEUS,root slayer
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.tan View Post
    Thanks Perry and Gary for the education in axe head making and the reminder that even though we all want to be artisans, there are artisans ... and then, there are ARTISANS. Your comments reminded me of some of the tools I made in metal work class in high school. LOL! Lets just say it wasn't my in destiny!
    the areas i searched last year I found 12 axe heads.5 have that pyramid notch on the bottom.I wonder what the point was

  10. #10
    us
    Old Tom Cat.

    Jan 2013
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    Yep, I have dug a few that are cracked in the same way the pictures show.

    Always cool to find something different .
    Davers

  11. #11
    us
    JP

    Jan 2013
    Bradford, NH
    AT PRO
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    If by Pyramid notch you mean the wings at the handle hole they were an attempt to protect the handle from a near miss (over shot when splitting ) or other miss swings P.

  12. #12
    us
    Relic Hunter & Raconteur Extraordinaire

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    I've restored several of these old axe heads. I prefer using apple cider vinegar soaks to electrolysis, though both methods work well. I simply use water and a wire brush to knock off as much rust as possible, then soak in ACV for a day or so and use the wire brush again. I repeat that process for as long as it takes - sometimes a few days, sometimes a few weeks. I then use a Dremel or drill equipped with a brush to remove the rest of the rust. Then coat with cooking oil (to prevent flash rust), put it in an oven at 200 degrees for an hour, then use something like 3 in 1 oil to coat and prevent the rust from returning. I then put them on handles and display them, use them or give them away. It works well for me.
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    "A land without ruins is a land without memories -- a land without memories is a land without history." ~ Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan, Poet Laureate of the Confederacy

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  13. #13
    us
    Feb 2014
    Cleveland OH
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    Old Stonewall's cider method is very similar to using Coca-Cola, as both have acidic properties (acetic acid in vinegar, phosphoric acid in Coke). The soaking can take quite a bit longer than electrolysis, but will work. Unfortunately if left too long, an acid soak will also start eating away good metal. A famous high school experiment is to throw some new nails into a jar of Coke and see how long they take to dissolve. Electrolysis, however, will not damage the non-rusted metal underneath.

  14. #14
    us
    Jun 2013
    n.h.
    DEUS,root slayer
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryInOhio View Post
    Old Stonewall's cider method is very similar to using Coca-Cola, as both have acidic properties (acetic acid in vinegar, phosphoric acid in Coke). The soaking can take quite a bit longer than electrolysis, but will work. Unfortunately if left too long, an acid soak will also start eating away good metal. A famous high school experiment is to throw some new nails into a jar of Coke and see how long they take to dissolve. Electrolysis, however, will not damage the non-rusted metal underneath.
    I agree electrolysis is quicker but the vinegar method is much less complicated.

 

 

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