1700s belt axe or hatchet

lenmac65

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Jul 28, 2009
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I dug this axe head about a week ago by a pre-1850 cellar hole and posted it on the “what is it” forum. I got some good feedback that confirms my thinking that this is possibly a 1700s belt axe or hatchet/tomahawk. It is about six inches long, has no back edge poll to speak of, and appears to have a seam, perhaps formed when the iron was folded over in the forging process. I also see a small vertical indentation, which I think might be the remains of a blacksmith maker’s mark, similar to the one in the non-dug photo of a 1700s trade axe. The axe shape looks very similar to this Kentucky Style axe I found posted online, which also claims to be 1700s. I have not dug many other items to help date it, though I did find (and post) a 1700s coin spill about 100 feet from this hole back in January (two Fugios, 1754 2-reale, and a 1797 LC). I am pretty excited about this axe, and will hang it in my shed with some other axes, horseshoes, and locks. If anyone on this forum has any thoughts about the age or axe type, I’d love to hear them. Thanks and happy hunting.
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Upvote 23

pepperj

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Congrats, certainly a top shelf recovery
Plan for restoration if any?
 

BennyV

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Looks like a dead ringer to me based on shape and size
 

Tpmetal

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looks like a 1700's fur trade era axe to me for sure. Great find!
 

Digger RJ

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Aug 24, 2017
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I dug this axe head about a week ago by a pre-1850 cellar hole and posted it on the “what is it” forum. I got some good feedback that confirms my thinking that this is possibly a 1700s belt axe or hatchet/tomahawk. It is about six inches long, has no back edge poll to speak of, and appears to have a seam, perhaps formed when the iron was folded over in the forging process. I also see a small vertical indentation, which I think might be the remains of a blacksmith maker’s mark, similar to the one in the non-dug photo of a 1700s trade axe. The axe shape looks very similar to this Kentucky Style axe I found posted online, which also claims to be 1700s. I have not dug many other items to help date it, though I did find (and post) a 1700s coin spill about 100 feet from this hole back in January (two Fugios, 1754 2-reale, and a 1797 LC). I am pretty excited about this axe, and will hang it in my shed with some other axes, horseshoes, and locks. If anyone on this forum has any thoughts about the age or axe type, I’d love to hear them. Thanks and happy hunting. View attachment 2058791 View attachment 2058792 View attachment 2058793 View attachment 2058794 View attachment 2058795 View attachment 2058796
Cool old Hatchet!!!!! Congrats!!!!
 
OP
lenmac65

lenmac65

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Congrats, certainly a top shelf recovery
Plan for restoration if any?
Thanks! I would like to try electrolysis, but I don’t have a set up. Plus, I would probably gas or shock myself 😁. Might look into any way, or soak in white vinegar, which I think some have had success with. It would be nice to clean it up a bit, for sure.
 

oldmxrat

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Thanks. I really need to look into making a set up, as I would love to clean this up.
Super easy, just a plastic bucket, a car battery or charger(not automatic), a random chunk of steel for an anode and some washing soda. Blam!, rust gone. Just hook your pos. lead to the chunk of steel and the neg. to your work with about 1/4 cup washing soda per gallon.
Can't wait to see it cleaned up!
 

pepperj

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Thanks! I would like to try electrolysis, but I don’t have a set up. Plus, I would probably gas or shock myself 😁. Might look into any way, or soak in white vinegar, which I think some have had success with. It would be nice to clean it up a bit, for sure.
Apple cider vinegar has been used before.
Setting up a tank is this next years project for myself.
 
OP
lenmac65

lenmac65

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Super easy, just a plastic bucket, a car battery or charger(not automatic), a random chunk of steel for an anode and some washing soda. Blam!, rust gone. Just hook your pos. lead to the chunk of steel and the neg. to your work with about 1/4 cup washing soda per gallon.
Can't wait to see it cleaned up!
Thanks for the info. That does sound easy, though I don’t have a charger. I would have to get one or some other sort of power supply.
 
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lenmac65

lenmac65

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I dug one years ago. It had a very distinct British broad arrow. The French would stamp the fleur-de-lis on their trade goods as well.
Thanks. Very cool! Did you clean yours up? If so, what method? Was the mark real obvious, or did you have to de-rust it to see it? It would be great if electrolysis made the mark on my axe clearer.
 

Scrounge Wanderer

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Jan 1, 2022
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I dug this axe head about a week ago by a pre-1850 cellar hole and posted it on the “what is it” forum. I got some good feedback that confirms my thinking that this is possibly a 1700s belt axe or hatchet/tomahawk. It is about six inches long, has no back edge poll to speak of, and appears to have a seam, perhaps formed when the iron was folded over in the forging process. I also see a small vertical indentation, which I think might be the remains of a blacksmith maker’s mark, similar to the one in the non-dug photo of a 1700s trade axe. The axe shape looks very similar to this Kentucky Style axe I found posted online, which also claims to be 1700s. I have not dug many other items to help date it, though I did find (and post) a 1700s coin spill about 100 feet from this hole back in January (two Fugios, 1754 2-reale, and a 1797 LC). I am pretty excited about this axe, and will hang it in my shed with some other axes, horseshoes, and locks. If anyone on this forum has any thoughts about the age or axe type, I’d love to hear them. Thanks and happy hunting. View attachment 2058791 View attachment 2058792 View attachment 2058793 View attachment 2058794 View attachment 2058795 View attachment 2058796
liking the big iron, I'm getting into some electro this winter for sure hopefully u r 2, good luck with the restoration
 

Scrounge Wanderer

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Thanks for the info. That does sound easy, though I don’t have a charger. I would have to get one or some other sort of power supply.
I found an old plug in transformer style plug for an old cordless phone from nineties, cut the cylindrical plug off and stripped wires back and crimped on copper alligator clips (do not use stainless steel it creates chromium gas very bad for you) pretty easy cheap power source a dollar at most thriftstores (@9v output is good but use big enough clips for larger artifacts)
 

CAP

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Thanks. Very cool! Did you clean yours up? If so, what method? Was the mark real obvious, or did you have to de-rust it to see it? It would be great if electrolysis made the mark on my axe clearer.
It was clear as soon as I dug it. It was in remarkable shape with little oxidation. Probably because it was under this flat rock about a foot square. I figure the rock protected it all those years.Apparently it was new when lost. No wear could be found on it. I have placed several of my iron artifacts in distilled water and calcium carbonate until I can properly conserve them.
 

nagant

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I used an old wallwart 12 volt transformer too. Used powdered citric acid for canning. But tons of youtubes on the process.
 
OP
lenmac65

lenmac65

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Jul 28, 2009
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Massachusetts
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Detector(s) used
Garrett AT Pro, Equinox 800 (as of 10/2019)
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #20
I found an old plug in transformer style plug for an old cordless phone from nineties, cut the cylindrical plug off and stripped wires back and crimped on copper alligator clips (do not use stainless steel it creates chromium gas very bad for you) pretty easy cheap power source a dollar at most thriftstores (@9v output is good but use big enough clips for larger artifacts)
Thanks! I might have something like that lying around from a cordless or cell phone.
 

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