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Subject:

Re: Why would copper-age man waste his axe cutting down trees?

From:

Michael Haseler <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Arch-Metals Group <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 Sep 2007 15:08:58 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (93 lines)

>
> I have cast and used these axes to cut down 8" trees with out any
> problem. A
> lot of resharpening.  You may need to modify your hafting. Also are you
> using pure modern copper out of curiosity?
>

Dan,

Nothing but the best B&Q** water pipe copper is good enough! To be honest,
it was just some pipe lying around so that I could show my father in law the
process of making an axe - the mould was nothing more than damp playpit sand
(too damp as it happened).

Whether or not it needs sharpening depends very much on the wood. I couldn't
understand why I was having so much problem and having to resharpen it so
often on the first bit, until I tried a normal steel axe and discovered that
it was as tough as ... I guess aluminium (probably dried rhododendron).

When I used it on some fairly fresh cherry, and some silver birch, huge
chunks came out and fairly soon I forgot I was using copper axe altogether -
and then I started "thrashing" the blade as I do with a steel axe and not
caring whether I was getting a very square cut into the wood and one side
bent a little.

If it means anything, the blow has to be fairly quick but gentle and without
follow through - I think that means the blade is hitting the wood very
squarely and the lack of follow through prevents the blade twisting in the
cut. If the blade hits at any kind of angle - and worse still if it has a
glancing blow - the sidewards force is going to bend the end.

I suppose the other "novel" thing about using a copper axe is having to plan
the cut in more detail. With a steel axe you can do almost anything you
like, and I've yet to see one bend. With a copper axe you need to plan your
excavation of the wood so that you have a positive target and don't end up
trying to dig into a sloping bit of the side which dramatically increases
the risk of a glancing blow.

The other thing is that when I use a steel axe and the wood chip doesn't
come out, when I chop if the chip doesn't fly out I twist the axe a little
to lever up the chipping. Obviously with a copper axe, that's a complete
no-no, and so to be efficient in the cut, you need to plan the work a little
better so as to ensure the chips will come out at the blow and not have to
be removed between blows. Therefore the chips have to be smaller and so the
aim has to be better - and all in all, a copper axe is a tool for an
experienced expert. So owning a copper axe would no doubt be a status symbol
of a master axe-man - something that no kid would be allowed to get their
hands on, without some worried dad looking on in case their precious
"Ferrari" was damaged!

** (Bush & Quail - a DIY shop!)

Mike
> Dan
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Michael Haseler" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 4:42 AM
> Subject: Why would copper-age man waste his axe cutting down trees?
>
>
> > After a bit of research, I discovered my rough sand-cast copper axe was
> > actually not much different in size and shape from Otzi's so I
> thought it
> > was time to find a handle and use it as an axe rather than a knife.
> >
> > After a few preliminary blows held by mole-grips, and an
> adjustment of the
> > cutting edge angle, I set out into the woods looking for a knobbly tree.
> To
> > cut a long story short, I now have a copper axe, and although
> it requires
> a
> > slightly different technique using bit more care, it really is a fine
> tool.
> > Indeed, my 11yr son thought it was superior to the hand-axe (possibly
> > because it was sharper - possibly because it was a better weight).
> >
> > Now as a man that owns three (sorry four) axes, has on his xmas list a
> > fifth, I know my axes, and this copper axe is not a felling
> axe. OK, I can
> > get through a 4" fresh log with relative ease - and when I
> (un)learn some
> of
> > the bad technique an iron axe lets you get away I won't have to
> hammer it
> > back in line after every tree, but why would someone thrash such a nice
> > blade on chopping big logs?
> >
> > Surely, it would be simpler just to light a fire at the base,
> and stoke it
> > for a few hours and watch the tree fall over with almost no effort?
> >

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