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Copper flat axe 2

Original
 
Found: Beek, Gelderland
Age: late neolithic, 3000-2000 BC

Copper flat axes such as this one have been found in the Netherlands from the period before the bronze age. This were exceptions however, as most axes were still made from stone. So the Netherlands didn't have a real copper age, but some copper artifacts did find there way here.

The mould
 
Material: clay & sand

For this axe I used an open mould. It's possible a bivalve mould was used, but that I can't verify.
Here the mould I used can be seen after firing.

Casting result
For the axe I used pure copper. The original did contain a small amount of impurities such as antimony and arsenic. These I left away. This makes the casting more difficult as pure copper can absorb oxygen, which results in a porous cast. Fortunately, the cast was pretty solid. Because it was an open mould cast, there will be quite a bit of shaping by hammering left to do. But as copper is soft, this won't be too difficult.

Finished axehead
Using smooth stones, I could beat the axehead into shape. As this is pure copper, I only had to anneal it once. The cutting edge was hammered thin to almost sharp. By this hammering, the metal considerably hardened, and felt even harder then most bronze in cast state. After further grinding I got a good sharp cutting edge. The axe was further ground on a flat piece of sandstone, and using a piece of dried clay with sand, I could smoothen out the last irregularities.