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Copper flat axe
 

Original
 
Found: ?
Age: 1900-1700 BC
 
 
Mould
 
Material: clay & sand

As example for this axe I used the mould which can be seen in the Shrewsbury Museum. I wanted to try and cast in an open mould, the first form of casting metal axes. To my knowledge flat axes cast in open mould have not been found in the Netherlands though. The oldest metal flat axes found here were already cast in bivalve moulds, and were made from bronze or Singen-metal. 

Casting result
 
The casting was relatively easy. A piece of charcoal fell in it, but as it was just laying on top of the bronze, I could remove it easily. The photo on the left shows the top side, which was exposed during the cast. The photo on the right shows the bottom side. The axe is not completely perfect, as it has a blow hole near the front, though this is hardly visible. These kind of holes often occur when casting copper, as copper dissolves air much easier then bronze when liquid. So that makes casting copper much more difficult, so I'm very pleased with the result! And casting in an open mould is definately spectacular to see, as you can see the hot liquid metal flow and cool down in the mould.

Finishing the axehead
 
To finish the axe, I first hammered the surface as level as possible and hammering out the cutting edge, using a hammerstone. For this I had to anneal the axe several times. After that was done I ground the axe over an old tuyere, and then polished it with flint. This took about 6 hours, relatively quick as the metal is relatively soft. After hardening the cutting edge it got hard enough to make it a very decent axe, despite the very low tin contents (from some bronze that was stuck in the crucible from previous castings). The axe should now be hafted, but suitable hafts are very hard to come by, so I'm keeping this axe as is.