Flanged axe with stopridge

Found: Epe, Gelderland
Age: 1400 BC

This axe was found together with a palstave and sickle wrapped in linen cloth, and was probably a sacrificial offer. The palstave is of the type found in south England and the sickle is of a central European type. This axe is a local product, and therefore the more a reason for me to use as an example. This axe, together with the palstave, are currently on display in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.

The model
Material: clay & sand

To make the mould, I first made a model from clay and sand. Models have rarely been found, except for a few wooden sword models. Clay is much easier to shape then wood, and it doesn't require any tools. As non-baken clay doesn't stay preserved, if this method was used there won't be any archeological evidence. So I'm considering this a plausible method for how they may have made  models.

The mould
Material: clay & sand

The mould is made by first making two equally sized plates of clay. These I covered in charcoal powder, to make them less sticky. Then I pressed the model into the clay, and finished the mould. After drying the mould was baked in a low temperature fire. 

Casting result
To cast the axe, I made as many liquid bronze as could fit in my crucible, to make sure I had enough. So I melted two balls of copper, and then added the tin. The first time I wanted to cast the surface was solid, so I put the crucible back into the furnace. This happened a second time, but the third time it was properly liquid. The first two times the charcoal may have been placed unfavorably, letting cold air blow directly onto the bronze. In the mean time a lot of small pieces of charcoal were in the bronze. Although I saw that a large amount of bronze was in the mould, I was afraid that a lot of the charcoal had gone in as well. But this wasn't the case. The rather thin and wide funnel probably stopped them. A small piece of the end is missing though, so the axe is a little shorter. But as the model was made a little to long, that isn't a problem. And I don't need to remove the feed, so that saves a lot of work!

The axehead is almost finished. The flash is removed, and the remains hammered flat using anvil and hammer stones. This saved a lot of grinding. The edge is hammered thin in several steps, with annealing in between. Only after the last step the annealing was left away to keep the hardness of the edge. The axe was then sharpened further. Some polishing has been done, but more is needed to remove the oxidation due to the annealing. Then it will be ready to be hafted.

Finished axe
The axe is fully finished. The cutting edge has been improved, as the angle was to large. The axe has been polished using a smooth stone.

The haft is made out of ash wood, with as example the haft found at Guldhoj, Denmark. The only main difference is that the
original is made out of the stem of the tree, with a branch, while mine is made from a branch with side branch. This haft I had made some time ago, and tested it with a leather string to bind the axehead to the haft. This didn't work well. The axehead could be pulled out of the haft easily, and the axehead started to split the haft. The latter could be solved by using a much stiffer binding material, such as rawhide or intestine. These shrink when drying, so they squeeze the haft together. To secure the axehead and binding a glue such as birch tar, hide glue or resin can be used. When I have these I'll re-attach the axehead and test it again.

Hafted axe
The axe has been hafted using boiled woodtar and rawhide. After the rawhide was dried, it was covered with beeswax, to make it waterproof. So far this attachment proves quite sturdy.