Danish Viking Battle Axe
"The Head Splitter"
This is a pretty wild item. In my hands it feels a lot like a stickball bat or a golf driver, except that it has an ax head ... a sharp axe head ... at the end. It is really long and really light and easy to generate tremendous head speed with one or two hands. It's easy to see how this design would have been a deadly weapon.
Here is a description written by Dan:
I was inspired to make this axe after my trip to Scandinavia and its Viking age museums last winter.
It was handforged from 1055 high carbon steel. The eye of the axe was forge-welded onto itself, the way they did it a 1000 years ago. After forging it, the blade was normalised, quenched in oil and tempered 3 times at 220C to achieve the finest grain structure and relieve it of all stresses that had built up during the process, therefore making it tough and durable, after that it was hand sanded to 220 grit satin finish.
Elegant thin blade construction derives from its originally intended use - splitting heads and taking off limbs and thus making it an overall fighting axe, but unlike other reenactment axes, this one comes sharp."
- Overall width of the Ax Head: 7 inches (18 cm)
- Width of the Cutting Edge (Point to Point): 4 inches (10.5 cm)
- Overall Weight: About 14 ounces (almost 400 grams)
- Handle: 43 inches (110 cm) long.
- The handle is thin, hand carved ash in natural color
- The head has been carefully fitted to the handle and secured by a wedge
- The handle is not round, but sort of egg-shaped. This shape enhances the grip but also, very importantly, lets the bearer of the weapon know intuitively the orientation of the blade. The fighter can direct complete visual attention to the enemy because there is no need to look at the Ax Head ... far more effective than a simpler, round handle
The long handle and very light weight make it possible to wield this weapon very quickly and to strike with great speed. Many of the pieces we have are dual-use ... good for woodworking as well as war, for example ... but not this one. This is purely a weapon.
The geometry of the Ax Head makes this type of Ax difficult to forge. In order for the Ax to be handled with ease and speed, it needs to be light, which means the Head needs to be thin. But forging a thin head is difficult, leaving little room for adjustments ... so the forging must come out just right prior to grinding and polishing. These requirements lead to a relatively high failure rate at the forging step.