View Full Version : An axe to grind

23rd Dec 2019, 06:37 PM
I wasn't sure if I should bother posting this because I know a lot of you think this sort of thing is pointless as it has no purpose. Think of it as an apprentice piece, because I am just learning.

I asked PDW for advice regarding what I'd need to get a fine finish on stainless steel. its quite tricky to get a clear optical finish on stainless steel. I didn't know if a small mill would be good enough but he helped me pick out a kondia powermill which I stripped and rebuilt. Machtool rebuilt the quill because i can't work to the precision he does. He also does his own thing regarding technique, which people all over the world argue with him about. Another guy with mad skills. I think the results speak for themselves, as to how fine a finish a bigger mill can give . I find its so time consuming to polish stainless steel, but the mill gives a finish with marks that i think must be sub micron, going by how easy it is to polish. My chinese 300x 1000 lathe gives a nice looking finish but when you try to polish it, its just not flat the same way the mill finish is. I had to spend loads of time polishing the lathe finish and that makes it really difficult to keep a flat surface flat. If you rely on polishing mops, you won't get a dead flat surface.

This guy https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCworsKCR-Sx6R6-BnIjS2MA/videos is amazing, but he uses smaller hobby machines. I think the finish he gets off is lathe and mill look really poor, but his skill makes up for it when he finishes parts by hand. In this one though, even his skills don't make up for the poor quality machining, and this is just working in brass and aluminium. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3V42KwLTeE its something people argue over quite often, but for me its been worth getting a second hand professional mill.
It was something I always wondered, if you really need to get industrial quality machines for home stuff. I was glad I asked PDW's advice.

23rd Dec 2019, 07:44 PM
Not pointless to me, thanks for the post, I appreciate fully the work that goes into something like this, and for those who
think it is pointless they are ones missing out, it is a thing of beauty and skill.

Michael G
23rd Dec 2019, 07:55 PM
Well done. A very nice piece of work.


Grahame Collins
23rd Dec 2019, 09:26 PM
Very nice work,
I have seen a welded axe and stump before but never one taken to that level of finish.

It is only pointless to those that can not appreciate the skill and patience needed to achieve that high level of work.


23rd Dec 2019, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the kind comments guys, that's made my day. I wasn't sure at all how an arty farty thing would go down in such an egnineery orientated forum.

There's actually a bit more to it. My father-in-law was a welder in the clyde shipyards in the 50/60's. He made one of these and it was amazing quality, especially because he used hand tools and said he built it up one drip at a time (obviously not with a 600 amp stick welder). I suspect a lot of welders made something like this in their spare time back then. My wife grew up with it around and never realised he had actually made it, she thought it was something bought. We left glasgow 25 years ago and never saw him again. Family's being what they are when it comes to money, we got nothing at all from his moveable estate despite her being sole heir. Think Donald trump as an executor. My wife would have loved his model, because he made it. Anyway, this is a present for her xmas. Its as close as i can remember, in fact I am very pleased how close. To this day i don't know how he welded the axe onto the stump. I did mine in a kind of obvious way, but thats not what he did. His axe just grew out the SS and I can only imagine he did as he said, and dripped it on. How he managed to then file it back into shape and keep such a flat top with such a fine finish is beyond me. Stainless is very slow to work with by hand.

Grahame Collins
23rd Dec 2019, 10:23 PM
As I said earlier, I first saw one years ago.It was featured in the Lincoln periodic booklet for the trade that came out a couple of times a year.

I marveled at the bark pattern on the stump created by careful arc placement. I recall it had a matchbox beside it for scale.

I thought it was great, but yours is better by a country mile.

Arc art is what I call it.

First class!


24th Dec 2019, 12:48 PM