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Otzi style axe. 664

No Life Club Posts: 3,105 American Clandestine Materials Executive (ACME)
Otzi style axe.
« on: August 07, 2017, 05:38:36 AM »
So, I've been toying with the idea of building an axe like that found with Otzi (the ice man) for a while now. There is an article in the current Backwoodsman Magazine about something similar. This guy used an old chisel and ground the sides down.

My troubles are, around here people have crazy hipster prices on their antiques and I don't have power tools tight now other than my drill, even my dremel is in storage.

I toyed with the idea of using a plane blade, but it looks too thin. Alternatively, something like the County Comm Breacher Bar might work with some sharpening. I was also thinking about a side strike chisel of modern design and some sweat. Partner it up with some leather padding, a simple sheath, and some cordage, and with the help of a SAK or LM make handles as needed.

In usage, it gets used several ways-
-Push knife/chisel
-Hack knife/batonning blade if the side is sharpened
-Draw knife if the side is sharppened
-mounted to a shaft with the sharp side inward, digging tool
-butt end can be a scraper.
-adze when mounted on a forked stick
-light hatchet/hawk when mounted perpendicular in a split, straight stick

Advantages is that it is easily carried, both size and weight, and versatile..

So, I'm looking for three questions.

One, sanity check. Have I lost my mind? I don't think I have- Otzi was high tech for his time, and his gear had to work.

Two, has anyone made one and how did it work? Compact and versatile are often the enemies of working well, but I'm looking for something that is for a very small kit.

Three, if there really is a rabbit to chase here, am I underthinking or over thinking my options for making the blade?

I want it to be as capable as possible, but I won't lie. I"m going nutty without projects. I need a project that works and is cheap.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 05:48:41 AM by ironraven »

"Even if it is only the handful of people I meet on the street, or in my home, I can still protect them with this one sword" Kenshin Himura

Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility, Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on it's own dunghill.

Necessity is the mother of invention. If you're not ready, it's "a mother". If you are, it's "mom".
No Life Club Posts: 1,219
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2017, 05:12:19 PM »
So, I've been toying with the idea of building an axe like that found with Otzi (the ice man) for a while now. There is an article in the current Backwoodsman Magazine about something similar. This guy used an old chisel and ground the sides down.

My troubles are, around here people have crazy hipster prices on their antiques and I don't have power tools tight now other than my drill, even my dremel is in storage.

I toyed with the idea of using a plane blade, but it looks too thin. Alternatively, something like the County Comm Breacher Bar might work with some sharpening. I was also thinking about a side strike chisel of modern design and some sweat. Partner it up with some leather padding, a simple sheath, and some cordage, and with the help of a SAK or LM make handles as needed.

In usage, it gets used several ways-
-Push knife/chisel
-Hack knife/batonning blade if the side is sharpened
-Draw knife if the side is sharppened
-mounted to a shaft with the sharp side inward, digging tool
-butt end can be a scraper.
-adze when mounted on a forked stick
-light hatchet/hawk when mounted perpendicular in a split, straight stick

Advantages is that it is easily carried, both size and weight, and versatile..

So, I'm looking for three questions.

One, sanity check. Have I lost my mind? I don't think I have- Otzi was high tech for his time, and his gear had to work.

Two, has anyone made one and how did it work? Compact and versatile are often the enemies of working well, but I'm looking for something that is for a very small kit.

Three, if there really is a rabbit to chase here, am I underthinking or over thinking my options for making the blade?

I want it to be as capable as possible, but I won't lie. I"m going nutty without projects. I need a project that works and is cheap.

I needed to do some reading up on this to see how it looked and I agree that a plane blade would seem too thin. But do remember that the jump from pure copper to steel will make a big difference too. What I'm worried about is that it seems like you plan on having the head loose from the haft and that it might be hard to make it sit firmly (as some reviews of the Klecker Klax notices). Ötzi seems to have glued the head in there. Then again, materials have really improved since his time so it shouldn't be impossible to make something work but it might be hard finding a balance between firmly holding the head and being able to swap it easily.
Global Moderator Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 9,645 SAK Surgeon
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2017, 05:42:13 PM »
If you want a replica held together the same way, pine pitch is probably the best glue, and rawhide would be the best binding cord.  Wet rawhide contracts when it dries and is damn strong. 

For the blade Im assuming you dont want copper.  That could be easily formed and shaped with a hammer, but would be poor to actually use unless you wanted to know how much effort cutting a small tree would be with old tools like that.  Id probably just find any old axe head and work from that to get the shape you want. 


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No Life Club Posts: 1,219
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2017, 06:49:19 PM »
If you want a replica held together the same way, pine pitch is probably the best glue, and rawhide would be the best binding cord.  Wet rawhide contracts when it dries and is damn strong. 

For the blade Im assuming you dont want copper.  That could be easily formed and shaped with a hammer, but would be poor to actually use unless you wanted to know how much effort cutting a small tree would be with old tools like that.  Id probably just find any old axe head and work from that to get the shape you want.

I think one of the sites I looked at mentioned a few hours to fell a small tree.
No Life Club Posts: 3,105 American Clandestine Materials Executive (ACME)
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 01:14:52 AM »
Oh, absolutely going with steel over copper. I might be crazy, but I did pass Materials in college.  :P That is why I'm thinking one of these https://countycomm.com/products/eod-robotics-breacher-bar

I know it is going to be slow. Dead slow. But I'm thinking this would be carried with a SAK or LM and nothing heavier. This is an experiment in two directions (1) am I still a tool maker or just a user, and (2) is it inefficient enough to outweigh (undermine?) the versatility, or will it be useful. But yes, I could just go with a tomahawk head.

I've heard the complaints about the Klecker. Everyone I've seen is someone using paracord, which is pretty dynamic, so I'm thinking jute or braided poly line. Because I want it for maximum versatility and minimum bulk, unlike Otzi's axe mine wouldn't be permanent. We've probably all seen the survival cards that claim to be usable as an axe head- I want something better than that but nearly as small. Big thing is for the hack blade and chisel/hand plane functions. The axe and adze roles will be bonuses if I can make them work.

I did find an example after posting here of someone doing something similar, might be the same guy who wrote the article in Backwoodsman, and he called it a pocket adze. http://woodsroamer.blogspot.com/2011/02/pocket-adze.html

"Even if it is only the handful of people I meet on the street, or in my home, I can still protect them with this one sword" Kenshin Himura

Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility, Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on it's own dunghill.

Necessity is the mother of invention. If you're not ready, it's "a mother". If you are, it's "mom".
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,848 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 01:30:43 AM »
The prybars are going to be treated for toughness, not hardness. In fact the link you posted only says that the hardness is over 45HrC. This could seriously affect edge retention, especially using it for impact work. In fact it might be a totally unsuitable material for taking an edge in the first place. I think I can see what you're trying to achieve, but that might not be the best starting point for you. I'd have thought you want to be in the low 50's (Rockwell C) at least.



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 16,848 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 01:51:29 AM »
I was thinking something like a bolster chisel might be a better start point, but without power tools it's going to be a PITA to cut the shank off

Something like this might be too slim a face width for you, but at least the materials might be a bit better for the application.... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britool-E150704B-Constant-Profile-Chisel/dp/B00NVK57B8/ref=sr_1_73?ie=UTF8&qid=1502149275&sr=8-73&keywords=bolsters+chisels It would likely still need shortening/weight reduction though  :-\



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
No Life Club Posts: 3,105 American Clandestine Materials Executive (ACME)
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 02:48:41 AM »
Oh, the EOD tool is certainly not optimax. But it might more logistically feasible. And I know they can be sharpened. But I was also thinking a chisel for the reason you describe, maybe a side strike.

And if the proof of concept works, something custom probably made out of 1095 when I have more money than I know what to do with. I'd still rather sharpen it than shatter it.

But with my luck, the whole thing could disintegrate in use and I'll bleed to death or be found with it sticking out of my forehead like a unicorn horn.

"Even if it is only the handful of people I meet on the street, or in my home, I can still protect them with this one sword" Kenshin Himura

Patriotism is a lively sense of collective responsibility, Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on it's own dunghill.

Necessity is the mother of invention. If you're not ready, it's "a mother". If you are, it's "mom".
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,357
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 08:29:50 AM »
When it comes to how long it would take to get anything done with that axe, I recall a story of a group of people getting somewhat lost and on their way back they came across a smaller river they couldn't pass because of the current. They decided to look for a better point to cross the next day and as they were getting settled in for the evening, one guy who had enough of walking took the largest knife and started chopping and battoning at a nearby tree that could serve as a makeshift bridge. He used the beaver technique and while his comrades told him he was crazy, he spent almost the entire night working that tree but eventually he did it.

I've got no idea how true the story is, but if you got time and other things taken care of, I suppose it would work. So this axe might work even better

Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

"And now, it's time to hand this over to our tame race axe driver. Some say, he can live in the forest for six months at a time without food, and he knows of a secret tribe of only women where he is their God. All we know is, he's call the Styx!" - TazzieRob
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 12,793
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 01:48:01 PM »
I was thinking something like a bolster chisel might be a better start point, but without power tools it's going to be a PITA to cut the shank off

Something like this might be too slim a face width for you, but at least the materials might be a bit better for the application.... https://www.amazon.co.uk/Britool-E150704B-Constant-Profile-Chisel/dp/B00NVK57B8/ref=sr_1_73?ie=UTF8&qid=1502149275&sr=8-73&keywords=bolsters+chisels It would likely still need shortening/weight reduction though  :-\

I like the look of that Al, Two of them and you have a set of steel sliding wedges  :tu:

Everything’s adjustable
No Life Club Posts: 3,482
Re: Otzi style axe.
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 10:54:49 AM »
I had to go check what it looks like as well, and my first thought was that's an adze.....or just 90 degrees away from an adze  :whistle:

Not sure if you want to make a replica or something usable, I've been planning to make an adze for a while, even have the piece of wood ready and waiting.

I decided that when it happens I'll forge something like a chisel with a stick tang which goes through a hole in the handle.

 

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