Alright, how would you call this experiment?
Hatchet restoration? Makeover? Wrecking an hatchet head?
Yes, I know this kind of handle doesn’t make any sense: it’s heavy (1.4kg or 3lbs), slippery and so unpractical to make.
This project is just for fun, my hope is to inspire others to make something just for fun.
The hatchet is not branded, bought it for 4€ at flea market. For me it’s totally worth the experiment and fun of it!
As you can see the mold I made failed, that’s why one side of the handle (the one facing up in the mold) is not as clean as the other. I guess making a taller mold with way more sand would have made it much better. Next time!
It still came out real solid, I’ve beaten that as hard as I can and it had no sign of weakening at all.
Index of operation and materials:
1:03 Electrolysis: water and sodium carbonate solution, parts connected to negative side and steel sacrificial anodes to positive sice of a DC power supply (car battery charger). 2-3 hrs at 10amp.
2:15 Hot wire foam cutter machine and high density foam (kind used as home insulation).
3:53 Smoothing the foam with 320 sandpaper.
4:13 Gluing foam piece with hot glue.
4:40 Regular white plaster brushed on foam to help with cast quality.
5:20 Lost foam mold preparation by sifting fine sand (I’m using burned out petrobond sand but any fine and dry sand would work)
6:22 Adding sodium carbonate as degassing agent and “lite salt” (a mix of potasium cloride and sodium cloride) as flux to the molten aluminum.
11:15 Peening a 10mm round stock pin.
11:49 Polishing the handle (previously sanded to 400grit) with coarse and fine polishing pompound on two cotton wheel (only coarse polishing shown in video).
12:27 Re-grinding bevels and sharpening on 200 grit belt.
For those of you worried about the molten aluminum tempering the hatchet steel:
I tested the edge with my hardness test files and it results between 45 and 50 Rc.
Unfortunately I forgot to record the testing before uploading the video (actually a friend on Patreon remembered me about that) so if you don’t trust me here are some considerations:
The hatchet is most probably made of something like 1050 steel. These steels are tempered between 400-1000°F (200-540°C) with hardness going from 50 ro 30 on the Rockwell scale accordingly.
Considering that aluminum melts at 1200°F (650°C) I think it’s safe to say it can’t possibly heat up the steel more than 800°F (420°C) or so, in color temperature terms just over blue, and I think the edge can’t even go above brown that is around 480°F (250°C). So at the end I think the edge does get tempered by the aluminum but not that much to be a problem. Also, the fact that the steel was already tempered does not make any difference in the steel structure, tempering depends (after a minimum time) all on max temperature reached instead of time at temperature or thermal cycles.
Thank you a lot for watching. See you next week!