Blackening an axe head is a process that involves applying a dark patina to the metal surface to protect it from rust and corrosion while also giving it a distinctive appearance. Here’s a general guide on how to blacken an axe head:
Materials You’ll Need:
- Axe head: Ensure it’s clean and free of rust or existing coatings.
- Sandpaper: To smooth the axe head’s surface if necessary.
- Acetone: For cleaning and degreasing the axe head.
- Heat source: Propane torch or an open flame source.
- Oil: Linseed oil, vegetable oil, or motor oil for quenching.
- Bucket of water: For quenching.
- Rags or paper towels: To apply oil and clean the axe head.
- Safety gear: Gloves, safety goggles, and a well-ventilated workspace.
Safety First: Always wear safety gear when working with heat and chemicals.
Preparation: Clean the axe head thoroughly with acetone to remove any dirt, oil, or debris. Ensure it’s completely dry before proceeding.
Smoothing (if needed): Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots or imperfections on the axe head. This step is optional but can improve the appearance.
Heating: Set up a propane torch or open flame source in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.Heat the axe head evenly. The goal is to heat it until it reaches a critical temperature. The critical temperature varies depending on the type of steel but is typically around 1475°F (800°C) for carbon steel. You can test this by touching a small magnet to the axe head; when it no longer sticks, the axe head is at the critical temperature.
Quenching:Once the axe head reaches the critical temperature, quickly immerse it in the bucket of water to cool it down rapidly. Be cautious, as this can produce steam and sparks.This rapid cooling will create a black oxide layer on the surface of the axe head, which gives it a blackened appearance.
Cleaning: After quenching, remove the axe head from the water and dry it thoroughly with a clean rag or paper towels.Apply a thin coat of oil (linseed oil, vegetable oil, or motor oil) to the entire surface of the axe head. This oil will help protect the metal from further corrosion and give it a darker appearance.
Repeat (Optional): If you want a darker or more consistent blackening, you can repeat the heating and quenching process, followed by oil application.
Final Touches: Once you are satisfied with the appearance, wipe off any excess oil and allow the axe head to air dry.
Maintenance: Regularly inspect and oil the axe head to prevent rust and maintain its blackened finish.
Please note that this process is irreversible, and it may affect the hardness and temper of the axe head. Be cautious and follow safety precautions throughout the blackening process. If you’re unsure about any step, consider seeking advice or assistance from a professional blacksmith or metalworker.
Related – How To Remove Rust from Axe Head