How To Engrave An Axe Head
Axe decoration may include painting of either the shaft or the axe head, or more permanent markings can be added by using one of several engraving methods. Aside from the use of stamps, metal engraving is not usually performed by amateurs. For decorative edgings and custom engraving, the best solution is to hire a laser engraver or rotary engraver. Chiseling and stamping are more affordable methods, but only the very best engravers can produce detailed engravings using such simple tools.
Methods of Engraving an Axe Head
Axe heads are engraved using 3 distinct methods. Laser engraving is newest method, and has the ability to produce professional engraving at multiple depths and angles in more detail than most other methods. Rotary engraving typically uses a lathe or router. Using a lathe is suitable for large markings, and a router is used for smaller decorations or fine details. The final method is the use of chisels or stamps and offers the lowest amount of detail when done by all but the most experienced engravers.
A decorative throwing axe is often engraved with scrollwork to give it a unique look. This type of engraving was once done by artisans with chisels, but the laser has replaced hand engraving, and can be done in far greater detail. Additionally, laser engraving is fast. It works by programming a pattern into the laser, mounting the axehead securely, and then allowing a computer to perform the actual engraving. Laser engraving of axe heads is fast becoming the most common method used, because it is safe, accurate, and can be done quickly.
Professional engravers can put a family crest or other design on a battle axe using rotary engraving. Some engravers still prefer to do the work by hand, but many engravers have become computerized, and use computers to perform the work in a fashion similar to laser engraving. This method is capable of producing intricate detail, but satisfactory results can be time-consuming for even the best engravers, and nearly impossible for those less proficient with routing tools.
Chisels and Stamps
Using a hammer and a variety of chisels and stamps is the oldest method of engraving an axe head. In the case of stamps, the pattern in already engraved on the stamp, and is transferred to the axe head by striking the stamp forcefully, driving it into the metal of the axe head. Engraving chisels are available in many styles, head sizes, and cut types, and can be used for both simple and complex designs. Mistakes are difficult to correct in metal engravings, however, which is one of the best reasons for hiring a professional engraver.
Metal Engraving Safety
If you must attempt metal engraving yourself, be sure to wear leather gloves and safety glasses. Tiny slivers of metal are extremely sharp, and can imbed themselves in skin very easily. To reduce splintering, heat the axe head, and then coat it with a light oil. During the engraving process, use machine oil often to promote shaping and reduce chipping, sometimes called cupping.