KA Heritage Collection - Urafors Yxfabrik - Early 1900's Axe
Urafors forge or Yxfabrik (axe fabrication) produced some of Sweden's finest axes from 1840 to 1960, having been sold several times previously, once in 1870 and then again in 1900. The quality of workmanship and particularly the uniformity of heat treat still makes these axes highly sought after tools, even after 170 years!
This particular example was located in Sweden, and shipped to the KA shop where it was stripped and cleaned by Dave. The poll was refaced and cheeks reground prior to being tumbled and refinished. The head shows clean lamination signs of a nice pattern welded and hardned cutting edge, that has an easy 100 more years left in it's life!
As was popular with many of the Urafors forgings, it is stamped with the initals of one of it's black smiths. The full name has been lost to time unfortunately, but this is the second axe Dave has come across with the stamped "VN". The intials "AH", "PS", "KS" are all traceable back to lead blacksmiths and are heads that have been restored and passed along before, but exactly who "VN" was has yet to be discovered. Unfortunately, written records regarding this forge are almost non existant and much of the personal memory record has long since died off as well.
Regarding the design of this axe:
A traditional shape in Scandinavian axe design, the collared axe was orginally a function driven design element. Having forests of birch nearby to utilize as handle material, the countries of the North Men found a way to work around the relative weakness of that birch wood. The collar helps spread shock and impact forces during use, and greatly decreased the stress on the handles and subsequent breakage. Had they lived amongst forests of Hickory or Ash trees, you'd probably have never seen a collared axe design.
As seems to be common for the older Urafors designs, this head has an interesting flair to both the top and bottom of the head. The resulting larger cutting edge and bit thinner cheek profile is reminiscent of an English "chip and chop", but a bit heavier and thus more efficient.
After restoration, the final edge was put on using a slack belt for added strength in the cutting edge geometry, and is currently hair popping sharp. A hand fabricated leather snap sheath protects that edge.
The haft was hand fabricated in Quebec by Trinity Boletus out of a nice piece of white Ash and finished off with a hand rubbed oil finish. The pomel is a unique take on the traditional flare that Emile is so adept at hand carving. Fitting the hand perfectly, this new shape strikes an interesting visual balance between a sweeping flare and a more squared off tail. You'll be seeing more and more of this unique handle shape in the future.