*Hatchet Job*
Homemade Hatchet for My Boy
By: Terry
25 November 2007

So my boy wanted a hatchet.

I located a 1/4 inch thick saw blade at my local knife maker supply store, 20 bux, about 24 inches across.

First lay out your hatchet, use soap stone, as felt marker burns off real quick.

Fire up your cutting torch oxy acet or plasma, if using a torch cut about 5/16 inch outside the line, use a wiggling motion while cutting this will stop the saw blade from welding back together.

After cutting out your hatchet, grind all the cut areas back at least 1/8 inch as the steel is damaged during cutting (decarborized).


Then get a fire extinguisher, metal container for quenching oil, oil for the quench, old motor oil, hyd oil, gear oil, or canola oil, its all much the same, about 2 or 3 gallons.

Using a rosebud tip on the torch, gently heat about 1 inch deep of the cutting edge to a orange color, if you see sparks jumping off the steel ease off, the sparks are carbon migrating out of the steel, very bad, carbon is what makes steel hard, the correct orange color can be easily reached, use a magnet ,when the steel is orange hot approx 1500 degrees it will become non magnetic, check it often with the magnet, as soon as the magnet will not stick, drop the hatchet head in to your quench oil, let it cool for 2-3 minutes (caution lots of flame action here not to mention boiling oil) wear gloves glasses etc, be prepared for an oil fire. See pics.

Very carefuly sand the head of the hatchet to a clean silver finish with a angle grinder or belt sander.

The steel as quenched will be as hard and brittle as glass, don't drop it or it will shatter.

Carefuly heat the rear of the hatchet head watch the colors start to run towards the cutting edge take yer time, you want to see blue then purple then straw gold, when the edge turns a bronze ,straw, gold, color quench it in the oil again, let it sit in the oil for 2-3 minutes.

Re polish and re temper, 1 more time remember the cutting edge should be a beautiful gold color.

It might be a good idea to practice tempering before you harden the hatchet, just polish the head silver and play the torch on the back of the hatchet and watch the colors run towards the edge, this will not hurt anything if you make a mistake and turn the cutting edge blue, blue = soft, as the hardening process will erase the soft temper.

This works well for me, others may do it differently.

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