As an ABS Journeyman I forge the majority of my blades using a propane forge, hammers and a Little Giant power hammer. I use low temperature forging methods to reduce the amount of carbon loss (the element primarily responsible for steels ability to harden) and to ensure a fine grain structure. Fine grain structure makes for a stronger blade that will hold an edge longer. I use a series of hand hammers and a power hammer to forge the blade to shape.
During the forging process I will quench the blade in heat treat oil for further refinement one or more times depending on the steel used. After the forging is complete I run each blade through a series of heat cycles called “normalizing” heats. These are done to relieve any stresses that have been imparted into the blade through forging as well as refining or shrinking the grain in the steel. After the normalizing and annealing (softening) of each blade I then proceed to the belt grinder where I rough grind the bevels in and any other detail such as clip points etc. I will usually take each blade to 120 grit finish before heat treating. I use an electric heat treat oven to control the temperature to the degree. Accuracy is important here. Once the blades are hardened they are immediately tempered three times for two hours each to ensure a consistent result in each blade and axe. I find this process to be a good method to achieve consistent results from blade to blade.
I forge most of my blades from carbon steels such as 80CRV2, CRU FORGE V, and W-2. I find this group of steels can give me good performance in all blade sizes ranging from Tomahawks and Bowies down to small skinners. I also produce a line of stock removal blades out of 80CRV2 as companion blades to my tomahawks or as stand alones but at slightly cheaper prices. Wenger Blades axes are water jetted to shape per my exclusive designs and ground with a convex edge and a tapered tang. Wenger Blades axes are made from very tough shock absorbent steels such as 80CRV2 and upon request 4140. They are all ground, heat treated, tested and finished in my shop.