1. BladeForums has ZERO TOLERANCE for extremism or calls of violence. We request your assistance dealing with this as we do not want to see the site shut down due to violent threats. Please see this thread here in Tech Support: https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/bladeforums-has-a-zero-tolerance-policy-towards-threats-of-violence-extremism-be-warned.1769537/

[IDENTIFICATION] Is this a Biscayne French trade axe?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Pindvin, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
    I buy coffee 5-7lbs at a time at about $10-$12 each time, hermetically sealed. I have 10-12 bags in storage. I very much enjoy coffee. Sometimes I will get up at 4am and drink nearly a pot to myself and work on stuff before the family is awake.

    Also, I have an obscene amount of toilet paper, paper towels, and white fuel.

    I prepare my coffee at home and wash my thermos every night. If I am out and I want a decent cup of coffee I will drink Starbucks or Dutch Brothers via drive though.

    I mean, if we are coming clean.

    Your axe is interesting too.
     
  2. Pindvin

    Pindvin

    199
    Dec 11, 2008
    I'll post some pictures after cleaning it up with a wire wheel
    electrolysis did not do much, but it refined the stamp just a bit.
     
    Miller '72 and Agent_H like this.
  3. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Oh yes! The Dutch are renowned for their love of coffee. Problem with getting older I've grudgingly had to give it up after supper and in the evenings or I can't fall asleep.
     
    Kevin Houtzager likes this.
  4. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  5. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Much like you, I stock the pantry when coffee is on sale. The problem with laying in a lot is the cache has to be carefully organized/rotated so that you don't accidentally uncover some that are well beyond the 'best before' date. This has happened to me a few times. Ground coffee does have a shelf life! Nowadays I also inspect for the expiry date before buying just in case the sale enticement is more about disposing old stock than benefitting frugal coffee drinkers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
    Miller '72 likes this.
  6. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  7. Pindvin

    Pindvin

    199
    Dec 11, 2008
    Sorry to but into this fascinating conversation on coffee.
    first shot after cleaning the head up with an angle grinder steel wire cup wheel.
    [​IMG]

    The next ones after grinding a bevel on it. It stays sharp and true after chopping some dry pinewood.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. junkenstien

    junkenstien Gold Member Gold Member

    884
    Feb 15, 2017
    That's awesome,what length handle are you going to try first?
     
  9. jblyttle

    jblyttle

    Sep 3, 2014
    I can't say that you would be wrong to use it, but if it were mine I would hang it and then hang it up to enjoy for the wonderful artifact that it is.
     
  10. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Congratulations!You've ruined Any quality that it May've had as an artefact!:)
    Just kidding.
    Or,at least i,not being a collector or an archaeologist,couldn't care less.

    The axe looks great,the material itself is a thing of great beauty to me,personally,(as a smith;and all the nasty techniques like electrolysis and coarse wire wheels do a corker job of showing that off....alas... la vie).

    Taken another look at your previous photos,and what it looks like to me is that it was made out of some Very dirty(as in slaggy)iron,and while it was in the ground or stored somewhere equally improper,the moisture has gotten Under that layer of slag,softening and corroding iron beneath.That is the reason you've been loosing chunks out of the previously smooth-appearing surface.
    That nasty chunk out of the toe on the right side is caused by that also,except the corrosion has gotten under the overlayed bit's steel,that was already wore fairly thin.So that section of the edge is shot.(that's how she goes with "cleaning":),sometimes you eat the bear,and sometimes the bear eats you...).

    Anyway,i've tried to look high and low,and no luck,i've about exhausted my possibilities.
    Now that it's "cleaned" i'm suddenly beginning to think further North,as some Scandinavians like to work that transition area,some even forging special tools for to do that...
    I'll post any info that may come up.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  11. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    Agent_H likes this.
  12. Pindvin

    Pindvin

    199
    Dec 11, 2008
    No its certainly a a cross not a helmet. Since the cutting edge angle is very low I'd guess it was a carving or a hewing axe.
    Jake, thank you for your input. I'll be posting a video of the entire restoration apart from hanging the axe. This will be covered in part two. My last step was to heat up the axe and put car wax with carnauba all over it, so that it gets into the iron and not only stops intergranular corrosion but also prevents it from further rusting even on the surface.
     
  13. Pindvin

    Pindvin

    199
    Dec 11, 2008
     
    junkenstien, Agent_H and jake pogg like this.
  14. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
    just watched it 20 minutes ago. cant say i dont have my doubts whether this is a good idea but i'd've done the same thing in your shoes
     
    Pindvin likes this.
  15. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Well,Pindvin...Thanks for the video,it allows one to see the axe much better,of course.Very cool.

    Unfortunately,all my attemts to learn more,even about just the overall shape of this axe,have come to nought.

    There Is,indeed,some similarities to some Spanish/Portuguese/Southern France regional axes,but i couldn't find one that matches very closely...

    Now,for what it's worth,about "trade" axes in general:These were brought to the New World initially by the Spanish and the Portuguese as early as late 15th-early 16th c.c.,for their own use,and trade with the local native population.
    As we know,Iberian penninsula is rather poor in mineral deposits,most(or all)of which are in the northern part,the Pyrenees Mnts,which comprise parts of Catalunia,and the 7 Basque provinces,and are the border between Spain and France,and so the metal for these axes,and therefore the regional types of axes, necessarily came from there.
    That is the reason for the term "biscayne",in reference to the Biscay Bay,which is the Atlantic coastline of that whole region.
    Later,during the French migration and trade ventures,many axes have also come from that very area,as it was(and still is)rural,agricultural , and fairly poor,so that the materials and labor were both cheap.
    A century or two later,Hudson Bay and N.W. Co.s have also sourced their trade-axes from that region,but not only.They,as traders will,looked for "deals",for the cheapest goods to be had,and found many of them further east,in Eastern,or rather South-Eastern Europe.
    So when we say "trade-axe" we're talking,(very)generally speaking,an axe of a type common in any of the regions of Europe where there was good iron ores,+plentiful trees for charcoal,+a lack of much else,to keep the prices of iron goods down.
    Such places ranged from the Iberian penn. clear into the Mediterranian,and along the coast into Serbia and beyond...(all the historic Celtic hangouts,the origins of much European metalworking).
    That's the reason your axe,Pindvin,resembles anything from the Bellota axes,on to any number of regional Eastern-European styles,and possibly why it was billed as a "trade-axe" to begin with.
    Unfortunately,we'll probably never be able to id the touch-mark...(i wish that someone would compile a common body of European touchmarks,but it'd be a huge labor).
    The general shape and dynamics is all we have to go on.And these,in my opinion,are those of an axe for close,exacting end-grain work,such as the wooden troughs or sabots,and was handled short for working one-handed on a block....

    This is all ridiculously speculative,hate to go on and on without any definite info,but in for a penny-et c...So a bit about conservation(as empty of any Real knowledge as the above):From what i gather,once the artefact is out from the elements the main enemy is not so much moisture as the possible Salts.They will attract moisture from the air,and with it,will continue the oxidation processes in hidden,hard to reach spaces.So when you say "inter-granular" in the video(your English is excellent,btw),i think that you may mean that in between the iron and the mineral(Si slag)layers,and you're probably right in that it's the weak point of material as the moisture is likely to enter there.
    So,i believe that the standard procedure Before applying any conservant,sealant over the surface,it helps to desalinate the object by a long(weeks,even months)soak in distilled water,changed periodically(every 5-7 days i think).

    Other than that i think you've done everything that can be reasonably done,and done it well.Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
    (p.s. dig that hat-pindvin:).
     
    300Six, Pindvin and Agent_H like this.
  16. Pindvin

    Pindvin

    199
    Dec 11, 2008
    My idea is to have it fully restored, in a usable condition but not to use apart from some light chopping for the sake of the video.

    Jake Pogg - thank you for your exhaustive reply, as well as the compliment. Even though axes is my hobby since a few years, and i had been doing some reenacting in an early-medieval group (viking age, until it turned out i'm too short to wield a full size Dane axe) i never even thought of actually acquiring an axe so old. I like to keep everything in my collection ready to use. I'd be scared to pay a few hundred bucks for something just to have it turned into a pile of dust or a dismembered body of whats once was a battle axe. I paid very little for the axe mentioned above and only after getting i started looking for info about it. I will probably post pictures of it on some historical weaponry forums or sth. like that, keeping an eye for someone in Poland who could actually date and identify it. On the other hand, due to the issues regarding identifying it, I do bear in mind that this might be a modern replica that was aged, although i highly doubt that.
    Due to lack of time i decided to discard the desalination process, even though it was recommended by some. I hope the wax seals it in such a way, there's no oxygen to get inside and fuel the corrosion. Some also mentioned i could've used caustic soda which seems to be better than salt when making the electrolysis solution. I did not know that earlier. I'll keep updating the topic with any further information i stumble upon. This is by far the most interesting project of mine.
    Thank you one more time for reply, and btw. the hat was meant to be "dug" ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
    jake pogg and Agent_H like this.
  17. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Pindvin,right on,you're doing good,and learning fast.

    I tried to line up some information base for you,just in case you'll have the time and interest to pursue the conservation issues.So far i think this is the best i've found:http://www.conservation-wiki.com/wiki/Iron

    I'd say with a 99.9% certainty that your axe is not a fake.The material that it's made of is not that easy to get a hold of,nor working it would be easy or fun(i work with different grades of WI often).
    The overall shape,balance,et c. of the tool speaks of competence and long practice,no one would invest the effort like that in the faking of essentially cheap object.
    I'd guess that the fuel alone for welding that overlaid bit would cost more than what such axe would sell for!:)

    Good for you for participating in the viking age reenactment,a great educational endeavor.
    But,though you probably won't like this much,i must say that i'm a great opponent to interpreting the (Petersen)Type M axe as a "battle axe"...
    I'm too old to argue anymore,in the past,i've pi$$ed people off with this from one end of the world to another...:)...and i won't preach...
    But,remember that the vikings were tremendous navigators,shipbuilders,architects,travelers and traders,that they've originated intense architectural and art-styles,discovered scientific principles,systematised literature and poetry...Killing was just their by-line,a necessity,and is a difficult and dirty job,that didn't warrant much innovation in tool building...I'd actually recommend you visit some forge,and see if the smith would agree to undertake the forging of the type M...If you do that,during the process you'll have a chance to think about it in greater detail,and i'd not be surprised if the conclusions you'll come to would differ from that wide-spread,romantic myth...

    But i digress..sorry:).

    Best of luck,will look forward to seeing what you'll come up with for the haft!
     
  18. Ugaldie

    Ugaldie

    344
    Feb 27, 2013
    Pindvin we have talk about this subject in private, I'll talk a bit about it here too.
    In my opinion what you own is not a trade axe nor a Biscayne axe, if we talk about 1500's both terms are sinonymes. This is the shape of a Biscayne axe of the era,
    [​IMG]
    These are the Biscaynes as we know them nowadays,
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It's understandable you thought this can be a Biscayne axe, medium and big ones tend to have simmilar patterns but looking at the eye, how it thins between the body of the axe and the eye and overall shape I would catalog it as a French type axe.
    But could it be produced in the area named as Biscay in that period? Basing in the mark I would say it's quite probable. But first let's try to explain what does Biscayne mean.
    There is not any problem for Spanish or Basque, nor some places of South America like Argentina, Biscayne is an old form to refer to Basques. This is clear for us but I see there is a very big confusion about it, specially for the English people. The main confusion cames because they confuse the Bay of Biscay with Biscay.
    The bay of Biscay consist in a Bay which goes from the Galician coast to Brittany,
    [​IMG]
    But this doesn't mean all the people who lives in that coast is Biscayne. Some time ago all Basques were named as Biscaynes, due to some reasons the gulf they lived took their name but the people living in the coasts of this gulf who wasn't Basque never took this name.
    As an example Spanish people uses the term "mar Cantábrico" for the sea of the Biscay gulf.
    [​IMG]
    As you see it takes the exact same coast. Cantabria is a Spanish autonomous region just west of Biscay, for some reasons the sea and the Spanish side coast as a whole (they name it "cornisa Cantabrica") took Cantabrian name but neither the non Cantabrian people of this coast took the name of the sea as their name.
    There is no confusion here if you talk about Cantabria, Cantabrians or anything Cantabrian you talk about the autonomus region, the people originary of there or something related to there or them. Only when you talk about the cited two terms something bigger than Cantabria is understood.
    Same happens with Biscay, take a look (here) what the most prestigious Spanish language academy in the world says about the term Biscayne,
    3rd meaning, disused, natural of the Basque Country.
    I have talk about it with some experts, Spanish and Basque have it clear but when you talk about it with English people they don't get it.
    Ok, let's look at the mark. This mark is very familiar to any Basque, you can find this in a lot of old Basque related places and items, specially stelas,
    [​IMG]
    There is a huge variety of them
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Some of them were used as axe marks like the ones shown in the Canadian publication "Art & Artisans" "Axes in New France, Part 1", very recommended,
    received_1741858632500535.png
    The Basques of that period were master seamen, whale hunters, traders, shipbuilders and iron producers. Iron ore has been extracted and produced before Roman times (Plinius talks about it and how huge were iron reserves) to the first decades of the 20th century. Authors discuss about iron production of all eras, but at 15th and 16th century they say between 10 and 25 percent of all the iron produced in all Europe was produced by Basques, take in account all this production happened in lands which are half of the size of Switzerland. No need to say big amount of iron/steel products were manufactured too. The ore quality was exceptional, British regarded it as the best iron ore of they knew about in the 17th century, it was in very high demand from Toledo to produce their swords too.
    Taking all of this in account I would say it is probable your axe is a French type axe produced in Biscay, understood as the Basque Country.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  19. flexo

    flexo

    329
    Mar 14, 2013
    La Biscaye (en espagnol : Vizcaya, en basque et officiellement Bizkaia) est une province du Nord de l'Espagne.
    Capitale Bilbao
    (eu) Bilbao / Bilbo
     
    Ugaldie likes this.
  20. Ugaldie

    Ugaldie

    344
    Feb 27, 2013
    That's right @flexo , take a look to the meaning of the word Biscayne in French. For example here,
    http://atilf.atilf.fr/dendien/scripts/generic/form.exe?7;s=1804926210;
    You'll see the definition is clear, Biscayne is the people natural of the province named as Biscay. Multiple meanings of the word only happen in Spanish language, lets see if any fellow Argentinian reads this and talks about it. Some of them still hold the old habit of naming Basques as "Vizcainos" and all other Spanish people as "Gallegos" (Galicia is a Spanish province just in the north of Portugal)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017

Share This Page