ochsenkopf axe / ox head help

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by CowCop, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. CowCop

    CowCop

    127
    Feb 10, 2008
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    Recently I picked this up. Cant find much on this head style with the upper and lower indents. Anyone have any info on this one? especially the age.

    Thanks



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  2. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    In a funny way your axe's maker and your user name are the same. Ochsen kopf = Cow cop. Something subliminal, perhaps?
     
  3. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    @Ernest DuBois I believe “kopf” actually means “head”... but close!
     
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  4. CowCop

    CowCop

    127
    Feb 10, 2008
    Correct....It means OX Head ....This company has been around since the 1700's I believe.

    Anyone have any info about this particular style of head? Like why is the top and bottom notched but not in the same area. There must of been a reason they did those extra steps?
     
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  5. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Yes.It is known as Bayerische Axt,i.e. Bavarian pattern,and sometimes Münchner Form,or Munich pattern.
    They were mostly a felling axe,but were at times shaped specifically for splitting(wider poll/heavier blade section).
    There's even a Chines knock-off that you can by in many box-stores(i've used them,actually not bad,an efficient splitter in a +/- 3# weight).

    There's Always a reason,but you must be a Bayerische,or at the Very least a Münchner schmied to know that...(i'm a different kind,alas,but if you find out i'd appreciate if you tell us).

    :)
     
  6. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Yeah, ok, I was being strictly phonetic anyway.
    The features you point out, "indents", are characteristic of a range of axes coming out of this area J.P. has identified. It's traditional to configure the axe head like that and I'm sure there is a rational behind it such as centering the apex/mass, or any number of things, remember we're talking about very bulky eyes as a rule. We can speculate on and on, I wouldn't know... I use one such axe and really like it for notching because of the prominence of the toe, being up like that, giving the unobstructed line-of-sight along the head's ridge, ok, this is usually how we sight, right, not from eyeing the side of the cheeks - the conventional presentation/reference. You might find your axe form off this presentation from Muller. Maybe a schrotthacke? (I wouldn't take the name literally ha, ha, ha).[​IMG]
     
  7. CowCop

    CowCop

    127
    Feb 10, 2008
    Thanks for the info guys.

    The offset indents just seem kinda odd to me. But like you said, all we can do is speculate. Someone must of thought it was a good idea.

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  8. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    In light of no real answers, I might guess that offsetting fillets might reduce stress concentration in that region of the bit...
    But that doesn’t make much sense, because I can’t figure why they would need to remove material there in the first place. Could just be a style thing.
     
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  9. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Yes.Re-interpreting the lines of older designs is a complex undertaking.

    Often the technical particulars of the manufacturing methods (having to do with technology of the day+region,types of ores,et c.,et c.) will morph into a specific pattern being blended with user's preference/convenience(i agree with Ernest,visibility is a likely by-product);eventually the whole becoming "traditional",even iconic for region or trade or the like.

    In this particular case much depends on how exactly that eye was constructed.
    I'd say that it was folded and welded in front of eye(isolating a larger mass for poll,typical for this Germanic D-eye axes).
    After completing that weld the area in front of eye would be "pancaked" to an n-th degree,necessitating some attention from top and bottom.
    As the welded area is refined,those arched indents would form for other technical reasons-some integrated,like fanning out the blade(for visibility) in the same time.
    The off-set of indents may have to do with controlling the bending that the head may've undergone again,during the eye-welding process.
    To avoid excessive rising of the toe vs heel.

    And so on.That is a wild stab of Why,and having failed in a number of reverse-engineering attempts in the past i can tell you that it was probably Not like that at all!:)
     
  10. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    I have four or five such axes, even four from the hand of the same smid of a small town south of Munchin, even one not handled so I can peer in there and I can tell you this construction as Jake lays it out is correct - asymmetric wrap. Still, was that smid trying to achieve some unknown to us purpose or was he "constrained" by such technicalities mentioned?
     
  11. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    In actuality these questions are outside the science of Forging,and massively into areas such as History,but even more-Anthropology.

    When as a young journeyman schmied as you found this shop,with an ugly but marriageable Master's daughter,and eventually took over as a Master yourself-what motivated you to retain or to modify a pre-existing design?
    Economics were probably the dominant factor as they still are today;could you afford to modify a product that the surrounding peasants grew up imagining just So...Or could perchance some very valid improvements justify doing it,and you got away with it...
    Was it then copied by others in the region?
    Over how long of a period of time would they(other makers)say:"Hey,dat dere Hans,he indents his axes asymmetrical-like,and looks like he may be doing a brisk trade in them...why i ought to try dat..."?

    Needless to say it's the most complex interplay of factors social,economic,cultural...and as things stand we barely know anything about the mere technical forging methods...So,not very likely such answers will be available anytime soon.....:(
     
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  12. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    If you ask me these forms are not all that old and some explanation should still be around though fading fast. Only question is who should be asking the questions and finding those answers?
     
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  13. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Humanity as a whole.
    Unwedge our collective head out of ditto rectum,read up on UNESCO "Convention on Intangible Crafts",and go at it!:)
     
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  14. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    What I tried saying was that probably someone outside our little clique knows these things. The more I know, the more I know I know nothing.
     
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  15. flexo

    flexo

    320
    Mar 14, 2013
    maybe it's part of the forging process to obtain that upswept
     
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  16. Hijo de Luna

    Hijo de Luna Basic Member Basic Member

    318
    Jun 10, 2020
    I have no idea what's going on with this ax, but it does look a bit familiar along Germanic lines... sometimes one's 0.02 ain't worth even that!

    Hook me up with a cup of tasty warm beverage and I could read jake and Ernest converse all day long!

    it would be like Car Talk, but about axes, and from guys who I am guess are not from Cambridge, MA...
     
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  17. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    Looks to me like it would make the toe a little stiffer or stronger. That is the part that takes the most impact, wear ect.
    If that is really the reasoning behind it I wouldn't know.
     
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  18. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    Excellent direction to think in,yes,right on.

    I frankly wouldn't know,i work alone and edge-setting an axe head is out of the realm of possible force for me.

    But for those guys who originally developed that pattern-heck yes.They were all about force(helve hammers in a 400-1200 kg range),and multiple strikers And not afraid to build tooling either.

    Och ja.

    :)
     
  19. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    Dec 20, 2015
    (didn't mean to quote myself,the site is acting funny on me...)

    A while back Ernest told us cool stuff about the Dumstorfer axes...like this:
    https://www.thewoodworks.com.au/sho...000gm-head-overall-length-620mm-708451-detail

    Ernest has actually had a custom one made for him by schmied right about there somewhere...a Real McCoy.
    All this would be a good question for that smid,and some others he knows,i'd bet.
     
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  20. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    I am prejudice, a real linear, hierarchical thinking type and see an axe from that perspective which is why I mentioned the sighting and clearance angle of the free toe and heel sections. In fact I've no evidence for making such claims beyond my own subjective experience which doesn't add up to much by way of a backing and yet also doesn't stop me from thinking I am right, but still... The evidence - call it that if you like to - I have seen in the sales promotion material from this company which made the axe up there is of two very similar axes in size and weight they offer one called, The Berliner, the other, The Bavarian, ( the axe of Cow Head in this case ((Excuses, Cop always has this association with head for me now)),) which differ only in form. If the one form could be manufactured just like the other I can't see the difference as technical, I see it as a matter of free choice by the smid. In other words, the evidence I'm aware of makes me think the form is an expression of regional identity, a very complex thing to sort out in and of itself but one that explains a lot of variations. Who is to say what changes occur going from point A to B.
     
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