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He Forges Iron Rails Into Artisan Axes
When Timothy Dyck acquired about 28,000 lbs. of old train rail from an Alberta, Canada, train museum, he had to find a way to put it to use. Though more than 100 years old, the steel is in good condition.
Dyck decided to forge the steel into axes and hatchets.
I think theres 25 years of material there, he says. He estimates he can make 100 axes out of the steel in a 33-ft. long rail.
Dyck has been fascinated with blacksmithing since he was 13. Supportive parents helped him set up a forge that led to his making a chain mail shirt and items he sold at craft shows when he was in high school.
Now at 33, with his own blacksmith shop in Vermilion, Dyck forges Hudson Bay-style axes and hatchets and sells them through his website. The artisan tools are designed to become family heirlooms and sell for $650 (axe) and $450 (hatchet), Dyck has orders to keep him busy through the end of 2023.
His current line is called 1912 Blackhawk, based on the inspection date on the rail hes using. The oldest rail hes used so far goes back to 1908, but Dyck has rail from the late 1800s that hell be making axes and hatchets out of in the future.
Using the old rail has some challenges.
Its very hard and very tough. The steel can get mushrooming on the top, and if you arent careful when forging it in, it can leave a crack, Dyck says, adding that he uses a hardness tester to make sure the steel he uses is good.
He mounts his 4-lb. axe heads on 32-in. hickory handles made by Hoffman Blacksmithing in Tennessee and packages the finished axes with leather sheathes in wooden boxes.
Im happy building axes the rest of my life, Dyck says. But as an artist, I always have other ideas.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Timothy Dyck, Alberta, Canada (info@timothydyck.com; www.timothydyck.com; YouTube: Timothy Dyck).


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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #4