Sach Catts – Hot Worked

‘Hot work: processes where metals are plastically deformed above their recrystallization temperature, allowing the material to recrystallize during deformation.’

‘[T]here is no more epic way of bringing down much loved or even much hated tree (for example a neighbor’s overgrown maple) than with an American felling ax.’

This is the third time I’ve sharpened this axehead. The process involves using a file to shape the bit (cutting edge) to form a convex bevel on both faces. This bevel is then ground and polished with progressively finer-graded stones. Apparently, you should be able to shave with it once it’s done. I’ve spent roughly six hours filing, grinding, polishing and repeating so far in search of the ideal edge. In between stages I scour the Internet for logs.

The axe has been rendered romantic by the chainsaw. There are few instances when one wouldn’t use a chainsaw to harvest and process timber. They’re fucking brilliant. I borrowed mine off my dad and neglected to ever return it. It races through timber with a full-throated, sawdust-frothing snarl. I like people to know I own a chainsaw. I like them to see it in my studio or in my car. It makes me feel dangerous.

The axe will make me feel like a man, however.

Sach Catts

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
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