This is a great example primitive skills in action: this man makes a beautiful bronze-age axe, from building the forge to hafting the handle.
A man cast a bronze-age axe head, but his process of making everything necessary to do it is incredible. From sharpening a digging stick and digging up the clay with which to make a forge, to the final securing of the finished axe head to a wood handle, the entire process is amazing.
Perhaps most impressive is the forge he formed from clay and straw. It looks to be a three-chambered forge, with a room for the fire, a room for the molten metal, and a chimney.
I wish he would have spent a little more time showing this part of the process and the construction of the furnace, as it is a complex structure.
Following the completion of the furnace, he builds a fire, using the friction method to produce an ember. He then transfers the ember to a small piece of punky wood, before producing a flame and transferring the fire to the first compartment of his clay furnace.
The fire is incredibly hot and the positioning of the chimney creates a draft that carries the fire through the furnace and over the smelting room. He stuffs a few pieces of metal into the small room and waits for it to melt.
Using a hole that he placed in the smelting room, he releases the molten metal to flow into the forms of two hollowed-out axe heads.
When cool, he disconnects the axe heads from the slag and sharpens one of them on a stone until it shines.
Then, using sharpened stone tools he hafts an axe handle, and ties the head to the handle with cordage.
This was surely a long process, but he condensed it all down to under five minutes for this video. His knowledge and ability to craft a beautiful and efficient bronze age axe using nothing but stone and wood tools is without par.
Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.