The 8th experiment was held from April 6th to 8th 2018. This year, we mainly focused on the work with Neolithic adzes from Korea, felling and woodworking with copper and bronze axes, as well as further trunk splitting tests.

Comparison of stone and bronze axe

Wulf Hein

Wulf Hein's trials dealt with this questioning:

  • Do flint axes produce tracks different from bronze axes?
  • Is there a significant difference in terms of working time/effort with felling and trimming?

In use were the following replications of prehistoric axes:

  • Winged bronze axe, 677.9 g, length = 172 mm, breadth (edge) = 53 mm, edge angle app. 30°
  • Thick butted flint axe, 976.7 g, length = 222 mm, height max. (edge) = 69 mm, breadth max = 35 mm, edge angle app. 65°

At first, with the bronze axe we sharpened two oak branches, diameter 10 cm each. Number of blows 274. Subsequently an oak of a average diameter of 32.5 cm, girth 1.06 m, length 17.50 m was felled. Net working time was about 50 min, blows required: 1705. In the end a piece of wood was trimmed at one side (only sapwood), number of blows 134. Total number of blows: 2113.

With the flint axe we sharpened a branch of similar diameter, we needed 524 blows. Then we trimmed an almost similar piece of wood at one side (only sapwood), this required 216 blows.

Of course, I didn´t wield the flint axe with the same force as I did with the bronze axe. Facing the qick breakage of an axe with almost the same dimensions in 2016, I was a little more careful. Due to the more dull edge angle it is not possible to loosen big chips, and much less with one blow, but it takes always several, leaving characteristic oblique straight cutting marks.

However, with the bronze axe it was possible to loosen big chips with one blow, leaving oval bowl-shaped cutting marks.

Korean adze

The third attempt represents a preliminary function test. In use was an idealized adze after an example from South Korea, of Songukri Period, the early Korean Bronze Age about 600 to 500 B.C., which was - according to a reconstruction proposal from Korea - hafted on a toe haft. We tried to cut down an oak, diameter 40 cm, girth 1.32 m, length 19.80 m. The cutting performance was surprisingly good, the technique was very similar to the work with shoe last celts in previous experiments. I´m sorry to say that I fixed the cutting groove too high, so in the end we had to finish the attempt with a steel axe, because we ran out of time but had to cut the tree down for security reasons. Until then, we put more than 15.000 blows on the tree with the adze. It showed that the “beak”, on which the adze was tied, was dimensioned too weak, thus splitting during the work, because the bending power caused by the blade was too heavy. The hafting angle could have been a little closer, too. The cutting performance corresponded in a great measure to the angle at which the blows were set. If the angle was good, we happened to loosen even longer shavings. The tool causes significant traces in the cutting groove because of its straight edge and its edge angle. This tool worked much better while trimming cleavage surfaces, we succeeded to produce very fine and clean surfaces.

 

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