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This Francisca axe was made after an archaeological find from Rhenen (The Netherlands), where is a large graveyard dated from the Late Roman to the Merovingian period (approx. 400-700 AD).
The francisca is characterized by its distinctly arch-shaped head, widening toward the cutting edge and terminating in a prominent point at both the upper and lower corners. The top of the head is usually either S-shaped or convex with the lower portion curving inward and forming an elbow with the short wooden haft. Sometimes the head is more upswept forming a wider angle with the haft. Most franciscas have a round or teardrop-shaped eye designed to fit the tapered haft, similar to Viking axes. Based on the measurements of modern replicas the francisca had a haft length of around 40-45 cm (16-18 in) and a 10 cm (4 in) cutting edge with an average weight of around 600 g (21 oz, 1.3 lb).
This reconstruction of the Francisca axe Rhenen came into existence thanks to Mr. Robert Wimmers from Archeologie Beleven !
In the case of hand-forged blades, our blacksmith takes the already rolled spring steel and forges it by hand on the anvil or under the drop hammer. The steel gets more solid (denser) by forging. In the case of industrially rolled spring steel blades, the sheets of steel plate is cut to strips under drop snips, then ground or milled and immediately forged into the annealing furnace and oil-quenched. The properties of both kinds of steels are not very different, since industrial rolling is already very good! On forged blades are usually blacksmith marks, which give them an authentic and unique look.