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Axe Factor: Rick Edwards and Dan Jones

The craft goes back thousands of years, and while modern tools have made the process quicker and more efficient, there are some aspects that have survived the ages.

We partnered Rick Edwards and Dan Jones with top blacksmith Joshua Burrell to create an Iron Age axe using a mix of traditional and modern techniques, but with 100% of the inspiration coming from a piece found in an Irish peat bog. The axe-head itself was a work of art, but the haft (the wooden handle of the axe) was even stranger - harking back to a time when you needed to be efficient with rare metal ore.

Forged In Britain

What better person to have bring history alive than historian Dan Jones, a prolific writer alongside being the historical consultant on Knightfall and presenter of Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty and Britain’s War of Thrones.

Rick Edwards on his River Hunters axe

And with him is presenter Rick Edwards, host of brand new HISTORY series River Hunters, in which the team find a not too dissimilar Bronze Age axe head in the river at Stirling. Unlike the forged steel of our Iron Age axe, the bronze axe head found in River Hunters would have been cast, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t similarities in design and a deep sense of the history of the craft in both.

Based in his workshop Exile Ironworks in Loughborough, we first met Josh when HISTORY profiled his work alongside his father, Graham, in his original Forged in Britain film.

Before showing Rick and Dan the ropes, Josh has also helped DJ Nihal Arthanayake forge a beautiful Scandinavian bearded axe.

Watch Forged in Fire Thursdays 9pm or catch Rick Edwards in River Hunters Mondays 9pm.