Rick Nash is a birchbark canoe builder. Woodland Heirlooms; http://www.rmnashbirchbarkcanoes.ca/ He also makes other traditional items. Here's the most recent he shared (permission to re-post given); "This is a 'Trade Axe',circa,1750's, that I finished making recently at nights in my spare time. The axe head is made from a forge,and was given to me as a gift when I first came to Canada back in 77. It was raw forged, and I spent time shaping the tool head with files,such as, shaping the bowl, the emblem below the bowl,and ring pattern around the bowl. I put the axe head on top of the wood stove until the head was hot to touch,and I applied gun blueing until the color was right. Buffed with steel wool then. The handle is made from tiger maple from Kentucky,given to me last year by one of my longrifle makers down there. I hot wired the hole through the handle with a 1/8th steel rod...took 5 nights and Rowans Creek bourbon. The length of wood was then shaped by axe and files,scrapers and steel wool. The stain is steel wool,dissolved in nitric acid,very dangerous ****,swabbed on,and heated to color over a flame. Linseed oil is then put on and heated by flame and burnished with burlap.I made up some bees wax,wax, and buffed to a shine. The mouth piece is made from moose antler,filed and scraped to shape,also hot wired through. The axe is 22 inches in length." "This a detail shot of the axe head where I made a cover plate from a 1921 silver dollar. I pounded it out on the anvil,and then cut off the ends to make the pins/nails to fasten the plate down. I did the engraving with a small triangular file that I worked for a tool,and chiseled the pattern in. The edge was also filed to shape. The pin is a clean out plug."