New oak axe handle carved and hung.

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New oak axe handle carved and hung.

Postby ilerner2 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:39 pm

Hi Guys, I went to work and carved a nice handle for one of my vintage side axes. The process was slow but the end result was very pleasing. It wasn't until I went to sharpen the axe that I realized how much the badly pitted back/flat side of the axe was affecting my ability to put a decent edge on the axe. Once I established an edge on the axe the edge looked like it was full of nicks. Upon closer inspection I saw that what looked like nicks were actually from the pitts in the steel on the back side of the axe.
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So now I sit looking at this nicely hung axe with a brand new freshly carved oak handle wondering how I should go about restoring this axe head.

Looking at it the only thing I can think of to refurbish this head is to dress down the metal until there are no longer any pits showing, perhaps using a belt sander to remove the bulk of the material and then finish it by hand polishing etc.

As this axe head is an antique of high quality I am reluctant to just have at it. I really want to do it correctly. Can anyone offer me some first hand advice on how to proceed so I can put this axe back into service? Thanks so much.

Here are a couple shots of the newly hung axe.
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Re: New oak axe handle carved and hung.

Postby Robin Fawcett » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:53 am

Nice job but that head is hung a bit too "open" in axe parlance ie a bit cocked upwards...
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Re: New oak axe handle carved and hung.

Postby ilerner2 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:01 pm

Robin Fawcett wrote:Nice job but that head is hung a bit too "open" in axe parlance ie a bit cocked upwards...


Thanks Robin, I actually did that on purpose. As I will be using this axe mainly for carving I had hoped it would give more of a slicing action rather than a chopping or chisel like cut. But as I will be using it mostly in a choked up grip up close to the head, at that point you will see the head is perpendicular when the handle is gripped in that area. I was sort of patterning it after the Gransfors Bruks carving axe.

I'm not in any means claiming to be right, I'm simply stating why I hung it that way. Keep in mind that this is the very first axe I have hung with a new handle, I could be waaaay out in left field with my reasoning.

Now that I have explained, do you still feel it is too "open"? I have two more of these style heads to hang, each a little heavier and larger than this one in the photos, three different sizes and weights. I can make this correction with the other two if you think it necessary. Thanks
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Re: New oak axe handle carved and hung.

Postby ilerner2 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:12 am

A little judicious work with a bastard-file mill file today took out enough of those pits on the back of the blade to allow me to re establish a nice edge on the head. It cuts beautifully and has a great feel in the hand while in use. It seems to have a very well balanced head that flies straight with each blow and cuts straight lines with ease. I'm so very glad I made the effort to put this axe back into service. It should still have several lifetimes of use left in it if well taken care of.
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Re: New oak axe handle carved and hung.

Postby ilerner2 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:36 pm

Robin Fawcett wrote:Nice job but that head is hung a bit too "open" in axe parlance ie a bit cocked upwards...


Hello again Robin Fawcett, well my friend after having had some time on the business end of this hatchet I have to say I really like the way it performs with the one exception that being......when I'm finishing a series of cuts from the top down and I go to take the last cut to chop off the last bit remaining - due to the open angle at which I hung the head it does not cut all the way across the piece of wood. The heel of the blade contacts the chopping block while the toe stops before it completes the cut on the other end. I have to lift the handle end up while swinging it to get it to make the final cut all the way across. This is kind of hard to describe. I think with a properly designed handle such as the one I carved for it, I could have hung it more perpendicular to handle and it would have been better as you suggested when you said it looked too "open".

Oh well, live and learn right! I don't think I'll re hang it at this point. I'll just use it as it is considering the amount of work involved in making a new handle and then fitting it again over a small inconvenience as described above. Thanks for your input.
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