Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:34 pm

I roughed out 3 new axe handles: numbers 11, 12 & 14 (there is no 13). People don't use axes much these days & those that do usually use short ones, so I made a couple of shorter handles. These are 17", I like this size for the typical 2lb-ish hatchet/kindling axe, it's conveniently small yet allows strokes of considerable power to be made if the occasion calls for it:
Short ax handles 11 & 12.jpg
The broader handle is quite slim, I like the feel of it, reminds me of the angular SCA carving handle.
Short ax handles 11 & 12.jpg (104.93 KiB) Viewed 9878 times


Handle #14 is medium length - it is the other side of the log used for handle #10. I decided to make this a bit shorter as the bend was quite extreme and had some nasty looking knots beyond.

I am pleased with the result - it feels good, like something Ray Mears might carry in his rucksack for heavier bushcraft work. I was expecting it to be about 22inches long so was surprised that it actually measures 30 inches! I previously thought 30" was a full-sized handle - it's not.
Medium Ax handle #14 - back.jpg
Medium Ax handle #14 - back.jpg (149.93 KiB) Viewed 9878 times

Most of my big handles are 36" which I think is a much better length for splitting rounds and probably for felling trees. At 30" you definitely give up something (power/swing) - it feels *much* smaller - but the compact size will likely suit other tasks, such as snedding (removing branches from felled trees) or where carry a full length axe is not convenient/necessary. Maybe I'll reduce the length of the head after fitting too - might allow another inch or so of swing movement.

The wood, especially of the small handles is still quite wet to the touch & it gives off a lovely sweet sap scent. So I will dry it now and either work on them more next week or perhaps just leave it until an axe head is fitted (as the heads will need to be carved to fit the head).
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:53 pm

I just got another old axe. Haven't worked out the maker yet - the 3-line brand + logo + "3lb"-marking is hard to make out. (Might the bottom word be Cannock, or England, &/or the logo a hedgehog or crossed axes?? Whitehouse or Gilpin perhaps? It came from the west Midlands.)
Image
It is about 3lb, exactly 3.5lb with the 19" handle. The cutting edge is longer than usual, just shy of 5.5" :) It's an interesting size and feels lighter than
I expected. It's quite blunt (bounced off a small log when I made a test chop :D), so I'll need to do a major sharpening. I'm wondering if perhaps I should sharpen with an extreme right-hand bias, to be almost like a side-axe, for hewing - the face of bowl blanks and such like. Hmm.

The handle looks & feels original and is in v. good condition but loose. So I plan to take the handle out . I was thinking of replacing it, perhaps with a shorter carving handle but I really like the original handle, so I may just re-wedge it or perhaps attempt to make a close copy. It looks like it has a wooden wedge + two metal wedges in it. The metal wedges might be a a problem to remove without damaging the handle, I guess that's the reason that some prefer to use only wooden wedges (1 or 2).

Will probably give this head a vinegar treatment, as suggest by Nic above (perhaps I could use vinegar as the electrolyte for electrolytic cleaning - kill 2 birds with one stone?).

------
Update: Interestingly(?) the length of the cutting edge and head weight of my axe (above) are almost identical to this old-ish German side axe:
Image
...and the Gransfor Bruks 1900 Broad axe.
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Gransfors: One axe head many guises ('andles)?

Postby ToneWood » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:58 pm

Came across this rather appealing Gransfors Bruks axe handle of the Woodland Craft Supplies website. The axe is the "Gransfors Large Carving Hatchet : Centre Grind":
Image
http://www.woodlandcraftsupplies.co.uk/ ... cts_id=249
Large & small Gransfors carving axe/hatchets + SCA with red beech carving handle:
ImageImageImage
Several variations here: http://www.woodsmithstore.co.uk/shop/Pr ... ng%20Axes/
I think this is probably the same axe/head as the Gransfors Wildlife axe (favored by Robin Wood as a smaller carving axe) but with one of the more angular "carving handles".
Regular Wildlife axe/hatchet (which comes with a pretty nice handle anyway):
Image
http://www.woodlandcraftsupplies.co.uk/ ... ucts_id=14

The Hand Hatchet (a.k.a. "Kubben") apparently uses the Wildlife axe head too:
Image
http://www.woodlandcraftsupplies.co.uk/ ... cts_id=235
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:39 pm

ToneWood wrote:...
Image
It is about 3lb, exactly 3.5lb with the 19" handle. The cutting edge is longer than usual, just shy of 5.5" :) It's an interesting size and feels lighter than
I expected. It's quite blunt (bounced off a small log when I made a test chop :D), so I'll need to do a major sharpening. I'm wondering if perhaps I should sharpen with an extreme right-hand bias, to be almost like a side-axe, for hewing - the face of bowl blanks and such like. Hmm.
...

I made a guard for this axe today. Was unable to remove the loose handle without destroying the handle, so I re-wedged the existing handle with a (3rd) metal wedge. I washed the handle with soap, water and a big scrubbing brush - made quite a difference :). I also coated the head with vinegar for a couple of hours to clean-off some of the rust. Then I sharpened it and re-oiled the handle; the images below were taken before the handle was re-oiled:

It is very sharp for an axe of this size & type now BUT it is not yet Swedish/shaving sharp:
3lb long-faced Kent-style axe with new leather guard - right side.jpg
Short right-hand bevel. A work in progress.
3lb long-faced Kent-style axe with new leather guard - right side.jpg (129.11 KiB) Viewed 9816 times
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby bulldawg_65 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:18 pm

My next axe purchase will be that stubby wildlife hatchet or something Nic knocks up for me. :D
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby nic » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:30 pm

Ha! I actually have the Kubben, my sister gave it to me out of the blue, its really good for delicate work but because of the short handle you can't really unchoke it and apply alot of force. And having to swap axes halfway through a roughing out seems a bit excessive even for someone that has a vested interest in everyone buying lots of different tools.
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:45 pm

The Wildlife hatchet looks very good for a small axe. However, I now have rather a lot of axes and the family would find it hard to believe that I need any more :D Also the Lidl-carving axe (and/or my little Riley Kent-style axe) already fit the bill as my "small axe" very well - although the Wildlife is smaller (500g v. 700g).

I think a dream axe set that is not excessive would be something like: Gransfor broad axe (right hand bias or perhaps symmetric TBD) > Gransfors Swedish carving axe > Ronnqvist Viking axe > Wildlife Hatchet

I have this more English-oriented set: 4lb Kent axe (actually father-in-law has it now) > long-faced 3lb Kent axe (getting a RH bias) > Gransfors Swedish carving axe > Lidls Carving axe/Riley Kent hatchet > "Lady's" Kent axe
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:49 pm

nic wrote:Ha! I actually have the Kubben, my sister gave it to me out of the blue, its really good for delicate work but because of the short handle you can't really unchoke it and apply alot of force. And having to swap axes halfway through a roughing out seems a bit excessive even for someone that has a vested interest in everyone buying lots of different tools.
:D You could always make your own handle, perhaps like the Gransfors carving handle shown above. But Gransfor handles are nice, so I would find it difficult to justify removing a perfectly good one. And that short handle is never going to break is it! :D (You've got a good sibling there - can't see mine buying me Gransfors axes.).
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:00 pm

ToneWood wrote:I just got another old axe. Haven't worked out the maker yet - the 3-line brand + logo + "3lb"-marking is hard to make out. (Might the bottom word be Cannock, or England, &/or the logo a hedgehog or crossed axes?? Whitehouse or Gilpin perhaps? It came from the west Midlands.)
Image

It's a Cornelius Whitehouse Kent-style axe. I came across this one, a hefty 4lb side-axe - listed at £200!! - with similar markings (3 lines text, large logo with weight underneath) except this one is quite readable:
Image
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:03 pm

Then again, this Gilpin branding is v. similar: 3 lines of text followed by logo followed by head mass.
Image
Leaning towards Whitehouse currently, judging by the images above.
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:28 pm

I finally got use my #3 axe handle, left-hand one below:
Image
I used it for a rather nice, well preserved Eagle 310 Kent-style head:
Axe handle #3 with Eagle 310 Kent-style head - front.jpg
Axe handle #3 with Eagle 310 Kent-style head - front.jpg (159.75 KiB) Viewed 9400 times


It feels very light and agile, surprisingly so for a head of this size (#2 Kent-pattern?).
Handle #7 & red woman bowl_2.jpg
Ax handle #7 with restored Gilpin #2 axe head - the original handle finally "gave up the ghost".
Handle #7 & red woman bowl_2.jpg (101.66 KiB) Viewed 5922 times
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Re: Axe/Ax handles (not four candles) & ash

Postby ToneWood » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:22 pm

Decided to make a spare handle for the pitted but nice old #2 Kent pattern axe I got recently. I already had a suitable half-log of ash laying around. Unfortunately, I decided to split it asymmetrically - to avoid ending up with two halves that were both too small. My blank ended up being bigger than I needed - which means more carving work. Fortunately I realized that it was a near perfect size, shape and length for my larger 3lb Kent pattern axe - so I carved a spare handle for that instead :D. I then realized the smaller left over "half" is just big enough to make a handle for the Kent #2 :).

I've just roughed out the shapes - that way it breaks up the task and allows for tailored fitting and final shaping when it comes time to fit them (they may be needed for a different ax/tool).
Ax handles 15 & 16 -  #2 & #3 for Kent pattern axes.jpg
Ax handles 15 & 16 - #2 & #3 for Kent pattern axes.jpg (45.05 KiB) Viewed 9357 times

The new shave-horse came in handy for this task.
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Ben Orford axe handle video / Wetterlings axe kit

Postby ToneWood » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:46 pm

New(ish) Ben Orford axe handle video, featuring a Wetterlings DIY axe kit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-dEJdyXj34
Lots of useful tips.
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