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Thread: The axe graveyard

  1. #1
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    The axe graveyard


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    I could write a story, but the point is still the same. I saw forty plus axes today. Around thirty were "Maine patterns" and of those with legible stamps (around ten), I saw KATCO, O M H (which I don't even recognize as a Maine brand), Marsh and Sons Co, Snow and Nealley, Emersons and Stevens, and one simply labeled Maine. It was a collectors dream. Except not ONE was salvageable, deformed eyes, bits, and polls were the norm. What a waste. Having particular interests in salvaging Oakland axes, I was quite upset. Oakland axes were the kings back in the day, and expensive. Who would do this and why? Why?

  2. #2
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    ahh man, your breaking my heart... why, why, why???
    its not exactly on the same level, but most of the axes i find in the old pawn shops are like that. most were nice quality axes at one time...
    for instance; there is a TT vulcan at a pawn shop in town, it looks good except both bits seem to have been put on a bench grinder by a 3 year old child... i mean, their not even close to being even or straight... why dammnit why? their is an old american made collins dayton axe at the the same place (paper label and all operator), but the poll is so badly mushroomed its not worth crap IMO... i could go on and on...
    point is; i feel your pain
    btw; where did you come across that many axe heads? were they all in one place?

  3. #3
    I would love to stumble upon this, just for the history of it... Why is it that most people don't care about their tools?

  4. #4
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    Where did you find these? It always sucks when people can't learn to take care of their things

  5. #5
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    I don't think those axes were individually owned. Logging companies, railroads, government, land companies, and etc. bought axes by the box and handed them out to workers who just used them to get the job done regardless of what happened to the axe. Axes were expendable. If you find an old used axe that managed to stay in good shape, chances are it was privately owned.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Section10 View Post
    I don't think those axes were individually owned. Logging companies, railroads, government, land companies, and etc. bought axes by the box and handed them out to workers who just used them to get the job done regardless of what happened to the axe. Axes were expendable. If you find an old used axe that managed to stay in good shape, chances are it was privately owned.

    I see your point section 10. Never took that into consideration. However, I take just as much care of my working tools as I do with personal tools. I wish some of the old timers, who used the said axes above, could have done the same, for our benefit...

  7. #7
    That's a bummer. I wonder if a blacksmith could salvage those, heat them, re-shape them and re-temper them. I don't know anything about blacksmithing or metallurgy but it would be awesome to be able to bring back axes that are junk in most people's eyes.

  8. #8
    Damn. I really want to get my hands on a Maine pattern in good shape and it seems tough to do for some reason. And I'm IN Maine for crying out loud.


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Condors, Moras, Deluxe Tramontinas, and More!

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
    — Mervyn Peake

  9. #9
    To the OP, can you explain what an Oakland pattern is, and why you choose that syle over others?

  10. #10
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    Funny how things change over the years. I can remember 30 years ago we'd sink a double bit into a stump and lay a skidder cable across the upright bit and cut it with a hammer. Saving an old axe was like saving an old hacksaw blade. I still have an "Old Timer" double bit with one good edge and the other nicely scalloped. It's only within the last 10 years I've started to look at axes with any real admiration for them.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Section10 View Post
    Funny how things change over the years. I can remember 30 years ago we'd sink a double bit into a stump and lay a skidder cable across the upright bit and cut it with a hammer. Saving an old axe was like saving an old hacksaw blade. I still have an "Old Timer" double bit with one good edge and the other nicely scalloped. It's only within the last 10 years I've started to look at axes with any real admiration for them.
    That's how it goes with lots of great things. We don't know what we got till it's gone. Like guitars, cars, and women, we use em, assume that there will be better in the future, and let them go. Few are smart enough to hold on to the good stuff.
    I'm sure in some cases that the original owner took care of his tools, but the second owner just saw it as an old axe with a dirty old handle.

  12. #12
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    Every log truck around here has a double bit axe and a shovel mounted outside behind the cab per state forestry regs. Exposed to the weather 365 days a year. Probably a lot of Sagers and GB's still on those trucks because I don't know of too many new swampers these days. Bet there will collectors that won't like those heads much either in a few years but right now they are just work tools.
    Then there was the timber company firehall I used to work in. Hundreds of double-bits racked up waiting for the "big fire." I wasn't interested in brands in those days but it would surprise me if many weren't Sagers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by foxx View Post
    That's how it goes with lots of great things. We don't know what we got till it's gone. Like guitars, cars, and women, we use em, assume that there will be better in the future, and let them go. Few are smart enough to hold on to the good stuff.
    I'm sure in some cases that the original owner took care of his tools, but the second owner just saw it as an old axe with a dirty old handle.
    Hey man, there's lots of life wisdom in that statement. Folks tend to run on to the next best thing and wish they hadn't later. My grandma down in Breckinridge County KY used to tell me 'not to get up past my raising' and I think that included recognizing what was valuable and taking care to keep it well while you use it.

  14. #14
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    Lots of interesting posts here, I winced reading how you cut cables Section10, but I can understand from your view point. After all, I just used a knife as a screwdriver. When good things are commonly avaible, we see them as just tools.

    Bearhunter / Killteam, I found these in the basement of an antique shop, that I'm guessing hadn't been opened in at least a year. They were scattered around, and I'm sure I missed a few as my flashlight batteries died.

    Trailmaker, I think it would be interesting to do that, but I wouldn't know if it would be worth it. Lots of work for a sub par result, considering how far gone most heads are.

    Fortytwoblades, hit as many flea markets and antique shops as possible. Or google Pole and Paddle, he always has some Snow and Nealleys around. Last I checked he had a spiller too, for forty five. But leave some for me, I'm in Maine too.

    Broady, hopefully someone can post that picture of different type of axe patterns / profiles, my other computer is down. But oakland patterns are reffered to as "Maine" pattern axes, like the one in the picture below. Its just the wedge like shape, and it gets tricky figuring Maine patterns from the actual Wedge patterns. But as far as I know, the only companies that made axes in the Maine pattern were Maine companies (Operator, is this true?). I love this style simply because Maine is my state, and I like my states history of axes. Truth to tell though, I have yet to actually pick a Maine pattern axe over my standard Daytons when I'm using them.


    And the story of the double bits rusting away on the back of trucks just made me shudder.
    Last edited by Crazyotter; 02-21-2012 at 08:50 PM.

  15. #15
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    Theoretically, you could slosh some borax in the crack and stand the head in a coal fire, bring it to white heat, and hammer-weld the crack shut.
    The axe-head is big and not very delicate- I'm thinking of doing this with my "new" p-v.

  16. #16
    I just bought a MARSH & SONS CO OAKLAND MAINE Double bit and need some help with getting a handle for it. It was never mounted and has an almost diamond shaped opening. Can any one point me in the right direction to get a handle or does anyone know someone who could make a custom handle? I do not want to mess this beauty up. Thank you.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by heartland41 View Post
    I just bought a MARSH & SONS CO OAKLAND MAINE Double bit and need some help with getting a handle for it. It was never mounted and has an almost diamond shaped opening. Can any one point me in the right direction to get a handle or does anyone know someone who could make a custom handle? I do not want to mess this beauty up. Thank you.
    I would just have to find something big enough to whittle down.
    If you don't get any useful answers here, you might try posting as a new thread. I'll be interested to see how many people watch a thread this old.

  18. #18
    There is no telling the abuse/use that these axes saw...some people just have no clue when it somes to the proper use of an axe. The truth is, they were used for almost EVERYTHING from chopping wood to clearing fence rows, hunting, prying and hammering, not to mention being expected to hold a great edge after being ground with an uneven edge on a grinder. Finding a good axe from yesteryear that is not rusted, pitted or deformed would represent a rarity. Of course, you can touch up these old tools and make them useable if you spend the time and show a bit of respect for these vintage cutting implements.

  19. #19
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    We commonly think we are inferior to previous generations. But that is not the case. there have been dipships the whole time. Those people couldn't learn or order from the internet so a lot of crudeness was mainstream. A true craftsman is as rare/common now and then. Look around you at people that do not take care of their electronics or etc. no problem, they will just a get a new phone, right?

    Furthermore you are not doing things so some person not related to you can have a cool collectible 50 years after you die, are you? Also, if nice ones were everywhere there would be no interest in looking for them.


    Feel any better about it now?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by cckw View Post
    there have been dipships the whole time. Those people couldn't learn or order from the internet so a lot of crudeness was mainstream. A true craftsman is as rare/common now and then. Look around you at people that do not take care of their electronics or etc. no problem, they will just a get a new phone, right?
    ^Amen to that!


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Condors, Moras, Deluxe Tramontinas, and More!

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
    — Mervyn Peake

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