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Thread: UPDATED with haft - Scored a "Perfect" double bit. Please help me haft it

  1. #21
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    This thread certainly took on a life of it's own. I think it is a fascinating thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by G-pig View Post
    Thanks for the compliment pegs.

    Im going to pull out a quote from the foreword of the axe book by Dudley Cook

    “If you know one thing well and set out to explain it clearly and completely, you may find yourself explaining many things. You may find the pamphlet you sat down to write has become an encyclopedia. Hence the old story of the simple cobbler who proposed to write on fixing shoes. Once fairly started, he found he couldn't write about fixing shoes without writing about hammers, benches, pegs, and awls; he had to touch on leather, as well, on tanning, on cattle, and on the anatomy of the human foot and leg. In the end, he had written about everything. The cobbler had become a philosopher.”

    When I read the book a couple years ago this was interesting but nowhere near as interesting as it became later. In general, I dont think absolutism or an especially scientific view of axes and wood chopping is well suiting. There are just so many damn variables. I have thought of wood chopping in one light, only to have it all unravel when I change me perspective.

    Now to justify putting you folks through one of my philosophical rambles. We all can agree that a heavy axe on a long handle will generate more power than a lighter axe on a shorter handle. Thats a simple enough thought. To generate that power, you have to lift the axe and swing it into the log. The lighter axe on a shorter handle takes less energy from you to complete each swing, this being only part of the process of wood chopping. Sometimes light, short axes work as well or better than a heavy long one. Less fatigue is another variable, if you cant hit where you are aiming you will never reach full potential, and a lighter more manageable axe is conducive to this. This is of course a wonderful excuse to own 50 axes in quarter pound increments and on different length and design handles. I could write about my own preference, but they are probably already well known and I would rather avoid the aforementioned absolutism and conclusion jumping that would be necessary.

    Sorry to the OP for this philsophical crap. You never know when this will start around here these days =)

    Also, pegs, that was not meant as a jab at you. You are totally correct in saying that a bigger heavier axe will impart more force on impact. I am just trying to open up some other variables here.
    Excellent post. I also find my opinions unraveling at times. For instance, we once discussed holding your axe with the same hand on top and bottom regardless of which side of the kerf you are cutting. At that time, I had never tried switching my hands when switching sides. So I decided to give it a try. For better or worse, I now switch hands more often than not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt River View Post
    Makes me happy to think that there are other guys with axe obsession, in a sense it is the tool that built the foundations of the world we know. Pretty much every other operation I can think of involves an axe somewhere along the line to get from raw material to a finished product. Building boats, shelters, fuel, and making other tools from wood makes an axe king of tools in my mind.
    An axe certainly appeals to something fundamental and powerful within you. I believe that man as a species and gender is naturally fierce and wild at heart. Our culture sometimes looks condescendingly at strong masculinity, unfortunately. Getting your chopping on feels great and defies the "meek and mild fallacy." It never fails to amuse me when someone I know finds out about my interest in axes and vintage tools. They almost always look at me sideways and say "really?????" Then, almost without exception, they start asking questions and want to look at tools. They want to hold them and feel them. They want to see how sharp they really are. They want to try them out. Suddenly, if just for a moment, their basic drives are outshining their iPhone....and....damn, it feels good. I'll spare you further ponderings on the topic.


    “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat [axe]. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” ---Dr. Seuss

    Quote Originally Posted by G-pig View Post
    No point in getting it all scienced up.
    True that.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by M3mphis View Post
    An axe certainly appeals to something fundamental and powerful within you. I believe that man as a species and gender is naturally fierce and wild at heart. Our culture sometimes looks condescendingly at strong masculinity, unfortunately. Getting your chopping on feels great and defies the "meek and mild fallacy." It never fails to amuse me when someone I know finds out about my interest in axes and vintage tools. They almost always look at me sideways and say "really?????" Then, almost without exception, they start asking questions and want to look at tools. They want to hold them and feel them. They want to see how sharp they really are. They want to try them out. Suddenly, if just for a moment, their basic drives are outshining their iPhone....and....damn, it feels good. I'll spare you further ponderings on the topic.

    A lot of intelligence is involved in all this work too. A lot of the old Frenchies around here were a hair over 5 foot and a 120 or something and they used their finesse to get the job done. Working in the woods with a crosscut, axe, peavey, pulp hook etc. will kick your ass at first, or if you arent adapted. Even people who have been working with heavy machinery, chainsaws etc, who know a thing or two about it have a hard time at first, because its all different. You can make cuts with a chainsaw that would pinch a crosscut every single time. Its a whole different game, and youve got to have the intelligence to indentify the differences.

    When I filed some crosscuts for an arborist last spring, he spent about 2 1/2 hours talking and pacing back and forth in my horrifically messy shop. It was cool to see someone who didnt just see a big mess like some of my uncles in construction or young folks who wind up in there.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt River View Post
    Much as with swords, there were also equations for sizing axes for different purposes according to body size. Many of the older axes were purchased as just a head, so in a sense pretty much all handles were custom made at the point of sale - the hardware store or the end user hafted the axe. I have run across a sizing equation like that but have no idea where, most likely in one of my older smithing books or one that I checked out from the engineering library at SDSU. (not San Diego). I suspect that many blacksmiths used the local joiner or carpenter to finish their tools simply based on the very large value of their personal time. I would love to get the equation without having to search, anybody have it? Maybe it was a logging book or an ax pamphlet.

    Like a lot of construction guys, I have a number of sledges with shortened handles - starting and driving concrete stakes, moving a girder truss or beam from up on a ladder or while up in the roof, striking inside an enclosed space, many purposes for a shortened handle as well. I have a full-weight Plumb, around 4lb, with a hacked handle, not pretty, but it is the best possible kindling splitter for inside the house, purchased ones are lame. min

    Seems like there is a purpose for many different lengths of handle. A really big guy would need more than 36" for limbing a tree from up on the trunk to avoid crouching over or leaning.

    Random question, do you guys use drawknives and shaves to shape your handles, or a belt sander? Anybody rough out with a hatchet? I have three really small hatchets, one is a nice marples pocket axe no. 6, a smith and wesson bullseye, and a vintage mini with integral steel handle, plastic scales, identical size to the no. 6, no id. I have used them for hanging a couple of picks and on my last two axes, actually felt like I had more control than with the belt sander.

    Makes me happy to think that there are other guys with axe obsession, in a sense it is the tool that built the foundations of the world we know. Pretty much every other operation I can think of involves an axe somewhere along the line to get from raw material to a finished product. Building boats, shelters, fuel, and making other tools from wood makes an axe king of tools in my mind.
    Good post Matt River and welcome to the forum from Montana! We can always use insight from a South Dakota farmer

    And to answer your question...
    Most folks around here use hand tools for pretty much everything they can...
    But sometimes power tools are used.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by G-pig View Post
    Back then, everyone used an axe so much they had their preferences and that was that. No point in getting it all scienced up.
    As it should be.

  5. #25
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    SO much good information. Thank you everyone for posting. I have been busy and am trying to get the weight on this head. I cleaned it up a little with steel wool today and got the edge cleaned up a little (dings ground out).I am looking forward to hanging this thing... It will be my first.

  6. #26
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    UPDATE: I found a 36" double bit haft at an Ace Hardware. It was in a basket of other stuff it was obvious they didn't know what to do with. They charged me $6.99 so I am up to about $7.30 after tax on this entire axe. I suppose another $7 or so for some BLO too. I will say that I feel this is too long for my tool preference but it does feel well balanced and I am very happy with it. I will have to make a haft for my next find. I want to find my next one SOON!

    Edited to add: I should have shaved the haft down a little farther to get the head to seat a little closer to the bump [SHOULDER: thanks Square Peg](?). I was fitting it and it sort of became one unit. It did not want to come out and I was excited enough to get it done I failed to assert myself LOL. There are a few other bugs that could equal a sub-optimum hang but it was fun anyway so if I have to do it again that would not be a huge loss.

    IMG_1252.jpgIMG_1257.jpgIMG_1259.jpgIMG_1261.jpg
    Last edited by Dunner; 11-04-2012 at 07:57 PM.

  7. #27
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    That turned out really nice!

  8. #28
    I can't say anything about hanging an axe, but I can tell you that I would probably go with the longer handle. Now, that might be due to being 6'3"......but I tend to think of less downward effort on the user's part = safer axe.....and a longer handle and heavier head accomplish that. Same as a sharp bit.......

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunner View Post
    Edited to add: I should have shaved the haft down a little farther to get the head to seat a little closer to the bump(?).
    The 'bump' is sometimes called the shoulder. I think you got it down far enough that it doesn't look awkward or anything. Wedging is tight. And the grain is essentially perfect. Nice hang!

  10. #30
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    SHOULDER! Thank you! I need to lock down my axe anatomy. And thank you for the comments on my first hang
    Last edited by Dunner; 11-04-2012 at 08:07 PM.

  11. #31
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    Looks great!

    So far I prefer a mid-length 32" haft on my splitting axes, and I do like the 36" on my double-bit chopper, getting further from the work. Splitting is a more controlled equation, and stepping back and forth from the stump gets old, but a short 28" handle on a heavy tool is unbalanced and gets me too close to the swing; those are a compromise for portability or a smaller head for me.
    I'm 5'9".

    -Daizee
    Beckerhead #int((2/3)*100)
    My knives, etc.: http://crosstownoutdoors.wordpress.com/
    "You have to admit it's a good looking heart attack." --Tradewater

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