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Attempted rehab True Temper F.S.S. double bit.....

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Drum4fun, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Found this for sale in Northern Arizona.... I thought (but not sure) it
    had enough good steel remaining under the rust that warranted an
    attempt at resuscitation. As most here are aware these double bits
    are frequently subject to aggressive grinding for use on the fire lines...
    this one appears to have reasonable bit edges left and temper lines while
    not deep are present and still indicate some life left in this head. The
    seller indicated this was located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation
    in the White Mountains.

    So, a work in progress... next will wire brush the surfaces and eye. Then
    mill file the bit edges and re-haft. This should make a nice companion for
    my True Temper F.S.S. Pulaski that lives in the truck. I know, nothing rare
    or collectible here... but, I enjoy the process. So far I'm out $9.00.

    (adjacent to F.S.S. this one has a "B7" imprint). I suspect not especially
    "vintage" ... based on what I've read here I'm thinking 60's-70's. I haven't
    weighed the head but I believe it will weigh in between 3-4 lbs..

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    Agent_H, BamaDADx3 and phantomknives like this.
  2. survivor45


    Feb 15, 2018
    Looks to me like it's in great shape. I'll be keeping my eye on this thread.
  3. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    I think there remains enough "good steel" here to salvage a working tool .... time
    will tell. I will share "warts and all" thru the process. To my untrained eye it appears
    the woodsman favored one bit over the other.... or, perhaps the grinder did. ;) The
    bastard mill file will indicate the quality of what remains . So as to keep costs down
    I will search out a reasonable haft at H.D., Ace, Lowe's, Stihl... etc.. Thanks for the
    note ... I believe this "body style" is referred to as "Western" by True Temper... please
    feel free to correct me if that is in error.
  4. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    So, today I thought I'd give the bit edges some attention. With the Mill
    Bastard file it took me 1 1/2 hours to remove all the leading edge flea
    bites and chips. It was slow going but I'm pretty sure the steel is still
    good quality. I did not want to get too aggressive as the temper line was
    close enough to the bit edge as to indicate the need to go slow. As you
    can see the heel on one edge has a missing chip .... i opted to remove
    a "mushroomed" chip edge but decided not to chase the missing chip (cosmetic
    v. functional ???). The bit edges appear symmetrical. After filing I used
    the Lanksy puck (coarse/fine) to sharpen...curl over of the bit edge was
    minimal and I have learned that I was being too aggressive "pushing" the
    stone into the edge rather than circular sliding the stone along the edge. After
    the stone work I made some passes with wet-dry P600 paper to remove most
    of the deeper scratches from the filing. Finished with a few quick passes on the
    leather strop . The profile view indicates a good edge from heel to toe and toe to heel.

    More work than I thought it would be when I started out.

    Next up... all four cheeks have pock marks / divots to some degree... but,
    I will leave those alone. I am more interested in raised firm areas of oxidation
    not removed by the vinegar soak. I did not necessarily want to use the drill
    powered wire brush but think I will (thought about Marine/Naval Jelly
    but that stuff is nasty to deal with... pass).

    Pleased with proceeding nicely. Enthusiasm for the project has not diminished.
    Morale is high. ;)

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  5. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Well... not my best work... have you ever had a hang go crappy from the start
    and think it would somehow magically improve at the finish ? That's what this
    one was... Not sure if I blame me, the eye shape, or the less than quality haft.
    To make a long story short... ended up with gaps at the eye edges and cheeks.
    It seems the ridges were responsible cracking the wedge. The head is very tight
    but sloppy looking....but, won't re-hang until I need to.

    Found a reasonable Truper (made in Mexico with American Hickory, and capable
    of causing birth deformities) at Lowes' (struck out at Ace , Home Depot.... warps,
    cracks, chips, knots). Haft is a bit on the chunky side... I will address that later.

    Wanted to mention... the wire brush on the drill did very little to change the cheek
    bumps. However, it did uncover the hidden 3-2 imprint indicating initial weight.

    So, rust bucket resuscitation... not cosmetically wall hanger quality but functional . Was
    a fun project. Some may get a chuckle out of this... carrying the ax back to storage,
    I dropped it.... landed on concrete right on the bit edge. Left some missing small chips....
    back to the file for me. :oops:..and yes, I was speaking in tongues.

    Jasper33 likes this.
  6. survivor45


    Feb 15, 2018
    Well all in all that head is in great shape.
    Of the 6 or 7 I've hefted none have gone perfect for my liking.
    But all good enough.
    I think if you left it in the vinegar bath longer it would have removed the rust from the deep pits.
    How long did you let it soak ?
    Still overall it looks good.
  7. Jasper33


    Jan 18, 2015
    Charles, that doesn’t look bad at all to me! It’s seated right down on the shoulder nicely and you can always do some minor reshaping/thinning to the handle later. The head has very little wear and I like the look of it as it is.
  8. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    Great value.
  9. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Thanks guys... I'll keep it and put it to work. I need to chill out on the search
    for perfection. This is a perfectly serviceable ax that I just gave at least another
    20 year life expectancy.

    Survivor ... I only floated it in vinegar for 24 hrs. .... had not considered a longer
    soak..thanks for the reminder.

    Jasper... I agree.... if I had a do - over I would take it just a bit more down on the
    shoulder. The re-shaping and thinning of the haft is definitely going to happen. Glad
    to hear someone else also doesn't need perfect cosmetics to enjoy the tool . You kind
    of take a gamble on these ol' rusty's when sometimes a multitude of flaws can easily
    be hidden. (cracks, deep pits, shallow temper lines, uneven heel to toe side-to-side) etc.
    As you indicate... I got lucky.

    JB... I thought so also...$9 for the Truper haft, $9 for the head. I'm not sure what the
    comps are for these TT F.S.S. double bits but I don't think I could find comparable
    quality in this price range for current models. I'm guessing you've had dozens of these
    pass thru your findings.... i like that this one allegedly came thru the White Mountain
    Apache Indian Reservation.

    p.s. can somebody please share techniques, pitfalls, gear, and, any insights in
    reshaping these handles ? (really want to thin this one out symmetrically quite
    a bit...as is now feels more like a club / bat than (some I've found) vintage haft.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  10. survivor45


    Feb 15, 2018
    Drum4fun. I use a "card scraper" or sometimes called a cabinet scraper. For shaping handles and fitting heads. (of course I use a few wood rasps also)
    I have two spoke shaves and I personally just can't get them to work for me. The card scraper is a very simple and effective tool.
    Oh and they are cheap. Do a YouTube search and check them out.
  11. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Will do Survivor ! Thanks for the recommendation. I will practice on a few old
    broken hafts.... easy enough to find at the Swap meet. I've tried spoke shaves....
    beyond my skill level.
  12. whtshdwwz


    Jan 3, 2016
    You can also use a piece of broken glass as a scraper...just a thought.
  13. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    i did that, and razor blades. would not recommend to people with gout or any other joint issues. unless you get a big chunk of glass it's hard to hold on to
    Drum4fun likes this.
  14. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Thanks for the recommendations guys... taken under advisement. After watching
    a half dozen videos on the card scraper & burnishing tool I'm pretty sure I want to
    give it a go.... I'll share my learning / successes / failures here. Looks like something
    I'd enjoy doing.
  15. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Well Done ....
  16. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    The back-side/spine of a hacksaw blade will pull lacquer off handles pretty quick as well. That flat edge can be burnished somewhat to sharpen it again. The nice thing about them is that there is so much edge that you don't have to stop to touch it up often in the middle of a task.

    You can push it or draw it back with two hands which might be a plus for hand fatigue.

    I love my spokeshaves but they really do have to be kept very sharp and always set at the proper depth. The blades on mine all move just a touch during use despite the securing screws built into them. Spokeshaves can only get so close to radii such as a palm swell or tight shoulder before you need to switch to rasps, files, etc.

    I tend to use my draw knives for greener work, spokeshaves for putting planes into dried wood, and scrapers for de-lacquering and then finer/finishing work.

    The above mentioned cabinet scrapers are great as long as you are prepared to burnish them properly after you've used all the stock edge they come prepared with - that probably is just basic "tool maintenance" though.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
    Drum4fun and survivor45 like this.
  17. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    AgentH ...that's good insights, just what I was looking for....thanks. I'll work with
    the cabinet scrapers to gain some facility then re-visit practicing with the spokeshaves.

    Dusty... thank you . I am pleased with the outcome on this one.
  18. A17


    Jan 9, 2018
    I had tried steel spokeshaves with little success, then one day I was given a round-soled wooden spokeshave. I haven't looked back. It is easy to set up, easy to use, and I set the depth by tapping the blade on a handy piece of wood till it won't go in further. Just my two cents.
  19. survivor45


    Feb 15, 2018
    I do have my eye out for one of these. But the few I've seen are in bad shape and selling for more than I'm willing to invest.

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