1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Week 21 of the BladeForums.com Year of Giveaways is live! Enter to win a Kizer Megatherium!

    Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Kizer Knives Megatherium, Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, and help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread!

    Entries will close at 11:59PM Saturday, May 25; winners will be drawn on Sunday @5pm on our Youtube Channel: TheRealBladeForums. Bonus prizes will be given during the livestream!


    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Axe handle making, modifications, repair and more

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Maine20, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    862
    Mar 31, 2018
    My poorly aimed strike with a 3lb rubber mallet.
     
    ithinkverydeeply likes this.
  2. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    549
    Dec 17, 2018
    Yankee Thor.
     
    jdk1, Yankee Josh and A17 like this.
  3. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    This is about a handle repair. In order to go this route a number of criteria have to be met because of my general attitude that a handle is a disposable thing and does not rate repairing. In this instance I weighed the following aspects:1- the handle is a unique example, 2- it is personalized with an intentional marking, 3- the mark identifies it as part of a group of four axes I have all with the same mark. Only the combination of attributes keeps the handle from getting replaced with a new made one.[​IMG]Once the decision to salvage is settled on and deemed feasible my strategy is to cut out the crack, surface and glue the joined pieces back together with no guarantee of success in the end and me still not totally convinced it was such a smart choice.[​IMG]
    Only with 100% contact between the mating parts and sufficient clamping pressure can we speak of the glued joint surpassing the strength of the wood itself
    [​IMG]
    so the saw marks have to be planed away and the joint tested for a perfect fit.[​IMG]
    Because of the loss from the kerf the two pieces no longer align. Luckily there is a traditional technique of compensation when rehanging.[​IMG] [​IMG]
    One thing working in my favor, the angle of the scarf is shallow providing a decent amount of contact surface.
    It's left clamped over night.[​IMG]
    Right side
    [​IMG]
    Left side after touching up with matching stain.[​IMG]
    It's a sketchy call and one reserved for the most exceptional cases but until now I have had good success in restoring functionality when the conditions are right.
     
  4. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    549
    Dec 17, 2018
    Beautiful work. I love those clamps.
     
  5. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Thank you itvd and me too, I wish I'd even more and room to store them.
     
  6. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    961
    Dec 20, 2015
    Pretty clever thinking on sliding it up on the diagonal,to retain the dimensions of eye...I had to look at it for a while till i noticed what all you did...
    Good idea,very well executed,i hope it lasts a long time.

    It's almost pointless to judge things like that from a photo(even a good one,and yours usually are-it takes some hours for me to see them,with my reception speed:).
    It almost looks like beech?
    The rings look rather thick....It was probably not the best arrangement/config.,by the original maker of this handle...I love that wide tongue,and overall shape(and beech as well),the maker probably didn't have access to a better piece of wood,like a crook of some sort...
     
    ithinkverydeeply likes this.
  7. Malus

    Malus

    34
    Dec 24, 2018
    Well I had a less than stellar day today. I had been working on fitting a nice piece of ash to a Campbell's hammer poll head over the last few days, but the shape of the inside of the eye had been giving me trouble. It's hard to describe, but the back of the eye protrudes out in the middle and while fitting the head I got it majorly stuck. So unbelievably stuck that I considered using the axe as is without cutting a kerf and wedging.

    Went to use someone's vise since I don't own one and had the hammer part of the head clamped in soft jaws. I beat away at it with a giant hornbeam mallet and it finally budged and eventually I had the handle out. Only to realize to my horror that the back of the handle had been resting on the bottom of the vise and while I beat it out it peeled up a huge splinter.

    The piece of ash was already just big enough and there was barely going to be any shoulder at the back. I think this one has just become firewood.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Square_peg, A17, Fmont and 3 others like this.
  8. ithinkverydeeply

    ithinkverydeeply Gold Member Gold Member

    549
    Dec 17, 2018
    Ahhh! what a bummer.
     
    Agent_H and A17 like this.
  9. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    548
    Jul 31, 2017
    Now, you need to buy Boy's size axe head for that haft.
     
    A17, ithinkverydeeply and Fmont like this.
  10. Fmont

    Fmont Gold Member Gold Member

    452
    Apr 20, 2017
    Agree with with C Fe! You'll find something that fits it, eventually. I was just was able to use one of my favorite hafts that I thought would always just be a pattern. A big 4.5lb Keen Kutter (Kelly) Rockaway came on it, but the tongue needed to be cut down quite a bit. Many months later, and to my surprise and delight, my 3.25lb pre-TT Flint Edge Rockaway fit. Juuuust enough shoulder left and looks great (after lotttts of filing the head).

    You'll find something!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 5:43 PM
    A17 and ithinkverydeeply like this.
  11. Malus

    Malus

    34
    Dec 24, 2018
    True, firewood may have been a bit dramatic. Im sure something will come along with a slightly smaller eye.
     
    Square_peg, Fmont, rjdankert and 2 others like this.
  12. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    [​IMG]
    Very nice observation, Jake. I only had a couple of minutes this morning to take it in. I was more "Forest for the Trees" as opposed to "Trees for the Forest".

    It is carefully blended in and Ernest was able to keep the initials that already exist on the handle. Very much a well-thought out endeavor overall.
    [​IMG]
    Here as well!

    Sir, that is a fine tool.
    [​IMG]
    Thank you for the fixit ride-along, @Ernest DuBois
    Please share how it performs in your travels.
     
  13. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Well, the realignment of the joint was more self evident than a matter of choice among options. I just failed to capture the situation in a better way. In the end there was still not enough wood for filling the eye so it took packing with a wedge at the front. The handle certainly is beech as Jake has said it, typical handle wood choice of the region (lowland Bavaria) where the axe came from and was made. It's a strange axe and handle combination, the eye so big and the reduction of the handle so excessive. The eye is oval and symmetrical in form rather than the typical D shape, and massive which means that the width of the poll is also diminished.It makes me wonder if a symmetrical formed handle - with the double shoulder much in the way of how a double-bitted gets done - might be more practical. At least it's an option. I will give the axe as it is now a testing as I go at it tomorrow even though it has never been a favored one, nicely made as it is, comparing it to the recently handled Austrian bundaxt.
     
    Fmont, Trailsawyer and Agent_H like this.
  14. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    961
    Dec 20, 2015
    That is Very cool info,Ernest,thank you.
    There are axes in North-East of Europe with very large eyes.(common presumption being that it's for a reason of there being little suitable wood;the poorer the quality of haft,the more of it you need inside the eye).
    Of course it creates a problem with a hand-hold,where one needs/wants to choke up on the handle,that's where the huge shelf comes from.
    So,along with all that,there's that common rural legend that the "best":) wood for handles comes from the jug-butt of a tree.(those staves then used upside down).Where it joins the roots,there's that flare,the fanning out of fibers,where one finds a right natural shape that can form that shelf with continuous,uninterupted grain conforming to it...
    (this is totally abstract though just for giggles).
     
    Square_peg and Fmont like this.
  15. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Well I won't pass a judgement on the quality of the wood neither here nor there other than to say the axe and the wood have always been intimately intertwined to include the environmental context and more. To me a birch handle on a socketed axe leaves nothing to be desired next to a Connecticut on hickory.
    Not at all, not at all. The fiber growth/direction and how it relates to the handle, rather how the handle relates to the fiber growth - we don't determine the handle's shape and make our wood conform, rather the wood dictates the form. Except for the ones who go for truly bending the material to suit their will - is one thing, one big thing in fact. But that wood at the but is of a different order than wood up higher in the stem. Probably in as many as half the stems I work in the length, by hand, there is an obvious difference in the wood at the bottom sometimes to the extent that it is down right unpleasant to work there. I'd be one who'd go so far as to claim that not only is the but an important and distinct section but certain parts within the but will yield different and selectable characteristics in, for example, handle selection. Still, how often do we get to be so choosy in getting all handled up? Wouldn't it be nice?
     
  16. jake pogg

    jake pogg

    961
    Dec 20, 2015
    I can't agree more."Unpleasant" is an apt description,i too find it softer and wider-spaced ring-wise,and yes,off-putting in some way.
    The older people around here keep telling me how it's very desirable firewood-wise,and i can't see why they think that(other than gathering already broken parts saves energy in processing;there're many fragments scattered about).

    Yet,much of the Scandinavian batbyggying is based on these very nayturul crucs...(and house-framing of course;those beautiful freaking French dormir gables that you've posted some stuff on...).

    So it's all an immensely complicated picture...
    (just making idle conversation;i'm being sucked into the vortex of river-ratting,my participation in the forum henceforward sadly theoretical...:(
     
    ithinkverydeeply and Fmont like this.
  17. VintageAxe

    VintageAxe Gold Member Gold Member

    176
    Mar 12, 2011
    I have a few sticks of ash and locust drying for the day I decide to try making my own handles. When that day comes in a year or two, I would love to have some replicas of vintage (or some of the lovely work people here are doing) handle patterns to work off of. Anyone have an idea of how we could add something of a handle pattern library to this thread? Best I can come up with is make a tracing of that awesome handle you have, shoot a photo, and upload with the length of the handle in the thread so we can scale the image and print it. But there is probably a better way. Just a thought.
     
    rjdankert, Malus, Agent_H and 5 others like this.
  18. Malus

    Malus

    34
    Dec 24, 2018
    Just to update on my gory handle pictures. I decided to make a back wedge. I'm including a few pictures to offer a glimpse into woodworking in an apartment. Glamour there is little :D.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Knocking off as much as I can with the axe and leaving some on the end to hold while whittling.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The fit is solid. If I were to do it again I would shave the handle down so that the wedge makes up a larger part of the wood filling the bottom of the eye. As it is now I'm afraid I would eventually wear the bottom of the wedge out from driving it out to disassemble. Luckily, I don't think I will be packing this axe anywhere to have the need to take it apart. Unless by chance an opportunity to build a ship miles back in the wilderness falls into my lap?
     

Share This Page