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COTS Project Thread

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by cityofthesouth, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    Projects are just kinda piling up so I think this'll just be an ongoing thread of all the stuff that occupies my free time.

    This pile is from a friend of mine - I never know what he might show up with and for this group I talked him out of spending any time on the Keen Kutter. It's unfortunate but the bit is worn through on the corners to the point that the wrought is showing through. The other axe on the other hand is only marked on the underside of the poll with a 2 in a circle. It sorta shows in one of the pics. It has a great shape and bit/cheek profile IMO and comes in at exactly 3-1/2 pounds. It's now wearing a House Handle that got a enormous amount of thinning and shaping - appears to be full heart wood. The handles on both these axes may not have been original but they do seem to be old and are very nice. I don't like 36 inch handles but he wanted new sticks and I am glad to have these as reference to how handles should look. I actually think they are still in usable condition so I cleaned one of them up to have a look.

    [​IMG]rehang_projects by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]noname_wedges by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]noname_finished by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr
    Scored the double bit at a local antique mall - for the first time EVER I found something good! There is nothing around here. I believe all the axes are still sitting around in barns being used in Kansas to be honest. It's a 3lb Tru-Test ... not really sure if that means it's good but man it appears to be in nice shape, save for the goofy gigantic HH handle that was put on it. I already ripped that off.

    [​IMG]noname_handlefit by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]noname_sidebyside by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]noname_wedge by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    Anyway, the hammers are all de-handled and I've been asked to fit them with handles of similar length to what was on them - obviously some custom jobs in there. :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  2. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Thank you for this.
    Leave a little bit (1/8-1/4") of the wedged haft sticking out next time. This is no fault of yours at all since sellers (and makers) have been trimming them flush for the past century but "proud" does make for a more positive 'lock' in the long run.
    Long lost in history haft makers knew much more about their product, audience and the conditions of sale and installation then is known/practiced today and could confidently afford to cut 'flush'. Would have been a symbol of quality back then. Today not so much! No doubt this is the reason circular-tapered metal wedges have become the current symbol of quality workmanship for 'seating' of hafts.
     
  3. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    I bought a cruiser head marked "Tru-Test", and some research showed that this was a house brand from True Value hardware stores back in the 1960s and 70s. Manufactured by ???
     
  4. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    300 - sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I am a believer in what you're describing, however HH sometimes gets stingy with their wood, so I didn't have much extra. I could have set the head lower, but I am satisfied. Although, there is a big 16th there .... for whatever that's worth. In the side by side shot you can just see it sticking up on the right side image.

    [​IMG]gba_dbit_wedge2 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]nonamecustom_wedgework by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]noname_small_wedge2 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]plumb_duluth_wedge by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]wardsmasterquality_wedge by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    Steve, I dug around trying to get that answer myself, no luck. This one has very little cheek and thin bits. At first I got excited thinking that it was in fact a cruiser, but it's about 10 inches wide and weights a hair over 3lbs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  5. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    Recent hammers. I am having fun shaping them and I did my own octagonal work on the one just for the heck of it. That little guy has an oak stick on it. All but the big one have cross wood wedges - I am using these projects to sort of perfect the technique. Also scored a barrel stove kit so my workshop will be a little more pleasant this winter!

    [​IMG]hammers_projects by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]hammers_projects2 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]hammers_projects3 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr
     
  6. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    That no-name is a fine looking axe. I'd swing that!

    That bottom one has great shape. I'd try to salvage it or at least trace it for a template. They don't make 'em like that anymore.


    Your workmanship is outstanding. I love seeing so many well-handled tools.
     
  7. Shinobi.Holmes

    Shinobi.Holmes

    10
    Jul 6, 2013
    What'd you do to restore the heads that give them that forge finished look?
     
  8. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    Thank you! For sure I will keep both handles for patterns. The swell on the handle you're talking about feels perfect in my hand so my swells are probably going to resemble it from now on - it helped a lot with the handle on the no-name.


    Nothing special. I don't use any tools to remove rust from the heads. I am good with new marks and dings on the heads, but I don't like to leave obvious tool marks like wire brush scratches or cup brush swirls, grinder marks, etc. if I don't have to. Sometimes that's just not realistic, but if I can avoid it, then I get to keep the patina for the most part. I keep my used vinegar - the nastier it is, the better. After a few tools have soaked in it, it will form this nasty hard crust over the top which helps prevent it from evaporating away in an open container. Recently, I tossed some black walnut hulls into one of my vats just for the hell of it. I typically leave heads in the vinegar for days now. If the head is real clean already, and if you leave it in too long it will come out too clean - not that that's a real problem either. I will take a plastic kitchen scrubby, or even sometimes use a red scotch-brite pad to knock down heavy rust after it's soaked a day or so, but those things are gentle enough to leave everything else. Last thing is, I drench my handles in BLO once the head is hung - I leave it dripping down the handle, make a nice big mess. I keep milk jugs to cut in half, then I set the axe in it, head down to let the end grain guzzle it up and keep the mess to a minimum. I then leave the BLO on the head. I think it soaks into the "patina", darkens it maybe a little more, and it does a nice job protecting the head.
     
  9. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    Oh hey, I forgot to mention - on that claw hammer with the octagonal handle - the throat (cheek? I'm talking about the area the handle/eye passes through) was hardened as well as the hammer face and neck. Was this a typical practice on hammers? Struck me as interesting but could very well have been a common deal.
     
  10. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    I'd call that portion of the tool the 'body'. The eye of a hammer or axe is typically tempered softer (tougher) than the hammer faces or bits. One method is to place a heated drift in the eye and watch the temper colors flow out from there. This method intentionally softens the eye more than the faces. If you find a hammer body that is quite hard then it's possible the entire tool was never tempered (only hardened). That could be a dangerous tool. Draw temper color in a hammer face to bronze. Draw the eye to purple or even blue.
     
  11. Shinobi.Holmes

    Shinobi.Holmes

    10
    Jul 6, 2013
    I've also used vinegar cleaning up old rusty tools. Never reused any of it though, that's an interesting idea. I've always tossed it once that nasty film built on top. The black coating from it always rubbed off so easy, never saw it as a long term surface. I'll have to try it out on my next project.
     
  12. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    I outlined the portion that was hardened.
    [​IMG]hammers_hardening by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr



    Shinobi, there is always some black stuff that forms on the bit, or wherever the hard steel is, when you soak them in vinegar but it does wipe off, and if you're starting with clean or shiny steel then I think a gray color is the best you can hope for from vinegar. I'm basically leaving everything on them that came on them except rust - maybe the rust too, I dunno. It all turns pretty much black whatever it is, and stays there. You'll notice streaks on the axe at the top - that's after splitting probably 10 or so pieces of wood and the streaks are just wood. I think the look just gets better with use.
     
  13. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    That area shouldn't be hardened. So thin - would easily crack. It would be easy to temper it with a blow torch. You'd have to grind/polish a portion of it so that you could see the temper colors run. I'd take it to blue.
     
  14. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
  15. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    Interesting that you put the long wedge in first. It turned out great. How did the wedging go?
     
  16. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    I actually put the short wedge in first. The way I have been doing this is to drive one wedge, then split it slightly with a chisel, then drive the other as usual (so there are actually only 2 wedges involved). I learned that I have to make the short wedge no wider than the handle so that it can spread as the second wedge is driven.

    In my mind, the long wedge seems more important. Is it? I don't know, but I like the idea of it not being split, so I do it second. I started doing this because it seems the taper in hammer eyes is more extreme (or maybe just more noticeable since they are smaller?) and uneven, so that I was ending up with gaps toward the front and rear of the eye. It may be a visual problem more than a real problem but I didn't like it. So all this babbling is to say, I drive the short wedge first to spread the handle front to back to my liking, then the long wedge as usual. It works great. I feel that this technique provides the multi-directional wedging effect of a metal wedge, but without splitting the handle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2014
  17. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    Good explanation. Makes perfect sense. I want to try this.
     
  18. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    This is the cross-peen hammer from the top post.

    [​IMG]crosspeen_oct2 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]crosspeen_oct1 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    Not axes but projects all the same. These came to me from the "My Parang" people in Bidor Malaysia - they are 12 inch "Ray Mears" parangs. I am still working on my workshop so who knows when I'll get anything done. Got a big ole broad axe this past weekend and have a little something from ebay on the way as well. More projects than time. :(

    [​IMG]parang_blanks2 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    [​IMG]parang_blanks by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr
     
  19. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    My compliments. You do very nice work. Has prompted me to wire wheel some rust off (only to try to look for maker stamps) derelict hammer heads I've found in cleanups, wrecked cars/trucks and in abandoned buildings over the years. A couple of the foundlings are Craftsman-USA stamped ball peens and obviously those are not now going to wind up in a scrap bin.
     

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