Double Bit Felling Axe

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by richstag, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Hello,

    I am new in these parts. I am looking for some solid advice. My current axe is a Gransfors Bruks large spliting axe. I have had it for a few years and I love it. Tons of use out of it and here is a picture just to add something interesting to the thread.

    [​IMG]

    Now, on to the advice... I am interested in a double bit felling axe but I do not know much past Gransfors Bruks. I found their version of this style and I also found one by a maker called Mueller. Both are in about the same price range. What do you folks make of the two separately and contrasted to one another?

    Finally, with price as more of a back seat concern, but staying in a range close to the two mentioned, does anyone have any suggestions?

    I am looking for the quality I have found with my GB Large Splitting Axe or better. Thanks.

    Kevin
     
  2. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    I'll take you up on that and just say get one, the double bitted is a fine axe. You do bring up the notion of felling though and the European double bitted axes being made are not for felling but for throwing and the form shows that. I do wonder if they could even legally market these axes as anything other than for throwing here given European regulations. For a true felling double bitted you had better stay on the North American continent where the form originates, but chances are good you have already thought of that angle.
    The Swedish axe is going to be a better detailed axe and I like their steel more because steel found on the German market is always harder in my experience. It takes every bit as good an edge and may even hold it longer but at the cost of an inordinate effort in my opinion - this referring to steels and tools intended for a German market in general and not so much for the Muller axe specifically. These two companies are not the only options available in terms of European producers of double bitted axes. I can think of at least four others but I think a look would show that of them all Gransfors is the most expensive, in part due to their reputation but in part, well, because they are nicely detailed axes, as you know.

    E. DB.
     
  3. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Ernest,

    Thank you for the reply and thoughts. First let me say my knowledge of axes and the history behind them is limited. Any info on that is most welcomed. Secondly, yes, I really like the steel performance on my GB, it sharpens up razor sharp and after splitting a pile of wood it still shaves. That is the kind of performance I am looking for. Even my 1095 Ontario machete can hold a shaving edge for quite a bit of chopping, so I am not sure where the cut off would be.

    A pic of the kind of edges I do on the Ontario

    [​IMG]

    How similar are the edges on these axes?

    Secondly, I would be interested to hear your ideas for both the leading European and American double bit axes. The GB I am looking at has 6" faces with a 35" handle. Is this a normal size? I am here hoping to learn more and find a fitting axe. I got lost in browsing tons of axes last night and obviously you could have a very large set each with very specific tasks?

    May I ask if you were looking for one axe to go a long with my Splitting axe, would this be it? I am looking into it due to its full size and balanced feel (I have not used one yet).

    Thanks again for helping me sort through this,

    Kevin
     
  4. CB-R

    CB-R

    321
    Nov 25, 2011
    If I were in your position, with money not being a huge issue, I'd be looking for the cleanest vintage US made DB I could find. Not a wall hanger, but something with full bits that hasn't been hammered on it's whole life. The balance of a DB is always superior to a single bit. And an average 3.5# on a 30"-36" handle would be a good size to shoot for. Plumb, Kelly, Sager, Bluegrass, etc. are all well regarded around here. You can sometimes come across old GB DB's as well which are more like a US pattern. There are several more, and everyone has there favorites. Dating axes can be difficult sometimes, but 1960's and earlier axes are what i'd shoot for. Good to see you over here, by the way. Maybe some pics of your #85 EO and your new axe when you get it? Hope this helps.
     
  5. Double Ott

    Double Ott

    Jan 3, 2011
  6. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Thanks, I have plenty of time to figure this out. I don't actually have the money for this now but I always save for what I want instead of buying less NOW :)

    Im looking into all the info you gave me. Honestly its kind of an overload since I am so new to this.

    Thanks,

    Kevin
     
  7. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Thank you, Tom. I will look into Kelly for vintage axes. I am leaning towards the new GB or finding a nice vintage axe that needs edge work and maybe someone would let go of for cheap.

    As for the axe you linked, why do they have such a wide range listed for the RC hardness?

    Thanks guys,

    Kevin
     
  8. Bull Mountain Custom

    Bull Mountain Custom Gold Member Gold Member

    882
    Sep 3, 2008
    You don't have to spend a lot to get a quality Double Bit. If you keep your eyes open you can pick up a vintage American DB for a very reasonable price with or without a handle. If you found one without a handle it would give you the opportunity to re-haft it yourself and taylor it to your personal tastes. This would be the route I would recommend if it at all interests you. There is a wealth of knowledge available here on this forum if you choose to go this route.
     
  9. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    I would be all over this idea, I have done wood working and I would love to learn how to re-haft an axe properly. I was thinking of looking for a cheap DB somewhere at a local antique shop that I have seen a few rusted and dull. Refinishing and edge work would be no problem and actually enjoyable.

    I just don't know the first thing if I go looking for an older axe. I figured start with the GB and see where it leads.

    Thanks and it looks like its a good thing I have some time to learn here.

    Kevin
     
  10. cooperhill

    cooperhill

    Nov 14, 2011
    I had the GB and used it for a bit. Honestly, I found it awkward as an actual working tool. It's more of a throwing axe on a longer handle. Not really built for felling and bucking. I also felt unsafe with the pronounced toe and heel. It did work well but I personally would (and do) go with a vintage double. Lots of Kelly perfect western doubles on ebay.
     
  11. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    The first thing is research and posing your question here was exactly the right way to start.


    A few things to look for in a vintage axe. Geometry and wear. Watch out for axes that have worn down tips. Especially look out for toes (the upper tip of the bit) that are worn down well short of the heel (the lower tip of the bit). A very rounded bit as seen from the side is a sign of excessive wear.

    Concerning geometry, look for convexed cheeks - also referred to as a 'high centerline'. This article explains it well:

    http://axeconnected.blogspot.com/2011/05/notes-on-ax-head-geometry-part-2-of.html
     
  12. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Thank you guys very much for the additional information. I hope to hear more. The terminology help is awesome! I am going to take the advice about the GB being more a thrower and hold off for now.

    With that said, my father gave me an axe head that is old. I spent a little time grinding out most of the dents and dings in the edge. Its not perfect yet but I don't know how much work this one is worth.

    With something like this how would I go about figuring out what is what? The grind as you can see is thicker at the toe and thinner at the heel. Is this normal? I could grind it all even, but it would have to be worth it.

    Here is a quick pic

    [​IMG]

    The only marking is "48" I have a feeling this was just a cheap axe and maybe not a worthy project? It was solid rust I just wire brushed it for now, I could do better if its worth it.

    Thanks for any thoughts on figuring it out.

    Kevin
     
  13. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    That's typical of a moderate wear pattern. The toe is thicker because it had been worn back. But it's not heavily worn and it's definitely worth grinding or filing out. From the one photo this looks like a pretty nice axe.
     
  14. CB-R

    CB-R

    321
    Nov 25, 2011
    It's a Jersey pattern that you have there. And I can't say that I've seen a cheap Jersey before. At the very least it would be a good starter to try your hand at hanging an axe. Jersey's have a reputation of being difficult to hang, due to the lugs. But, if it comes out nicely, you'll be ahead of the game when you go to hang you DB!
     
  15. sintro

    sintro

    317
    Mar 5, 2012
    Don't know about you guys, but I like to sharpen double bits with one side pretty sharp, and the other just an edge(don't sharpen this for a very long time) because I like to use one side for de rooting and one for chopping.
     
  16. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Oh, nice! Thanks guys! I will give it some more work to even it out a bit more. I will be away until monday but when I get back to it I will snap a few more pics! Thanks for the info on the lugs also, I was wondering about those.

    Should I go harvest my own wood and make the handle completely by hand or just buy one and fit it?

    Jersey pattern, cool :)

    Thanks!

    Kevin
     
  17. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    There are a few guys here making their own handles but most are buying them. G-Pig is a prolific handle maker.
     
  18. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    I have just put some blanks up for the future Kevin. At least three years time before ready.


    [​IMG]

    E. DB.
     
  19. G-pig

    G-pig

    Jul 5, 2011
    Thanks for the que, Pegs.

    Here's a few pictures of some different handles I've made recently;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The handle in the second and third pics is made out of green birch, under three inches in diameter. You can see the grain orientation as well, at least on the bottom third of the handle. The maple handles in the first pic were made and fitted while green. I do this regularly, with only occasional problems with loosening which is probably the result of a bad job wedging it. Warping is more of a concern for my then checking, since maple warps like the devil. Just gotta be careful and it can be done very easily though.

    I think making your own handles is something you should know anyway, might as well get it out of the way. Most of the rules regarding carving handles can be broken, some of the time, and in different combinations.

    Just give it a shot. If you have experience working with raw wood it will come quickly. Don't raise your expectations too much, since it really doesn't matter that much in the end.
     
  20. richstag

    richstag

    Feb 22, 2007
    Thanks a ton for all the help! I could get maple, locust, oak etc in the woods. I also have American beech that I have let dry for a few years from a 100 year old tree behind me. Of those types which would be best?

    Btw, beautiful works!
     

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