Is this acceptable (Council Tool Velvicut)?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by HazenPingree, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. HazenPingree


    Jun 15, 2014
    I just took delivery of this new Velvicut Dayton pattern. The head looks great, but I'm surprised at this price point, not to get a perfectly vertical grained sapwood handle. Thoughts?


  2. Hacked


    Jun 1, 2010
    The rings are very close together what we would refer to as tight grain. But for the price you no doubt paid if you are not happy with the heart wood I would send it back. The grain orientation however appears fine to me, I've seen the same on similarly priced axes.
  3. chuxwan


    Aug 26, 2012
    It looks cool. I would use the hell out of it, and if it breaks prematurely I might send it back.
  4. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    Perfect vertical grain is a one-in-a-thousand item. Your' handle has no run out (at all!) along the length (this is what severely weakens handles) which makes the diagonal cross grain perfectly suitable. It'll take considerable effort (via overstrikes) to break that handle. I know some folks on here (and elsewhere) pooh pooh tight growth rings but on the other hand the wood will be plenty dense.

    Myself would be proud of a nicely figured handle such as that.
  5. RoosterMod


    Oct 14, 2015
    It all depends on if it is acceptable to you...
    If you are referring to industry standards, then I say it's just fine...and there have been University research that has shown that there is no difference in the structure or strength between the heartwood and the sap wood on Hickory...and all heartwood used to be sapwood at one

    I'm sure they will exchange it for you...they are good people... :)

    Peace, Rooster
  6. halfaxe


    Nov 29, 2012
    I search for those mixed heartwood/sapwood straight grain handles and buy every one I see.
  7. jstare


    Oct 6, 2015
    There have been various studies done by the US forestry service that have shown there is no difference in strength between heartwood and sapwood in hickory and most other woods. In a lot of woods the heartwood is actually stronger and more rot resistant than the sapwood. The grain orientation of your handle is perfectly okay, its more a matter of preference if you don't like the color change in your handle.

    Here is some links for reference:
  8. HazenPingree


    Jun 15, 2014
    Guys, I really appreciate the responses. My take away is that it's a perfectly suitable handle that has the added benefit of looking cool, and I should probably leave things be.

    I'm a bit nervous because I have to rehang a Husqevarna/Wetterlings axe after only a year of use because of a long crack down the handle . . . probably my fault.

    Thanks again, you're all a wealth of information.
  9. garry3


    Sep 11, 2012
    All sap wood for me, if I had a choice.
  10. Operator1975


    Sep 24, 2010
    The handle should work out just fine. We get on the "grain train" because of whatever reason. Don't believe the hype. Go use that thing, and I would highly doubt it will break due to the grain. Most will break due to operator error, poor storage, and poor maintenance.
  11. HazenPingree


    Jun 15, 2014
    So here's the one that broke on me recently. Grain looks pretty good to me, and use was not hard. Crack appears to go all the way through to the eye. It was stored in a very dry place however.



    image uploading site

  12. rjdankert


    Mar 10, 2011
    Don't have any advice, but here are a few things that crossed my mind reading your post.

    As far as I can tell, CT doesn't say what the grain orientation actually IS. They just say "The grade “A” hickory handle is selected for grain orientation and density". You pays your money and takes your chances.

    Yes, it's a crap shoot.

    Just for the heck of it, here is your grain orientation:

    BMC is the only place I've seen to mention grain orientation as nickzdon states here (post #33) ". . .handles which specify grain orientation parallel to the bit with no more than 20º deviance left or right."

  13. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    As long as it doesn’t have grain runout I don't see any problem.
  14. jblyttle


    Sep 3, 2014
    I agree, to my eye that looks like a nice handle.
  15. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    Problem with their specs is it overlooks 'runout', which is singularly the killer of most curved (and straight!) handles.
  16. garry3


    Sep 11, 2012
    We have a tendency here(me included) to talk about growth ring violation and grain violation like they are the same thing. They are not. Your handle clearly illustrates that point. While we can not have growth ring run out with out violating the grain, we can stay in the growth ring and not follow the grain. Curved handles naturally violate the grain.

    Most times we can get away with no more run out than yours has. Is that an all heart wood handle that broke?
  17. olybears57


    Aug 25, 2013
    What he said... Plus grain runout. I love heartwood
  18. BG_Farmer


    Mar 13, 2014
    Actually, I think CT and their supplier (Seymour?) specify "straight grain" which is equivalent to no runout, but doesn't say anything about orientation. This is what I've seen on their handles in person and online, ie grain orientation a little random but runs all the way through eye. Best made adds bastard cut and guarantees no more than 20% off from vertical, to please the internet grain train hardcore.

    I still like white sapwood handle or at least all heartwood, but some think mixed is attractive and I can't see it really is any weakness.
  19. halfaxe


    Nov 29, 2012
    A few years ago Margot Council told me Velvicut handle specs were 20 degrees and straight grain and they were hard to source.
  20. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    I don't doubt that. Much (80-90%?) of an ordinary saw log would be wasted if 'vertical' end grain and 'zero' runout billets were specified at a conventional sawmill. Severe runout has very little excuse for passing by QC (quality control) anywhere along the line but end grain variation up to 45 degrees off vertical should never be viewed as a detriment to producing durable handles.

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