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My first Collins Legitimus single bit.....

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Drum4fun, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    A recent arrival... Collins Legitimus (circa 1940's - mid 1960's (by logo)), single bit,
    3.5 lb.. Overall, in pretty good shape. One good sized divot on the bit. A quick
    vinegar bath and the rust wiped off...revealing nice deep temper lines (I'm guessing
    the bit was not subject to much grinding over the years). Next step Mill Bastard file
    the bit (good quality steel ...the divot required numerous passes). ... saved the
    stone sharpening for later. Pre-visualized placement of the head on the handle. I had
    pre-prepped the haft with sanding, BLOx4, Tung oilx4, 0000 steel wool (lightly with each coat).
    Then cut off the excess haft (leaving a margin of error). The head placement proceeded slowly....
    learned early on that wood was very dry and had to modify wood chisel bites as I carved
    some pretty significant chunks during initial sizing. (sanded relatively smooth).
    Wedge placement went uneventful...cut off flush with eye minimal excess. Last steps...
    stones to bit, stropped, and, head soak in BLO. As I don't shave with my ax I only took
    the edge to "sharp".

    I learned a few things.... doing the head/bit prep separately from the haft prep worked
    out nicely. The intermittent passes with 0000 steel wool left a smoother (not tacky) finish
    when oil passes were complete. I started with a 36" haft... finished with a 35" haft. Less
    is more...I thought I'd leave what little bit of "mushrooming on the poll edges" there is alone
    as, to me, it adds to the visual appeal. When I place the ax with bit edge in contact with a
    flat surface the contact point is right at the half-way point leading edge. (saw that was
    "desireable" in a vintage ax diagram).

    I have wanted a Collins Legitimus single bit for some time... seems they are highly regarded
    on the forum. Even with the pock marks (left alone) I am glad to own this tool. Based on my
    file work I'd say this is really good quality steel. Overall, pleased with the hang (tight) , may
    not be cosmetically perfect but each attempt is getting a little better... so , perfect may be out

    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  2. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel

    Feb 11, 2016
    And it's a Connie too, way to go.
  3. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Thanks HnS ! ... Both of my parents (dec.) grew up in Norwich, Conn. (pre-WWII) ,
    a mere 60 miles from Collinsville, Conn. . And, my Mom's name was "Connie". :cool: Every
    time I pick this ax up I will make the connection.

    I recall reading here that the "Legitimus" line was the flagship line of the Collins ax
    offerings...(along with their famous machetes)... I can now see why. Also, I have learned
    that 3.5 lb. ax is heavy enough for me. A few hours of swinging a 5 lb.'er
    and I would be totally gassed ! :cool:

    Square_peg and phantomknives like this.
  4. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    here's a before and after of my little 3 pounder,i feel the steel's a tad soft compared to my knockoff legitimus. hope yours serves you well
  5. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    PK... looks good to me.... what are the "tells" on the knock-off "Legitimus" ? I've heard there
    were fakes but probably wouldn't recognize one unless it was a mis-spelled. :cool:

    Here's a general question.... how do you guys choose
    where in relation to the shoulder hump
    you place the heel edge ??? I've seen some 2"s above
    the shoulder and some riding down on the shoulder ?
    What is the rationale , or, is it just personal preference ?

    muleman77 and phantomknives like this.
  6. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    Personally, I more or less prefer to set the head right down to the shoulder with little to no tongue showing.
    I don't think the "hump" is really necessary for any major function. Some guys will make them very pronounced and stylized (sometimes even sharp to a point) but I am not sure why - shouldn't your hand more or less be able to slide up to the head on a swing?

    Solid wedging and appropriate grind/edge are probably more important.
    Yours looks pretty good to me Drum4fun.

    Phantomknives' pic is a good example as well - the shoulders sort of disappear under the edge into the eye with little to no "hump" on the sides and poll end:
  7. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Thanks Agent H ...that's good stuff you shared. I really like the shoulder appearance
    on your and PK's hafts. Yep...good stuff.

    muleman77, phantomknives and Agent_H like this.
  8. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Nicely done man good choice. And a good hang too!
  9. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    One thing I consider when hanging, is how much shoulder will I have next time I rehang this head. If the head works loose for what ever reason you still have a bit of shoulder left to fix it.

    If you're confident in your hang you can do what ever to your shoulder.
    Here's the knockoff, the spacing is way off from other legitimuses... Legitimi? Anyway, this is a cruiser swamper I use for splitting (very good in that department) and I was cutting wood with it, unbeknownst to me there was fence wire in one of the logs, by the time I noticed I had taken 2-3 swings into it and when I looked at the edge there was nothing wrong.

    It also appears to be slightly rust proof, I left it out accidentally through 2 thunder storms and when I found it there was only 2 little drops of rust
  10. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    There is some further discussion in this thread about shoulder shape and approach. Ernest and a couple others mention they pay attention to the inside edge of the eye where the metal meets wood.


    I’m of the opinion that it’s easy to get a head on a handle but harder to do right.
    muleman77 likes this.
  11. muleman77


    Jan 24, 2015
    Regarding the shoulder, I like to set down close to it. Definitely might be some personal preference there in just how much.

    I've seen a lot of double bits and pulaskis break that were out on the tongue though, right below the head. Less so broken in that way if they're well seated on the shoulder. These are fire and trail tools so misuse is certainly a factor. But it makes me wonder.

    I like handles a bit shorter than 36", but thats all that's at the local places usually. So if I seat it well down I can end up 33 1/2 or 34. That is a plus to me.

    I think it just looks a lot better as well.
  12. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Well done! Full marks.

    I like to be right down on the shoulder so my hand can easily slide right under the head. I think it also improves flex to get thin quickly.
    One trick I use is that after I have the haft protruding at least 1/4" thru the eye I will often raise the shoulder to meet the axe rather than attempt to drop the axe all the way to the shoulder. I think it's faster and easier.

    The stylized point is to make it look 'Klingon' so your teenaged friends will know what a badass you are. ;)
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    Agent_H and muleman77 like this.
  13. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Wow ... really good thoughts in this post . Thanks for idea PK about the "next time"...and the
    view of the "Legitimii". :( Agent H.... I am a card carrying member in the "hard to get it right"
    club ! o_O Btw... that post you referred me to started out great...then disintegrated into recriminations !
    Muleman.... I like it seated down on the shoulder also...seems "beefier", but, a lot more
    work involved in getting it down there and still looking symmetrical. Square Peg... I need to find
    the "faster and easier" approach .... my hangs are taking too long... too many on and off, check ,
    and re-check.

    Thanks for all the good insights. I am still in my first 20-30 re-hangs so hope I get better with the
    next 20-30.

    Agent_H, muleman77 and phantomknives like this.
  14. Drum4fun


    Mar 21, 2018
    Sharpened and ready for work.....



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