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Near Mint Pre-War(?) Plumb Belt Axe Find

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by robertnfrappuls, Jul 18, 2017.

  1. robertnfrappuls

    robertnfrappuls

    5
    Jul 18, 2017
    Hi all, I'm new to the world of hatchets/axes, but I have come up with a quite nice example of a small Plumb belt axe. From what I've read, the take-up screw wedge was abandoned in either 1942 or 1948. In any case, I was extremely pleased to find one that had seen such little use as this one has. I thought you all would like to see some pictures.

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    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
    markv, junkenstien, 300Six and 4 others like this.
  2. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
  3. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    The Plumb "take-up" screw was still being advertised in 1953 for hammers. I think that trying to pinpoint the exact year when Plumb stopped using it for axes and hatchets is still mostly speculation, unless we have some evidence other than advertisements that mention it (before Permabond was introduced).

    Popular Science, June 1953
     
    Agent_H likes this.
  4. robertnfrappuls

    robertnfrappuls

    5
    Jul 18, 2017
    Are there any other clues on my piece that would help date it?

    I notice my handle says "Selected Hickory" where the 1953 ad you linked says "Tested Hickory." Are there any other clues (maybe the sticker style?) that could help date it?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Damn! That's a sweet Plumb.
     
  6. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    FWIW, this ad from 1945 shows Plumb hammers and a half hatchet with the same script on the handle as the hammer in the 1953 ad:

    TESTED PLUMB HICKORY
    U.S.A.

    Popular Science, November 1945

    whereas your hatchet handle says
    SELECTED PLUMB HICKORY
    U.S.A.

    This ad from 1929 shows a Plumb scout axe with
    SELECTED PLUMB HICKORY
    U.S.A.
    on the handle:
    Boy's Life, Feb 1929

    So, maybe this gives some grounds for speculation that yours would be pre-1945 (based on what the handle says)?
     
    rjdankert and Square_peg like this.
  7. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
    dont you just hate it, when these new guys find stuff like that norlund still in the box, and this? where was all this stuff when i was looking for my first axe
     
  8. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    It gives us something to talk about ;)
     
  9. rockman0

    rockman0 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 5, 2013
    Nice plumb! Lucky find.
     
  10. Moonw

    Moonw

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hahaha!

    Sweet hatchet.
     
    phantomknives likes this.
  11. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Well done with regard to the sleuthing Steve. What I find curious (or puzzling) is the use of a conventional wedge plus a screw wedge. I was led to believe it usually was one or the other and not both. Nice find, by the way. Problem with beauties such as this is you're loathe to ever consider putting it to work!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
    Agent_H likes this.
  12. cityofthesouth

    cityofthesouth

    Jan 29, 2014
    wow ... that is an awesome find!
     
    robertnfrappuls likes this.
  13. robertnfrappuls

    robertnfrappuls

    5
    Jul 18, 2017
    Yeah I was actually looking for a nice small camping hatchet I could use. Now I have to find a different one!
     
    Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  14. rjdankert

    rjdankert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    robertnfrappuls likes this.
  15. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Can't agree with you more on this. Collector value revolves entirely around how old and how little use (which ideally is NOS (new old stock)) an item has had. Your's is definitely in this 'unused-pristine' category. For what this item could generate at auction (if you're not into wall hangers and 'look at me'-type stuff or historical samples) easily ought to get you 1/2 dozen quality-equivalent (but previously enjoyed) versions of much the same thing. Messing with new handle lengths and shapes and innocently beating on spikes and steel tent pegs is a whole lot easier on the conscience when the tool has already 'been there' before.
     
  16. robertnfrappuls

    robertnfrappuls

    5
    Jul 18, 2017
    Thanks. I know from fountain pen collecting that catalogs and advertisements are often a few months off and sometimes completely fictitious, but I think this helps date mine to pre-1944. I wasn't able to find an advertisement after the April 1943 you show that shows "selected" on the handle.
     
    rjdankert likes this.
  17. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    You'll be hard-pressed to beat (or even be able to dispute) Steve when it comes to relevant knowledge and his reference library. The take up-screw wedge is the clincher. Plumb went nuts with revolutionary Permabond epoxy beginning in 55/56 and hammers may have continued into the 1950s with leftover stocks of takeup screws but hatchets and axes had seen the end of that method once gov't-mandated war effort expediencies were implemented. I think it's safe to say (also based on overall fit and finish of your's) that it's pre-war. 1922 to 1943 (split the difference and say 1932+/-) is fairly precise compared to usual guesstimates of age.
     
  18. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    ok now here me out on this, who here has ever bought and used a hatchet in the 1940's ?
    If this was my hatchet I think I'd use it.
    The grand canyon still exists, the California redwoods still exist, the statue of liberty still exists, I can go to all these places if I really wanted to, but the 1940's no longer exist and to be able to experience a hatchet just as a 10yo boy would who pulled it off the rack in the 1940' is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    I'm sure you'll be able to take this one and trade or sell your way into a handful of nice old axes and hatchets, and with those you wouldn't feel guilty about using them.
    It's your hatchet though, and I personally see nothing wrong with experiencing it like prop do with vintage wine...ect.
    If this isn't going into a museum for all to see, then it should be properly enjoyed by someone through the use it was meant for.
     
  19. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    I've got a well used 'H Walters & Sons' hatchet and that maker's mark was changed over to 'Walters' already before WWI. Hickory n steel, folks have always had a use for hatchets. "who here has ever bought and used a hatchet in the 1940's?"
     
  20. halfaxe

    halfaxe

    Nov 29, 2012
    That's a beauty. Here are my thoughts on using it since it was brought up. There are not many left from the 1940's and plenty of collectors would pay or trade enough to get at least two or three or more nice users. On the other hand many of us pay $150 for a new Swedish axe and use it right away. I would hate to see that decal get rubbed off. I have a couple near new vintage axes I've used. I'm just so careful with them that it's not fun.
     

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