"Rafting Axe"

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Steve Tall, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Operator1975

    Operator1975

    Sep 24, 2010
    From 1894 AATco Catalog :

    [​IMG]

    So they have been around awhile, which is cool.
     
  2. bjp

    bjp

    183
    Apr 30, 2011
    but, this is from the product description on each and every council tool axe, from their website:
    The poll and eye walls are not hardened and remain in the as forged condition

    why the discrepancy in product description between paper and e-catalogs?

    also, if you only intend to drive wedges with a tool, why wouldn't you choose a maul or sledge?


    thanks for the info, guys.


    -ben
     
  3. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    A modern-day reference to a "rafting axe":

    Bailey's sells a "Single Bit Falling Axe" (now made in China).
    Here are quotes from the product description and Q&A:

    "Loggers all over the world have used these axes to drive wedges, clear brush, and bump knots...

    Q. Is this ax good for splitting wood AND falling trees?
    A. Yes, it's the classic rafting axe design we have sold for 30+ years.

    ...On this rafting axe the blunt end dimensions are 2-5/16" tall x 1-3/8" wide, and it sticks out 7/8" from the handle. The bottom of the blade starts at 4" from the handle.

    ...We have these axes made for us overseas, based off the Collins axe design. Both the 3# & 5# are from the same factory."
     
  4. Sidehill Gouger

    Sidehill Gouger

    Dec 29, 2007
    BJP
    I see what you mean about the website saying they are left as forged condition. That is a new one on me. Are they trying to say a normal axe poll is hardened but a rafting/falling axe isn't? By the way, my paper catalog is over 20 years old so things may have changed. They had a much larger line of axes then. Rafting and falling axes are listed as the same thing.
    Fallers do use these axes to swamp around their trees for safety but other than that they are not used to chop much of anything. No one (pro logger) falls trees with an axe in the woods these days and haven't since the 50s. They just drive plastic falling wedges and knock the undercut out with the poll.
    As mentioned elsewhere, falling axes tend to be heavier than normal chopping axes. Council has 4 and 5 pound heads but I remember Collins heads also being available in 6 pound versions. I did have a Collins catalog from the same period but can't find it right now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  5. bjp

    bjp

    183
    Apr 30, 2011
    council still makes a 6 pounder: http://www.counciltool.com/product.asp?pg=product&item=60DR36S

    I wonder if there's really any need for a hardened poll to drive plastic wedges? I know we're talking about thousands upon thousands of blows, but the plastic will still deform before even un-tempered steel would. maybe that's why none of the current products have hardened polls? (and NONE of them do, if we can believe the website product descriptions -- not even the "miner's" models)

    -ben
     
  6. Sidehill Gouger

    Sidehill Gouger

    Dec 29, 2007
    I would agree about the plastic wedges but if these axes are actually still used for rafting there would be metal objects to pound on. And falling wedges weren't always plastic though the steel ones have been outlawed for sometime.
     
  7. broe

    broe

    493
    May 8, 2011
    I prefer to have the head hardened as it does a good job of pounding in stakes and wedges and the occasional nail if need be without getting all mooshy....
     
  8. 333.okh

    333.okh

    122
    Mar 23, 2011

    that axe from Woodcutter Pro sucks...and its head is only 2.5 pound a 3 pound axe total

    I have a nearly 5 pound rafting head unmarked and it is considered small.
     
  9. 333.okh

    333.okh

    122
    Mar 23, 2011
    mine is going on a 28 inch semi custom handle with and over-strike guard.probably sell it but it was fun to find and hang! I saw a local using one to build his log cabin recently driving both steel and wooden pegs
     
  10. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    I've come to accept that Steve Tall is often way ahead of us. This particular thread is almost 6 years old; 1/2 a lifetime if you're a canine or have become an Internet junkie. This one ought to be incorporated into (or affiliated with) the one Square_Peg initiated a couple of years ago. It's hard to imagine that hard poll axes had faded into obscurity enough over the past 50 years that the majority of current axe users and collectors (myself included) didn't even know they existed.
     
  11. mete

    mete

    Jun 10, 2003
    Operator , the catalog showing a Kelly Flint Edge Rafting Axe - answers a question I asked in another part of the forum -" Fire hardened hickory handle " so they did !
    A very long time ago we had log rafts here on the Upper Delaware River . I'll have to find when that ended .
     
  12. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Thanks Steve for this topic. So, my Hults Bruk qualifies as a rafting axe. DM
    [​IMG]
     
  13. stefo123

    stefo123

    119
    Jan 23, 2012



    S
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  14. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Doesn't look to be a rafting-style head but neither do numerous vintage American heads that happen to have hardened polls. Best thing for you to do is try running a file over the poll. If it won't readily bite you'll have your answer. You could also try smacking it with a punch or chisel to see if the surface metal dimples at all.
     
  15. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Will do. DM
     
  16. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    With one of my better files it would mostly skate across the poll. Perhaps one out of every 4 strokes it shaved some off. DM
     
  17. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012


    I would call your HB a hard poll axe but not a 'rafting axe' because it doesn't look like a rafting pattern. I have a hard poll Dayton that I just call a hard poll Dayton. Nice to have but not a 'rafting axe'. But what's in a name?

    Rafting pattern axes tend to be short in the poll and long in the bit when measured parallel to the handle. Both bit and poll extend far from the eye so the overall length is likely to be over 8”, with 5 pounders often exceeding 8-1/2”. The poll will also be wider, (+/-) 1-1/2”. This allows for considerably greater steel thickness in the eye. This is a key to rafting axes. Without the thickened eye walls they couldn't withstand use as a maul.
     
  18. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Ok, my Bruk is only 7 3/4" long and 1 1/4" wide at the eye. So, keep it's hammering duty on the light side. Thanks, DM
     
  19. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Right. Good for driving felling wedges but not so much for splitting wedges. I love my hard poll Dayton for driving felling wedges.
     
  20. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I'll continue looking for one with more poll. Which will still work for splitting but I wouldn't care to swing it all day on limb work. DM
     

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