Rehabing old axe heads

jpr9954

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Oct 1, 2007
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I see a lot of older axe heads for sale on Ebay in sizes and shapes that you don't see much anymore. Sometimes you can pick them up for $5 plus another $5 or so for shipping. Most seem to be in OK shape but will need a good sharpening and some burnishing to remove the crud. I have my Gerber and a small Vaughn sounding axe and they are OK but they don't have much "soul."

Was the old forged steel better than what we are seeing new nowadays?

I kinda like the idea of rehabing something that has a history and may have been by a long out-of-business US company. Other than the work involved, is there a downside? Will the steel have become brittle over all these years?

I know I'll have to rehandle all of these and I have seen www.househandle.com mentioned a here a lot. Has anyone ever used www.tennesseehickoryproducts.com? Does your average Home Depot or Lowe's even carry decent wood replacement handles? If I don't buy online, would I do well to find an old fashioned hardware store in a small town that just may have something stuck away in a back corner?

Thanks for any and all suggestions or comments.

John
 
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Apr 14, 2008
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I have redone a number of hatchets and axes. I don't think I would pick any of the wood handles pictured in househandle, but nice site. I like to pick my own handles, no heart wood, straight grained, straight. You wouldn't believe the junk you have to sort through, much less have someone else pick it and send it to you. You might be able to tell them exactly what you want. Google Jimbo and axes to learn alot about handles. I agree with old axes, there is just something about them. Regards, Loosearrow
 
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Old steel won't change with time unless it gets really hot - like if it was in a burning building. Then it would likely be soft, not brittle, and could potentially be re-hardened.

My Dad has a decent-sized collection of old chisels, lathe gouges and planes. With a little sharpening, they're very serviceable. I'm lucky that he's not afraid to use them.

Many old tools were made by the village blacksmith, so a lot of perfectly good tools won't have brand names on them. Maybe just a name or initials.
 

jpr9954

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Oct 1, 2007
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162
Thanks for the advice and info. My girlfriend and I like to go "junkin'", i.e, visit yard sales, thrift stores, antique malls, etc. With luck, maybe I'll find something more than a linen doily!:rolleyes:

John
 
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Jan 10, 2003
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Some of those old axe heads have had all of the 'goody' ground off of them. With double bit axe heads I can usually determine the original length and compare to the current length.
 
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I kinda like the idea of rehabing something that has a history and may have been by a long out-of-business US company

I found this on the Net
I guess people collect the axe stickers..

http://www.yesteryearstools.com/Yesteryears%20Tools/American%20Fork%20%26%20Hoe%20Co..html

Paul%20Bunyan%20Label%209.jpg
 

jpr9954

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Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
162
That page is a great resource. Thanks for posting it.

I have seen a couple of Ebay auctions where they were selling just the labels. Also, axes that have an embellished or engraved head go for a lot more.

John
 
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