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Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by rjdankert, Dec 31, 2015.
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Scrounged off the internet:
I love my late-90s SN Hudson Bay, but using it to split firewood causes this damage to the haft behind the "beard". Wood doesn't always cleave in straight lines, and you can't always split a piece by striking with only the top 2-1/2" of the axe head. So you get this. That's okay, I got my money's worth out of this haft and look forward to rehanging it soon.
What I like about the HC shape is using it as a hook to pick stuff up or pull it to me without bending over. Like clearing branches away from a trunk in the snow.
Also, this size axe makes a great small sledge. The right amount of wallop for many jobs, bigger than a ball pein hammer and more control than an 8lb sledge.
Using the poll of a conventional axe as a hammer is a common misconception that people have, which is why there are so many ruined heads, mushroomed polls and distorted eyes out there. Your HB is collectible and is a pretty little thing and has survived that sort of abuse, so far, but if you're serious about being able to smack stuff (such as rebar, steel splitting wedges, retaining wall nails) with the poll perhaps it's time to scout out a hardened-poll miner/constructor/rafting axe. These were designed for that type of use.
jheath Thanks for posting your Snow & Nealley axe. If provenance can be established, I would like to include your axe in the timeline (currently posts #1 & #3).
Do you have a more specific purchase date? Bought new?
Head dimensions and weight? Pictures of markings on head? Head shape? Was there originally a sticker on the head?
Original handle? handle length? Pictures of overall handle shape? Close up factory stamp on handle? Did it have a sticker?
This is a great thread Bob, thanks for doing it! I always enjoy the pics - especially the vintage stuff and all the hardware they used to make.
When I was a kid my mom was always dragging us into "junk stores", usually the barn behind an old farmhouse.... I wonder how much of this stuff I walked past and didn't notice.
I have two S&N Hudson Bay heads from that time, early 1980's. One has a stamping and the other doesn't - come to think of it, the unstamped one could be anything, I don't know when dad bought it. The stamped one he bought for me around 1983.
This is a terrific thread, Bob. This takes time and a real interest - the rest of us are benefiting from it regardless if we currently have S&N tools or not. For example, I like reading it but gave away the one S&N axe I had to my brother a while back. He now is reading this thread as well.
I've noticed your picture editing and insets recently - nice work. A lot of times the same questions or opinions come up and go around and around in regards to makers and tools with the same outcome.
Thank you for taking the time to sort through all of this and share it up here. :thumbup:
I appreciate your perspective, but it's not a misconception. The thing's a damn tool, and real people doing real work use it as needed. I bought that axe -- around '99 as I recall -- not to collect and cherish it, but to use it. Specifically as a limbing axe on a tree removal project that involved climbing and sectioning-down a dozen 100' -- 120' conifers. I specifically bought it also to drive falling wedges with the poll while I was standing in climbing gaffs 90' up. It was perfect for the job. I painted it blaze orange so I could find it in the brush when I limbed trees on the ground, even used it to drag a clear space before bucking. And later got through winters splitting kindling and the occassional medium-diameter chunks as needed. And now it's 17 years later, my daughter who was in the cradle when I bought the axe is nearly grown, and the thing needs a handle. That's life.
Look, I'm a gun collector. A mint 92 Winchester is fine. But so is one that fell out of a few canoes and has a shot-out barrel. That's what they're for.
Wonderful contribution to learning.
Reviews of new U.S.A. axes:
"Finish is nice, Head has decent geometry the one I am beating on had a little bit of an uneven grind, blade comes dull with a waxy coating. It was dull as could be though, this might be a lawyer thing, it did seem hand ground as the grinds were at varying angles, and it had a very "hand worked" look to it, unfortunately that "hand worked" look was a bit primitive and there was effectively no edge...They are advertised as carbon steel heat treated by hand to 50-55. The hand HT is why the large range...
Leading to: http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/snow-and-nealley-penobscot-bay-hatchet-review.144118/
One; you don't get these (recreational/light duty type patterns) from industrial/commercial suppliers and Two; had you been seriously pounding away with it (as described in my earlier post) over the past 15 years it would have been ruined already.
Sure it's 'just a tool' but owners do have to appreciate their limitations. Limbing is a wonderful use for Hudson Bays as is driving falling wedges (the non-metallic kind) along with chopping up small trees.
I'm glad you're 'going up to bat' to defend your choice of axe and I'm happy to hear that choice has worked out in your favour over the past 20 years.
I was 90% sure it was an SN but I can't find a mark on it. Bought new around summer '99 I think, in a chainsaw/logging shop. I think I remember stickers, etc. But maybe I'm imagining it. Maybe I bought some knockoff after looking at SNs. Handle is 23-3/8" from top of head. Head is 6-1/2" x 1-7/8" poll x 4" edge.
I will say the quality seems good and the grain in the handle is aligned. What else could it be?
Handle grain. It had a sheath which I think was black.
Fit and finish etc were good, and the wedge is steel and fairly thick.
I fail to see how that is relevant, and I also don't see where he said he bought it. When I was a kid S&N were sold in hardware stores, saw shops, anywhere people who used tools went to buy them. The two I have were bought as working tools - to cut wood. One kicked around behind the seat of a truck with a logging chain (for pulling out trucks in this case, not logs), hi-lift jack, and who knows what else. Its only in the modern age of nostalgic collecting of everything under the sun (which I enjoy immensely) that I've seen people fretting over how axes are used.
Ruined? A working tool is not ruined if it still works. Rehang it and it'll continue to do the job just fine. May never be a collectors item, but the owner will enjoy using a fine tool for many more years.
No offense intended, I just think you're being kinda hard on the guy. You've got a point, but so does he.
It was a popular pattern.
They make striking tools to hammer on metal. The hammering face is hardened.
Most axes do not have hardened polls, but you are free to misuse the tool. It's yours to abuse.
You can use a slip-joint knife blade as a screw-driver. Yours to break. Damn knife.
You can hammer nails with your fist. Damn fist.
Handle shape as requested.
300six, if it helps my reputation I just scored an old, patine'd Puget Sound falling axe which I hung on a carefully-shaped 44" haft, but without touching the steel at all. No vinegar bath, no scotchbrite, no sharpening. 100% preserved history. Check the thread, it's nearby on the axe listings. Because that one is now an art object. I have a chainsaw and a Stiletto michigan if I bind the saw bad enough that I need something to chop with. Actually I have spare bars too. But the Stiletto's gotta be good for something.
A hammer is anything harder than your hand.
I had a Mauser dated 1943, swastika and all. It had been sporterized, new wood, rebarreled to .30-06. The barrel was stamped "ALAMO GUN CO. San Antonio Texas"
Some people think that's a piece of history basically vandalized.
I think that IS history. We won. We took their guns, and we used them to shoot javelina or white tailed deer in the Big Thicket. That rifle told the story better than if it hadn't been modified.
That looks like something they might have done.
Ah yes. Heads as hammers, Good point.
Removed the haft, here's that presumed SN eye. There's a ledge, like it was slightly counterbored at the top.
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The wedge was aluminum.