Have a good look at your axe, splitting hammer and hatchet before you put them away in the shed at the end of the season. After tree felling and forestry work, the preparations for the next season, care and storage are the be-all and end-all. Otherwise you can expect a surprise with the first stroke of the axe. While your axe may look good if it gets wet or throw several times the wood can become damaged. From here it is suggested that you look into purchasing specific wood paint oil that is specifically made to prevent water from coming in. This will further increase the longevity of your throwing axe as well as give it a nice and clean aesthetic. When our wood is worked it is going to be throw several times, over and over again. Before it even gets tossed it is going to be pushed around, forced against metal and cut several times.
You can really see here how a hewing hatchet is shaped. One side is flat to help slide along the side of the log while the other side helps remove material to square up the log. You only sharpen one side of the blade and just touch up the other side to remove the burr created during sharpening. I did not go as far as polishing the cutting edge as I know I would not be using this hatchet for fine work such as shaving and fitting two logs together for a log house. I was lucky enough to have a friend who worked at a cabinet shop and had an extra piece of 2 x 8 Maple hanging around . Not knowing what a good shape for a handle was, I traced the shape of another hatchet handle onto the wood and proceeded with cutting it out with a jig saw. I’ve never worked with hardwood before, but I was really surprised on just how hard and tough it really was.
Run the hot point around the hole on the handle to smooth out the hole and shape it so it fits the axe head well. To use this method, you will need to use a sharp rock and a piece of wood to hammer in a hole a few inches from the top of the handle. You want a hole that is wide enough to fit the axe head. You can measure this by holding the axe head against the side of the handle and marking the width of the axe head on the handle. Burn a hole through the axe handle and insert the axe head. This method requires access to a fire, but it does not involve cord and can be a useful way to secure the axe head well in the axe handle.
The die grinder saved a lot of time during this step as it quickly removes wood. One trick that I learnt was to concentrate on just pulling the die grinder towards yourself and not worrying about how much it is digging in. If you try to make it dig in more and make a larger cut, you will find the handle won’t be as smooth as you hoped and you will end up doing more work on the belt grinder. There are various techniques depending upon your height, length, and weight of an axe. Hold the ax with both hands thumbs should not be parallel to the handle rather fold your thumbs over your fist. Splitting axes in 2021 are designed to create smaller chunks by splitting small to medium size logs. The simplest way to sharpen is it with a coarse whetstone.
Some people want to add an extra level of hold to be safe. To do this, apply an epoxy to the top of the axe handle, filling the entire opening in the top of the axe head. Allow the epoxy to dry thoroughly before using the axe. If desired, epoxy can also be applied around the handle where it enters the axe head as well. They can splinter or split, and if the condition of the handle has deteriorated, the shaft may even break off completely, usually within two to four inches of the axe head. When conditions demand a replacement axe haft, removing the old one is not especially difficult, and installing a new handle should only take a few minutes. The protective steel sleeve is pre-mounted on the handle.
Using your drawknife, trim away the part that bound on the handle, and repeat the procedure. As you go, you will see larger areas that are binding. Trim off the parts that bind until the binding marks are just barely gone, and refit the head. When you pull the head off, you’ll see where your handle and eye didn’t line up. Place the tapered end of your handle in the eye and tap the other end of the handle with a wooden mallet. You can also use a regular hammer, but you will want to protect the end of the handle by holding another small block of wood against it. As best you can, use a pencil to establish a line that follows the grain down the side of your handle. It’s important to be as centered as possible before further shaping the handle. You’ll notice in the photo above that there are still some high spots on the top of the handle. At this point, rather than adjust the shaving horse for every turn, I hold the handle in place with a block of wood.
Even the most peace-loving and placid amongst us love a little bit of axe-work, right? With the products described above, I hope I was able to explain to some extent the different qualities of these axes, and what to look for in a bushcraft axe. A Swedish-made axe is usually a solid choice, as Swedish steel is solid. Hickory is the most popular and preferable material for an axe handle, as it is strong but flexible, and often very comfortable to grip. The axe’s ergonomically designed hickory shaft is a little under 20 inches long. The tool weighs just 2 pounds, giving it the heft needed for hunter’s tasks while offering its user the comfort necessary for long periods of use. The blade’s clear-tempered zone allows it to be sharpened continuously without the edge losing strength. Instead of a sheath, this axe comes with a somewhat lesser leather edge protector.
More so, Oak is one of the most durable woods available. It has a high density, which allows the wood to be strong and absorb some of the shock. These facts allow Oak to last for many years and minimize user fatigue.